Clapp's NBA Playoff Predictions | Sharapova's Thigh

Clapp's NBA Playoff Predictions

Posted by Matt Clapp | 4/18/2008 05:08:00 PM

Poorly Acquitted already gave us his take on the NBA playoffs which begin tomorrow, now I'm going to go through the entire playoffs with my predictions.

Western Conference 1st Round

Los Angeles Lakers(1) Vs. Denver Nuggets(8):
This series should be a fun one, putting 3 of the NBA's best scorers on the floor in Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets can score with anybody, but I think their atrocious defense will ultimately come back to kill them. I think they can take at least 1 at home, but I think this Lakers team will be too much for them. The Lakers have a very good all-around team, led of course by the most talented player in the league in Kobe Bryant, but the addition of Pau Gasol has greatly improved their half-court game. They'll try to slow down the fast paced attack of the Nuggets, and if need be, Kobe Bryant can take over in a shootout.
The Pick: Lakers In 6

New Orleans Hornets(2) Vs. Dallas Mavericks(7)
The Hornets shocked the basketball world with their incredible season. They came into the season as a team that most thought could contend for the playoffs, but at best would be a #7 or #8 seed. However, MVP candidate Chris Paul(he'd get my vote)
The Pick:
Hornets In 7

San Antonio Spurs(3) Vs. Phoenix Suns(6)
A lot of people are picking the Suns, but I'm not sold on them. They got Shaq for a series like this, so that they could actually play half-court basketball rather than only being able to play a fastbreak style. I just think people are overlooking the Spurs as usual, and I'm not going to be one of the fools betting against the defending champions in the 1st round.
The Pick: Spurs In 6

Utah Jazz(4) Vs. Houston Rockets(5)
I'm not sure if the Jazz can win a game on the road in the playoffs. They went an incredible 37-4 at home this year, as compared to a crappy 17-24 on the road. I've never seen anything like that. I just think they're much better than this Rockets team, and somehow will squeak out a win in Houston. The Rockets were a great story with their incredible winning streak, but no Yao=no advancing to the 2nd round.
The Pick: Jazz In 6

Eastern Conference 1st Round

Boston Celtics(1) Vs. Atlanta Hawks(8)
This series is already over.
The Pick: Celtics In 4

Detroit Pistons(2) Vs. Philadelphia 76ers(7)
The Pistons don't care about the regular season, and they still went 59-23. They'll step it up a notch as always in the playoffs, and I think they like being the underdog in the East this year. I thought Philly would be the worst team into the league coming into the season, but wow did they put up a great season. I know the numbers aren't as eye-catching as a lot of guys, but Andre Iguodala deserves some MVP consideration, and veteran rock-solid point guard Andre Miller's done in charge of their offense. With all that being said, the Pistons are just too good for them.
The Pick: Pistons In 5

Orlando Magic(3) Vs. Toronto Raptors(7)
22-year-old beast Dwight Howard averaged 20.7 points and 14.2 rebounds this season for the Magic. He also benefited from the addition of Rashard Lewis, and a terrific season from veteran Hedo Turkoglu. The Raptors are a deep, but inconsistent team.
The Pick: Magic In 6

Cleveland Cavaliers(4) Vs. Washington Wizards(5)
This really should be an awesome series that could go either way. In a toss up, I'm going to take the team with the biggest star. Mainly, I just don't want to hear what Skip Bayless will say if LeBron can't win a 1st round series.
The Pick: Cavs In 7

Western Conference Semifinals

Los Angeles Lakers(1) Vs. Utah Jazz(4)
As I showed earlier, the Jazz are almost unbeatable at home, and I think they can win all 3 home games against a superior Lakers team. However, they're to lose all 4 games on the road.
The Pick: Lakers In 7

New Orleans Hornets(2) Vs. San Antonio(3)
The Hornets have not been here, and the Spurs are every year. Experience is huge in the playoffs.
The Pick: Spurs In 6

Eastern Conference Semifinals

Boston Celtics(1) Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers(4)
The NBA will be thrilled for this series, as it will be a ratings jackpot. The Celtics dominated the East all year with their three superstars: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. The Cavs of course have LeBron James... but not much else. I wouldn't be shocked to see LeBron make this a great series, but it would be quite a feat.
The Pick: Celtics In 5

Detroit Pistons(2) Vs. Orlando Magic(3)
I'd really like to see this series. I don't think the Magic are getting enough respect, but I think the same goes for the Pistons this year. Again, I'll take the vets.
The Pick: Pistons In 6

Western Conference Finals

Los Angeles Lakers(1) Vs. San Antonio Spurs(3)
The Lakers match up against the Spurs better than probably anybody else in the NBA, especially if center Andruw Bynum is healthy. Having his 7-foot body alonside 7-foot All-Star Pau Gasol could contain Tim Duncan, and they could possibly outperform in the Spurs down low. Couple that with having the best scorer around in Kobe Bryant, and that sounds like a pretty good formula for success. I'm just not completely convinced, especially in regards to whether or not Andrew Bynum can be a factor. The Spurs are going back to the finals.
The Pick: Spurs In 6

Eastern Conference Finals

Boston Celtics(1) Vs. Detroit Pistons(2)
This is the series everybody wants to see. The Pistons have been a perennial powerhouse in the East for years, and take on the new powerhouse in the conference. Can Boston's big 3 carry the Celtics against the physical defense of the Detroit Pistons? They definitely could, but it's going to be difficult. Every game in this series should be close. Most people are picking the Celtics, and understanably so. I'm going with the experienced team, which I think is the safest pick. I also think they've been waiting for this series all year to prove they're still the best in the East, at least when it really matters. Sorry Roddick's Knee, hopefully I'm wrong. But...
The Pick: Pistons In 6

NBA Finals

Detroit Pistons(2) Vs. San Antonio Spurs(3)
So, here we are. After all the hoopla, all the talk about the Lakers, Celtics, Hornets, and Suns, we're right back to the "boring" teams that go deep into the playoffs every year. This would be a nightmare for the NBA, but as a fan of fundamentals and defense, I'd be thrilled to watch this series. Every game goes down to the last 3 minutes, and in game 7, Robert Horry will be scoreless all game, until he hits a 3 to win it in the last few seconds.
The Pick: Spurs In 7

MVP: Tim Duncan