The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to win it all! Or not, because the Lakers will form chemistry and repeat! Or not, that is the nature of predictions. We look down the road instead of seeing what is right in front of us. To keep it simple: if you can't get through the first seven, there's a better chance we'll see Kobe at the 7-11. Here are my first round predictions for the 2010 Playoffs.
Yes, Phil Jackson has gone to the well again as he does so many times. His ploy at stating that Kevin Durant goes to the line too often is nothing new. Durant responding to this statement is also nothing new to the Phil Jackson process of elimination. Durant will be able to score a couple 30 point games in this series and gain some valuable experience. All complications aside, if the Lakers decide to show up at all (calling out you Lamar Odom), this series will be a formality. The Lakers bigs have a decisive advantage over the Thunder inside. Look for Pau Gasol to have a double double every game and this allowing for the Lakers backcourt to have many great outside opportunities.
Outcome: Lakers in 5
At 37, Jason Kidd is playing almost as well as he played during his heyday times in New Jersey. At 27, Tony Parker is playing the lowest he has since Jason was in his heyday. The result is that none of that matters now that the playoffs have approached. The beat down, injury plagued Spurs have been able to finally get healthy. The problem they approach is even if Parker can outduel Kidd in their matchup, depth is still a major problem. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili still have the smarts and hunger to keep this series competitive and DeJuan Blair gives a young body with physical toughness. The difference though will be the new imports from the Wizards (Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson) who will help the Mavericks maneuver through a relatively competitive Spurs team.
Outcome: Mavericks in 6
The Brandon Roy signs will not be up in the Rose Garden and neither will the fans. Steve Nash and the Suns have been showing signs of defense this year as a surprise to all. Grant Hill has reemerged just as his Duke Blue Devils. Amare Stoudamire is a beast. Portland has blazed a trail of injuries to having a lack of experience and talent to compete. I will be waiting to see how Nate McMillian runs a team without Roy. Let's just hope Portland can put up more of a fight than they did last year against Houston.
Outcome: Suns in 5
The current Stockton to Malone duo is looking to go back to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2007. The Denver Nuggets are looking to return to the Conference Finals. I'd give it to Utah unanimously IF they had home court. They are to put it bluntly a bad road team. With home court on their side, Utah is a force to be reckoned with. This however, is in the thin air of Denver in Mr. Big Shot's hometown. Carmelo is too consistent at home and on the road for the Nuggets not to pick one up on the road. As well as win every one of their home games. Unfortunately for the Jazz, they will be playing the blues at the end of this series.
Outcome: Nuggets in 6
There's not much reason to talk about this series other than who has the better hair between Anderson Varejao and Joakim Noah. Maybe we can hope for another scuffle between Del Negro and John Paxson. Honestly, I think I am most interested in seeing how many different dunks LeBron completes in this series. Chicago can just hope Derrick Rose can continue to grow through this series.
Outcome: Cleveland in 4
Big men use to rule the NBA. Dwight Howard attempts to continue to bring that aspect of basketball back in this years playoffs. The Center from the Orlando Magic would have no equal on the Bobcats with one hand tied behind his back. Nazr Mohammed, Tyson Chandler and any other bigs make way. Robin Hood couldn't steal this series away from the Magic.
Outcome: Magic in 5
The Three Point Field Goal is a friend to both of these teams. Most importantly to one Joe Johnson. He is still overlooked as an offensive force and his ability to shoot the three will drive Charlie Bell and Brandon Jennings nuts on the defensive end. Thus expanding the inside opportunities for Josh Smith and Al Horford. If the Bucks have any chance in this series it is in the momentum they have been playing with since the All-Star Break. Milwaukee will be rocking and playing at home will help calm rookie Brandon Jennings. Andrew Bogut must come up big in this series if they have any legitimate ideas of seeing playoff success. The Hawks however, have the experience and swagger to get through this toughly contested series.
Outcome: Hawks in 7
I know what everyone's thinking: There's going to be an upset in this series. I agree as well, the Boston Celtics are going to win this series. Why do I believe this? One reason: Kevin Garnett. Even old limbs Garnett still has enough effort and grit to muster out one more series. He is among a group of veterans who might not all be motivated (Rasheed Wallace, Paul Pierce) but that does not mean Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo at playoff time should be overlooked. This team still took Orlando to seven games last year without Garnett. The Heat at the other end have Dwyane Wade and a lacking cast. Jermaine O'Neal's body is in similar states to Garnett and Michael Beasley is still unreliable on the defensive end. Let me know when the Heat supporting cast shows up.
Outcome: Celtics in 6