Predictability of the NBA Playoffs? Not quite. Almost two weeks gone into Round 1 of the NBA playoffs and we are only one more team away from getting the complete picture. Current playoff bracket stands as follows:
The East served up some upsets, most noticeably Atlanta knocking off early contenders Orlando in 6 games. The other surprising series was the Celtics sweeping the Knicks. I actually thought this series would go the distance. Anyway, both favourites Miami and Chicago kept their bargain and coasted rather comfortably past their first round opponents in five games.
For the next round’s match-ups, I would think Chicago would be much too strong for the Atlanta, unless the Hawks can maintained their newly discovered form again. Much of this series would also depend on the extent of Rose’s minor injury sustained in Chicago’s R1 series. I’m predicting an easy run-out for the Bulls.
The other series is the more highly anticipated one with Miami taking on the Boston. I believe Boston’s chance to beat Miami was gone the moment they surrendered the No. 2 seed to Miami late on in the East. By doing so, they have lost home advantage, which should be pivotal in this series. The Heat co-shares the league’s best away record (with Dallas) so that should give them the confidence to steal one in Boston too. A very tight series which might go the distance.
Over in the West, Dallas finally got a big monkey of their back when they battled past Portland to survive R1 – something they have failed to do in a long, long time. Their reward, a classic match up with defending champs LA Lakers, who also struggled past the pesky Hornets 4-2. My gut (and bias) feel is that the R1 win has brought back the much needed confidence for Dallas to really trouble the Lakers, who do not seem to be in max gear yet. Definitely a good time to play them. With an excellent road record in the league, I foresee the Mavericks being able to steal one or two games in LA. A tight series which should go down the wire.
While the other matchup has Oklahoma awaiting either Memphis or San Antonio to join them.
UPDATE: Memphis shocked San Antonio over the weekend to win the series 4-2 and move on to R2 to meet the Thunder. The Thunder are the more rested team and Durant has been admirably consistent in scoring in the playoffs. Both teams also lack playoff experience so it should boil down to who wants the series more. As I write this, the Grizzlies have created an upset by stealing Game 1, but I still think Oklahoma should prevail 4-2 in the end.
Chicago 4 Atlanta 1
Miami 4 Boston 3
Dallas 4 LA 3
Oklahoma 4 Memphis 2
Playoff Prediction Stats for R1 (to-date): 5/8 (63%); Dead-on: 2/8 (25%)