Here’s my playoff picks. To be honest, my original prediction for the finals at the beginning of the season was Miami-Houston. Looking at the first round matchups and potential matchups in later rounds, I’m going to change my West pick to another Texas team, the Spurs.
Western Conference thoughts:
I’ve got to go with the Spurs coming out of the West again. Gregg Popovich has done a fantastic job with his team this season and would be very surprising if he did not win coach of the year.
The Spurs were the best team in one of the toughest Western Conference’s in recent years and have the talent, experience and rest to get there again. Getting 30 wins on the road isn’t too shabby either. The biggest hurdle for the Spurs though, might be the potential second round opponent with whom they have lost the season series 4-0 to and is also my dark horse to win it all, the Rockets.
The whole Asik drama seems to have died down, at least for the remainder of this season and I still think the Rockets are going to be a matchup problem for a lot of teams, particularly the Spurs.
Not moving Asik might cost the Rockets down the stretch since they simply don’t have the depth to beat a lot of teams. But they do still have enough talent to win and will need to rely on starters playing heavy minutes in order to have a chance. They’re still one of the best rebounding teams and one of the best offensively, so you can’t count them out.
There’s going to be a lot of really great matchups in the West and potential for an upset, particularly in the Thunder-Grizzlies matchup as well as the Clippers-Warriors one.
Eastern Conference thoughts:
Looking at the East, if the Heat continue to struggle like they have in the last month or so, it’s difficult to see them even getting to the finals. But considering Indiana, the best team in the East has also struggled as of late, they might make it by default if the Pacers get knocked out early.
The Bulls and Nets have had the Heat’s number all season long, but I don’t think that will be the case in the playoffs if they end up facing each other. I think LeBron and company are simply too good of a team to lose a seven-game series (with home court advantage) to anyone in the East except for the Pacers.
Dark horse pick in the East would be the Bulls. Like mentioned, they have been able to beat the Heat a couple of times this season and they’ve also got a couple of wins against the Pacers. It’s a long shot, but if anyone in the East aside from the Pacers are going to take out the Heat, I think it’ll be the Bulls.
Again, there’s some potential for upsets here if Brooklyn beating Toronto is considered one. In fact, perhaps Toronto winning against Brooklyn is the real upset considering all of their experience and of course, that’s the matchup that the Nets wanted. Second round, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Bulls beat the Pacers in a seven-game series either.
1. Pacers vs 8. Hawks. Pacers in 5.
2. Heat vs 7. Bobcats. Heat in 5.
3. Raptors vs 6. Nets. Raptors in 7.
4. Bulls vs 5. Wizards. Bulls in 6.
1. Spurs vs 8. Mavericks. Spurs in 5.
2. Thunder vs 7. Grizzlies. Thunder in 7.
3. Clippers vs 6. Warriors. Clippers in 7.
4. Rockets vs 5. Blazers. Rockets in 5.
1. Pacers vs 4. Bulls. Pacers in 7.
2. Heat vs 3. Raptors. Heat in 4.
1. Spurs vs 4. Rockets. Spurs in 6.
2. Thunder vs 3. Clippers. Thunder in 7.
1. Pacers vs 2. Heat. Heat in 6.
1. Spurs vs 2. Thunder. Spurs in 6.
1. Spurs vs 2. Heat. Spurs in 7.