NBA: 2008-09 Season Preview: Postseason Predictions and Awards

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NBA: 2008-09 Season Preview: Postseason Predictions and Awards

And now we go from the long slog to the, uh, shorter slog.

Eastern Conference

Seedings and Notes

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Orlando Magic
  4. Detroit Pistons
  5. Toronto Raptors
  6. Philadelphia 76ers
  7. Miami Heat
  8. Chicago Bulls

The Cavs and Heat have never met in the playoffs. The Magic and Cavs have played some of the better games in the NBA in recent years, back-and-forth classics. This would be the first time the Wizards have missed the playoffs since 2003-04. The Celtics were pushed to seven games in both the first round and conference semifinals in 2007-08. The last time Detroit didn’t win the Central Division was in 2003-04, when the Pistons won the NBA title.

First Round: Celtics over Bulls in 5; Cavaliers over Heat in 6; Magic over 76ers in 6; Raptors over Pistons in 7.

Conference Semifinals: Celtics over Raptors in 6; Cavaliers over Magic in 7.

Conference Finals: Cavaliers over Celtics in 7.

Western Conference

Seedings and Notes

  1. New Orleans Hornets
  2. Los Angeles Lakers
  3. Utah Jazz
  4. Houston Rockets
  5. San Antonio Spurs
  6. Portland Trail Blazers
  7. Los Angeles Clippers
  8. Phoenix Suns

Okay, no insight here. Just marvel at the matchups.

First Round: Hornets over Suns in 5; Lakers over Clippers in 4; Jazz over Blazers in 7; Rockets over Spurs in 6.

Conference Semifinals: Hornets over Rockets in 7; Lakers over Jazz in 6.

Conference Finals: Hornets over Lakers in 7.

NBA Finals

This Cavaliers team isn’t like the one that faced the Spurs in 2006-07. LeBron James is a better player now, more wise than he was when he had to take over games for the Cavs to have any chance of winning, and surrounded with marginally better players now than he was then, plus they’ll be running more. There’s a move up the Cavs’ sleeve, too, maybe to take a plodder or two away and bring some athleticism for the defense. The Hornets, by this time, will have played 18-21 games in the West’s brutal playoffs, and though I don’t doubt Chris Paul’s desire one bit, I know he’s going to have nearly two straight years of bumps and bruises at this point, and he’s got to manage other people, too; when Allen Iverson did this in 2000-01, his was the only personality on that Sixers squad that mattered, and he was capable of going for 50 on an given night and destroying the opposite side. Paul, even in his most magical games, can’t do that. LeBron can. Cavaliers over Hornets in 6.

Finals MVP: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

Regular Season MVP: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

Rookie of the Year: Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers

Defensive Player of the Year: Ron Artest, Houston Rockets

Most Improved Player: Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics

Sixth Man Award: Rudy Fernandez, Portland Trail Blazers

Coach of the Year: Nate McMillan, Portland Trail Blazers

All-NBA First Team: PG: Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets; SG: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers; SF: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers; PF: Carlos Boozer, Utah Jazz; C: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic.

Thanks for reading. You know where to sound off.

Posted in NBA, Previews      
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