So no Raptors in the Playoffs. But that being said it still should be interesting. Doc Rivers dropped a bombshell today saying the K.G may not be in the playoffs at all. That makes the Boston repeat a much tougher deal. So the road to a Kobe vs Lebron NBA Finals seems a lot more likely. But before we get there you need to get through round 1. So away we go with Round 1 predictions.
Lakers (1) vs Jazz (8)
The Jazz are in the playoffs and if they had a healthy season they likely are higher on the food chain. However they did not and they draw the Lakers in round 1. Andrew Bynum is back this year. Unlike last year he will be in the playoff mix for the Lakers. They also have Kobe and a solid crew around him with Pau Gasol and all the rest. I think the Jazz might get a game in Salt Lake but to win this series? No way, no how and no chance.
Dino Blogger Says Lakers in 5
Denver (2) vs New Orleans (7)
A point guard battle that should be off the hook. Billups turned the Nuggets from a fringe playoff team into the 2nd seed in the west? Wow. Sure head had help but he is the difference. Any doubt ask a Pistons fan and look where they sit. Chris Paul does not have to take a second seat to anyone. He along with Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard were the only 3 guys in the league to average a 20 and 10 double double. The team around Paul has under performed that is how they sit 7th after last season being the top seed. Denver much like the Hornets last year have a lot to prove to folks. This will be a huge step for the Nuggets. I think it might be to big of one. Maybe I am nuts but I like Hornets in this one. Billups has been unreal but Paul is better. The Hornets will hopefully rise to the level of Paul and provide an upset. Melo looked awful last night in a game that heading into could have meant a lot for the Nuggets. It turned out it did not. But still Carmelo looked really bad. He is said to have been playing with the flu. But I just think the Nuggets will be upset. Hornets will not have the pressure they did last year but will have the experience from it.
Dino Blogger says the Hornets in 7
Spurs (3) vs Dallas (6)
If you can figure out the Dallas Mavericks please let me know. I mean this team never seems to do what you expect of them to do. So that might suggest the Mavericks get an upset. The whole George Costanza theory to go against your natural reaction. Manu has been injured a lot. Tim Ducan and Tony Parker have been flying as a tandum most of the year. I think the Spurs should be able to take this series and not break a sweat doing it. I apologize to Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitski and Jason Kidd. It is not like I am alone though. How many folks a month or 2 ago thought the Suns would run down the Mavs and leave the Mavs on the outside of the playoffs? I am thinking there was a lot of you. But the Mavs not only got in but sit in the 6th seed. Spurs have been there and done that. I just can't see the upset. Spurs have to much expierence and have delivered in the clutch. The Mavs may never be as good as the team that sat with a lead over the Heat in the NBA finals. Tim Ducan quietly goes about what he does year in and year out. I use to call him boring and slag him. However as I have grown older I have learned to respect Tim Ducan. I can not say I have that kind of respect for Dirk or ever will. Spurs also get the nod in the coaching department. Pop is one of the best in the game. Not to mention Matt Bonner needs another ring. I joke but I do hope the best for the Red Rocket.
Dino Bloggers says Spurs in 5
(4) Portland vs (5) Houston
I watched the Blazers go off against the Nuggets to earn the right to host this series and have home court advantage. This was a huge thing for the young Blazers who are the new kids on the block in the playoffs. Houston has no curse of T-Mac to hold them back. Yao is solid and you have crazy Ron Artest looking to get paid next season. This should be the best series of the first round. I think it is going to be a great battle as you have 2 teams with very different reasons you could pull for them or against them. Brandon Roy will have a chance to shine on the big stage. I think he is more than ready and has a ton of back up. As much as it would delight me to see the Rockets advance without T-Mac. I just think the Blazers are young and talented and far to deep to be stopped by the Rockets. They may not be able to win a road game in the series. If they do watch out whoever they play in next round. I think you know where this is going. Rose Garden and game 7.
Dino Blogger says Blazers in 7
Cavs (1) vs Pistons (8)
This in the past would be a Conference Finals match up. But not this year as the Pistons made a huge mistake in the short term trading for A.I. Proud to say I saw this one coming. A.I with a rookie head coach is was doomed. The Pistons did just enough to remain in the playoffs and that is about all. There is no MSU run in the Pistons. This will get the Cavs attention right out of the gate. In the past Cavs have had some fortunate first round pairings. Some would say this one as well. However the Cavs will not take the Pistons lightly. The Cavs and more importantly Lebron James is on a mission. The news that K.G may be gone only adds feul to the fire for the Cavs. The team around Lebron has stepped up and followed his lead. I just see no reason to think the Cavs do not run through the Pistons like a hot knife through butter. I heard Rasheed Wallace talking tough but I am not buying it. Wallace can think about his future as a free agent as he walks around with his title belt from years gone by. What will Lebron get if he wins a title? PAID!!! James is going to be the M.V.P and I am not just talking of the season. He is going to be the MVP of the playoffs too. Pistons Joe Dumars can start spending that cash from A.I's contract. I hope it was worth it Joe.
Dino Blogger says Cavs in 4
Boston (2) vs Chicago (7)
The Bulls could have avoided this fate. Did they know something or was it dumb luck? Not to take away from the Raptors big win to close the year but the Bulls looked disinterested in winning that game last night. That being said is a Big 2 with a Rondo on the side enough to take care of the Bulls? I think so. Rondo is going to be a huge factor in this series most of all. Derrick Rose against Rondo is a great match-up. D. Rose may get the ROY but Rondo will get the better of him in this series. Glen Davis will need to play as big as his BIG BABY nickname for the Celtics. I think the Celtics chances has gone down the tubes in the long term. However in the short term vs the Bulls they can get it done. Pierce and Allen should be good enough with the help of a big effort from Rondo to get the C's out of round 1. Doc Rivers is a great coach as well. He has great players but Doc has always been able to get the most out of any team he coached. Vinny Del Negro is out of his league much like his Bulls. Sorry to Chuck Swirsky but your new team will go the same way as your old team.
Dino Bloggers says the Celtics in 5
(3) Orlando vs (6) Philadelphia
O.K this is becoming a trend in the NBA. Raptor fans you all wanted the Magic last year. How did that work out for us? Now a year later the Sixers are the team thinking that they lucked out avoiding the Celtics. But did they really? I am telling you the Magic are very good. In fact I would go as far as to say the Magic are the one team that might spoil the dream Kobe and Lebron NBA Final. In fact that is what I said at the start of the year. Magic and Lakers in the finals. The fact the Magic lost Jameer Nelson was blow to them. However Ex-Raptor Rafer Alston has been a good emergency fill in. The Sixers have limped along to the playoffs. They started the season poorly and lost Elton Brand and got better. However they lost Thaddeus Young and fell apart. He could be back for this series. But I am not thinking that is enough for the Sixers. Howard against Sam Dalembert is a blowout for the Magic. Even if they figure out how to stop Howard. Which I am not convinced they can do. They still need to figure out how to stop the 3 balls from raining all over them. The fact the Sixers are a less than impressive 3 point shooting squad is not good. Magic are tired of no one respecting them and the Sixers will pay for it.
Dino Blogger says Magic in 4
(4) Atlanta vs (5) Miami
Ok this is a fun one. Wade is having a season for the Heat. Atlanta has built on what many(Including me) thought was a fluke taking the Celtics last season to 7. The Heat were busy getting some lotto help that would turn into Michael Beasley. He has had a good season along with Mario Chalmers. J.O and J Moon came in to replace the Matrix and that other guy. Carlton Banks? Oh no Marcus. Anyway...Hawks have weapons as well. Joe Johnson, Bibby, Josh Smith and others. However if there is a series where one guy can will a team to win this is it. That man is D-Wade. He will not be getting an MVP Trophy but that will only fuel the fire and he takes the Heat past a Hawks team that has been stuck in the middle between the elite and the lesser lights. It was not that long ago the Hawks were those lesser lights. In fact I am not convinced they are that much better other than the fact they have a new confidence. They did step it up last year but I think Wade and his young Heat will step it up. Going to be a fun and interesting ride though. The sad thing is will Atlanta have a big crowd for it? They deserve it. But...
Dino Blogger says Heat in 6
So that is round 1 we will see how I do. If you have your own playoff picks or thoughts feel free to drop a comment and get it on the record.