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Old 04-22-2005, 05:41 PM   #1
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Default Eastern Conference: First Round Playoff Predictions

Miami vs. New Jersey

Key Player: Travis Best, New Jersey; 6.7 ppg in 18.3 mpg against Miami this season - without question Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Shaquille O'Neal and Dwayne Wade will do what they can do for their respective teams. For New Jersey to contend, role players will have to step up. Travis Best has been in playoff situations before, and as a veteran will have to become a leader off of the bench for New Jersey. Best is a 35% career three-point shooter, yet is only averaging 31% this season. And even worse, against the Heat this season, Best has only attempted six outside shots. The guard (while never a great perimeter shooter) will have to provide an outside spark and provide the Nets with 20 to 25 quality minutes on the floor.

Prediction: Heading into the playoffs the Nets have to feel good after going 10-2 in their last twelve games to clinch the eighth seed. The problem is, they clinched the eighth seed. New Jersey hasn't defeated Miami this season, as they have lost to the Heat by an average of over 21 points per game. I wouldn't expect anything different in this series. I said above that Travis Best would have to help provide an outside spark for New Jersey, which the Nets have been missing against Miami this season. The Nets have shot a dismal average of 23% from beyond the arc against the Heat, including a 9% outing in a 25 point loss the last time these two teams met. Expect the regular season woes for New Jersey to carry over into the first round, with Miami winning in a sweep.

Detroit vs. Philadelphia

Key Player: Chauncey Billups, Detroit; 16.75 ppg against Philadelphia this season - last year's NBA Finals MVP has been up and down this season against the 76ers. In their first two meetings, Billups averaged 16 points, 9.5 assists, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 turnovers. In their final two contests, Billups averaged 17.5 ppg, but only 4.5 apg, 0.5 rpg and 6.0 turnovers a game. He also struggled with personal fouls against Philadelphia, averaging over three fouls a game (his average is 2.4 per game this season). Detroit will need consistent play out of Billups to go deep in the playoffs.

Prediction: Both of these teams were able to post lopsided wins over the other during the regular season (Philadelphia defeated Detroit by 23, while the Pistons beat the 76ers by 18), and then play each other within ten points in the other two contests (Detroit won the regular series match-up 3-1). Philadelphia turned it up in the final month, going 13-6 in their last nineteen games, and 8-2 in their last ten games, including wins over playoff teams Miami, Boston, Washington and Indiana. Iverson led them in scoring in sixteen of the nineteen games, but cannot carry the load on his own, and is going to need help from playoff experienced Chris Webber. Webber is averaging 5.7 points less per game for Philadelphia than he did earlier this season with Sacremento, and is going to need to establish himself inside of the paint early on in this series. A lot has been said about teams like New Jersey who came on strong during the final two months, but I think Philadelphia is playing as well as anybody. I don't think it will be enough to defeat Detroit in a best-of-seven series, but I believe they could give the Pistons an early scare. Detroit in six games.

Boston vs. Indiana

Key Player: Tony Allen, Boston; 5.0 ppg against Boston this season - I've picked two guys already who play off of the bench to be key players in their series in the first round, because in the Eastern Conference, teams (with the exception of Detroit, Chicago and Washington) are purely star-driven. The Western Conference on the other hand features teams that are star-driven, but play like teams (San Antonio, Dallas and Houston). Boston lost the first two meetings with Indiana, with their bench averaging 15.5 ppg. In the final meeting, the Celtics bench provided 38 points as Boston won 100-86. Plus, the Celtic bench saw a lot of floor time during their final two games against Cleveland and New Jersey, and ended the season averaging 36.8 ppg in their final five games. Of all the bench players, Ricky Davis sees the floor the most for Boston. But, the Celtics have the ability to go seven and eight deep on their roster, and rookie Tony Allen is a guy that can give you fifteen minutes offensively (led the Celtics in scoring in two games this season), and is pretty tough on the defensive side of the ball.

Prediction: I think this is the toughest series to predict, because both teams have had their highs and lows while playing in fairly weak divisions in a fairly weak conference. They have played each other tough this season with Indiana winning the regular season battle (one win came with Ron Artest playing for the Pacers). With Jermaine O'Neal and Paul Pierce on the floor, both teams have players with the ability to take over a game. I see this series coming down to the seventh deciding game, with Boston pulling it out thanks to the deepness of their bench.

Chicago vs. Washington

Key Player: Larry Hughes, Washington; 20.5 ppg and 4.0 spg against Chicago this season - Hughes has been explosive against this Chicago Bulls team this season, with Washington winning both games against the Bulls that he's played in (missed a game against Chicago due to an injured right thumb). Even though he'll have the toughest defensive match-up if Hughes can play like he did the last time these two teams faced off (23 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists), Washington has a great shot at advancing to the second round.

Prediction: I do pick the Wizards to move on, and I think they will beat Chicago in five games. Washington has a very underrated starting lineup that can pose problems for a lot of teams. And if there is any team in the Eastern Conference playoffs that Washington matches up the best against, it's Chicago. Gilbert Arenas vs. Kirk Hinrich. Larry Hughes vs. Chris Duhon and Ben Gordon. Antawn Jamison vs. Andres Nocioni. Jared Jefferies vs. Antonio Davis. Brendan Haywood vs. Othella Harrington. I honestly believe Chicago is the better team and is very explosive on the offensive end. If they play to their potential, the Bulls could advance past the first round. I just don't think they have the experience or the desire needed this year.
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Old 04-22-2005, 06:13 PM   #2
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Heat in 5
Pistons in 5
Pacers in 7
Wizards in 6

I think Detroit/Philly will be a real snoozer, while Boston/Indy will be an excellent series.
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Old 04-22-2005, 06:57 PM   #3
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Heat in 7
Pistons in 4
Pacers in 6
Bulls in 7
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Old 04-22-2005, 09:45 PM   #4
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Miami over New Jersey in 6
Detroit over Philadelphia in 5
Boston over Indiana in 4
Chicago over Washington in 6
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Old 04-22-2005, 09:47 PM   #5
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Miami over New Jersey in 7
Detroit over Philadelphia in 5
Boston over Indiana in 6
Chicago over Washington in 6
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Old 04-23-2005, 03:26 AM   #6
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Heat in 5...

Pistons in 5...

Pacers in 6...

Bulls in 6...( a big IF since Chicago's so shorthanded tho I wonder what Chicago team toby's watching when he refers to "desire needed" & also matching their experience to the Wizards when it's like a wash...lol )
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Old 04-23-2005, 04:16 PM   #7
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I laugh at all the calls for a tough series for the Heat from all the experts. They crush the Nets if Shaq can play at 80%. Anything less and the Heat win in five.

Philly will be tougher for Detroit than most think.
Pistons in six.

I am going with the Wiz over the Bulls because they are not as shorthanded. Wizards in six.

I think Reggie will not go out at the hands of the Celtics for the third time in his last four seasons but it will be a war. Pacers in 7.
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Old 04-24-2005, 04:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by trayhezy
I laugh at all the calls for a tough series for the Heat from all the experts. They crush the Nets if Shaq can play at 80%. Anything less and the Heat win in five.

Philly will be tougher for Detroit than most think.
Pistons in six.

I am going with the Wiz over the Bulls because they are not as shorthanded. Wizards in six.

I think Reggie will not go out at the hands of the Celtics for the third time in his last four seasons but it will be a war. Pacers in 7.


Nets/Heat Series may go 7 Games since the Heat don't play well on the Road
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Old 04-24-2005, 06:10 PM   #9
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That series has no chance at going seven unless Shaq has to miss games or Jefferson gets back to being the force he was before he got hurt. The Nets won't win any games with Jefferson only scoring 9 points a game.
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Old 04-25-2005, 08:36 PM   #10
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Last I checked, NJ's only defense against Shaq was Nenad Krstic. Heat in 5, at the most.
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Old 04-27-2005, 03:21 AM   #11
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I will be quite surprised if NJ can pull even one victory here.

Celtics will outperform the Pacers, despite some brilliant MillerTimes and O'Nealage, dropping two at most.

I can see Philadelphia getting lucky once at most on the Defending Champs.

Chicago vs. Washington I'm betting is the closest matchup... #4 and #5... who woulda guessed?
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Old 04-29-2005, 02:18 PM   #12
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3 down, 13 to go til Kobe eats crow.

Not that I'm counting down the days or anything.
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Old 04-29-2005, 10:45 PM   #13
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I agree that the Heat will probably take it all, but I sure wouldn't bet the house on it.
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:00 PM   #14
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'Toine gets himself suspended for game four. Just when I thought the guy was starting to turn the corner and become a mature player during his second run in Boston he pulls this. They cannot afford to be without him already down 2-1 in the series.
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Old 04-30-2005, 01:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by trayhezy
I laugh at all the calls for a tough series for the Heat from all the experts. They crush the Nets if Shaq can play at 80%. Anything less and the Heat win in five.

Philly will be tougher for Detroit than most think.
Pistons in six.
.
I think it just had a lot to do with how the Nets finished the season and a lot of people swept up into the possibilities of what Carter/Kidd/Jefferson could do.

Philly can be tough for Detroit, as they showed last night. The thing about the Pistons/Sixers series...obviously the Pistons are the better team, but the Sixers have the best player on the court for 48 minutes a night (roughly) and in the NBA anything can happen because of that. So the Sixers could hang tough...and in the process toy with my heart. Bastards.
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