#1 Indiana Pacers vs. #2 Miami Heat
Analysis: The Pacers and Heat split the season series 2-2.
The Pacers have not impressed me in these playoffs. Indy had not only limped into the postseason as perhaps the weakest top-seed in NBA playoffs history. Hell, check out its first round series with the Atlanta Hawks! Seven games with the Hawks? Are you kidding me?? Sure the Pacers played better against the Washington Wizards, namely winning every game on the road. But the Heat are not the Wizards nor the Hawks.
Speaking of which, Miami is a friggin juggernaut who is on a fantastic roll. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are clicking on all cylinders. Speaking of Wade, dude finally looks healthy and playing VERY well. It doesn’t hurt that Chris Bosh is playing well too. All of that spells good times for the Heat and bad news for the Pacers.
Prediction: Heat in 5.
#1 San Antonio Spurs vs. #2 Oklahoma City Thunder
Analysis: The Thunder swept the season series from the Spurs 4-0.
I know I said earlier that most of the time regular season success against certain teams does not translate in the postseason. However, this may not be the case – at least on paper. OKC is quicker, more athletic and more talented than San Antonio. There is a reason why the Thunder beat down the Spurs in all of the games they played against each other.
I love the Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich. I think he will coach rings around Thunder coach Scott Brooks. I love San Antonio’s team concept. Tim Duncan is to be commended for being so fundamentally sound (they don’t call him “The Big Fundamental” for nothing). I just think that the talents of the reigning MVP Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook alone will be too much for the Spurs to overcome.
Prediction: Thunder in 6.
#1 Indiana Pacers vs. #5 Washington Wizards
Analysis: The Pacers won the season series 2-1.
This is a better matchup for the Pacers. The Wizards do not have big men who could spread teams out like the Hawks did, which means the Pacers frontcourt (i.e. Roy Hibbert) will be more effective. It also helps that Washington does not shoot the ball as well as Atlanta. All Indiana has to do is put a body on Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza. John Wall may be a star in the making, but he doesn’t scare anyone beyond 15 feet.
I expect the Indiana Pacers to prove to their critics (which includes yours truly) that they are not as soft as we thought. Against my better judgment, I’ll roll with the Pacers in this series.
Prediction: Pacers in 6.
#2 Miami Heat vs. #6 Brooklyn Nets
Analysis: The Nets swept the season series 4-0.
This is the series that everyone has been waiting for. The Nets were unbeaten vs. the Heat this season. Will it translate to the postseason? I will say this: past history indicates that regular season success does not equal postseason success. I think Miami will be ready for Brooklyn when it matters most. Both are veteran teams who do not like each other. You think Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are not salivating over the prospect of ending LeBron James’ and Dwyane Wade’s dreams of a three-peat? I don’t think it’s going to happen, but this will be one hell of a series.
Prediction: Heat in 7.
#1 San Antonio Spurs vs. #5 Portland Trail Blazers
Analysis: The Spurs and Trail Blazers split the season series 2-2.
Ah, the boring team that no one wants to see is still alive. Hate on San Antonio all you want, but it is the best-coached team in the NBA. Spurs fans can thank the Blazers for eliminating the Houston Rockets. The Rockets would have been a matchup nightmare for the Spurs. Houston has an athletic backcourt and center who would have given the Spurs fits. That said, Portland poses similar problems for San Antonio. Damien Lillard is an athletic two-guard who will give Tony Parker fits. LaMarcus Aldridge is an athletic power forward who is going to bring it to Tim Duncan. Robin Lopez is not slouch either.
Fortunately for the Spurs, the Blazers are too green for this stage of the postseason. That will play into the hands of head coach Gregg Popovich and his Spurs.
Prediction: Spurs in 5.
#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #3 Los Angeles Clippers
Analysis: The Thunder and Clippers split the season series 2-2.
As with the Heat-Nets series, this should be one entertaining series. If you are a fan of offense and flash, this is the series for you. While I think the Clippers have the edge in coaching (Doc Rivers will coach circles around Scott Brooks), the Thunder have the edge when it comes to offensive firepower. Who on the Clippers will check Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook? Matt Barnes? A hobbled Chris Paul? A defensively challenged Blake Griffin?
What will help the Clippers is that DeAndre Jordan and Griffin will give OKC some fits on the boards. That said, look for Serge Ibaka to help neutralize Griffin on the defensive end. In the end, the Thunder will have just enough to win what should be one of the best series in the NBA playoffs.
Prediction: Thunder in 7.
Let’s state the obvious here: Michael Jordan the executive is light years away from Michael Jordan the player.
Oh, and there’s more. Jordan is the same dude who picked Kwame Brown as the overall top pick in 2001 and Adam Morrison with the second pick of the 2006 draft. Just horrible!
How in the hell does a guy who, as a player, did everything he could to be the best can be so damn “turrible” as an executive? Does Jordan not have any pride?
Now he’s leading the Bobcats’ tanking charge while losing their 21st straight game – 21 straight! – earlier tonight against the not as woeful, but bad, Washington Wizards. Hell given the margin of the loss (101-73), it’s obvious the Bobcats have long quit on this season.
Here’s hoping that Michael Jordan loses out on the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. Hell, even if Jordan does get the top pick in the lottery, he’ll find a way to screw it up.