After doing extremely well with the NHL picks, the NBA picks didn't fare so well. Going 4/8 is great in a batting average but not so much in predicting things. There's no quitting at Case and Point, though, and as such it's time to predict the Conference Semi Finals, or second round, of the NBA Playoffs. Tomorrow the West, for today it's the East.
#1 Chicago Bulls
#5 Atlanta Hawks
Season Series- Bulls win 2-1
The plucky Pacers did their best to knock off the best team in the East but try as they might they just couldn't pull it off, mostly because Derrick Rose wouldn't let it happen. Led by Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau, the defense of the Bulls lead the way along with timely scoring. While scoring may have been down, look for that to change against the lesser defense of Atlanta.
They pulled off an upset that is bigger in reality than on paper. A team lead by Dwight Howard and anchored by the likes of Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas should easily beat the likes of a team with Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford. Instead the Hawks turned the tables, pulling out wins and eeking out victories over the Magic and moving on to the second round.
It's yet another mismatch for the Hawks as they look to upset not just the #4 team but the #1 team. This time the Hawks won't be so lucky. The stellar defense of the Bulls will not only overcome the thin scoring lines of Atlanta but exploit them on the boards, in the paint, and just about anywhere else. The Hawks will squeak out a game or two while Rose fully heals from an ankle injury but once he's back it's all over.
Prediction: Bulls 4-2
#2 Miami Heat
#3 Boston Celtics
Season Series- Boston wins 3-1
It really didn't take much for the Heat, err... Heatles?, to win their first playoff series together. While the 76ers gave them an able run of it, in the end the combined talents in South Beach were able to overcome the applied team pressure and defense of Philly. The only game they dropped was one that came to the buzzer, the rest were rather easily taken over by one of the big three in Miami's arsenal.
After the way the first two games went, the Knicks and Celtics series had all the makings of a classic back and forth slobber knocker. Instead, after two near buzzer beater endings, the Celtics took over the series and quickly ended any hopes Melo and Amar'e had of taking New York not only back to the promised land but even winning a playoff game. The deeper, bigger Celtics line up was enough to over power the Knicks and with the return of Shaquille O'Neal, the C's only look to get tougher.
It's the kind of series the NBA loves. No matter who wins this series there's a solid shot that a marquee franchise will make it to the Eastern Conference Finals and give them a shot at being in the Finals. It'll be a hard fought, back and forth series. In the end, though, the Celtics have a literal big advantage that the Heat don't: Big men. The likes of Garnett and Shaq will make the difference along the boards and in the end.
Prediction: Celtics 4-3