Unlocked Sports’ NBA Playoffs First Round Preview
When making sports picks to kick butt in your fantasy pool, there is no doubt in my mind that the Los Angeles Lakers will be the Western Conference Champs for the second straight year. In the Eastern Conference I see LeBron James holding up the conference championship trophy. Let’s take a look at the first round matchups.
Here is how the playoffs matchups look in the Eastern conference:
Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks
This will be a great match up! Not only is Dwyane Wade pretty unguardable at this point, but he has also inspired his team should take the Heat deep in the playoffs. The Hawks are the all around better squad, but Wade is too much to handle for any opposing team right now. He is on a mission! I expect the Heat to advance to at least the second round. Heat in six.
Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls
Now that Doc Rivers has finally realized that Kevin Garnett is not healthy enough to play the out look for the defending champs isn’t looking very good. Even though the Celtics are still a good team without KG they are not a great team. I think they will get past the Bulls, but they will not get past the Magic or the Cavs. Boston in six.
Orlando Magic vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Last season Philly put up one hell of an effort in the playoffs, but they still haven’t gotten any better since then. If Elton Brand were healthy that would be a different story, but this looks like another early exit for a young Sixers squad. Magic in five.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons
This used to be an epic match up! The Pistons and Cavs were so evenly matched that no one really knew what was going to happen, but now times have changed. Chauncey Billups went to Denver and took the Pistons wining ways with him. The Cavs are too good right now and the only team I see that can compete with them is out West. Cavs in four.
No team will get the best of the Cavs in the East. The Heat and the Magic might take them to seven games, but in the end the Cavs will be in the finals this year.
Here is the way it looks in the Western conference:
Portland Trailblazers vs. Houston Rockets
There is no team in the West that poses more of a threat to the Los Angeles Lakers than the Blazers. With a great young core of players and being near unbeatable on their home floor Portland is my dark horse out West. The Rockets lockdown defense will put Brandon Roy and company to the test, but with home court advantage the Blazers will almost certainly advance to the second round. Blazers in six.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks
Although the Spurs will be favored to win this match up I think the Mavs may have gotten lucky with their first round opponent. The playoff experience of the Spurs still convinces me enough to pick them over Dirk Nowitzki’s squad, but there could definitely be an upset in the making here. Spurs in seven.
Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Hornets
This will be one of the most compelling matchups in the West! Chris Paul is a matchup nightmare for any team and the Nuggets are no exception. Chauncey Billups may have Denver playing better than ever, but Paul is a game changer and could have his Hornets pulling off the unlikely upset. I still have the Nuggets winning this series, but I won’t be surprised to see New Orleans advancing because Denver can’t contain Paul. Nuggets in seven.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz
There is a great potential for a sweep here as the Lakers seem to always have Utah’s number in the playoffs, at least as of late, but with the way the Jazz play at home they could snag one or two wins from the Lakers. Deron Williams is the only problem for the Lakers. Much like Chris Paul, Williams can do literally anything on the floor and never quits. If the Lakers contain D-Will early then there will be a sweep, if not this series will drag out a little longer. Lakers in five.
There will be some great playoff series here, but in the end will see the Lakers going back to the finals!
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