19 April 2007

NBA Playoff Preview (aka Why I'm Right and Marc Stein Is Wrong)

Marc Stein has put up his NBA Playoff Preview with alarming alacrity, I'll do the same with my inevitable takedown of what he has to say.

You can go over to ESPN.com and absorb what Stein has to say, he's not an idiot, his rankings during the season are entertaining, and they could do worse for analyst, but that won't stop me from disagreeing with just about every one of his picks.

He ranks the matchups in order of "intriguing/wild/watchable", I'm not going to comment on the ranking, just comment on the picks, but to make comparisons easier, I'll use his order of matchups.

1. Chicago (5) v Miami (4)
Stein's Line: Heat in six.
Why he's wrong: Chicago's coach isn't stupid, and Miami is more vulnerable to the Haq-A-Shaq in this playoff series than any of the teams Shaq has been on. It will be ugly, it will be wave after wave of benchwarmers being sent Shaq's way, and Shaq will either sit, or be forced to make his free throws, he'll continue to miss as his form has regressed, and a major weapon for Miami will be nullified. The Bulls will prevail easily in a series of ugly, boring games.
Bulls in five.

2. San Antonio (3) v Denver (6)
Stein's Line: Spurs in six.
Why he's mostly right. The Spurs are good, and will dominate this series through defense. But Denver's pretty damn good, also, and will manage to win a few games through their shooters getting hot and sheer determination by AI. The key to this series will be defense. Will Denver be able to impose it's well and keep the tempo high? Or will San Antonio successfully bring the game to a crawl and turn each possession into a battle? I'm guessing, battle, mostly, with a few flashes of high tempo, the end result . . .
Spurs in six.

3. Phoenix (2) v Los Angeles Lakers (7)
Stein's Line: Phoenix (no number of games given, the only series he doesn't give a prediction on length)
Stein underestimates just how ridiculously good Kobe has been this season. If he gets any support at all, the Lakers will give the Suns a lot of trouble. Defensive intensity has been lacking for the Lakers since the All Star break, and their near plummet out of the playoffs resulted. But, it's the playoffs now, and I think they will all wake up and play with intensity for 48 minutes. Phoenix has some of the most talented players in the league, but they only go 8 deep. At times the Lakers seem to only go 2 or 3 deep, so that seems like it shouldn't be a problem for the Suns, but I think Jackson will figure out a method of throwing guards and small forwards at Nash that will keep him from making the passes he's used to making. Take his playmaking out of the equation and the Suns become suddenly very vulnerable. Also, either Kobe's going to scorch Raja Bell, or they are going to double and triple team Bryant so agressively that the other Lakers are going to eat up the Suns in the paint. Either Kobe will score an insane amount of points, or he'll be a very effective decoy, either way, the Suns won't know what hit them.
Lakers in five.

4. Dallas (1) v Golden State (8)
Stein's Line: Mavs in five.
Dallas has been superb this season. They've were unbeatable in one big stretch of the season, yet they have nothing but trouble against Golden State. Big guards are the Mavericks biggest weakness, and the Warriors have two of the best. Stein dismisses this advantage and figures that the stars on Dallas will step up and negate this, but I disagree. I think Coach Nelson will exploit this weakness, and the Warriors beating the Mavericks will go down as one of the biggest upsets since Man O' War suffered his only loss.
Warriors in five.

5. Toronto (3) v New Jersey (6)
Stein's Line: Nets in six.
Who cares?
Nets in five.

6. Houston (4) v Utah (5)
Stein's Line: Rockets in six.
May resemble a five on five wrestling match more than a basketball game at times. These teams will be throwing lots of bodies at each other. The team with the more skilled bodies will prevail. Also, the losing team may not break 85 points in any of these contests. Utah won't lose at home, but neither will Houston, so expect this to go the full seven games.
Rockets in seven.

7. Cleveland (2) v Washington (7)
Stein's Line: Cavs in four.
Book the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals right now. After dispatching an undermanned and overmatched Wizards team, they'll take on whichever crappy team prevails between the Nets and the Raptors. That means only the Pistons or the Bulls will be able to keep LeBron from stinking up the NBA Finals. The Cavs will manage to lose against the Wiz at least once this series, anyway.
Cavs in five.

8. Detroit (1) v Orlando (8)
Stein's Line: Pistons in four.
On paper, a massacre, in reality, a sweep. Dammit, I have to agree with Stein again, oh well.
Pistons in four.

Stein doesn't give his predictions for the rest of the rounds, but I might as well.

2nd round:
Detroit will have trouble with Chicago but prevail.
Cleveland will roll over the Nets without a problem.
LA Lakers will continue their string of upsets and beat San Antonio in a game seven on the road.
Houston will end Golden State's run, the Warriors matched up perfectly against Dallas, against Houston, not so much.

Conference Finals
Cleveland will discover a consistency they lacked all season and beat the Pistons
LA Lakers will be stretched to the limit against Houston, but will manage to pull off a game seven road victory to make another Finals appearance.

NBA Finals
LeBron v Kobe. 23 v 24. Oh, and there'll be some other guys on the court, too. 24 is one more than 23, and the Lakers will win one more game than the Cavs, the Lakers will win yet another championship in a classic 2OT game on the Cavs floor. Three series that make it to game seven, and three road victories by the Lakers. If that won't make Kobe one of the most legendary athletes of all time, nothing will, not to mention this championship run giving Phil his tenth ring. Party on Figueroa Blvd.!!!

1 comment:

Sony Ericsson Takes Over Title said...

This site is so nice. Really i've been checkit for a wile. Here's some info about the Sony Ericsson tennis tournament history. If you like to visit my page it will be a pleasure. Or if know some one that likes to know about this, givethem this link. Will be nice to had some users like you with sites as good as yours. On August 29, 2006 Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications announced the signing of a four year contract worth $20 million to become the title sponsor of the Sony Ericsson Open. The Sony Ericsson Open is currently the largest tournament in the world with Title Sponsorship. When Butch Buchholz established the event in 1985, it marked the first time in 56 years that a new two-week tournament featuring men and women was launched. Located in Delray Beach (Laver’s International Tennis Center) in 1985 and Boca Raton (Boca West) in 1986, the tournament found a permanent home in 1987 on Miami’s Key Biscayne. In 1994, Miami-Dade County christened the Tennis Center at Crandon Park, a 30-acre expanse that is transformed each year from a public tennis facility into a full-fledged festival for the Sony Ericsson Open. The Sony Ericsson Open was awarded “Tournament of the Year” by the ATP for five consecutive years and seven of the last eight years and in 2004 by the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and is considered one of the most prestigious titles in professional tennis. In 1999, the tournament was purchased by IMG.
The only combined 12-day Tennis Masters Series event on the ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour calendar, the Sony Ericsson Open features the world's top-ranked pros - 96 men and 96 women in singles competition, and 32 men's teams and 32 women's teams in doubles action. The men’s final is a best 3-out-of-5 sets with every other match in both men’s and women’s singles and doubles a best 2-out-of-3.We specialize in hard to find or sold-out sports tickets, concert tickets and theatertickets for sporting and entertainment events worldwide. We provide great service whether you want to buy tickets or sell ticket. We buy and sell sports tickets, concert tickets and theater tickets on the secondary market such as Sony-Ericsson tennis tickets, US Open and othertennis open event tickets. We are not affiliated with or sponsored by any of the teams, performers, artists, box offices, venues or organizations for which we are providers. Trademarks and trade names have been used within this web site for descriptive purposes only. If you would like to buy tickets from the official distribution outlets, venues or organization box offices, please inquire directly with them.
The best place to obtain tickets for: Sony ericsson open, NCAA Final Tournament Four, acc tournament, big east tournament, at: http://www.ticketsofamerica.com