EASTERN CONFERENCE :
1. Atlanta Hawks vs 8. Brooklyn Nets
The Hawks have had an unbelievable season, they have one of the very best chemistry in the league and, even if they have no true superstar, they are definitely a true title contender.
While the Nets are in the playoffs only because they play in the East. I personally wasn't surprised at all by Pierce's recent comments about this team to be honest...
I don't think that the Nets stand a chance. IMO they can win one game at best, but my prediction is a sweep.
Atlanta Hawks 4-0
2. Cleveland Cavaliers vs 7. Boston Celtics
The C's have had some recent success against the Cavs but let's be serious... As good as the C's have been this year they stand no chance against a Cavs team with all their players available.
The Cavs are just too good offensively and I don't think the C's can win more than one game. Which I don't expect them to do.
Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0
3. Chicago Bulls vs 6. Milwaukee Bucks
Another surprise in the East the Bucks have played a more than decent basketball. But they're still a little too young IMO to stand a chance against the mighty Bulls.
If the Bulls were at their very best, I think they would definitely sweep the Bucks. Actually I think they wouldn't even have to play against them as they would have ended up with the first seed IMHO... But the fact is that they haven't been healthy the whole year and were never able to be at their best.
So it's hard to know what to expect from them. If the Bulls get to their best level rightaway (who knows) it will be a sweep, if not the Bucks can win two games. I'm gonna go with the Bulls in five.
Chicago Bulls 4-1
4. Toronto Raptors vs 5. Washington Wizards
The toughest matchup of the first round in the East IMO, and by far. I think we will have six or seven games in this series. I really don't know who to pick in this series, two of the best East teams, definitely can go either way.
I'm gonna go with the Raptors cause they have home court. But I expect only close ones here in this one.
Toronto Raptors 4-3
1. Golden State Warriors vs 8. New Orleans Pelicans
Do the young Pels stand a chance against the best team (and by far) in the league this year ? Anything's possible in basketball but I honestly don't see New Orleans winning even one game against this team.
In fact, IMO only the Spurs can beat the Warriors in the West.
Golden State Warriors 4-0
2. Houston Rockets vs 7. Dallas Mavericks
I don't know what to think of this series. Sure the Mavs have been struggling since Rondo's trade, and their bench is not as strong, but they have improved offensively lately, while still being better defensively than they were before Rajon's arrival, and they are definitely good enough to surprise anybody. Let's not forget that no one believed in them last year and they almost beat the future champs...
Besides the Rockets are gonna miss Beverly, they're gonna miss him a lot as he's their toughest player, and Howard is not healthy and far from being the player he used to be. So sure Harden's totally amazing but I'm not sure it's gonna be enough to win in the playoffs. Especially that, despite all the respect I got for Kevin McHale, I don't like their style of play, I don't think you can win a ring with only drives to the basket or three points shoots as offensive weapons. Mid range game is still very important in the game of basketball.
This is going to be a six or seven games series IMO, definitely can go either way, and personally I'm gonna go with Dallas in this one.
Dallas Mavericks 4-2
3. Los Angeles Clippers vs 6. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are the sixth seed, they haven't played well most of the year... But they're still dangerous. Not only that they are IMO the most dangerous team in the West. They are the champs, they are the team to beat. I think that the Warriors can fear no one in the West, no one except the Spurs. That's right I believe that in the West it's gonna be between the Spurs and Warriors this year, and no one else stands a real chance.
The Clippers don't seem to be much better than last year to be honest. Paul and Griffin are still there, still great, Redick plays amazing, but their bench is weak. Too weak to achieve anything ? That's what it seems. They can win two games against the Spurs, but in the end I would be surprised if they ended up beating them.
Spurs in five or six.
San Antonio Spurs 4-2
4. Memphis Grizzlies vs 5. Portland Trail Blazers
Grizzlies have been amazing most of the year, but they struggled at the worst possible time, just before the playoffs start. Sure injury is a reason why, but definitely not the whole reason... They have the same problem as last year, amazing defensive team but not good enough offensively to win it all. Jeff Green has helped them a lot but not enough. Besides they almost don't use the three points shoot which, in today's NBA, is essential to win it all. And they don't have a real go to guy despite Gasol's career year.
I still think they're the third most dangerous team in the West, behind the Warriors and Spurs, but I don't think they can beat any of them in a seven game series.
They should beat the Blazers quite easily anyhow, not only the Blazers have lost Matthews, but their entire roster have had injury troubles, and without their best players at their best, I don't think they can stand a chance. Too bad for them, cause if healthy they would have been a serious title contender.
Memphis Grizzlies 4-1