We have reached that odd time in the NBA Playoffs where the rounds are overlapping. Cleveland and Boston meet in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals on May 1st, while the Bucks and Hawks play Game Seven of the First Round on May 2nd.
It is like the First Round of the NBA Playoffs just don't want to end. Even with players like Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings, the Hawks/Bucks series has not been must see TV.
More like get it done and move on TV. That would make this a "get it done and move on" article then too, so let's get 'er done.
First, let's look at my picks for the first round.
Right On The Money Picks
The Bulls will win Game Three and lose the series in five.
The Thunder will take two games and the Lakers take the series in six.
Right Pick, Wrong Number of Games
The ugly is that the Hawks will sweep the Bucks (I am assuming that the Hawks will win Game Seven).
Dirk Nowitzki is the best player in the series and the teams are very even. 'The Dude abides' a Maverick series win in six tough games (should have said Spurs)(they are 11-1 in the first round since they drafted Tim Duncan).
In a series where both teams are lying on the living room floor of Lance's house in Pulp Fiction with Vincent about to give a "Shot of Adrenaline to the heart" to one of them, I'm going to pick the Heat in seven lackluster games (Boston won in five lackluster games).
The Conference Semi-Finals Preview
The Mavs loss opens up the Western Conference for the Phoenix Suns to go to the West Finals. The Spurs always seem to beat the Suns in the playoffs. I picked against the Spurs in round one so why not go 0-2?
The Suns were so close to trading Amare Stoudemire at the trade deadline this season. Now he is teaming with the venerable Steve Nash to make the Suns a contender in the West. Jason Richardson and Grant Hill have both been playing at a high level. Alvin Gentry is keeping his run and gun team fresh with subs like Jared Dudley making big shots.
Good guy Grant Hill is finally making a trip to the second round of the playoffs. After all of the success he had at Duke, it is quite odd that he had never won an NBA playoff series before 2010.
I look for the Suns to beat the Spurs in six games. Even with home court for Game Seven, I don't think the Suns want to play in that game.
The Lakers and Jazz also match-up an awful lot in the playoffs. The Lakers are a little beat-up right now, but not missing any players. The Jazz are really beat-up, and missing two starters.
It is a shame that the Jazz are not at full strength. The Lakers will take advantage and handle Utah in five games.
Cleveland built their team in the 2008 offseason to beat Boston. Then Boston lost to Orlando in the 2009 playoffs. The Cavs are still built to beat the Celtics.
There are few myths I want to address here:
LeBron James has a healthy elbow.
The Celtics only looked good because the Heat have no one to help Dwyane Wade.
The Cavs will come out strong and take the first two games. They will steal a game in Boston and take the series in five tough games.
Orlando will feast on the winner of the Hawks/Bucks series. The Magic might be 8-0 going into the East Finals.
The West might have opened up with the Spurs win over the Mavericks but the East is still all about the Cavs and Magic.
I was 5-3 in the First Round, and am looking for a 4-0 run through the Conference Semi-Finals.