Heat and Spurs expected to take East and West
Thunder is strong, but Duncan still has the strength to lead the Spurs to the finals
Spurs vs. Clippers
The Spurs came into this year’s playoffs very hot, and though they snagged the No. 1 seed for the second year in a row, they hope to perform orders of magnitude better than last year when they lost in the first round. Assuming the Spurs and Clippers both win in the first round, this series will go to the Spurs.
Spurs in six.
Thunder vs. Lakers
Assuming the Lakers win their series, they’ll be in for a very close series with the Thunder. Oklahoma City seems to be getting progressively better year after year, and though the Lakers have a healthy Kobe and the talent to win again, the lack of Phil Jackson will be the decisive factor in this series.
Thunder in seven.
Celtics vs. 76ers
Assuming the 76ers finish upsetting the mighty Bulls (an even more shocking upset than the Grizzlies over the Spurs last year), and assuming the Celtics beat the Hawks, this matchup will favor the 76ers. The Celtics have been somewhat lethargic the last few seasons, and though they are just a few minor adjustments short of a fantastic team, this just hasn’t happened.
76ers in six.
Heat vs. Pacers
Another shocker this season has been the performance of the Pacers, who haven’t really done much since the days of Reggie Miller. Though they did beat the Heat in late March, the Pacers squad just doesn’t have what it takes to win the series.
Heat in six.
Western Conference Prediction
Spurs vs. Thunder
As a native of Texas, I suffer from Spurs nostalgia, and would love to see the Spurs take this series. While I feel that the young talent at OKC should theoretically outplay an aging Spurs team, I will cling to the belief that Duncan has one more trip to the NBA finals left in him, and I think this is the year to do it. However, look for OKC next year as they just seem to be getting better and better.
Spurs in seven.
Eastern Conference Prediction
76ers vs. Heat
At the beginning of this season you would’ve been hard pressed to find anyone outside of Philadelphia who thought the 76ers would make it to the eastern conference finals. Now, however, it looks like a very real possibility. Unfortunately, their luck will run out, and we’ll see the Heat with a chance to redeem themselves. With any luck, they’ll be up against a different team from Texas.
Heat in five.