I realize this article is a few days late, but I started writing it on Friday and due to unforeseen circumstances (like me being off on the weekend), I didn't finish. But rest assured I made these first round predictions before the weekend to anyone who listened (thanks Chloe my dog).
This was a crazy season to say the least. The NBA jammed 66 games over 4 months and it made for some great action every night unless you got stuck watching a Bobcats game, then God help you.
We had everything from Lob City to Linsanity, Dantoni and Dwight drama, Mr. Odom-Kardashian booted in Big D, Lebron choking again at every opportunity, yet still probably winning MVP, Blake Griffin dunking and destroying lives at the same time, Metta World Peace literally trying to kill a guy, Tankfest 2012 to get the Unibrow and the boring, old, under the radar, (insert demeaning adjective here), Spurs won 50 games again.
It's been fun so now it's time for the second annual KSAT Ball Hog Blog's NBA Playoff predictions going from most interesting series to least, a few days late of course.
I'll throw this out there, no way SA loses this series. The Spurs are ten times healthier compared to last year (looking at you Manu), Parker played at an MVP level this season and Duncan found the fountain of youth. SA's depth and ball movement is also something to be feared. Coach Pop did a masterful job managing the roster and the move to bring back Captain Jack gives the Spurs a guy with playoff experience, who is not afraid to take big shots and some much needed swagger. Yes, the Spurs and swagger, I bet you never thought you would see that in the same sentence.
Utah presents a good challenge because their front line (Favors, Millsap, Jefferson) is solid. They will be physical and mix it up inside. The Salt Lake crowd is notorious for pulling out a playoff game or two, but they are a year away from becoming legit contenders in the West. Spurs in 5.
Yes I saw Game 1. It's safe to say the Knicks didn't show up, but it was just one game and imagine if NY somehow pulled out Game 2. The Garden would be insane for Games 3 and 4. You have to believe Melo and Amare will find a way to make this series interesting or that Tyson Chandler (one of my personal favorites) will make it tough on the Heat inside like he did last year for Dallas.
Or maybe the Heat were just so bored during the season, they are now ready to go on a tear. Scenario 2 seems more likely. I want this series to go 6 or 7 because this matchup brings back good memories, but truth is Lebron, despite his critics, is the best in the game right now on both ends of the floor. Maybe less Spike Lee is a good thing anyways. Heat in 6.
Game 1 tells you everything you need to know about this series. It's going to be down to wire, gut wrenching stuff. It has all the making of those classic up-and-comer teams trying to beat out the veteran championship squad. Dallas lost any chance of repeating when they let Chandler go in the off-season, but they aren't going down easy. It's not in the DNA of guys like Dirk, Kidd, Marion, Terry and Carlisle, but I'm taking OKC.
They have the closer in Durant and just a little too much fire power for the Mavs, assuming Harden's head/beard is straight and Westbrook lets KD do his thing. Get ready for dozens of over-exaggerated Westbrook-Durant hate each other stories. The playoffs are here. Thunder in 7.
George Karl gets my Marv Levy 2012 Award for best coach who will probably never win a title. The Nuggets with Lawson, Danilo and Afflalo are one of the most exciting teams in the league thanks to Karl, but they are running into a brick wall.
The Lakers are ready to make amends for last year's debacle. And speaking of coaches, how about the job Mike Brown has done? He stepped into a no win situation after Phil Jackson left, lost Mr. Odom-Kardashian, dealt with the Gasol trade rumors, traded for Sessions while ousting fan-favorite Derek Fisher, managed Kobe and his ailing knees, got Bynum to flourish and will now have to deal with Metta basically becoming Ron Artest again. I'm not a Lakers fan, but I expect this group to do damage. Lakers in 6.
The Grizz get the kiss of death as they were labeled the "Most dangerous team in the playoffs" and promptly blow a 27-point lead in Game 1. I'm still taking Memphis because I think they will physically wear down the Clippers, but Chris Paul may be the most underrated star in the game if that's even possible.
He turns any team into a playoff contender and lost in the all the Blake high-wire act is CP3 played at an MVP level and is not afraid to take over games in the fourth. I'm almost talking myself out of the Grizz, easy to do after a Game 1 loss, but I'll stick with them to muscle this series out. Grizz in 7.
I really like this Pacers squad and that's tough to say because I'm a Pistons fan. Larry Bird is the anti-Jordan or anti-Isaiah of NBA greats who went on to become execs. He's put together a solid squad that plays hard every night. But can Indy make a run with Danny Granger or David West leading the way? Probably not and what scares me about this series is the Magic moved into "chip on shoulder" territory when diva Dwight called it a season. They want to prove a point. Tough call, but still taking Pacers in 7 (Begrudgingly).
The NBA's version of Groundhog Day is back in the playoffs, welcome back Hawks. I give ATL credit for taking Game 1, but I'm still taking Bean Town even though Rondo and Ray Allen's status is up in the air for Game 2. Maybe I'm really just hoping the Celts make it through because no one else can stand up to Miami now that Rose is done for the playoffs. Celts in 6.
Speaking of Los Toros, they'll beat Philly without D-Rose, but it will be interesting to see how far defense and rebounding takes them. You just can't win a title without a superstar. Philly gets the 2012 participation award and they may steal a game as Chicago comes to grips with losing the former MVP. Bulls in 5.