It’s NBA playoffs time. That time of the year when the game slows down, we see more fouls and more star calls, more TV timeouts, slower games and somehow, people think that is actually better. The only thing that’s really better about it is the quality of play, since the pathetic teams of the lottery have finally been weeded out after a probably-too-long regular season.
So, with this ‘excitement’ tipping off today, let’s breakdown the first-round matchups.
Miami over Bucks in 4.
The Bucks are in way over their head. I can’t even see them stealing a single game at home. LeBron and Co. should have plenty of rest heading into Round 2.
Knicks over Celtics in 7.
The Celtics – even without Rajon Rondo – are going to give the Knicks a hard time. Boston will concentrate all of their defence on stopping Carmelo Anthony and hoping the Knicks three-pointers won’t fall. This rivalry series should get testy too, with Melo facing off with KG.
Pacers over Hawks in 6.
Indiana is the type of team that can grind you down, meaning this will be a boring series to watch. There isn’t much excitement behind the Hawks either, so I’ll take the team with home-court advantage.
Bulls over Nets in 7.
The Bulls are built for rough-and-tough playoff basketball. Without Derrick Rose, they have beat the odds and somehow made the post-season with a surprisingly good seed. That really attests to how deep the team is and how good of a coach that Tom Thibodeau is.
Thunder over Rockets in 4.
Like in the East, the top seed out west is far superior to their first-round opponent. Kevin Durant has taken an unthinkably big step forward and is the unquestioned second-best player alive.
Spurs over Lakers in 5.
I would love to give the Lakers more than one win in these playoffs, but that’s just not realistic. With Kobe and with Steve Nash limited, this team will get picked apart by the savvy Spurs. Even if a game is close, you can rely on seeing hack-a-Dwight in action, costing L.A.
Nuggets over Warriors in 7.
This one will be and exciting, fast-paced offensive series. It just sucks that Denver is so banged up. I think they’ll find a way to grind out this series by limiting the amazing Steph Curry’s impact for range.
Grizzlies over Clippers in 7.
Memphis has the defence to contain the Clips offence just enough to squeak out the minor upset. Tony Allen can check Chris Paul while Marc Gasol will deal with Blake Griffin and the alley-oop game. Another potentially great series.
Championship: Miami Heat over Oklahoma City Thunder in 6.
Durant is simply made to be a runner-up. To LeBron in MVP voting, to Melo in scoring, to Greg Oden in the draft and to the Heat in the finals.