(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (8) Philadelphia 76ers
This all comes down to how healthy Derrick Rose is. If he is able to play at all, I don’t give the 76ers a chance. However, if Rose misses a game or two, it could make this series more interesting. The 76ers still lack a premier scorer and the best one they have might be 6th man Lou Williams.
My Prediction: Bulls in 5
(2) Miami Heat vs. (7) New York Knicks
The Knicks have the type of firepower with Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and J.R. Smith to play with anyone. When they are all hitting their shots and Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpurt are playing stellar D, the Knicks are dangerous. However, they are too inconsistent to threaten Miami over a 7 game series.
My Prediction: Miami in 5
(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Orlando Magic
This would be a great matchup… if the Magic still had Dwight Howard. However, with no Howard, the Magic have no chance.
My Prediction: Indiana in 4
(4) Boston Celtics vs. (5) Atlanta Hawks
Although the Hawks have home court advantage in this series, I still give the Celtics the advantage. However, if Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are limited, it could make this series a lot more interesting. The Hawks seem to be in the 4 or 5 seed every year, but have never made a legit playoff run, and I don’t see that starting this year.
My Prediction: Celtics in 6
(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Utah Jazz
This is a young Jazz team who could be a legitimate threat is they add a wing scorer to compliment Gordon Hayward. However, the Spurs were humiliated by the Grizzlies in last year’s playoffs and will not let that happen again. The Jazz also don’t have anyone to slow down Tony Parker, as Devin Harris has never been known for his defense.
My Prediction: Spurs in 4
(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks
The Thunder have a very tough 1st round matchup in the defending champs but as long as James Harden is okay after taking that brutal elbow from Metta World
War Peace then I see the
Thunder advancing. However, if Dirk Nowitzki catches fire like he did in last
year’s playoffs, he is simply unstoppable.
My Prediction: Thunder in 6
(3) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (6) Denver Nuggets
I think the Nuggets are a very dangerous team right now. They have a budding superstar in Ty Lawson to go with one of the deepest teams in the league. However, I do not think they will have an answer for Andrew Bynum. Javale McGee is not strong enough and Kenneth Faried is not tall enough.
My Prediction: Lakers in 6
(4) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (5) Los Angeles Clippers
This is the best first round matchup in the playoffs. The Grizzlies can seemingly matchup against any team. They have big men who can score and defend (Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, and the vastly underrated Marreese Speights), wing players who can score and defend (Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo, and Tony Allen) and a steady point guard (Mike Conley Jr.). For the Clippers, Blake Griffin can dunk with the best of them but if the game is on the line, can he make a free throw? Griffin shot just 52% from the free throw line this year. Despite Chris Paul’s brilliance I don’t know if he will have enough help to win this series.
My Prediction: Grizzlies in 7