The final day of the NBA regular season is upon us. After tonight, 16 teams will be left to compete for the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.
|Photo by: Mike Ehrmann|
This time of the season is when so-called "experts" predict who they think will win, and who is next to be sent to the golf course. While I'm no swami, I can't be wrong or right unless I make some guesses. After all, who doesn't love to throw it in people's face when they call a series correctly? For that reason, I feel inclined to regale the masses with my inevitably incorrect predictions.
Granted, some of these series may not even happen (depending on tonight), but here is what I'll be losing money on this postseason.
- Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks
I would be foolish to think the Bucks have any chance in this one. Miami took the season series between the two clubs, 3 games to 1. With larger plans in mind for the Heat, they should make short work of Milwaukee. I expect LeBron and company to break out the brooms.
Miami: 4, Milwaukee: 0
- New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics
New York had Boston's number this year, taking 3 of 4 from Beantown. Two years removed from being swept by the Celtics, the Knicks are not the team they were in 2011. They are a much more complete squad now, and the only club that has a chance to hang with Miami in the relatively weak Eastern Conference.
New York: 4, Boston: 2
- Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks could finish as high as the 5th seed, but with a challenging final game against the Knicks, I expect them to stay where they are at 6. The team they could leapfrog in the standings is Chicago, but the Bulls should have no troubles getting by Washington Wednesday night, which would lock them into the 5-spot. The Pacers and Hawks split the season series with 2 wins each. I expect this to be close as well, with the edge going to the home team in Game 7.
Indiana: 4, Atlanta: 3
- Brooklyn Nets vs. Chicago Bulls
Even without their star player Derrick Rose, the Bulls have played well enough to be in the postseason this year. Some of Rose's teammates are still holding on to hope that he'll play in the playoffs, but I won't hold my breath. Regardless, the Bulls have remained a threat in the East and took the season series from the Nets, 3 games to 1. Still, I think the train stops here for Chi-town.
Brooklyn: 4, Chicago: 2
- Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Whether the Lakers hold their 8-seed or the Utah Jazz sneak into the postseason is of little consequence. Neither can hang with OKC. The Lakers are without Kobe Bryant, the only player on their roster who was worth a damn most of this year. Although the Jazz are 8-2 in their last 10 games, I expect them to fall short of their goal, largely because of their mid-season collapse. The Thunder were dominant again this year and took 3 of 4 games from the Lakers. Expect that trend to continue.
Oklahoma City: 4, Los Angeles: 1
- San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets
It's not official as to who the Spurs will meet in the opening round, but you can rest assured that they won't lose a 7-game series to any of their potential foes. For the time being, that team would be Houston. San Antonio won the season series 3-1, only losing the most recent contest. That said, the Spurs are experienced and primed to win this matchup. I'm expecting a sweep.
San Antonio: 4, Houston: 0
- Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors
Neither one of these teams are guaranteed their respective 3 and 6 seeding, but I think both will win their games this evening and hold their current place. Denver took 3 of 4 from Golden State this season. With their recent 15-game win streak, current 22-game home winning streak and their great play down the stretch, I like the Nuggets.
Denver: 4, Golden State: 2
- Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers
This series might be the best of the first round if this is how the seeds pan out. Both teams sit at 55-26 going into tonight's games, with the Clippers holding the tiebreaker for home court advantage. LA is blessed with an easy matchup against the Sacramento Kings to close out their season. The Grizzlies are playing the Jazz, a team hungry to make the playoffs. I expect the Clippers to lock down the 4 seed and secure home court. They won 3 of the 4 affairs against Memphis this season. While things may look dismal for the Grizz based on these facts, I think they will pull off the upset in Game 7, even on the road.
Memphis: 4, Los Angeles: 3
No matter what matchups we ultimately get in the opening round, this year's postseason should be very intriguing. And whether I'm wrong or right with my predictions, I'm really looking forward to watching it all play out.