Analyzing Playoff Weekend
The playoffs are finally here, and after Game 1 for every team this weekend, these series have all been great so far, and do offer a great amount of entertainment. It's really hard to predict these series, but, I am going to try to see how close I get by analyzing what each team needs to work on, and how each series goes on.
(1)Chicago Bulls vs (8) Indiana Pacers
Bulls win game 104-99.
From what I saw in this game is that the Pacers attacked on all cylinders. They shocked the Bulls, but Derrick Rose happened, and the game was history. Danny Granger says he wanted the Bulls because the go how D-Rose goes. Well, you wanted them, you got them Granger. Rose had 39 points in the game for the Bulls, and the Bulls ended on a 16-1 run. Indiana got greedy, and fell into shooting jumpers. They didn't stop Rose. I predict the Bulls in 5. The Pacers played a great game and dropped it. That was their missed opportunity for the Pacers. They might win one on the road, but they need to stop Derrick Rose. They wanted them for that reason, now they got to do it. I don't think they can.
(2) Miami Heat vs (7) Philadelphia 76ers
Miami Heat win game 97-89
. The 76ers played a physical game with the Heat, and honestly I feel the refs bailed the Heat out a few times. They shot a lot more FTs, and had a lot of problems with the 76ers. I predict the Heat will win in 6 games. Homecourt means nothing in this series. Heat have the big 3, but if the 76ers can slow down LeBron again, and do a better job on Bosh, they have a good chance at pulling an upset, or at least winning 2 games. Also, they've got to get Iggy going. He had only 4 points in that close game. If Iggy can score 20+ again, and Bosh can be slowed, the 76ers can have a chance. But, I see LeBron being as explosive as he can be, and not having another tough night.
(3)Boston Celtics vs (6)New York Knicks
Celtics win 87-85.
The Knicks play great offense, and didn't have bad defense. I'm predicting New York in 6 games honestly. Jermaine O'Neal was huge for the Celtics in the 3rd. Ray came up huge and made the game winning 3. How often does O'Neal have a big game? The New York Knicks need to increase their defense, and they'll have a chance. In fact, they could have won if Billups didn't leave the game due to an injury. Also, Melo had a huge offensive foul, with Pierce acting, that caused the turnover for Ray Allen to hit a big shot. Rondo was also huge, but I see New York winning all their games at home, and stealing game 2. New York in 6. Melo will be Melo, unlike he was in the 3rd quarter.
(4) Orlando Magic vs (5) Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta won game 103-93.
Atlanta will continue to win. I say Atlanta in 6. They play better team ball. No one showed up for the Magic except D12. If Howard gets in foul trouble, the Magic are done for. They live and die by the 3, and the jumpshot. They'll continue to die. Atlanta has a better offensive flow, and plays better team basketball. Orlando needs to play better D, and hit their shots. No one showed up in the game for Orlando except Howard. Any effort was too little, too late. If Atlanta continues to play like they did on Saturday, they'll win this series in 6. I expect Orlando to have at least one or two games where they can't miss. They're certainly capable of it.
(1) San Antonio Spurs vs (8) Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis won game 101-98.
This will be the hardest to analyze. Depends on how Manu does. I think he'll return on Game 2 and play well. Spurs in 7. Memphis has the length that the Spurs don't. Randolph and Gasol abused Duncan, Blair, McDyess, and whoever else was thrown at them. Did you see that Battier 3? Remind you of anything? How about game 4. I remember Mike Barrett interrupting Rice saying "Battier for 3...". It was Deja Vu. However, the Spurs know what to do. Memphis played a great game, but hit huge shots while allowing huge shots. Manu will change everything, and I doubt Parker will take so long to get heated up. Spurs have a series on their hands, but should win it. I'm not saying Memphis got lucky, but they need to improve if they want to win this series.
(2) Los Angelos Lakers vs (7) New Orleans Hornets
Hornets win game 109-100.
Pau Gasol was awful. Lamar Odom wasn't any better. Andrew Bynum was nearly as useless. I see the Lakers winning in 5 games. This was a fluke, but the Lakers are done. Calling it right now. They'll win this series, probably beat Portland, but if they get the Bulls or Heat, they're done in the finals. Comparing them to last season, they lost games due to lack of passion. The past 5 games, the Lakers have tried to shift gears into playoff mode, and failed. Losing badly to Portland and OKC, having struggles against the Spurs bench, and blowing a 22 point lead against the Kings. Now, they lose to the Hornets at home, who are FAR smaller. They might be done, but they're too good to lose this series. They come back... like a hornets nest.
(3)Dallas Mavericks vs (6)Portland Trail Blazers
Dallas wins game 89-81.
We all know the officiating was terrible, and Portland got one stolen from them by having only 2 Free throws (one off a technical foul, the other being an "And-1") while Dallas had 19, a lot undeserving. Dirk's getting credit for "dominating" Portland by making 2 of the 4 baskets Dallas had in the 4th. It was the officiating that gave Dallas the win. Portland was far better. Their defense was great, despite the fouls. They shut down everyone except Kidd. Kidd won't go 6-10 behind the arc, and I doubt Portland will go 2-16 behind the arc. Wesley, Roy, and Wallace had no shows. Batum wasn't that great either. Camby, Aldridge, and Miller will have these type of games in the series, and those 3 were the only real positives for the Blazers. When Wesley and Wallace step up, which they will game 2, the Blazers should win this series in 5. However, game 6 will likely be a tough one, with the Blazers being in a position they've never been in before (eliminating a team). Game 6 in the rocking Rose Garden, the Blazers will win.
(4)Oklahoma City Thunder vs (5) Denver Nuggets
OKC wins game 107-103.
Denver's going to be kicking themselves in this game, missing a HUGE opportunity to win game 1. It was nearly obvious that they were playing "hookie" to throw OKC off track. Not to mention, George Karl said, "We want Dallas". I'm sure he would rather play Dallas than OKC, but let's get real, Karl isn't one to say he's afraid. He's a great coach. It was all bluffing to get into the heads of OKC. There are 3 things Denver missed badly in this game. 1) Aaron Afflalo. 2) Timothy Mozgov. 3) Free throws. Denver missed 12 FTs for the game. Durant was huge in this game, and Westbrook was as well. Slow those 2 a bit, and the Nuggets win in 6 games. They missed a huge opportunity here. But, they won't miss 12 free throws next time. Afflalo is their best perimeter defender (Where OKC killed them). Not to mention Denver is the hardest place to place in the entire NBA. Denver in 6.