Pistons in 5
Even with the loss of Ben Wallace the Pistons did not skip a beat, as they once again were the beast of the East winning the Central Division and having the number one seed in playoffs. This year’s opponent is the Orlando Magic who after a strong start faded and barley snuck into the playoffs. Look for the young Magic to have a learning experience as the Pistons play bus driver and take them to school in 5.
Mavericks in 6
The Mavericks have dominated the NBA with a league best 67-15 record that is among the best records of all-time. However, one team gave them fits winning all three match ups and that team is the Warriors. While the Warriors are new to the playoffs ending a 13-year drought they can throw a scare or two into the Mavs, but in the end the best team wins in the NBA playoff always.
Cavaliers in 4
The Cavaliers are the beneficiary of the NBA’s new playoff policy where the second seed can now go to the team with the second best record regardless of division. They even get the bonus of the easiest opponent in the Washington Wizards. Now if healthy it would be a different story as the Wizards were in first for much of the season, but without Gilbert Arenas they stand no chance, in fact they will be lucky just to win 1 game.
Suns in 5
Last year the Lakers had the Suns on the ropes a 3-1 series lead, with Steve Nash struggling and Kobe Bryant surging. This year Kobe is red hot again, but the Lakers are not, as they ended the season as badly as any team that is moving on to the postseason. Look for the Suns to eclipse the Lakers again, and this time they will barely break a sweat winning in five games as the Lakers defense won’t be able to stop the Suns offense.
Nets in 7
The Raptors, winners of the Atlantic have made great strides the last two years, and if they keep things together and stay on their current path they should be contending for a long time to come. However, the new format affects them negatively as instead of the depleted Wizards the play the playoff tested Nets who ended the season playing their best basketball. Look for this to go the full seven games as the Nets experience is the difference.
Spurs in 5
Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson give the Nuggets a dynamic duo that makes their offense among the most dangerous in the NBA, as they finished the season on a strong note. However, in the playoff a great defense can stop a good offense any time, and the Spurs have a great defense. Led by Bruce Bowen and Tim Duncan the Spurs defense will have no problem stopping the Nuggets duo as they easily win the series in five games.
Bulls in 7
On opening night the Bulls rained on the Heat’s banner raising and ring ceremony by bombing the Heat by 42 points. Last year in the first round the Bulls actually had the Heat in some trouble splitting the first four games. Now the Bulls have Ben Wallace, and Dwayne Wade is just coming back from a shoulder injury that may need off-season surgery. Look for the Bulls to end the Bulls to win this in seven as they end the champs hopes for two in a row.
Rockets in 7
Tracy McGrady ended the season on fire as the Rockets enter the playoffs as a team nobody wants to play. Led by Yao Ming who is finally healthy after missing 30 games with a broken leg and T-Mac the Rockets could be the ultimate fly in the ointment to the big three in the West. Look for this to be a close series as the Jazz defense will win a few games, but in the end it will be the Rockets blasting off to a match up with the Mavericks in the second round.