There has been a lot of shifting since the last time we took a look at possible playoff scenarios. Now that we are about a month away, we can also make some predictions based on what we think will happen the rest of the regular season. Since the races are so tight we have to do this out of necessity. Right now spots two through four in the East are separated by 2.5 games, spots 5-8 are also 2.5 games, spots three through five in the West are separated by 2.5 games and seven though nine are two games apart. So let’s look at how we think the playoffs will go.:
Miami Heat vs Chicago Bulls- This looked like Miami vs Milwaukee was a lock in the one vs eight match-up. It does not anymore. Chicago is dropping like a stone in the East standings. They may be running out of gas. Plus a lot of the players are likely of the opinion that star point guard Derrick Rose could and maybe should be playing. If they feel the team’s star isn’t worried about the playoffs then why should they?
The Heat is rolling toward another championship. Lebron James and Dwayne Wade or playing their best basketball of the season. This will be a four game sweep with four blowouts Heat wins 4-0.
Indiana Pacers vs Milwaukee Bucks– This is your two vs seven match. Milwaukee picked up J.J. Redick in a trade. Redick is a deadly three-point shooter with playoff experience. The Pacers are built for playoff basketball. They have size and can run the slow, half court offense. Pacers win 4-2.
Brooklyn Nets vs Atlanta Hawks- The Nets trail the Knicks by only two games in the loss column, but New York has some key injuries. So we like the Nets to overtake them. The Hawks will over take the Bulls, but we like the Celtics to beat them out for the fifth spot. Al Horford is becoming a star in this league. The Hawks could very well win this series. Hawks win 4-3.
New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics- This one could really be a great series. The Celtics are not at full strength without Rajon Rondo. They have been playing well even without Rondo and look to be one of the toughest outs in the East. The Knicks are banged up. If they get healthy in the next month, then they could very well make a nice run in the playoffs. So we are down to predicting a team’s health a month out, and that is a coin flip. So we are going to go with the team playing better right now. Boston wins 4-3.
San Antonio Spurs vs Los Angeles Lakers- The one vs eight match-up. Yes, the Lakers will get in. Kobe Bryant is hurting right now, but the Utah Jazz is fading and has a tough stretch of games while Kobe gets healthy again. So we like the Lakers to get in. Tony Parker should be back and well rested by then. Dwight Howard will have a say in the winner of the series. We expect him to play well and the Lakers will give the Spurs some trouble. Spurs win 4-2.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets– We like the Spurs to hold off OKC for the one spot and we like the Rockets to hold off the Lakers for the seventh spot. Oklahoma City will turn it on in the playoffs, starting with a blanking of the young Rockets. The James Harden vs the Thunder will make this interesting, but the Thunder will roll. Thunder wins 4-0.
Memphis Grizzlies vs Golden State Warriors-Number thee vs number six. This will be a great series. Two of the teams that kind of fly under the radar will get to strut their stuff. Memphis has the capability of winding up in the NBA Finals. The Warriors can be tough as well. If Andrew Bogut can hang with Marc Gasol, they might have a chance. Grizzlies win 4-2.
Los Angeles Clippers vs Denver Nuggets– This is the four vs five series. Boy, this is going to be fun! This series will be the one that destroys the myth that playoff basketball is slow, half-court, defense oriented. This series is going to be up and down. This is going to be a highlight lover’s dream. Blake Griffin and Kenneth Faried may have their own personal dunk contest within the games. Let’s hope this one goes the full seven. Clippers win 4-3.