As Doug Kass would say, Here are my 15 Predictions:
The Playoffs are finally here and the real Basketball season can now begin. The best opening round series is clearly the Knicks/Celtics. I live in New York and not a single Knicks fan I’ve spoken to thinks they have a chance. Not even my good friend Josh @reformedbroker, a life-long Knicks fan. He tells me they have no shot, but “wishes they did”. I disagree. I think the Knicks can actually pull it off. My prediction is they will do so with a game 7 winning shot by former NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups. The Celtics without Kendrick Perkins are no longer the Celtics D from the last couple of years. With that said, I think Perkins will deliver for Oklahoma and the Thunder will come out on top after a tough battle with the red hot Denver Nuggets. Former Knickerbocker Danilo Gallinari will go off, but it won’t be enough to stop freak-of-nature Kevin Durant. I think those are the two best match-ups. The rest of them are snooze-fests.
In round 2, the Chicago/Orlando series is intriguing but Howard will be in constant foul trouble and Rose will run through the Magic quickly to prepare for the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami. The Heat should have no problem finishing off an already tired Knicks team that will be boycotting the Defensive end of the sport. Meanwhile, the Lakers will run through a good Dallas team infuriating Mark Cuban who will get fined by the NBA at some point during the series. The over/under is $100,000. “Mr. Fundamentals” Tim Duncan will struggle a little against Oklahoma’s defense but Argentina’s super-star Manu Ginobili and new bachelor Tony Parker will show up to help.
Now for the good stuff. The match-ups we’ve all been waiting for. The infamous Heatles against league MVP Derrick Rose who led Chicago to the NBA’s best regular season record. Rose may be the best point guard in the NBA but he has yet to win a single playoff series during his career. To win 3 series in a row? Beat the best player in the world that has something to prove? I don’t think so. Miami wins in 6. Underrated Luol Deng has a hell of a series and makes it closer than it should be.
Lakers/Spurs. I love this match-up. I think it could go 7 games. Spurs will be up 3-2 in the series after making more 3-pointers in one playoff game than any team in the history of the NBA. After that, Kobe takes over and has a game where he gets close to 50 points.
2011 NBA Finals: LA Lakers against the Miami Heat. This will go down as the most watched NBA finals in the history of the league. More people will tune into this series than ever before imagined. LeBron has something to prove this post-season and it will show. The Heat win in 6 or 7 games and the NBA will make more money than ever. LeBron gets the last laugh. Wade gets another title. Bosh averages 25 pts and 8 rebounds. Kobe plays better than his piss-poor performance last year but Pau Gasol gets shut down by little known defensive specialist Joel Anthony. It’s a tough call who gets NBA Finals MVP – Wade or LeBron. Remember that Dwyane Wade had the best performance in the history of the NBA Finals a few years back (ESPN). He comes out on fire but focuses more on defense this time. I think LeBron averaging 30 pts 11 assists 10 rebounds 3 steals and 2 blocks per game gets him a well-deserved Finals MVP.
Silence from the critics.
Put together your own brackets at ESPN.COM and send it over