Jason’s Playoff Bracket with First Round Preview
First Round: Eastern Conference
(1) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Atlanta Hawks: Boston in two.
After Boston wins the first two games, the Hawks will roll over and die.
(2) Detroit Pistons vs. (7) Philadelphia 76ers: Detroit in five.
Detroit can play down to its competition. Philly is good enough to steal Game 3 at home. But then it’s all over.
(3) Orlando Magic vs. (6) Toronto Raptors: Orlando in six.
Dwight Howard has trouble defending bigs who can play away from the basket (Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire), but the rest of his team is better than the rest of Toronto. Also, the Magic are good on the road.
(4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (5) Washington Wizards: Cleveland in seven.
Agent One-good-season-and-done does not have enough in the tank for this series and he is more talk than walk (e.g., free throw shooting in the clutch). And, the Wizards have to play against LeBron James; the same LeBron James that David Stern wants to play the Celtics in Round 2.
First Round: Western Conference
(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (8) Denver Nuggets: Lakers in five.
I was tempted to call this a sweep, simply because if the Lakers’ half-court offense can string together three consecutive passes per possession, every shot will be a wide-open look.
(2) New Orleans Hornets vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks: Mavericks in 7.
This was the toughest one to call. If the refs let the Mavs mug CP3 and swallow their whistles like they are prone to do in the playoffs, the Hornets will not even get to Game 7. The J-Kidd trade is working itsefl out and the Hornets cannot win in Dallas.
(3) San Antonio Spurs vs. (6) Phoenix Suns: Suns in five.
The reign of terror is over. The supporting cast around the Big Three is useless. The refs are finally calling fouls on Bruce Bowen. The Spurs need to double Shaq to defend him, and the Suns can still hit threes. No one on the Spurs can guard Stoudemire. The Spurs cannot run with the Suns and, now, the Suns’ half-court offense is better than the Spurs.
(4) Utah Jazz vs. (5) Houston Rockets: Jazz in six.
Houston is limping into the playoffs and T-Mac has history working against him. Do not let the Jazz’ tank-job against the Sp*rs fool you; Jerry Sloan wanted to lose that game.
Boston vs. Cleveland: Boston in five.
Detroit vs. Orlando: Detroit in six.
L.A. Lakers vs. Utah: Lakers in six.
Phoenix vs. Dallas: Phoenix in six.
Boston vs. Detroit: Boston in seven.
Lakers vs. Phoenix: Phoenix in six.
Boston vs. Phoenix: Phoenix will not be able to win Game 6 or 7 in Boston, so it has to be Phoenix in five.