The NBA Playoffs are coming up and it is full of surprises. Who saw Chicago and San Antonio wrapping up the top seeds? What about Philadelphia, New York, Indiana, and Memphis all making the playoffs? Well, we'll see how they do, but here is how I think they will do. Lets go!
Chicago vs. Indiana
Derrick Rose and Chicago have dominated the NBA this year, but they will need to beat Indiana to prove that they can play. Chicago is 61-20 and has been able to top Boston, Miami, San Antonio and others. If they beat New Jersey and San Antonio loses, the Bulls have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Chicago is 35-5 at home and 1-0 at home against Indiana. They are 2-1 against the Pacers this year, with a 1-1 road record in Indianapolis.
The home-court will probably be too much alone, and once you throw Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng into the mix, you have a team easily capable of beating the Pacers, who have more losses than wins. Derrick Rose will dominate the Pacers with 25 PPG, and Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer will make big contributions on the boards. Prediction: Bulls in five.
Miami vs. Philadelphia
The Heat haven't completely fulfilled expectations, but that can all change by defeating Philadelphia, Boston or New York, and winning the Eastern Conference finals. LeBron averages 26.7 PPG, and D-Wade averages 25.5, but Chris Bosh averages less than 19, and he will need to become more of a factor if the Heat want to do anything. The 76ers may barely be over .500, but they are definitely capable of beating Miami. Jrue Holiday, Elton Brand, Jodie Meeks, Louis Williams, Andre Igudoula, and Thaddeus Young all average over 10 points per game, and if they all step up, they could easily overpower the Big Three of Miami.
It will be closer, but I think Miami will be able to hold Philadelphia to low numbers, and I don't think Jodie Meeks or Lou Williams will be any kind of factor. The Big 3 of Miami can beat the remaining four Philly starters, and although Philadelphia will not go down easily, and they will win at least one game, I don't think they can take down the Heat. Prediction: Heat in six.
Boston vs. New York
The Boston Celtics have struggled late in the year, and the team is definitely getting older. Rajon Rondo is the only young member of the Big Four, and he cannot defeat Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and the Knicks by himself. Chauncey Billups and Toney Douglas have made contributions to the Knicks success as well. Boston plays New York tonight, and although the C's are 3-0 against New York, if the Knicks mesh together well (which they have struggled to do), then the Knicks can easily win the series.
The Celtics have received much less from the Big Four, as Rajon Rondo averages 11 assists per game, but only 10.6 points per game. Glen Davis and Jeff Green have made up for the Big Four's limited contribution, but if those two get shut down, and the Big Four play like they have, New York can win. Boston and New York have both struggled to play well together, so whoever does that better will win. Prediction: New York in Seven.
Orlando vs. Atlanta
Atlanta has struggled to finish the season well, but they are 3-1 against Orlando. Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford, Marvin Williams, Jamal Crawford and Kirk Hinrich have all stepped up for Atlanta. The Hawks can easily dominate Orlando, but if Gilbert Arenas starts living up to his full potential and Dwight Howard starts playing like Superman, then the Magic could dominate. The key to this game is who can step up, and an easy way to do that for Orlando is if Hedo Turkoglu and Brandon Bass step up. If those two add to Arenas and Howard, the Magic will win this series in four or five.
However, if Kirk Hinrich and Jamal Crawford play up to their full potential, Atlanta will be dangerous. Crawford is inconsistent, but he has the ability to score 30 in any game. Kirk Hinrich is getting older, but he can still shoot the jumper well and he has the potential to score 30 (although he is inconsistent as well). If those two can play well during the entire series, Atlanta can steal the series. I don't think Hinrich and Crawford will play like Superman, but I think they will make a contribution that is enough for Atlanta. Prediction: Hawks in six.