Thursday, April 14, 2011
2011 NBA Playoff Predictions
This should be one of the more exciting NBA playoffs in a long time. There are tons of story lines, heroes, villains, and rising stars. I promise to give my playoff winners at the end of this blog, but I want to start with 5 things I think will happen over the course of the next 8 months, roughly the time it will take to crown the next NBA champion.
1. Kevin Garnett will get teed up multiple times. EASY. What kind of odds could you even get on this one? That dude is strung up tighter than a size 4 dress on Kirstie Alley. I don't know if you saw it this week, but Kobe Bryant got fined $100,000 for dropping a "homophobic" slur during a game. Are you serious David Stern? Will you be fining every player who drops offensive language on the court? Kevin Garnett would be on welfare if he was fined $100,000 for every insensitive statement he screamed on the court.
2. Carmelo and LeBron will each choke in a big spot. Maybe I'm just rooting for this one, but let's be honest here, neither of these guys have ever been particularly clutch in the playoffs. I personally think Carmelo's image has taken a harder hit this year than LeBron post "Decision". At least LeBron is still a top tier player, Carmelo's team has actually been WORSE this year when he is on the court. First Denver had a mini revival when Carmelo finally left, and now the Knicks seem less enthusiastic than before they traded for their "superstar".
3. You will see the end of the Spurs era. Chicago took the #1 overall seed from San Antonio on the last day, and I think that was a prelude to what ultimately is going down for the Spurs. They are limping into the playoffs, and I think this will be their last stand. Look for them to go down swinging........literally. I predict at least one brawl as the Spurs grasp at their slipping greatness. Remember what they did to Steve Nash the year Phoenix got hosed and had the Spurs on the ropes? Popovich is Polish for Sloan.
4. The Thunder will bring the noise. This is the team I will be almost as excited to root for, as I will be excited to root against the Heat. These guys genuinely seem to like playing together. I think their selflessness stems from their extremely likable star.....Kevin Durant. He may not be in Kobe/LeBron territory yet, but you can't find ANYBODY who doesn't like this guy. Always pointing the spotlight at his teammates, yet constantly ready to be "the man" when they need him to be. Kevin Durant has instilled these young Thunder with confidence, and I predict big things from this team.
5. Lakers/Celtics will be beneficiaries of at least one gift from the refs. It happens way too often in the playoffs: young team scares veteran squad only to be screwed by NBA refs in the end. You can bet this year won't be any different. David Stern will press that red button on his desk and Kobe or Pierce will inexplicably get a horrendous foul call that helps them seal a close game. I hope I'm wrong here, but I have watched too many NBA playoffs to not see this coming.
Spurs over Grizzlies Mavericks over Blazers
Thunder over Nuggets Lakers over Hornets
Bulls over Pacers Celtics over Knicks
Magic over Hawks Heat over Sixers
Thunder over Spurs Lakers over Mavericks
Bulls over Magic Heat over Celtics
Lakers over Thunder Heat over Bulls
Lakers over Heat : Kobe drops several choice words on LeBron and Co. as he walks off with his 6th ring.
(Possibly these choices are severely influenced by what I would LIKE to happen)