Tag Archive: best of seven


Ever since LeBron decided to take his talents to Miami there’s been much debate about whose team it was. I debate this with a friend of mine all the time. He says it’s LeBron’s team, he’s too good, too much personality for it not to be his. And I always respond with, Wade has tenure, and leadership that allows him to welcome another superstar onto his team. Well 11 months later I’ve changed my opinion. It’s not Wade’s team. However, that doesn’t mean it is LeBron’s team either. Honestly these playoffs have shown that the team belongs to both of them. Many people have chosen the co-ceo analogy to explain how this partnership would not work. But let’s look at another way. Think about parenting, mom and dad have a child; does anybody ever argue whose child it is? When a couple buys a home does anyone really know whose house it is? No, and outside of those two people it doesn’t really matter what the outside world thinks. LeBron and Wade have figured out a way to share the spotlight, locker room and the basketball and are within 2 games of winning their first finals together. So while we debate and argue whose team it is, they’ll be content winning games while understanding that no one can do it alone.

The Miami Heat will face off with the Dallas Mavericks in the in a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals. The Heat come in playing arguably the best basketball of any one and definitely their best of the year. With Udonis Haslem returning from injury giving them a better rebounding and interior presence so the Heat no longer have to rely on Chris Bosh to grab the crucial rebounds and be their mainstay in the paint. Also Mike Miller who has struggled all year has found his stroke since the Bulls series and gives Miami another player that can create their own shot from the outside. Dallas also comes in playing at a high level sweeping the defending champs and disposing of the youthful Oklahoma City Thunder. Dirk has played like the MVP of the playoffs so far and shedding the label of soft that he’s fought since his 2006 NBA Finals appearance. The Mavericks have had the most consistent bench of the playoffs with J.J. Berea and Jason Terry carrying the scoring load for the second unit with Brendan Haywood giving them an inside scoring threat to keep the defense honest. This series will come down to how well Dwayne Wade plays, though everyone will say all of the pressure is on LeBron. I saw the pressure is on Wade because LeBron is the greatest front runner ever; and I mean that as a compliment. When he plays with confidence and sees blood he can go for the kill. Just reference the close out games they had against Boston and Chicago. LeBron is the guy that is the greatest street fighter with his crew behind him, but when fighting by himself, he can’t hold off foes but for so long. Notice how when Wade plays well it relaxes LeBron. It allows him to know that if he makes a mistake, having a bad stretch that someone has his back. This is what has allowed LeBron to be the best closer of the playoffs. So as long as Wade plays well, LeBron will continue to do what he has done all through the playoffs. The key for Dallas is to take us their height to their advantage. Dirk, Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler and Haywood are mismatches for just about anyone that will guard them around the low post. Tyson with alley-oops and back door cuts, Marion with that face up jumper, Haywood with his decent post up game and Dirk with his overall game should give them an advantage that should open up the outside for their shooters. Dirk will have to score 28 points and Terry 20 points every night for the Mavs to win, period. Dirk will have to continue his MVP like play. However, for as much as I’m rooting for the Mavericks to win in 7, because that’s what I believe it will take. My head won’t allow me to pick against Miami. I didn’t think they would come together this fast with the flaws they had. LeBron is playing like the school yard bully knowing that Wade is his sergeant at arms. The Heat have figured it out, and they will win the NBA Finals in 6 games. LeBron will win MVP honors and make everyone swallow the venom they’ve been spewing at him since July 2010. For the 9-8 start, crying in the locker room and rumors that LeBron and Wade would clash, they put their egos to the side for the purpose of winning a title. Exactly how they planned it.

Turning Up the Heat

4 games to 1. 97 to 87. Big 3 versus big 2 & a half. Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh finally did it. The signing parade and pep rally in early July has finally seemed to pay off for the Miami Heat. Wade, LeBron, and Bosh have been criticized all season for joining forces in Miami. But this was the goal, to beat the Boston Celtics en route to a championship. A task none of them could do on their own. The Heat had their struggles this year and most analysts had next year as the season they would put it all together. However, the Heat have been playing their best basketball so far. LeBron and Wade have finally figured out how to play together and every time Bosh gets his emotions together he proves to be the piece that completes the Heat’s big 3. The Heat may not get much from their bench, but with Wade and LeBron playing like this, there aren’t many teams that can match their scoring prowess. For the Celtics there should be no shame. They were just beat by a better team. They got old, injured and just couldn’t fight the good fight anymore. Kevin Garnett this series showed that at this stage of his career that he can no longer carry a team for multiple games at a time. Paul Pierce didn’t play well this series, Ray Allen had his hands full with Wade and with Rajon Rondo being injured the Celtics just couldn’t muster up enough to overtake the Heat. Fast forwarding the conversation, for Heat haters, they better hope and pray the Bulls take care of the Hawks, because that is their only hope for giving the Heat some competition in their quest for a ring. As for now, let’s hope the Heat don’t break out the ticker tape and fireworks seeing as they’ve only made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Western Conference

As we enter the playoffs the Los Angeles Lakers come in losing five of their last ten, hobbled with injuries and their back-up point guard is battling the chicken pox. The San Antonio Spurs who are the number one seed in the west are unsure of the production they’ll get with Manu Ginobli as he injured his right elbow in the final regular season game. The Dallas Mavericks will look to shed the image they have of being soft, while the Denver Nuggets strive to prove they can win even without Carmelo Anthony. The Memphis Grizzlies look to show that they are not your everyday eight seed. They match up pretty well against the Spurs along the front court with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, the issue they will face is can Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo slow down Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli. If Ginobli is healthy he’s the x factor for the Spurs, he creates his own shot and is as reckless with his body as any player in the league. However, if Ginobli isn’t healthy I give the Grizzlies a great chance to win this series in seven games… but I’ll lay my money on the Spurs to pull it out in six or seven. The Lakers should have a relatively easy road to the second round as they take on the New Orleans Hornets without their second best player David West. The Lakers have fought boredom and a listless attitude all season, but now they must bring a focus that will be important for them to have to win their third championship in a The Hornets with Chris Paul will cause issues for the Lakers point guards but with not much else on the team I don’t see how the Hornets having enough fire power to score enough with the Lakers. The Mavericks and Portland Trailblazers is an interesting series to watch. The Trailblazers are looking to get out of the first round since the 1999-2000 season. LaMarcus Aldridge has emerged as the scoring leader of this team since Brandon Roy’s injury, the addition of Gerald Wallace has given them another defend alongside Marcus Camby. Now with Brandon Roy coming off the bench, they have a legitimate scoring option with the reserves. The Mavericks in the series must find a way to be more physical than the Trailblazers, Dirk Nowitzki has the ability to score anywhere on the court, but he doesn’t post up often. If the Mavericks can also outrebound the Trailblazers and allow their three guard line up to get out to run and score in transition they should have no problem winning this series. The Mavericks should win this series, but it’ll go seven and I’d be the least surprised if the Trailblazers won either. The Nuggets take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The difference in this series will be one team has a guy they can go to five times in a row and he can score. The other team doesn’t. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will give the Nuggets fits and as good as the Nuggets have played they don’t have one particular guy that can carry the team on their back. The Nuggets will make it close but in the end the Thunder will when in either six or seven. In the semi-finals the youthful Thunder will take on the number seeded Spurs. The Spurs will look to expose the Thunders’ youth with the experience of Tim Duncan, Parker and Ginobli. Nevertheless it won’t be enough to get them past a more athletic Thunder squad. With Westbrook and Durant will a one two punch that the Spurs won’t have an answer for. Duncan’s’ fading star will have his hands full guarding Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. This will be the series where Durant shows why he was the back to back scoring champion. The Mavericks vs. the Lakers is the next match-up in the second round. The Lakers by this round should have a healthy Bynum as well as a healthy Steve Blake who for the last week of the regular season was plagued by chicken pox. Having Blake back will give the Lakers second unit a floor general and another reliable shooter and ball handler. With no strong low post presence the Mavericks won’t have enough to slow down Gasol and Bynum and the perception of softness will continue to follow the Mavericks. In the Western Conference Finals it’ll be a rematch of the last year’s first round match up, Lakers vs. Thunder. This series will go seven, the advantage the Lakers had last year is no longer there. The Thunder  now have Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins to battle Bynum and Gasol down low which means the Lakers cannot rest on their laurels. The Lakers must defend and win the rebounding battle unless this series will end with them going home in May. Their bench must show up this series as well as its one of the few other areas they hold an advantage over the Thunder. Oklahoma City will look to expose Derrick Fisher for the old defender that he is with Russell Westbrook. Fisher can no way chase Westbrook around and this will put even more pressure on Gasol and Bynum in pick and roll situations. However, for as even as this series will look on paper I’ll go with the two time defending champions. This Lakers squad is a veteran group and they still have the best closer in the game Kobe Bryant. It will go seven, until somebody beats the champs, I can’t pick against them.

Breakdown

Round 1 (Winners of series are in bold)

(1) Spurs   4 games to 3    (8) Grizzlies

(4) Thunder 4 games to 2  (5) Nuggets

(3) Mavericks 4 games to 3  (6) Trailblazers

(2) Lakers 4 games to 1  (7) Hornets

Conference Semi-finals

(1) Spurs 3 games to 4 (4) Thunder

(2) Lakers 4 games 2 (3) Mavericks

Conference Finals

(2) Lakers 4 games to 3 (4) Thunder

Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers

Eastern Conference

The Chicago Bulls have been the most consistent team during the regular season, the Miami Heat have been the most talked about and the Boston Celtics have been the most changed. This makes for a most interesting playoff in the Eastern Conference. In the first round the Bulls should have no problem with the Indiana Pacers and barring a miracle the Heat should be able to handle the Philadelphia76ers with relative ease. But the Celtics may have their hands full with a revamped New York Knicks team. The Celtics haven’t yet rebounded from trading Kendrick Perkins, and they can’t seem to stay healthy long enough to generate some new chemistry with the new players they’ve traded for. With the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire the Knicks now have a superstar tandem that will keep them competitive with anyone in the league. Nonetheless, the Celtics experience will prevail, as the Knicks won have enough role players to overcome a veteran laden Celtic team.  The Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic are like an under card match in a boxing event, fun and exciting but nobody expects them to go far. I do expect the Magic to advance to the second round, but how far will they go from there is a mystery. If they make shots and Dwight Howard stays out of foul trouble, the sky is the limit. However, all season they haven’t looked like the team that went to the finals in 2009. The Magic won’t get past the Bulls in the second round due to speedy gonzales on hardwood aka Derrick Rose. Granted the Bulls have no consistent answer against Howard, they at last have some kind of answer. The Magic have absolutely no way to slow down or stop rose and that will be the difference. The Celtics and Heat will fight to death in the conference semis; LeBron will look to avenge his lost from last year while the Celtics will aim to do what we all wish for. That is, knock the Heat off the parade mobile they rode in on during their signing parade. Home court will belong to the Heat and that will be a small factor, the Celtics are not the same team from a year ago, they are missing something. It will be interesting to see if they have enough time to put it together. The Heat have two of the four best players on the same team, but they lack leadership, no one knows who the ‘go to guy’ is, who’s the one guy that when it all looks but over gets you back in the game. No matter how good they’ve looked at times that’s still an issue. And with no one willing to step on someone’s toes, always will be. Also their lack of a point guard and center will be the death of them. They have no one to run their offense. LeBron and Wade don’t listen to Bibby or Chalmers, and for whatever reason LeBron doesn’t want to play point guard. And though they trampled the new look Celtics the last Sunday of the season, I believe the Celtics will win. As always, all season, Chris bosh will be vital to their success and if he doesn’t average 10 rebounds they will lose. He must be the one to do the grunt work every night. And for that I’m picking the Celtics, even as disconnected as they looked. Until the Heat prove they are worthy, I’ll give Boston’s big four the benefit of the doubt. Celtics vs. Bulls will be great. Rose boozer and Noah vs. rondo and the big three. Let’s not forget Rose is guided by Tom Thibodeau the former Celtics defensive guru and for this advantage is why I’m picking the Bulls. The defense the Bulls play won’t allow the Celtics to get into a rhythm and exploit the chemistry issues the Celtics have. Rose will continue his MVP caliber play, while father time will finally catch up to the Celtics.

Breakdown
Round 1 (Winners of series are in bold)
(1) Bulls 4 games to 1  (8) Pacers
(4) Magic 4 games to 2  (5) Hawks
(3) Celtics 4 games to 2  (6) Knicks
(2) Heat 4 games to 1   (7) 76ers

Conference Semi-finals
(1) Bulls 4 games to 2  (4) Magic
(2) Heat   4 games to 3  (3) Celtics

Conference Finals
(1) Bulls 4 games to 3 (3) Celtics

Eastern conference champion Chicago Bulls

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