Saturday, April 21, 2007

NBA Playoffs: The Guru's Picks

Jeff Dritz, known as "The Guru" for his NBA Draft ka-nowledge, posted his picks in the "comments" section of a previous post. This displays either his incredibly humble spirit, his laziness, his failure to grasp the mechanics behind starting new posts on this blog, or a combination of all three.

Either way, I felt that they needed to see the light of day:


I feel compelled to drop my picks on here, too. You'll find them touched with a dose of wishful thinking in the East, contrasted with the sobering and unexciting reality coming out of the West.

Eastern Conference

First Round:

Pistons over Magic in 5 - Detroit is a better team all around here, but Dwight Howard will dominate game 3 to save face for Orlando.

Bulls over Heat in 7 - The Bulls are better than they've been getting credit for being. They play stifling D, hit shots consistently, and bring a lot of hustle. As long as Tyrus is seeing more time than PJ Brown, they can overcome their dismal performance on Wednesday to topple the defending champions.

Cavs over Wizards in 4 - Somebody needs to write an article, using comparative analysis, about how the current Washington squad (without Arenas and Caron Butler) is the worst playoff team ever. I'd do it myself, but 1) a subject like that doesn't inspire me, and 2) I'm not a writer. But someone else should do it.

Nets over Raptors in 7 - This one is so hard to pick. On one hand, Toronto does not get the credit it deserves for being the fundamentally strong, cohesive team it is, probably because of a lack of name recognition and the fact that they play in Canada. Choosing them would also almost be an upset. However, the Nets looked so good in annihilating the Bulls Wednesday night that I can't pick against them right now.

Round Two:

Bulls over Pistons in 7 - OK, really, I think the Pistons would win, especially if the series goes 7 and they play at home. But as I said above, the Bulls are better than they're given credit for, and the Pistons aren't the same team as in the past without Big Ben. This series will hinge on the matchup of Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton. I give the edge to the Bulls because I'm a homer.

Cavs over Nets in 7 - Another tough one to pick. This series will depend on the play of Richard Jefferson; if he can D up LeBron, the Nets can win. However, Jefferson doesn't look like he's fully recovered from his injury of last year, and seems a step slow. That will make the difference as the Cavs advance.

Conference Finals:

Bulls over Cavs in 6 - The Bulls have enough physical and athletic defenders to throw at LeBron (Luol Deng, Andres Nocioni, Thabo Sefolosha). If they can frustrate LeBron, the Cavs really have nobody else to go to.

Western Conference

Round One:

Mavs over Warriors in 6 - I know the Warriors swept the Mavs this season, but I just can't see the Mavs dropping the ball on this one; Avery Johnson won't let it happen. The Warriors will fight tooth and nail, though, and tire the Mavs down a bit for round two.

Rockets over Jazz in 5 - I know that the Jazz are, somehow, a pretty good team. I just can't see them shutting down T-Mac and Yao.

Suns over Lakers in 5 - A rematch of an entertaining series last year. However, with Amare healthy, the Suns look better, while the Lakers faded down the stretch and tried their damnedest to fall out of the playoffs.

Spurs over Nuggets in 5 - Everyone is hyping up the upset possibility here. Allen Iverson gives the Nuggets hope, but not a chance. The Spurs are too good, they've been resting their stars and flying under the radar this year. They've perfected the process and won't slip up here.

Round Two:

Mavs over Rockets in 7 - The Rockets are a much improved team this year, but I still feel the Mavs are just a little bit better. Josh Howard and his underrated defensive ability will dog T-Mac, and the home court advantage will prove the difference-maker for the Mavs in Game 7.

Spurs over Suns in 6 - The Spurs somehow seem capable of slowing down the Suns and making the Suns play their game. And they've also shown the ability to run a bit and keep up with the Suns. This will be a fun series to watch, but the Spurs will impose their tempo on the Suns and prevail.

Conference championships:

Spurs over Mavs in 6 - The Spurs are better-rested than last year, and aren't afraid of playing in Dallas. The Mavs are better than last year, but I still feel the Spurs have stayed quiet for a reason this year but showed their dominance in the second half of the season and will prove here that they're still the team to beat in the Western Conference (and thus the NBA).

NBA Finals

Spurs over Bulls in 5 - It hurts me to make this prediction, another Chicago team losing in the championships this year (Bears were first). But this will be the end of the line for the Bulls' impressive run. I hate to sound like a broken record, but the Spurs are just too good for a letdown here. The Bulls can steal one at home, but that's about it. I'm not as much of a Spurs hater as Adam, but it would be nice to see someone else emerge as the NBA's elite team. Sigh.

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