Thursday, April 21, 2005

Searching for Answers in the NBA Play-Offs?

The question has been answered as to who will be in the NBA play-offs, now we can focus on the questions about the play-offs. Last night Jason Kidd led the Nets to a 102-93 victory over Boston securing the final play-off spot. Now the stage has finally been set for the NBA’s second season and there are plenty of questions to be answered before the finals in June.

Which team is the long shot?
In the east you would think it would be New Jersey. They had to fight off Cleveland for the final spot in the play-offs and waited until the last game of the season to do so. However, there is too much talent and way too many veterans who have post season experience to be considered a long shot. So, my long shot pick from the east is Philly. The 76ers finished the season winning eight of their last ten games and as a reward they get to face the defending world champions in the first found. Sorry Philly fans. Enjoy it while it lasts because you won’t go five games.
The west is a different story. You could go either way with Memphis or Denver. Both make a strong case to be the long shot and the reality is that neither has much of a chance to make it out of the first round, but I’m going to pick the Grizzlies as the west long-shot because I can see the Nuggets putting up more of a fight against the Spurs and I see the Suns sweeping the Grizzlies.

Can the NBA have a Cinderella?
Basketball is basketball, and wherever they play on the hardwood you can find a Cinderella. In can be a team or a player who plays well beyond their ability, this year I have found the perfect team. The Chicago Bulls are finally moving beyond the Jordan era and returning to the play-offs for the first time since the 97-98 season when MJ led them to their sixth World Championship. Does anyone remember that the bulls started the season 0-9? That is why we crown the Bulls our 2005 play-off Cinderella.

Who will pull off a first round upset?
There are a few possibilities here. The Sonics could beat the Kings or the Wizards could take the Bulls. However, my pick for first round upset is the Pacers over the Celtics. This could be Reggie Miller’s last shot at winning the championship and the Pacer’s have been playing with a huge chip on their shoulder since the November incident in Detroit. I think that is enough to get them past the Celtics and into the second round.

What is the play-off match up everyone wants to see?
Pacers – Pistons, nuff said.

Who makes it past the first round?
OK, here we go.
In the east; the Heat will beat the Nets, the Pistons down the 76ers, the Pacers will upset the Celtics, and the Wizards move past Chicago in game five.
In the west; the Suns will sweep the Grizzlies, the Spurs will down the Nuggets, the Sonics will surprise the Kings, and Dallas will win the battle over Texas by knocking off Houston.