Friday, April 27, 2012

Sean's 2012 NBA Playoff Predictions

For the 2nd season in a row, the Chicago Bulls posted the best record in the NBA, earning home court advantage for their playoff run. Going 50-16 in a lockout shortened season that included a slew of back to back and back to back to back games riddled with a series of injuries is quite an impressive feat in it's own. A lot of people like to discredit the Spurs when they won in 99 saying "it didn't count" or whatever, and yeah that was a very lame season but this has been a marathon sprint to the playoffs since Christmas. 2011-12 was not like 1998-99 season where there were less games and no all-star weekend. Whoever wins the title this year is truly the last team standing and shouldn't be tagged with an asterisk. With that all being said, the Bulls are hobbling into the playoffs this year with last year's MVP coming off several recent injuries, a veteran shooting guard made out of glass, an all-star forward with a torn ligament in his non-shooting hand and a power forward with a sweet jump shot who doesn't play defense. While all of these attributes are bad, it's safe to say the Bulls are the deepest team in the NBA. Having someone like Taj Gibson and Omer Asik come off the bench is a real luxury and could be the deciding factor in coming up with series wins against the Celtics and Heat. I just hope the roster stays healthy throughout the whole run and that the Heat never a win a title under Lebron's reign. Here are my 2011-12 playoff predictions:

Eastern Conference
1st Round

Chicago Bulls vs. Philadelphia 76er's
Winner: Bulls (4-1)

Bulls might start off slow like they did in 1st round last season, but they'll kick it into full gear and make Evan Turner wish he never played them.

Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks
Winner: Boston Celtics (4-2)

Boston is a veteran team, they've been together 4 years now and they're well coached. The Atlanta Hawks are without their star Al Horford and did nothing in the offseason to get better.

Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic
Winner: Indiana Pacers (4-0)

The Orlando Magic's title run is over. The team has gave up on Stan Van Gundy and the Pacers are a young, hungry squad dying to make it to 2nd round for the first time since 2005.

Western Conference
1st Round

Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks
Winner: Miami Heat (4-2)

The New York Knicks look great on paper. They have the most talented roster in the NBA however, when they're all healthy and playing together, they have no idea what they're doing. Miami will have a field day with this guys but New York will likely win a few home games.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz
Winner: San Antonio Spurs (4-0)

No contest. This is not San Antonio's first rodeo.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Winner: Memphis Grizzlies (4-2)

Memphis was great in the playoffs last season without Rudy Gay. Gay has since returned and the Grizzlies are pretty deep. Vinny Del Negro has never won a playoff series...nuff said.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets
Winner: Los Angeles Lakers (4-1)

The Lakers are still awesome, don't let anyone tell you differently. Andrew Bynum has been on a tear and the Nuggets just have a team of role players. They are however, well coached. They'll win one game.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks
Winner: OKC Thunder (4-2)

Dallas are the defending champs, however, Tyson Chandler left for NY and Lamar Odom got an early paid vacation. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are awesome but the team itself is inconsistent. This is going to be a good one.

Eastern Conference
2nd Round

Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics
Winner: Chicago Bulls (4-2)

These teams hate each other however, Boston is less relevant now. MJ had trouble with the Celtics his first few seasons and eventually got over the hump. This is Derick Rose's time.

Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers
Winner: Miami Heat (4-1)

Indiana wants revenge on Chicago so bad, however, they'll have to play the Heat to get there. While Indiana has a 6'10 shooting guard in Paul George and a budding all-star center in Roy Hibbert, the Miami Heat have the two best players in the league.

Western Conference
2nd Round

San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Winner: San Antonio Spurs (4-2)

I'm done underestimating San Antonio. They're the grittiest team in the league and Manu isn't injured. They're going to the conference finals.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Winner: OKC Thunder (4-3)

This one's a toss up. The Lakers have the greatest player of the last 10 years and the best center currently playing in the playoffs. I just think the OKC Thunder are young and athletic enough to get over the hump.

Eastern Conference Finals

Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat
Winner: Chicago Bulls (4-3)

This is going to be the marquee match up of the NBA playoffs. These are the two best teams going at it and boy, do they hate each other. Derrick Rose may have been injured a lot this year but he's still hungry and I have a feeling will play possum until this series where he unleases on the Heat. I'm tired of selling my team short, they're fantastic.

Western Conference Finals

San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Winner: Oklahoma City Thunder

They split the season series 1-1. This is anyone's series but I think San Antonio's run stops here. Durant seems hungier than he's ever been.

NBA Finals

Chicago Bulls vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Winner: Chicago Bulls (4-3)

The Bulls are built a lot like the San Antonio Spurs, however they have last year's MVP. This one's going to be tough but I really think this is the Bulls' year. This series would be great.