The NBA Playoffs are set!
By Bill Smith
The NBA playoff match-ups are set but this edition won’t be similar to previous years. Seldom has home court advantage meant as much. Here are some things to watch for in the first round series.
8 Detroit vs 1 Cleveland
In the past, the Pistons would have been able to out-physical the Cavs. But the Pistons are not the team that pushed their way past the NBA Eastern conference in the past. The Cavs will win in 5 or 6 games. While the Pistons are no longer as physical, the series will turn into tackle basketball when they get behind.
7 Chicago vs 2 Boston
Danger Celtics! Danger! Yesterday, the Celtics head coach Doc Rivers announced that Kevin Garnett will probably miss the playoffs. If the Celtics had Garnett, this would be no contest. Chicago’s core talent is young, hungry and dangerous. Since the Celtics have had several weeks to adjust to the loss of KG, Boston wins in 6 or 7. But the Celts will have to spend so much energy winning the first round match up that they will be twice as vulnerable in round 2.
6 Philadelphia vs 3 Orlando
The 76ers may have exhausted themselves getting into the playoffs and getting high enough to avoid Boston and Cleveland. They will play hard but don’t have nearly enough to beat Orlando. This year, Philly will be lucky to win a single game. That may not be the case in the future. Look for Dwight Howard to have a really big series.
5 Miami vs 4 Atlanta
This is going to be the closest series of the 4 in the East. Atlanta has home court and that will probably save them. If the Heat is going to win, PG Dwayne Wade has to do more distributing than scoring. He will need at least 10 assists a game to get the Heat into round 2.
8 Utah vs 1 LA
At one time Utah looked like more of a threat to LA than they do now. After going 15 out of 16, the Jazz stumbled down the stretch and ended up in 8th. That is their ticket out of the playoffs. The Jazz will be tough at home but are unable to beat a good team let alone a very good team like the Lakers on the road. LA in 5.
7 Charlotte vs 2 Denver
The Nuggets were a surprise 2 seed. They have home court and blinding speed and will survive to round 2 for the first time in over a decade.
6 Dallas vs 3 San Antonio
IF the Spurs were younger and healthier, they would be a threat to the Lakers. But since the team lost Manu Ginobilli for the season and with Tim Duncan suffering from sore knees, the Spurs are a shadow of what they were when they beat the Cavs in the finals. Fortunately for them, they have the Mavs in round 1. The Spurs will take a fleet of ambulances into round 2 but run out of gas there.
5 Houston vs 4 Portland
Of all the series, this should be the most interesting to watch. The Blazers put on an all out blitz to get home court in round 1. This version of the team is new to the playoffs but if they haven’t burned out with their flurry of wins in the final weeks of the regular season, they will get past the Rockets and into the next round. Portland is not dangerous now, but if Oden can stay healthy, the team has enough talent to be a real threat in the near future.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .
My email is [email protected]