Ahhh heaven.....I love the NBA and the playoffs is special time of the year. Lots of great basketball every night! My life goes into hermit mode for about a month. Speaking of which I have really good tickets to the Rangers game on Thursday and a date(I promised to take her a month ago so I did even think about it). Problem Mavs-Rockets game 3 is that night!! My one saving grace might be that the Rangers game is at 7:00 and the Mavs at 9:30 and she is a Mavs fan. Possible solution = go to game, at 9:30 head to the VIP club(Gold Club) and watch the Mavs game. These are company tickets so like I said they are really good and come with the Gold Club access, although I'm not sure how late they stay open. Anyway, at the worst I will have to tape it and watch it when I get home.
Ok sorry, enough of that, Time for my thoughts on Round 1.
Suns(1) vs. Grizz.(8)
Sorry Memphis you just don't have enough to hang with the Suns. They will run the Grizz out of the Gym. Too much speed and athleticism. This should be a fun series to watch, with both teams running a gunning. Neither team has a real big man in the post, with Amare Stoudemire and Lorenzen Wright manning the post for Phx and Memphis respectively. I would take the suns starter at every position with the exception of PF where I would take Gasol over Marion, although Marion really shouldn't even be put in that position as he really is a SF. I take the Suns in 5 although it wouldn't surprise me if the swept Memphis.
Spurs(2) vs. Nuggets(7)
There has been a lot of talk about how much Denver has improved under George Karl and how they are they have a chance to be the Cinderella story of the playoffs. Don't believe it. They will get beat in the first round unless Tim Duncan is still really off his game due to the injury or the suffer some other major injury to Duncan, Parker, or Ginobili. Denver just doesn't have the players to compete at those positions. Although don't be surprised if Greg Buckner holds Ginobili down in several of those games. He is a really nice defender. I take the Spurs in 6 (5 is Duncan is in normal form from the start)
Sonics(3) vs. Kings (6)
I really don't think the Kings lost that much in trading Webber. He had become a jump shooting PF who doesn't have that great of range. He does very little in the post anymore, and can be taken to hole a will be the better PF's in the league. However his thought that he was the man on the team hurt the teams ability to find a new identity. I think trading him was the best thing for the team and that they will be better off for it. However, it will be a a year or two before they really see that. They need time to gel and find a new identity. The Sonics have limped into the playoff, but I think they will pick it up. With Brad Miller the Kings would have a chance in this series, but without him they have none. The Kings have no one who can slow done Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. My pick is the Sonics in 5.
Mavericks(4) vs. Rockets(5)
Once again the Mavs get seated lower than a team with a worse record(Mavs 58-24, Sonics 52-30). I REALLY hate the seating in the NBA. It was bad enough with 2 divisions in each conference but with 3 this is going to happen every year to some team. They need to go to a straight record based seating in the conferences. I already covered the Mavs below so I will make this quick. Mavs are a better and deeper team. They just need to watch out for McGrady. Mavs in 6.
Heat(1) vs. Nets(8)
This one all depends on Shaq. If he is healthy they role. If not it is a interesting series. The sad thing is that the Nets are in the playoffs at all. This team would not sniff the playoffs in the west. With Jefferson out ESPN.com has Brian Scalabrine listed as the starting SF going against Eddie Jones for Miami. That should be make for some odd situations. If Shaq is healthy I take Miami in 5. If not who knows.
Pistons(2) vs. Sixers(7)
Another team(the Sixers) that wouldn't sniff the playoffs in the West. Detroit however is a very good team. They had there problems throughout the year adjusting to being the champions. I think they have gotten over that and are ready to play. If so they will be a force to be reckoned with. If not they will still beat the Sixers. The sixers need a couple more starters and they might be able to become a nice team. As much as want to say I take the pistons in a sweep! I think Iverson will get them at lest one win, so I say pistons in 5.
Pacers(3) vs. Celtics(6)
Ahhh....what might have been but for one night in Detroit. You add Ron Artest to this team and take away all the drama and this team would have a chance to win the East. But without him, the mental drain that incident caused, and an uncertain shoulder for O'Neal they won't go far. They will however beat this spare Celtic team, another team that wouldn't come close to the playoffs in the west. The Celtics might be able to run on the Pacers some and get some easy transition buckets and get a couple of wins. But will Danny Ainge please, please get Paul Pierce some help!!! Lets hope Reggie Miller has a nice showing in his final playoffs. Pacers in 6.
Bulls (4) vs. Bullets(5)
Yeah, yeah, yeah I know they are the Wizards now but that is such a horrible name and logo I just couldn't use it. They should have gone back to the Zepyers before they used that. Anyway, man if only the Bulls had Curry and Dang this might be the most fun series to watch. Without them Washington has the edge. I look for a big series from Washington's big three(Jamison, Arenas, and Hughes) and from Ben Gordon. This still might be an interesting series to watch with several highlight reel players on each team. With the injuries to the Bulls I take Washington in my only 1st round upset in 6 games.