For my first column, I wanted to preview the 2007 NBA playoffs and give my predictions: starting with the woeful Eastern Conference.
(1) Pistons Vs. (8) Magic
The Pistons are surging into the playoffs fueled by the Chris Webber signing. Directly after his contract was bought out by the Sixers, C-Webb’s knee ‘miraculously’ recovered, and he looks 5 years younger. I can only imagine what its like for Philly fans to see Webber in the zone after he spent the first few months of the season looking like he needed to be in a wheelchair. Now he’s playing like he wants to win a championship, and the Pistons should handle the Magic with relative ease. Get out the brooms.
(2) Cavs Vs. (7) Wizards
Such a shame that Agent Zero is out, or this playoff re-match could have been more epic than the infamous chris morse star toss switch-a-roo scam of ’07. Washington has no identity without Arenas, and they went 2-8 over their last 10 games. On other hand, LeBron will make a statement with his play after everyone saying that he half-assed a good deal of the season. LeBron (and the other 4 bums on the court with him) over the Wizards in 5.
(3) Raptors Vs. (6) Nets
This is gonna be an interesting series. Both teams played really well down the stretch. And they split the 4 games they played over the season. Bosh has been having a great year, but I’m gonna pick the Nets to upset in a full 7 because the Raptors have a male forward named Andrea. You never know when Vinsanity is gonna decide to turn it on (just ask raps fans).
(4) Heat Vs. (5) Bulls
This is going to be another close series. I think Wade’s injury will allow the Bulls to come away with a couple wins, but it won’t get them the series. The Bulls lack a crunch time scorer and consistency. Dwyane Wade won’t let the shoulder keep him down. He lives for the playoffs, he’s a proven leader who wants to take the big shot and knows he can make it, and he needs to earn a spot in Charles Barkley’s Fave Five. Heat win 4-2.
And now for the West :
(1) Mavs Vs. (8) Warriors
Not to take anything away from the Warriors who looked O.K. this year, but they are just too overmatched. Dallas is the most complete team in the NBA, going 40-12 against the rest of the West. Kudos to the Warriors for getting rid of two goofy white players , but they’re still gonna get swept.
(2) Suns Vs. (7) Lakers
This is going to be the best round one series. It is a rematch of last year’s round one series which the Suns took in seven. There was a lot of jawing in the series last year, and it will be interesting to see if there is any bad blood. I have visions in my head of a frustrated Kobe elbowing the shit out of Bell. Last year it was Bell who was under scrutiny for playing over-aggressive D, now Kobe has been under the microscope for his repeated elbows to the faces of foreign/white defenders. He will most likely be watched closely during the playoffs. I think this gives Raja the advantage; he will really be able to get Kobe off of his game. They also have Nash, which is all I need to say about that. But the real difference in the series will be the Black Jesus. Amare was busy dickin’ around during this time last year, when these two teams met in the playoffs. He underwent microfracture surgery in the preseason last year, and a lazy rehab schedule kept him out a lot longer than expected. But he looks good this year, averaging 20 a game. If he wants to realize his dream of making the NBA hall of fame, it would help to have some hardware on his resume. He will help the suns take the series in 6 games.
(3) Spurs Vs. (6) Nuggets
Unless Timmy Duncan is found dead in a dumpster and Joey Crawford is stopped at a roadblock while trying to flee the country, the Spurs should have this series pretty well in hand. Denver struggled to find an identity after making one of the most one sided trades I can remember. This always confused me, because when I played as them in NBA LIVE ’07, Iverson and Anthony would both fill it up. But as of late, the Nugs went 9-1 down the stretch to flip-flop with the Lakers and secure the 6 seed. They should make it interesting but the experience and depth of the spurs will be too much. Spurs in 6.
(4) Jazz Vs. (5) Rockets
This is gonna be another good series. They had similar records this year with Houston winning one more game. I think Houston, having both Yao and T-Mac healthy will pull this one out of reach for the Jazz. Also, they have been playing slightly better down the stretch. Rockets in 7. Also, while we’re on the Rockets, does anyone else question Yao Ming’s facial hair… the fact that it only grows at the bottom on his chin just above the adam’s apple? I wonder if it is some kind of style, and if you go China during Basketball season, would you see a lot of this? Seems like a good note to end on.