Its time to break down the match ups and go with the gut feelings but here is how I think the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs will go:
(1) Lakers vs (8) Thunder – To me this series has 2007 Hawks and Celtics written all over it. Lakers may in fact win it in six but the Thunder will serve notice to the defending champs that they are on the rise. If Russell Westbrook snaps out of that funk that he has been in then watch out. Thunder could shock the world.
SDS Prediction: Lakers in six
(2) Mavericks vs (7) Spurs – I have been touting the Spurs all season waiting on them to turn it on. The window is closing on them but they are still a formidable opponent. The Mavericks looked great right after their mid-season trade that brought Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler over from Washington but then fell off again. I think that this will be one of the most contested series out there but ultimately the Mavs will prevail on the strength of Dirk Nowitzki.
SDS Prediction: Mavs in Seven
(3) Suns vs (6) Trail Blazers – The Brandon Roy injury is going to rob us of one great series. Ultimately I don’t think that the Blazers will be able to handle the Suns without all of their bullets and Roy is the biggest bullet in their chamber. I don’t know why but the Suns look really good to me right now.
SDS Prediction: Suns in Five
(4) Nuggets vs (5) Jazz – This should be another awesome basketball series and as a fan you only can wish that the Nuggets would have George Karl on the bench for this one. These clubs appear really even and the difference may in fact come down to coaching and their aren’t many better than Jerry Sloan. As big a fan as I am of Chauncey Billups, Deron Williams is simply a monster. I am going with the Jazz in seven.
SDS Prediction: Jazz in Seven
(1) Cavaliers (8) Bulls – Bulls are fighting amongst themselves in the front office and them being in the playoffs has as much to do with Toronto struggles as the Bulls recent play. Derrick Rose is outstanding but the Cavs are just too good. These two teams have some history so it will be interesting to see if things get testy between the two.
SDS Prediction: Cavs in Four
(2) Magic (7) Bobcats – The top two teams in the East are top loaded and it is going to be hard for the lower seeded teams to compete. The Bobcats have a hall of fame coach and are a scrappy defensive team but barring an implosion by the Magic don’t really have a shot at winning the series.
SDS Prediction: Magic in Five
(3) Hawks vs (6) Bucks – If you follow this blog then you know that I put up an in depth preview and already stated my prediction. I am not going to change it here. The Bucks appeared to be really dangerous before a nasty fall and subsequent arm injury robbed them of Andrew Bogut for the remainder of the season.
SDS Prediction: Hawks in Five
(4) Celtics vs (5) Heat – This is my upset pick for the Eastern Conference. As I have said earlier in the season, I think that the Celtics have chemistry issues and I think that the Heat is a dangerous match up for them. The Heat have played well of late and the Celtics have been up and down. D-Wade is a superstar and will get superstar calls. The Refs hate Rasheed Wallace and the Celtics won’t get calls. In all seriousness the Celtics will either prove the saying “you can’t just flip the switch on and off” correct or incorrect. If the championship defense returns then the Celtics will prevail. If not then the dismantling of this team as we know it will begin.
SDS Prediction: Heat in Six