Thursday, April 21, 2005

Let the real season commence 

The NBA playoffs kick off on Saturday, marking the start of when most basketball fans begin paying attention. There's by no means one single team emerging as a clear title favorite above the others, though the list of championship contenders can be capped at four: Miami, Detroit, Phoenix, and San Antonio.

Nets grabbed the final playoff spot in the east in the season finale last night over Cleveland. Pretty incredible considering New Jersey was absolutely nowhere and in last place back in February. Cavaliers, on the other hand, just suffered a mind-blowing collapse. LeBron 0/2 for getting to the playoffs.

Have to wonder if no Lakers and Kobe, no Kevin Garnett, and no LeBron will hurt the TV ratings at all. I bet it does. I'm sure David Stern will be rooting his ass off for Shaq and the Heat to get to the finals if only so the league can promote at least one of it's biggest stars. Tim Duncan doesn't quite have the personality or charisma that Shaq has and I think most people wouldn't pay attention to a finals appearance from the Suns if only because they're from Phoenix (even though they're the most entertaining team in the league).

Marc Stein has some sharp analysis to offer, as always.

Predictions (# of games best of 7 series will last):
1st round
Miami over New Jersey (5 games)
Washington over Chicago (6 games)
Indiana over Boston (7 games)
Detroit over Philadelphia (5 games)

Phoenix over Memphis (5 games)
Dallas over Houston (7 games)
Seattle over Sacramento (6 games)
San Antonio over Denver (7 games)

2nd round
Miami over Washington (5 games)
Detroit over Indiana (4 games)

Phoenix over Dallas (5 games)
San Antonio over Seattle (5 games)

Conference Finals
Detroit over Miami (6 games)
San Antonio over Phoenix (6 games)

San Antonio over Detroit (6 games)

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