Fearless NBA playoff predictions

This is a great time of the year if you’re a sports fan. Major League Baseball is finally back in full swing. The Masters was awesome, and three other majors are soon to follow. Serena Williams is on fire, stunning as ever, and it’s even NHL playoff time.

But forget all that, and get your couch warmed up, because the NBA playoffs start this weekend. Here are one fanatics fearless playoff predications in an easy-to-carry, black-and-white format.


(some of these seedings were not determined by press time, so they are educated guesses)

San Antonio vs. Phoenix

The San Antonio Spurs are hot, hot, hot right now, but they’ve never really been cold all season. Tim Duncan (23 pts, 13 rebs, 3 blks) is an MVP favorite, as Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are winning games with their shooting and hustle. The Spurs achieved the best record in the Western Conference even after Dallas started 14-0. The Phoenix Suns is a tough team that runs as well against the Spurs as any team (3-1 against San Antonio this year). The Suns have a wicked point guard in Stephon Marbury and possible rookie-of-the-year Amare Stoudemire. Still, the Spurs are looking too tough to lose in the first round. Spurs in five games.

Sacramento vs. Utah

The Sacramento Kings won the Pacific Division even though they were missing key players majority of the season. Chris Webber (23 pts, 10.6 reb, 5.4 ast) missed 15 games but is still a complete player and a dangerous guy to face in the playoffs, and the team has young legs, except for Vlade Divac. The Utah Jazz are old, but they’re still going. They’ve been to the playoffs 20 years straight. Karl Malone still wants it, and John Stockton has this one last chance, but kiss it goodbye. Kings in four games.

Dallas vs. Los Angeles (subject to change)

Oh, boy. The Mavericks started the season 14-0, had the best record in franchise history and as a reward for all that hard work they get the Lakers. Gee, that’s great. Led by Dirk Nowitzki (25 pts, 10 rebs), the Mavs love to light it up from deep and will need to shoot the lights out to beat a rejuvenated Laker juggernaut. The Lakers won three of four against the Mavs this year, they have Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal as the best one-two punch in the NBA, and they’re streaking right now. Lakers in five games.

Minnesota vs. Portland (subject to change)

For the first time in franchise history, the Timberwolves have a chance to play on their home court in the first round of the playoffs. Kevin Garnett (23 pts, 13.4 rebs, 6 ast) has six triple-doubles on the year and the Timberwolves beat the Blazers three out of four this season. The Blazers might like starting on the road in the playoffs. They’ve actually been playing better away from the Rose Garden this season. The Blazers need to play better defense against the T-Wolves and Coach Cheeks’ new motion offense needs to click right away. Sorry, Blazers. Timberwolves in six games.


(some of these seedings were not determined by press time, so they are educated guesses)

Detroit vs. Milwaukee

The Pistons had THE question answered yesterday, when Ben Wallace (15.4 rebs, 3.2 blks) announced he will be back for the first game of the playoffs. That dooms the Bucks, who have a lot of tall small forwards but no post defense and nobody who can stand up to Big Ben. Expect Sam Cassell and Gary Payton to have a good series, but also expect Detroit to run away with it. The Pistons in five games.

New Jersey vs. Orlando

If this match-up happens, it will be my favorite first-round series. Why? Tracy McGrady and Kenyon Martin are two of the sickest dunkers in the NBA. McGrady seems to splatter the net every time he fires it up from behind the arc. New Jersey wants to get back to the finals, and the two teams split their season series. A smart man goes with experience, but McGrady, the association’s scoring champ and a calm, clutch performer, could take over. An upset in the making? Magic in six games.

Indiana vs. Boston

Why isn’t Indiana in first place in the Eastern Conference? They have a long team, awesome post play and a proven shooter in Reggie Miller, right? Well, Miller is tired, and he hasn’t shot well all season. The Pacers rely more on Jermaine O’Neal’s (20.7 pts, 10.3 rebs. 2.3 blks) deadly post game. The Celtics have sharpshooters in Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce, but they’ve been streaky all year. Walker needs to hoist about 10 three-pointers a game to be effective, and he leads the league in technical fouls. Not the way to win in the playoffs. Indiana in six games.

Philadelphia vs. New Orleans

A few weeks ago, it looked like the 76ers were going to climb all the way back to first in the Eastern Conference, but they ran out of juice and will end up as the fourth seed, most likely. Allen Iverson is still awesome, and his stamina is sorely needed if Philly wants to get out of the first round. New Orleans has some amazing skill-players. Baron Davis and Jamal Mashburn can light it up like crazy, but this team doesn’t seem as scary in the playoffs without Elden Campbell, whom the Hornets traded for Kenny Anderson. The 76ers in seven games.

Look for the Spurs and the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, the Pistons and Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Spurs whooping up on the Pistons for all the marbles. Enjoy!