Sunday, May 4

NBA Playoffs Non-Analysis: Round 2

Kinda weird to have to write this preview of the NBA playoffs' second round, since the first round hasn't yet fully concluded, but I think I'm up to the challenge. I guess I did OK on the first round - if the Celtics win, I got them all right except one (Spurs-Suns) and got a couple dead on (Cavs, Jazz). Let's take a look at the second round:

Eastern Conference Second Round

(1)Celtics/Hawks vs. (4)Cavs
Who cares if Cleveland's opponent is still yet to be determined? I'm going to pick them to win, regardless. I really liked the way they played against the Bullets in Game 6, and I think they'll keep that momentum and strong team play rolling against whichever tired club they face in the Eastern Conference semis. Boston is obviously a superior team - clubs don't win 66 games by accident - but I think the Cavs will steal one in Boston and close at home like they did against the Pistons last year.

As for the Hawks (remember: regular-season record of 37-45), I know they've played really well against the Celtics, and winning will be a gigantic upset if they pull it off, but I'm guessing that's about all they'll have for this playoff run.
Cavs in 6 (Boston) or in 5 (Hawks)

(2)Pistons vs. (3)Magic
I picked the Pistons at the start to come out of the East, and I don't see any reason why I should amend that. They'll drop a game here and there out of general disinterest, but I think they'll handle the Magic easily. Dwight Howard had an awesome first round, averaging 22-18 against the Riptors, but these are not the Riptors. Full disclosure: I knew the Pistons had won Game 1 when I wrote this, but inasmuch as I was already on record picking them to advance out of the conference, I think this is fair.I did, however, write this before Hornets-Spurs Game 1.
Pistons in 5

Western Conference First Round

(1)Lakers vs (4)Jazz
Both Western Conference matchups have the potential to be great ones, starting with the top-seeded Lakers battling the Yazz. LA looked rather professional in dispatching the Nuggets but I think the Jazz are a better club than Denver. Still, I think soon-to-be-named-league-MVP Kobe Bryant and the Lakers will have enough to hold off Deron Williams and the Yazz, though it won't be easy.
Lakers in 7

(2)Hornets vs (3)Spurs
You know why I don't bet money on sports? Because I have a tendency to pick outcomes that I want rather than the ones I really expect to happen. Check it out:
Hornets in 7


dave said...

Solid picks overall. I definitely would not be surprised if Cleveland beat Boston, but I don't think it will happen. As I write this, Boston is destroying Atlanta right now so I'm assuming they win the series. The reason I think Boston will win against Cleveland is because they have learned not to take any team lightly after almost losing to Atlanta. I think they are going to play hard every game through the remainder of the playoffs and not take a night off. If I'm wrong however and Cleveland beats Boston and Detroit beats Orlando, I think the cavs might come out of the east again because the pistons are overrated and they have a very difficult time against the cavs for some reason. As much as I hate cleveland, if they were to play Detroit, I think I would cheer for Cleveland just because I hate Detroit, and I have hated them ever since the bad boys years when they almost destroyed the game of basketball. It was kind of like what washington did to Lebron only twice as bad.

JaaJoe said...

And now for the foolish predictions for the second round of the 07/08 NBA Play Offs.
1.Jazz/Lakers. I think that Jerry Sloan is a slightly superior coach, but his slight superiority is due to the fact that, even though Phil Jackson is old enough to know better, at times he still falls into the trap of believing that he is more important than his players. In addition, I think that Utah is more mentally determined, and will take this series in seven games.
2. Magic/Pistons. Flip Saunders is a worthless coach. Stan Van Gundy is the hardest working coach in the NBA. Based solely on the coaching inequity, I pick the Magic to win in six.
3.Celtics/Cavaliers. Mike Brown is a better coach than Doc Rivers, but LeBron is still a distraction. Celtics in six.
4. Spurs/Hornets. Spurs in six.

Andy said...

Um...agree to disagree, JaaJoe? We have the exact opposite picks!

That being said, I'm fine with everything you wrote, except for the part about the Cavs' best player somehow being a distraction. Lost me there.

dave said...

Yeah, don't really know how Lebron is a distration. If the cavs didn't have Lebron, they would probably be swept by every team in the NBA including miami.
Also I don't know what Phil Jackson has done that makes you believe he thinks he is more important than his players. I think that is a rediculously misguided statement.

Mike Brown is not better than Doc Rivers. Brown is not a good coach for multiple reasons. Firt everyone says that he brought defense to the cavs which is absolutely ridiculous because the cavs are one of the most inconsistent teams on defense that we have. Second he doesn't use Lebron right. Lebron could be averaging even more points if he would post up, but I never see it. I don't see any type of offense run and that is part of the reason cleveland loses when Lebron isn't playing (like earlier this season) Lebron is the offense.

Also how do you know tat Van Gundy is the hardest working coach in the league? Just some pretty ridiculous comments overall.

Andy said...

Dave makes some good points here, though I have to disagree with the assessment of the defense.

The "inconsistent" charge isn't really supported by the data, considering they ranked 5th in the NBA in team D last season, managed OK this season through injuries, and have played very well defensively in the past two postseasons despite not having especially good on-the-ball defenders each season.

If you want to criticize Coach Brown for his offensive shortcomings, though, I think that's fair.

dave said...

I believe you when you say that the cavs are ranked 5th defensively, but im interested in knowing how they rank teams on defense. Is is points allowed? Cause if it is solely that, then I am going to have to dispute the reasoning behind defensive rankings. Don't get me wrong, thats part of a good defensive analysis, but definitely not all of it.

I definitely agree that the cavs have played good defense this post season.