My Expert First-Round NBA Playoff Predictions

Mon Apr 24, 2006

I know that we’re nearly two days in.

East

  1. Pistons over Bucks in four.

I haven’t watched a Bucks game all year, including today’s.

  1. Pacers over Nets in six.

This one seems easy. The Pacers are a playoff team. They are always much deeper than they appear. Stojakovich is good for at least ten points and two rebounds per game. That’s every night. That kind of steady production is going to be too much for the Nets to overcome. The Nets were also slumping a bit towards the end of the season.

  1. Heat over Bulls in five.

This Bulls team is essentially unwatchable. Though Wade’s a genuinely exciting player (and Jason Williams occasionally once was himself), the Heat very nearly are as well.

  1. Cleveland over Washington in six.

I’d attribute this one to market forces if Washington weren’t a team so terribly suited to playoff basketball. Arenas seems to be a lock for FGA in the first round.

West

  1. San Antonio over Sacramento in five.

The first game was a fluke. The next four will be closer. Sacramento’s legendary road toughness and general savoir-faire will enable them to pull out one.

  1. Phoenix over Lakers in five.

People are being a bit too cute in predicting a Lakers’ upset here. Thomas, contra Barkley, will continue to shoot 80% from the field, as will the rest of the team. There’s going to be one game, in all seriousness, where the Suns run the Lakers completely out of the gym like they did a month or so ago. The reverse is impossible.

  1. Clippers over Denver in six.

I’ve read that Anthony has, according to various sabrmetricals, been the most clutch performer this season. He’s much better than I thought he was, certainly, but I doubt the team’s manifest symmetry. Besides, it is clearly a year of destiny for the Clippers.

  1. Dallas over Memphis in five.

Why five? Well, I’m watching right now, and Gasol, though with his team down by fifteen or more, is dunking on anyone who moves.