What a regular season, right? But the best is yet to come.
An intense Western conference will get even more intense in the postseason. And the East is basically a toss up of Boston or Detroit. The Boston Celtics winning 66 games; Shaq to the Suns, Pau to the Lakers, Kidd to the Mavs, KG and Ray to the Celtics; Warriors NOT making the playoffs; Lakers at the one seed.
The past couple seasons have been rough for the NBA, word spreading that the regular seasons are a bore, but this season saved the NBA. Playoffs are tight but these are my predictions and why.
- Lakers over Nuggets in 5... Lack of Denver defense will cost them, defense wins championships. And playing against Kobe with no defense is just asking him to score 40.
- Jazz over Rockets in 6... I want the Rockets to win this series but Utah is too much to handle with D-Will, Boozer, and Okur. Not to mention AK-47 and his great defense.
- Suns over Spurs in 7... This match-up is going to be tough for both teams but with the postseason presence of Shaq will give the Suns the edge. With Marion they wouldn't win this series.
- Hornets over Mavs in 6... I'm a huge Jason Kidd and Josh Howard fan but without a second front-court star to match West and Chandler the Mavs won't hold up against the high tempo Hornets. Chris Paul and David West are just hitting their prime, maybe they do not have that experience but you better believe the next 4 years they will develop it.
- Lakers over Jazz in 6... Great match-ups on paper. All except one—Kobe. Utah will put up a good fight but Kobe and Derek Fisher's veteran leadership will be a key component to their victory in the series.
- Hornets over Suns in 7... This is by far the most equal match-up in the playoffs. Both have great frount-court presence and team captain point guards. This game will be all about Shaq and Tyson. At the moment Tyson will win that battle. He is younger, more athletic, and will get more minutes. As much as I'd love to see the Suns play the Lakers, the Hornets will move on.
- Lakers over Hornets in 7... This series will be entertaining. The battle of the top two MVP candidates go head to head. Both teams like the fast-break, the Hornets like it a little more than the Lakers, which is why I believe the Lakers will control the tempo because they are better at switching from fast-break to half court offense.
- Celtics over Hawks in 4... Boston is simply too good for the Hawks to be even close to match-up to them. Their offense is better, their defense is better, their bench is better. It's a landslide.
- Cavs over Wizards in 6... LeBron or Agent 0? LeBron. Kobe is the only player I put over LeBron in a match-up. Caron is doing great for the second straight year but it won't be enough to stop LeBron.
- Magic over Raptors in 5... Two words. Dwight Howard. Chris Bosh is great but it's time for a new scenario. Oh and by the way, Hedo is playing like an all-star. Look out.
- Pistons over 76ers in 5... I was debating on if I should make it a sweep, but I had a feeling the Sixers will get one meaningless win at home. They've been quite the story lately, but Detroit is... well they're Detroit.
- Celtics over Cavs in 6... I'm giving the Cavs the benefit of the doubt with two wins only because the series was tied in the regular season at 2-2. Both wins were at home for LeBron's crew. The Celtics are going to be too much for LeBron to handle.
- Pistons over Magic in 6... The Pistons are going to have a hard time putting Dwight out of the game. But they will. Lewis and Hedo are huge threats but Billups, Rip, and the crew will outsmart the inexperienced Magic.
- Pistons over Celtics in 7... This series is a coin toss. Yes, Boston won the series 2-1 during the season but Detroit is a different team when it comes to the postseason. The veteran leadership brings me to the conclusion that in game 7 they will know exactly how to win.
- Lakers over Pistons in 6... Both teams are deserving of the title, but when Kobe sees that little trophy patch on his jersey for the first time in half a decade, he will do whatever it takes to win it all. And we all know how efficient Kobe is when he's in the zone. MVP, his fourth ring, and finals MVP? Would he really come that far to fail? You must not know Kobe, or Fisher for that matter.