10

Round 1 Predictions

About an hour and a half away from the tip-off of the 2009 NBA Playoffs, which I will be totally engulfed by the entire time. I love this time of year.
Wondering if Warriors fans know basketball, or just Warriors. Here are my predictions for the opening rounds. Dare to put yours out there?

EAST
1. Cavaliers over 8. Pistons in 5 -
Detroit is a shell of its former self. Believe it or not, its best shot was with Allen Iverson, as he was probably the only one on the team who could give Cleveland’s defense some real problems. Cleveland is too strong on both ends, and LeBron James now has some help in Mo Williams.

2. Celtics over 7. Bulls in 6 -
Boston doesn’t need Kevin Garnett to beat Chicago. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are enough. The Derrick Rose-Rajon Rondo match-up should be interesting. Rondo has the experience, but Rose has more ability. Expect a big series from Ben Gordon, who is a free agent. It’s his last chance to get big money.

3. Magic over 6. 76ers in 5 -
My sleeper in the East. Orlando has the best chance of keeping Cleveland out of the Finals. They have enough fire power to overcome an athletic Philadelphia squad, who have no answer for Dwight Howard.

5. Heat over 4. Hawks in 7 -
Technically an upset, but not really. This was the one team Miami wanted to see. All D-Wade needs is for Mario Chalmers to hold his own against Mike Bibby and Jermaine O’Neal to be OK. Atlanta doesn’t have as big of an athletic advantage against the Heat as it did against Boston last year.

WEST

1. Lakers over 8. Jazz in 5 -
Utah has Lakers fans a little nervous. But Boozer is down this year, Andrei Kirilenko is done and Mehmet Okur has no chance at guarding Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum. Deron Williams can average 50 and the Lakers will win.

7. Hornets over 2. Nuggets in 6 -
I can’t trust any team relying on Chris Andersen. Kenyon Martin, Dahntay Jones, and Nene in the starting lineup – New Orleans isn’t intimidated. Say the Chris Paul/David West tandem cancels out the Chauncy Billups/Carmelo Anthony tandem. The Hornets have the better supporting cast, even though not as deep, if Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakavich are healthy. James Posey is a gamer.

6. Mavericks over 3. Spurs in 6 -
The end of the San Antonio era begins now. No Manu Ginobili hurts bad. If Roger Mason has a big series, the Spurs could prove me wrong. But Dallas has so many weapons. And this is Dirk Nowitzki’s (last?) chance to get some respect back. Josh Howard is back to being a baller, and figures to cause the Spurs defense problems. Bruce Bowen may have to play a lot to guard either Dirk or Howard. That wouldn’t be good.

4. Blazers over 5. Rockets in 7 -
Tracy McGrady will be somewhere secretly cheering for Portland, because if Houston makes it out of the first round without him, he’ll never hear the end of it. Fortunately for him, Portland’s pretty tough to beat. The Blazers are deep and athletic and well-coached. They have enough big men to run at Yao, and enough firepower to make scoring an issue for Houston. Every time I see the Blazers, I can’t help but think how good they would be if they drafted Kevin Durant instead of Greg Oden. Scary.

Marcus Thompson

  • Oregonwarriorfan

    Regarding your comment about Portland drafting Oden instead of Durant, I’m not sure that their GM Pritchard should take the blame. For fans, it was nearly 100% Oden over Durant because Oden had been in the media spotlight for years and Durant was an unknown. Leading up to the draft, Pritchard kept saying Durant was a heck of a player. I think he either got spooked by public opinion or more likely, got overruled by the owner. Owners should just stay out of the way. Portland will be doing great if they get past Houston, probably the toughest draw possible. It stinks that that Michael Finley shot after the buzzer was allowed to count.

  • samuraaaaiiiiiii

    I think Oden was still the right pick for the Blazers. I think Durant and Roy both need to be the #1 guys on their team, and having both on the same team would either have slowed Durant’s or Roy’s progress.

  • zgreat

    Marcus – Sadly, too many of us Warrior fans are used to not watching the play-offs and instead focusing on the draft at this time of year. Thanks Chris Cohan. NOT!

  • justafan

    It’s Cleveland’s year….. Cleavland v laker’s in 7 oh and “Boycott the Warriors until Chris Cohan sells the team!!!”

  • McGrufftheCrimeDog

    Samurai you are nuts if you think that Oden is still a better pick than Durant. Roy and Durant would of been INCREDIBLE together. Durant’s 2nd year numbers are comparable to another ROY winner who is currently destroying the league. Besides LeBron’s obvious edge in assists and slight shooting% there is not much difference between them. Oden will never be on their level and with the emergence of Aldridge that potential 3-headed monster would of been so amazing I can’t think about it anymore.

    Marcus how come you don’t give Ron Artest’s contract run any credit? He has always been a me-first guy on a team missing the ultimate me-first player. this was written pre game 1 beatdown but w/ Yao and Artest I dont think the Blazers can handle them down the stretch if it is close. Can’t foul Yao at the end since he knocks down FT’s like a PG.

    Love your picks but feel its going to be Rockets in 6 and both the Magic and Hornets are gonna need 7 to win it.

  • manhattanproj

    for some reason, i can’t see the cavs making to the finals. there aren’t many, if any, teams that stand up to cavs, but for whatever reasons, i just don’t see it happening.

    i agree with you, marcus, about durant. the blazers would be such a more dangerous team with durant instead of oden. durant and roy as a 1-2 punch. who are you going to double team? both can handle and create. throw in aldridge. that could be a scary team.

    which brings up this point: if oden, hailed as one of the best center prospects in a decade coming out, isn’t creating much impact in the league. how the heck is thabeet a potential top 5 pick? he’s certainly not better than oden. he’s just the next roy hibbert.

  • samuraaaaiiiiiii

    All I’m saying is there are only a certain amount of shots that can be taken in the game. Having Roy, Durant, and Aldridge on the same team would significantly diminish the accomplishments of at least one of them.

    Sure, they may be a better team at this point had they picked Durant, but Durant may not have won Rookie of the Year on a team that was decent already and he definitely wouldn’t be 6th in the league in scoring. He took it on himself to be the best person on a terrible team, but what would his attitude have been on the Blazers? He wouldn’t dare try to take over Roy’s team. Both players dominate the ball, and you can’t have multiple players that dominate the ball playing major minutes (see Iverson in Detroit).

    It would also be ridiculous to think that you could ask three young players to do the same thing that the Boston Celtics are doing, that is sacrificing stats for the better of the team. Pierce, Allen, and Garnett are all lower statistically this season than their career averages in almost every category, and especially in scoring. It is just impossible to groom three all-star caliber players on the same team from their rookie seasons on. There just aren’t enough possessions for it to happen.

    Look at what happened when we added Crawford to the Warriors. Had everyone been healthy at the same time, someone would have suffered greatly in their stats. Not every player can take 15-20 shots a game. Even if Roy and Durant could have co-existed, players like Outlaw and Fernandez would have significantly less playing time, and the Blazers would have no quality rebounding on the bench (Channing Frye? please…).

  • slimman

    Pretty good predictions. I disagree on a couple (I know, I know, after a game has been played).

    I think Houston will run over the Blazers. Once MacGrady was done I knew they would be a force. Want to make your team better? Don’t have T-Mac on it. (On a side note, in a stroke of off-season brilliance Robert Rowell will trade Anthony Randolph and Andris Biedrins for T-Mac to resurrect the sorry Warriors franchise, after which he will be named non-GM of the year by the Houston Rockets).

    I also think that the Hawks can take the Heat. O’Neal is done.

    With the benefit of a couple of news stories things are not looking good for Boston.

    I also think you may be wrong on the Nuggets/Hornets, but I hope not…

  • haastheman

    My sleeper team is Atlanta. If anyone can stop Lebron, or “baby kobe” as snoop called him, it’s Josh Smith. This atlanta team is soo athletic. Woodson is the key.

    Sixers will beat Magic. Magic are a jump shooting team. They’re kinda like a warrior team with Howard. Sixers have more athletic and have the height to give orlado problems.

    Looks like the T mac will finally get out of the first round. Oh, wait he’s not even playing right now. Looks like somebody’s traded in the offseason. Yao Ming and Ron Artest. I think we’ve found the new bad boys

  • nba is fixed

    the jazz got robbed tonight and the lakers get every call. the nba is no better than the wwf or wwe. time to change the name to nbe cause its fake and fixed.