North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

NBA Playoffs Preview Special

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Basketball has long been one of my more guilty pleasures – no, scratch that: Guilty is the wrong word entirely… It’s a sport that although I enjoy watching and reading about, I am terrible in both my physical ability to play and my knowledge about the sport. I’m pretty sure that I have a general idea about the NBA – like who’s who – but once I get into the specifics, I’m woefully unprepared: For example, I wouldn’t be able to tell you who was better at free throws: Dominique Wilkins or Chris Bosh or name three separate rules, let alone define them. Hell, the main reason I even know what I know now is thanks to the NHL Lockout of 2004, when I needed to watch something during the long winter nights… But I still think I know a fair amount; I know that the Clippers are surprisingly good – for once -, I know that the Pistons are fantastically great and I know that the Raptors – indeed, the only NBA team where I can name more then a handful of players – are ‘really hurting’, as my dad would say.

And on that note, here’s my predictions for the first round of the NBA Playoffs:

Eastern Conference
#1 Detroit Vs. #8 Milwaukee
My Uninformed Pick: Detroit

As I understand it, the Pistons are the best team in the NBA right now and are arguably the dynasty of the 2000’s, much like the Boston Celtics of the 1980’s or the Chicago Bulls of the 1990’s, and that the NBA Championship is theirs to lose – and they’re playing a team that squeaked into the playoffs with a record under .500. Detroit will win this – and if they don’t, the city planners in Milwaukee better set a parade route set up for when the Bucks win the Finals.

#2 Miami vs. #7 Chicago
My Uninformed Pick: Miami

Shaquille “Officer” O’Neal is still a huge force on the floor – somehow escaping the lame duck status that his new off-court job as a cop might give or the fact that him and Joe Sakic are the only remaining active people on my “Athletes that I thought were cool when I was a kid” list – while Dwyane Wade is not only a budding superstar, but a bona-fide MVP candidate to boot – and even though Chicago has a good defense and an outside shot at winning four games, it won’t be enough.

#3 New Jersey vs #6 Indiana
My Uninformed Pick: Indiana

I know it’s all to painful for my fellow Raptor fans to admit, but Vince “V.C.” Carter is still a fantastic player and teammate Jason Kidd is solid to boot and will be a good match for the ever-competitive Pacers. But the Pacers have Jermaine O’Neal, Stojakovic and some guy I’ve never heard of named “Jeff Foster” who has put up good numbers – and since I hate “VC”, I’m going to go with the team that has two great players I know of and one that I don’t.

#4 Cleveland vs #5 Washington
My Uninformed Pick: Cleveland

Remember when Lebron James first played a NBA game and it made it onto “The Daily Show”? Or when the Bullets changed their name for no good reason to the lamest name in pro sports today – somehow managing to beat out the “St. Louis Blues”? Right – and who would have thought they’d be playing each other in the 2006 playoffs? Well, say what you will about the Cavs relying on Lebron – a strategy that seemed to work pretty well in Chicago, if I remember right – he’s still better then pretty much anyone that the ‘Wizards’ can stick up against him, including Mr. “Party-poker-planet-online.com” Arenas.

Western Division

#1 San Antonio vs #8 Sacramento
My Uninformed Pick: San Antonio

First, can someone please explain to me just why Sacramento has a basketball team? Are there enough fans around in southern California to support all four teams (Clippers, Kings, Lakers and Warriors)? And if Sacramento can support a basketball team, then why doesn’t Buffalo or Pittsburgh have a team? Seriously, someone email me by clicking here if anyone can explain this. Oh, and San Antonio is the best team in the West right now while the Kings main claim to fame is the winner of the Coolest Mustache in the NBA Award, Ron Artest.

#2 Phoenix vs #7 L.A. Lakers
My Uninformed Pick: Phoenix

This is pretty much the most offensive thing out there since “The Aristocrats” went into wide release – both teams have high scoring superstars and pretty lousy defense – It’ll just be a battle of what works better; Nash passing the ball to the other players or the other players passing the ball to Kobe. Expect at least one game where the score is something insane like 170-169.

#3 Denver vs #6 LA Clippers
My Uninformed Pick: Denver

Here’s another question for all you readers – Let’s say the Clippers win here and face the Lakers; how does the “home court advantage” work? Will they play the Clipper games somewhere else? Will they only let in people with Laker jerseys? Will they move the entire series to a neutral location, like San Jose? And as much as I’d like to know, it’s too bad that I never will since the Nuggets will win this series, thanks to their MVP Carmello “Coolest name in pro sports” Anthony.

#4 Dallas vs #5 Memphis
My Uninformed Pick: Dallas

Remember back a few years ago – I’m pretty sure it was 1998 – when that guy cried at the draft because he was drafted by the Vancouver Grizzlies? And yet here’s the same franchise moved some 3000 miles east, seeded higher then the Pacers and the Lakers – but despite having a few good weapons, the Grizz are unusually horrid in the postseason (0-8, if I remember right) and will fall to a Dallas team that really seems to coming in the postseason on a hot note.

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Written by M.

April 22, 2006 at 2:18 pm

Posted in basketball, NBA

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