It’s that time of year people, the time that basketball fanatics live for [and I’m not talking March Madness]. The NBA Playoffs are finally upon us, after we’ve all been through withdrawal waiting since the NCAA Championship game finish back on April 8th.
There are some great match-ups in the playoffs, especially for it being the first round kicking off tomorrow Saturday April 20th.
Well, let’s get started, I’m going to follow the NBA Playoff Schedule, not the seeding, so I will start wit the games that will take place Saturday, and then a follow up with the games Sunday!
Boston Celtics (7) vs New York Knicks (2)
Given what has transpired in Boston since the Marathon, I think the entire world is routing for the Celtics to win the NBA Championship. However the ‘Big 3’ is no more, as injuries and trades have taken what in 2007 was one of the smartest acquisitions of this NBA era in acquiring Ray Allen & Kevin Garnett, the ‘Big 3″ was revamped and Rajon Rondo was the rookie member. However, when Rondo went down with a season ending knee injury [requiring surgery] Paul Pierce & kevin Garnett were left to figure things out. Avery Bradley stepped in, and Jeff Green stepped up huge after an almost two year personal battle back from heart surgery. For the Knew York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony we all know can be the superstar but, it will come down to how this ‘elderly’ team can manage late into the post season. JR Smith had been huge down the stretch through the regular season, but the bench will be a big factor for them if Melo’ can’t stay hot. Knicks in 6
Chicago Bulls (5) vs Brooklyn Nets (4)
Probably one of the most anticipated match-ups of the first round would have to be the Bulls/Nets. Without MVP and start PG Derrick Rose who hasn’t returned from his knee injury that happened in last years playoff series vs. 76ers, and will be without Joakim Noah due to injury the Bulls have an uphill battle infront of them. The Bulls will need every single player on their game, and more importantly Nate Robinson needs to be in the right mindset and control his game, because simply one single mistake can be the difference between ‘win or go home’ for the Bulls. Deron Williams has been playing so well since the All Star break when he received treatment for his ankle. With no defensive threat in the key [Noah] Brooke Lopez will have an easier time down low, and for the Nets to win Lopez, I think, will be key for Brooklyn. I’m sticking with my team and calling it.. Bulls in 6
Golden State Warriors (6) vs Denver Nuggets (3)
The West is always a tough conference to play in no matter what place you end up in when playoff time comes. For this matchup I feel like this may be one of the most equal match-ups in the playoffs. Both the Warriors and Nuggets like to run and get up & down the floor, both are young teams, however with the Nuggets losing Danilo Gallinari to a season ending knee injury, they fall in the 3pt shooting category to the hottest 3pt shooting duo in the game right now [Thompson & Curry]. The health of ‘The Manimal’ is also on the minds of Nugget fans, and of course the coaching staff & Faried himself. Nuggets in 5
Memphis Grizzlies (5) vs Los Angeles Clippers (4)
The question on everyone’s mind is how far can the Grizzlies go without Rudy Gay in the post season. Post Raptors trade the Grizz continued playing well and proved they could win without Gay, but that was the regular season, this is the post season. Marc Gasol & Zack Randolph have been playing outstandingly [as usual] and pose a large threat defensively for the Clipps. When it comes to the Clippers, one concern is how well & quickly Chauncey Billups and the team can adapt to him being back in the line up after missing most of the season due to injury. DeAndre Jordan can’t allow himself to get into foul trouble inside, because let’s face it, Blake Griffin can not bang with Gasol & Randolph. Grizzlies in 7
There you have it, I will be posting Sunday’s match-ups and predictions later on today.