A few thoughts before I get to the 2nd round predictions;
My pick of Golden State over Dallas is officially…immortalized. In the archives on TrueHoop, I will point to it for years to come when I start saying outlandish things for the hell of it. Enormous step for the two boys from Portland and the Project.
Now get this; If Houston wins tonight (IT’S ON ME) I will have picked every Western Conference matchup correctly and in the exact amount of games.
And Paris Hilton is in jail…what is going with the world??
Now while I have been tooting my own horn a little bit, I will have to admit that I blew the East. I had Miami (a sore subject that I have already addressed) and I picked the young Raptors to use their team basketball to overcome New Jersey and their three players. Well, I forgot what happens when you have the three best players on the court at all times. So I would just like to take this time to apologize to Jason Kidd. Jason, I’ve taken you for granted over these years. I should not have doubted you in this series. I apologize for saying that TJ Ford and Jose Calderon would do to you what Tony Parker did to GP when the Spurs played the Lakers. I was wrong to continually give credit to Steve Nash while casting your achievements off to the side. I however will not apologize for relentlessly making fun of your clean-shaven look last night, your broke shot, your kid’s old moustache and your wife hitting you. I’m sorry.
I give major credit to Lawrence Frank for giving RJ the ball instead of Vince last night. Underrated play. VC had just turned the ball over and settled for a three. I’m glad Frank realized the magnitude of the situation and did not go to the not frightening Vince/Nachbar clutch duo. I’m telling you if that series had gone back to Canada, the Raptors would have won with ease. Instead, RJ put up a tough bucket and then made an excellent steal. Jose…you can’t pump fake three times and then throw it, it just does not work. Put me in the group of people who thought Jose should have just penetrated or shot it, instead of forcing it to the one guy that everyone on the court knew it was going to.
I’m a big Chris Bosh fan but he definitely laid an egg in his first playoff series. New Jersey did a great job of being physical with him and having near constant shadows around him. When I blogged on the first game, I noted that once NJ started to get physical with Bosh he started settling. If you watch highlights over the year, you see Bosh with the jab-step into a spin move and a dunk. This series it was jab…jab…jumper. All of this comes with experience and I am sure he will be back. He just needs one more player though. Watching that game down the stretch I kept asking myself “How is Toronto going to score?” Never a good question to have people at home asking. I trust that Lil Colangelo knows what he is doing though and Toronto should be a fixture for the next few years.
Dear Sam Mitchell,
Go to Charlotte.
On to the predictions
Detroit vs. Chicago: Last round, the Chicago Bulls came of age by knocking off the defending champions in dominant fashion. They had finally gotten out of the first round, putting their choke to the Wizards two years ago behind them and gaining revenge on last year’s defeat to Miami. Admittedly they looked real good. They were so much hungrier than the Heat it was ridiculous. There were times in both games 3 and 4 that the Heat had double digit leads over the Bulls. Last year they fold, this year they come back and win on the road. With all of that being said…I am going to go with Detroit. I believe that one of the main reasons that Chicago won the last series was because of their immense hunger and Miami’s total happiness with trying to turn it on. They are facing a Detroit team that is on a mission. In the 1st round preview I talked about how Chicago would lose because they have no low-post presence, and it turned out you don’t need one when you can easily slice and dice the defense up. Chicago is not going to slice Detroit up like that. This is when that lack of a low post presence is going to bite the Bulls in the behind. Let us not forget, it is not as great as it used to be with Larry Brown, but Detroit still has D. With the experience and defense on their side the Pistons will make their way back to the ECF. Who is going to guard Chauncey? Who is going to wear themselves out guarding Rip? How about the defender who gets stretched out by Sheed and can’t help against penetration. It will be a tough, hard-fought series but I give the edge to Detroit. Chicago has already gotten their win, Detroit is going for that title. Pistons in 6.
Cleveland vs. New Jersey: If you have read the blog…you know my disdain with the Cavaliers. They should have demolished Washington, instead it was Washington’s lack of firepower in the end that lost them those games. I don’t trust a team coached by Mike Brown. I refuse to understand his non double teaming of Antawn Jamison in that series. Who else did they have, brotha? I also will not put too much stock in a team whose point guards are Larry Hughes, Eric Snow and Daniel Gibson. But then again…look at New Jersey. They faced a young and inexperienced Raptor team who did not have a perimeter superstar like LeBron. At the end of the day they are still a three-person team, and we have all seen what happens when the Big 3 struggles. (Hint: It ain’t pretty) I hope this series breaks my expectations because I have the bar set pretty low. I’m going to give the edge to New Jersey for two reasons. One, they have the better coach in Lawrence Frank and they have the best point guard in Jason Kidd. Neither team really has a bench, so I’m going with the team that will have three of the best 5 players on the floor. That is if RJ doesn’t disappear and Vince doesn’t settle and JKidd doesn’t lose his leg. Oh lord, smell the indecision. Nets in 6
Western Conference coming as soon as I know who is playing….