#1 Miami Heat vs. #3 Indiana Pacers
Analysis: This will be a much tougher series than many have predicted. Sure, the Pacers cannot score and sometimes set the NBA back a few decades to the low-scoring 90s. However, the Pacers play some damn good defense. They are also much bigger and brawnier on its front line than the Heat. That alone will keep Indiana competitive in this series.
While the Pacers play some good defense, they do not have the star and firepower that Miami has. Most of the past NBA playoffs show that stars help teams win championships – and the Heat have three of them (or two if you agree with Shaquille O’Neal). Not only does it help to have a four-time league MVP in LeBron James on your side, it also helps to have a Finals MVP in Dwyane Wade who is a superstar in his own right. That’s just too much firepower for even a good defensive team-oriented team like Indiana to overcome.
Again, I think the Pacers will make this series a lot tougher than people think. I just think Miami is better.
Prediction: Heat in seven
#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #5 Memphis Grizzlies
Analysis: Yeah, I know the Spurs violated the Grizzlies in Game 1 yesterday. However, as the last two series with Memphis taught us about, it’s called a series for a reason. Memphis was plastered in the first game against the Los Angeles Clippers – in fact, it dropped the first two games to the Clippers – and it came back to win the series. Memphis also lost the first game of its last series to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and it won the last four games of that series. In short, I have faith in Memphis.
The Spurs are still trucking on. They remind me of the old dudes at the rec who roll in with their short shorts, goggles, and those high-ass striped socks. The Spurs are also a proud, battle-tested, and team-oriented squad. I learned over the years never to doubt coach Greg Popovich.
That said, I think this is the Grizzlies time. They are a younger, brawnier version of San Antonio – and they are the best defensive squad in the league. Memphis will eventually wear down the Spurs.
Prediction: Grizzlies in 6