Basketball: 2005-06 NBA Playoffs

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posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 10:22 PM
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The Playoffs are here, and here is my annual analysis of the playoffs, and my first round picks.

Eastern Conference

(1) Detroit Pistons face the (8) Milwaukee Bucks

1st game tips off April 23rd at 7:00 PM ET on TNT

There's not much to say here. Bogut of the Bucks helped the Bucks greatly at the end of the season to give them the last spot in the Eastern Conference. Big play from Bogut and Redd may actually give the Bucks a chance... to win a single game in the series. Detroit had the best record this season (64-18), and played like champions all season. they lost in the NBA Finals last year, winning it the previous season. It's yet to be seen whether or not the Pistons can get to The Finals for the 3rd straight year. The Bucks did not qualify for the playoffs last season, and have not won a championship since 1971.

Pick: Detroit in 4


(4) Cleveland Cavaliers face the (5) Washington Wizards

1st game tips off April 22nd at 3:00 PM ET on ABC

In what will be one of the best series in the Eastern Conferance 1st round, we will see the stars of both teams shine. Cavalier LeBron James is in his first NBA Playoff series of his career, and he's looking to ensure that it doesn't end in the 1st round. LeBron did not play in 2 of the last three games of the season, which was due to an ankle injury. the injury wasn't bad enough to sideline James due to inability to play, but caused him to sit out to be ready for the playoffs. Late in the season, James came up big in the 4th quarter that paved the way for the Cavs to make a playoff appearance, the biggest statement being made in a come-from-behind win in New Jersey. The Cavs are in the playoffs for the first time since 1998, and haven't won a series since 1993, and have never won an NBA Championship. The Wizards are looking to counter James and the Cavs with big numbers from Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison. Both played in last years playoffs, and came up big in a 1st round series victory over the Bulls, but were later swept by the Miami Heat. Caron Butler should have 1 or 2 big games, which will help the Wizards catch a few wins in the series. The Wizards are in their 3rd postseason, winning the NBA Title in 1978.

Pick: Cleveland in 6

(3) New Jersey Nets face the (6) Indiana Pacers

1st game tips off April 23rd at 1:00 PM ET on TNT

The New Jersey Nets have been playing well as of late, specifically Vince Carter. The nets made the Finals in consecutive years without Vince, and are now hoping is is that little bit extra that was needed to finsih the job. Carter set the teams scoring record and surged the Nets intp their 5th consecutive post-season. (All since the addition of jason Kidd) Jason has been the usual assist monster, and I'm expecting this to continue into the playoffs. Richard Jefforson, I believe, will have a quiet first round, maybe only having 1 or 2 big games. The Nets lost in the first round last year, and haven't won a championship since 1976 (ABA). The Indiana Pacers are without their defensive threat Ron Artest, but have one of the league's best long-range shooters in Peja Stojakovic. The Pacers offensive style fits Peja perfectly, and I expect him to have a big series. Nothing Reggie Miller-like, but good enough to help his team win some games. I expect Jermaine O'Neal to step up in the series and have some big nights, but I think that the Pacers offensive will be stuick at that, Peja and O'Neal, which won't be enough to stop the Nets. The pacers lost in the Semi-Finals last year, and haven't won a championship since 1973 (ABA).

Pick: New Jersey Nets in 6

(2) Miami Heat face the (7) Chicago Bulls

1st game tips off April 22nd at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN

Two words sums up this series. Shaq and Wade. The Dynamic Duo is playing very well with each other, and having lost last year in the Eastern Conference Finals has them seeking revenge. Walker will need to knock down shots, as Shaw and Wade can't do everything, and with the three having at least average games every night, it should be a fairly easy first-round pass. The heat have never won an NBA Championship. The Bulls don't have much of a chance unless Gordon, Chandler, and Hinrich all have consistent big games. I don't think the Bulls are adequate enough defensively to hold both Shaq and Wade. but the Bulls have surprised me more than once this year already, so I would not be surprised if they give the heat a tough series.

Pick: Miami Heat in 5


That's it for tonight. I will be back tomorrow night with my Western Conference Analysis. And for those interested, he is a link to the ESPN brackets: ESPN Brackets




posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 11:29 PM
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Thanks for doing this, Giants Fan. You are helping me get interested in the playoffs, which is no small feat, in that I've not seen a game all year.

I appreciate it, Dude.

BHN



posted on Apr, 21 2006 @ 05:41 PM
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GiantsFan does this every year, and it's good for NBA fans like myself, who dont' have the chance to stay up on all the games. I'm saying look out for the Nets to sneak up on the Heat and Pistons, though. Just call it a hunch. That and a buck fifty gets you a coffee...



posted on Apr, 21 2006 @ 07:33 PM
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No first round upsets? Washington can give Cleveland a run for their money, as Lebron isn't an experienced playoff contender and Arenas can give him a solid competitor defensivley. Looking forward to your Western Conference picks. Artest is guaranteed he's going all the way, and I agree wholeheartedly.



posted on Apr, 21 2006 @ 07:39 PM
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Washington and Cleveland will be, IMO, the best series in the first round on the Eastern side. I would not be surprised one bit if the Wizards took the series, but i think that with the level LeBron is playing at, as well as his other teammates, I think they will be triumphent in their series.



posted on Apr, 21 2006 @ 08:37 PM
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This is Lebron's first playoff though right (I know I could be wrong and refust to look it up on principle)? We haven't seen what he can do in the playoffs, as its much more intense than in the regular season. Larry Hughes has been banged up all year. If anything Lebron has an advantage as being a "superstar" the refs tend to call the game his way.



posted on Apr, 21 2006 @ 08:45 PM
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Western Conference

(1) San Antonio Spurs face the (8) Sacramento Kings

1st game tips off April 22nd at 5:30 PM ET on ESPN

Both Teams will be coming full-force in this matchup. Neither side has any notable injuries, so all the stars will be playing. The Spurs had a franchise best record of (63-19) led by Tony Parker. The Spurs are having another Championship run, after winning it all last year. They have an all-star studded team, but I think there will be one flaw in this series... Over-confidence. The kings of yesterday we're one that had the offense, but no defense. Then they traded away Peja Stojakovic for a man named Ron Artest. Though Peja is my favorite player, Artest will be a much bigger factor in this playoff series than Peja would have been. The addition made the Kings a complete team, and is what put them into the playoffs. Artest had some trouble at the end of the regular season, due to a slight thumb injury, but he is completely healed now, and I expect both he and Bibby to have a tremendous series. Sacramento's last championship was in 1951, as the Rochester Royals. They lost in the first round last year. San Antonio has 3 championships, the most recent being last year. And this is NOT being biased, but I will go against the expert picks.

Pick: Sacramento in 7


(4) Dallas Mavericks face the (5) Memphis Grizzlies

1st game tips off April 23rd at 9:30 PM ET on TNT

I haven't watched much of either team, so I'm not really sure what to put here. The mavs finished the season with the second best record in the West (60-22), thanks to yet another tremendous season by Dirk Nowitzki, who averaged 26.6 PPG and 9 Reb. Defense from Diop and Doug Christie will waht will be the deciding factor in this series. The Grizzlies, are in for a handful. At season's end, Gasol was benched with a sore foot, and may be available to play, but will probably not be at 100%. Gasol was a big part of the grizzlies run at the end of the season, having more than just a few big games. And shooter Damon Stoudamire has been out since january, so other players will have to keep stepping up if they want a chance. I could see a sweep here with Dallas, but i think Memphis has a lot of heart and will battle them and make them work for every win. Neither team has ever won a championship. Memphis lost last year in the first round, Dallas making an exit in the semi-finals.

Pick: Mavericks in 6

(3) Denver Nuggets face the (6)Los Angeles Clippers

1st game tips off April 22nd at 10:30 PM ET on ESPN

Denver is both in a good position, and a bad one. Denver has the 3 seed, which is the highest they've had in about 20 years. But they will have to start the playoffs with two tough games in Los Angeles. armelo Anthony will need to play big in this series if he wants to advance his team to the semi-finals. He has played very well at the end of the season, causing some to believe he should be the league's MVP, averaging 26.5 PPG. Only one thing can kill the Nuggets, which is injury. Marcus Camby, Kenyon Martin, Earl Boykins, and Eduardo Najera have all been resting and nursing vareious ailments that the Nuggets hope will be cleared by the time the clippers game arises. The Clippers, though, have a man, that if not stopped, could give the Clippers a series win in the playoffs. Elton Brand averaged a double-double this season (24.7 PPG, 10 Reb.), and is looking to continue that into the playoffs. If the Nuggets can shut him down, then they should be able to take this series. sam Cassel has also been playing very well lately, and could be a huge factor in how the Clippers play. Expect big numbers from Brand and Cassell. Neither team has won a championship. The Nuggets lost in the first round last year, and the Clippers did not qualify.

Pick: Nuggets in 7

(2) Phoenix Suns face the (7) Los Angeles lakers

1st game tips off April 23rd at 3:30 PM ET on ABC

This is going to be a great match-up in the Western playoffs. Though the lakers may be a 7 seed, they are not to be taken lightly. Kobe Bryant averaged 35.4 PPG this season, with a mind-boggling 81 in January. Kobe always picks up his game in the playoffs, and I expect this to be no different. Kobe is going to get his, but depending on how hard the Suns make it for him wil determine the success of either team. The Suns have a potential MVP in Steve nash, who had 10.5 APG. If the lakers can play good defense, and give Nash some trouble, then the Lakers shouldn't have to many problems with them. Marion led the team in nearly every category, and will need to put up big numbers consistently if the Suns want to survive. Without having Amare Stoudemire, it will make it that much harder. The Suns have not won a championship, and lost in the Western Conference Finals last year. The lakers have won 14 NBA Titles, 5 coming as the Minneapolis Lakers. Their last came in 2002, and they did not qualify for the playoffs last season.

Pick: Lakers in 6


And for those interested, here is a link to the ESPN brackets: ESPN Brackets

[Edited on 5/29/2006 by GiantsFan]



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 03:38 PM
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Just as I expected, LeBron James came up big in his first ever playoff game. I unfortunately was unable to see it as I had a double header in baseball this morning. But he had 32-11-11, for a Triple Double in his first ever playoff game. This is going to be a great series. Cleveland won 97-86.



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 04:17 PM
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An amazing first half in San Antonio. I've never seen a team any hotter than they are now. How hot are they? hot enough to score 73 points in the first half
. I don't see this as an indicator of how the series will go. last time they played Sacramento beat them by 20+. I think Sacramento is just wasn't ready, and that this will be a wake-up call. I expect the other games to be much closer. As for San Antonio, I think the Basketball Gods are wearing Duncan Jerseys and waving Spurs banners. They have hit virtually every hot put up. A great first half, the best I've ever seen. The score is 73-39. Some teams don't score 73 in an entire game! And that score looks like a lot of HS basketball games.



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 04:19 PM
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sorry but I gotta disagree with Lakers winning over the Suns. Kobe's been carrying the team for too long and is bound to reak down. The Suns have bad defense but they're smart enought to isolate Kobe, and the Lakers don't have a lot of reliable offensive threats. I'd hate to see the Suns go down, I love the fast paced style. They also have a pretty clear shot at the western finals as they don't have to face both the Mavericks and the Spurs (not slamming your predictions by the way, keep us updated).



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 04:21 PM
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Lol... trust me, I'd much rather be seeing the Suns advance than the Lakers. But I went with my gut feeling on that one, and it's telling me the Lakers will advance.



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 05:35 PM
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Sacramento suffered a franchise worst 34 point defeat to the San Antonio Spurs. One thing I did like in this game, was how the Kings did not let up in the second half, they kept playing hard until the very last shot. They had, at one time, cut the 34 point half-time lead, to a 24 point lead, before the Spurs hit a 3 at the buzzer. In the 2nd half, the score was 49-49... a dead tie. So the Kings need ti play more like the secnod half, but still much better, if they want to take game 2, and have a chance at winning the series.



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 09:43 PM
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The Bulls nearly pulled off a win in the first game of their series, but Shaq and the Heat fought them off, despite trailing for a little bit in the 4th quarter. The Heat won 111-106. Wade had 30 Points and 11 assists to go with Shaq's 16 rebounds. Gordan led his team with 35 points, going with 16 rebounds from Nocioni, and 8 assists from Hinrich.



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 11:24 PM
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Clippers pulled off a great win tonight. Denver was down by double digits for much of the game, and battled back to tie it with a minute left. After sinkning two free throws, the Nuggets failed to answer. The Clippers won 89-87.



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 11:27 PM
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Just for the record, a matchup between the Lakers and Clippers would be great. It would add excitement to the games (at least for those who know the Clippers history). As much as I want to see the Suns make it, they have little chance against the Spurs or Mavericks (which will be a great sereies in its own right).



posted on Apr, 23 2006 @ 08:57 AM
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Originally posted by Kwyjibo
Just for the record, a matchup between the Lakers and Clippers would be great. It would add excitement to the games (at least for those who know the Clippers history). As much as I want to see the Suns make it, they have little chance against the Spurs or Mavericks (which will be a great sereies in its own right).


what's the deal with the Clippers history?


EDIT: And why is it that the #3 seed is starting thier series at the #6 seed? WTFIUWT?

[Edited on 4/23/2006 by Gibbs Baby!!!]



posted on Apr, 23 2006 @ 10:34 AM
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I'm assuming it has something to do with Hockey? They are talking a lot about the AValanche here right now, so I'm thinking they are in the playoffs, or close and have some home games here, so that may be why the Nuggets aren't playing at home. That is unfortunate seeing as how all the Home Teams won last night, and the first game winner wins the series 70% of the time.

That was the first playoff win for the Clippers since 1997, so 9 years.



posted on Apr, 23 2006 @ 01:23 PM
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Indiana pulled of the first Road win of the playoffs thus far with a 90-88 win over the Nets. The Pacers hit two free-throws with .9 seconds remaining, and Richard Jefforson rimmed out a 3 point attempt to win the game.



posted on Apr, 23 2006 @ 01:28 PM
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But what exactly was kwyjibo talking about?



posted on Apr, 23 2006 @ 01:31 PM
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Not quite sure exactly what he's referring to, as I've never followed the Clippers, and don't really care much about their past. So You'll have to get the answer from him.





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