The Basketblog

Celebrating the love of the Game.

NBA Playoffs: Later Rounds Preview

I figured I probably should do this before the second round was finished. Every one of these matchups has proven to be difficult to predict (at least, it seems like they will be). I’m already doubting my picks in all three series that have played a game so far, so I wouldn’t bet any money on these picks.

Because I know you all care, hoops and I could see the Utah/Golden State game 7 if it goes that far, so I’ll be rooting for that one to go the distance. You all should too because then you’d get a real, live game review.

1 Detroit vs. 5 Chicago
Chicago wins in 6.

I already announced that I’d be picking Chicago in this series, so I can’t take it back now. It’s kind of tough to argue their case the day after they got beat by 26 though. I do think they played a bad game, and that shouldn’t continue. Everyone except Luol Deng played poorly for Chicago while everyone played well for Detroit. Even that out and the series should even out as well.

I think both teams are very similar at every position. The guard positions is really where they differ and where the series will be decided. Detroit has bigger guards that should be able to handle Chicago inside and be physical with them on defense; Chicago has small, quick guards than shoot over 40% from three-point range. In game 1, Chicago’s guards didn’t play well but Detroit’s starters each had 20 points.

2 Phoenix vs. 3 San Antonio
Phoenix wins in 7.

Steve Nash’s bloody nose

Well, Phoenix got screwed in game 1 by the cut on Nash’s nose. It’s amazing how a little thing like that could change an entire series. Regardless, I still have the Suns in 7; I think they have too many weapons for the Spurs to stop.

This series interests me though. San Antonio has no one who can guard Steve Nash (trying Bruce Bowen on him was a disaster) and no one who can guard Amare Stoudemire well; Phoenix has no one who can guard Tony Parker and no one who can guard Tim Duncan well. 110 points per game among the four of them for this series is not unlikely. Those two duos will cancel each other out though. The winner will be decided by whether Ginobili or Marion plays better.

The winner will win the championship fairly easily.

2 Cleveland vs. 6 New Jersey
New Jersey wins in 7.

I hesitate to pick against LeBron and Co. at this point, but I think New Jersey has too much firepower to lose. Vince Carter is playing as well as he ever has; his game is similar to that of LeBron, and now he’s playing at a similar level. I’m not saying he’ll outplay LeBron, but he’ll cancel LeBron out enough that Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson should have no problem outplaying the rest of the Cavaliers.

I also hesitate because New Jersey does not have much beyond their three stars. Toronto does not have much either, but I will take Anderson Varejao over Bostjan Nachbar any day. I’m going to stick with them though because players who came straight out of high school tend to struggle in the playoffs.

4 Utah vs. 8 Golden State
Utah wins in 7.

Golden State will not lose at home this playoffs. That is the only reason I have this going seven games. Golden State had two big advantages over Dallas–they matched up well at every position, and their coach knew Dallas’s players well. They have neither of these advantages against Utah and will show up as just another average Western conference team.

First, Utah has the inside scorer that Dallas lacked…Utah has a really good inside scorer at that. Al Harrington will have to be used much more to guard him, and if he can’t get his offensive game going, Golden State’s offense will not be as efficient. Dallas did not have anyone who could guard Baron Davis, but Utah has Deron Williams, who is similar in strength and quickness to Davis. Golden State was on fire all series against Dallas but likely won’t be as hot against Utah. I want to pick Utah in 5 but just can’t pick against Golden State at home right now.


2 Phoenix vs. 4 Utah
Phoenix wins in 5.

The first round upset was exciting, but this is the end result. The winner of Phoenix/San Antonio will beat the winner of Utah/Golden State easily.

This is just a bad matchup for Utah. Everything Utah does, Phoenix does better. Nash and Stoudemire are better than Williams and Boozer. Marion is better than Kirilenko. Barbosa off the bench is better than Harpring off the bench. Okur can shoot, but everyone on Phoenix can shoot. You could throw Utah’s 3-1 record against Phoenix at me, but one of those wins was when Phoenix was still trying to work Stoudemire into the game, one was when Nash was injured, and the third was when Raja Bell was out. When Phoenix had all three guys, they won by 28 at Utah.

5 Chicago vs. 6 New Jersey
New Jersey wins in 6.

I think at this point, New Jersey will have so much momentum after a huge series and Chicago will be so beat up after their tough comeback against Detroit, that the Nets will win fairly easily. I also think Chicago’s youth and inexperience will finally catch up to them against the veteran Nets.

Phoenix vs. New Jersey
Phoenix wins in 6.

New Jersey will put up a better fight than expected here. They’ve been to the finals before unlike Phoenix, and Jason Kidd will be a tough matchup for anyone on the Suns’ roster. The East has seemingly been the weaker conference since Jordan retired (the second time), but they have won two of the last three championships.

Phoenix will pull it out in the end though because they are the superior team. Steve Nash will win Finals MVP even though Amare Stoudemire will deserve it.

Coming in a few hours: First round awards, because the sports world doesn’t have enough awards blogs.


May 6, 2007 - Posted by | Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, NBA, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


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