NBA Playoff Preview and Day One Analysis

Dan SmithCorrespondent IApril 19, 2009

CHICAGO - MARCH 06:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls brings the ball up court against the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center on March 6, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agreees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

I am a day late with my NBA Playoff preview, so I will go in the order of the quadruple-header from yesterday.

The Bulls/Celtics' first game started off the Playoffs with a bang for a variety of reasons.

Derrick Rose showed his potential as he tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with the most points scored in their first playoff game. Paul Pierce missed what would have been the winning free throw and the Bulls stole game one. Ray Allen struggled mightily, and if he continues to play this poorly, look for the Bulls to upset the Celtics in six games.

Having said that, I predict the Celtics will win the series in seven. They will get back a game in Chicago and beat the Bulls in seven because the Bulls shoot too many jump shots, which is common for a young team.

The Cavs will get past Detroit in five games at the most, but could even sweep the Pistons in four, based on what I saw yesterday.  The Pistons are just a shell of the team that has been to the Eastern Conference Finals for six straight years.

The Mavs are playing their best basketball of the season and went into San Antonio and took game one from the Spurs.  The Spurs are beat up at this point of the season and will be hard pressed to make this a long series.  Look for the Mavs to win this in five games.

The Blazers were pounded in game one. The Rockets will still make this an interesting series because they lack consistent offensive firepower. The Blazers, like the other young team in the playoffs such as the Bulls, shoot too many jumpers. I look for the Rockets to win it in six.

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The Hawks will get past the Heat, but Dwyane Wade will be the best player in the series. Joe Johnson is important for the Hawks because if he can have a great series, then the Hawks should win in five or six games. If he struggles, then the Hawks will be thankful they have game seven in Atlanta this year.

I thought the Jazz were one of the teams that could actually beat the Lakers, but they are not playing well right now. The Lakers have trouble winning in Utah so it probably won't be a sweep, but a shocking upset is not going to happen.

The Hornets and Nuggets is a great match-up and home court will be the deciding factor with Denver holding on in game 7 in Denver.

The Magic will take care of the struggling 76ers in a quick five game series.

I will be updating the preview for the second round with the picks I had wrong and why, plus a whole new batch of wrong picks.

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