Friday, April 15, 2011

2011 NBA Playoff Preview

The 2011 NBA playoffs begins with a much different landscape than in years past. The subplots are much more compelling. The MoHeatos begin their quest to prove the world wrong and live up to unrealistic expectation. The Spurs and Celtics are trying to prove they still got it. The Oklahoma City Thunder are hoping to give their best Muhammad Ali impersonation (We shook up the world!). Superman is trying to fix the hole in his cape and the "Melo" drama begins in the Garden. Joe Johnson may come to the realization he is nothing more than Rashard Lewis 2.0. You would think with so many intriguing subplots the first round would be suspenseful. On the contrary the first round offers only one upset (I'll give you a hint: It's a team from Texas). Here are the first round winners.

Eastern Conference

Chicago over Charlotte. The Bobcats earned the opportunity to host two more home games this season and that's something to build on for the future. The Chicago Bulls are on a mission however and the future is now. Chicago 4-0.

Miami over Philadelphia. Although Miami has a tendency to play down to its competition the Heat have too much talent and playoff experience to lose this series. Philly might squeak out one, but that's it. Miami 4-1.

Boston over New York. Even if Carmelo Anthony does his best Bernard King impersonation the Celtics have too much experience and too much riding on this playoffs. The wild card is Chauncey "Mr Big Shot" Billups. If he can light up Rajon Rondo the Knicks could make it interesting. That's all though. Boston 4-2.

Orlando over Atlanta. As I mentioned previously, Joe Johnson has yet to prove he's worthy of superstar status and the Hawks have been a dysfunctional team all year. Orlando 4-0

Western Conference

San Antonio over Memphis. This cast of wily veterans knows the window of opportunity is closing rapidly and the key to success is health and rest. They will waste no time with Memphis. San Antonio 4-0.

Los Angeles over New Orleans. Not only do the players have a significant advantage in playoff experience, head coach Monty Williams is entering his first playoff game while Phil Jackson is entering his 10,596th (not really, but he's coached a lot more than Monty). Lakers in a smack down. Los Angeles 4-1

Portland over Dallas. The upset of the playoffs! Although the Mavericks will have the best player on the court in Dirk Nowitzki the Blazer front line of Camby, Aldridge, and Wallace will give Dallas fits. Since 2006 the Mavs haven't shown the ability to respond to adversity or pressure. Mark Cuban is already beginning to panic. Portland 4-2.

Oklahoma City over Denver. By the time this series is over George Karl will be eating his words about how much better the Nugget's are without Carmelo Anthony. It would be nice to have someone at least pretend they could match Kevin Durant's 30 points a game on a consistent basis. In addition, George Karl doesn't make the proper adjustments in the playoffs when the situation calls for it. Oklahoma City 4-1.

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