12 May 2012

2012 NBA Playoffs: Conference Semifinals Predictions

The NBA Playoffs has been rolling along with some upsets, some ass kicking and all around, pretty good basketball. Four teams are left in each conference as eight clubs total still have their dreams of an NBA Championship. Who will advance to the conference finals? Here are my picks.

TV Schedule

(2) Miami Heat vs. (3) Indiana Pacers
If the Pacers were playing any other team, they would have a real shot in my eyes because I really like this club. But against the Heat, they are really at a mismatch because they lack the starpower to match that of Miami in LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. I think that Indiana will steal one game because they do have such an advantage at center with Roy Hibbert and I think he can put them over the top for one game but that's it.
Heat in five

(3) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Philadelphia 76ers
Don't count the 76ers out just because they upset the Bulls after Derrick Rose was lost to injury late in game 1. I think this will be a really competitive series. Boston is the clear favorite thanks to their countless playoff experience plus Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce were both terrific against Philadelphia. But this Sixers team has the edge in youth and athleticism on the wings plus with the way they play defense, they will be in every game. I think the experience will win out but this will be a close series.
Celtics in seven

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (5) Los Angeles Clippers
I wrote during game 7 of Clippers-Grizzlies that I had no doubt that the Spurs wanted to play Los Angeles more than Memphis. And here is why. Yes the Spurs are getting old for the most part and the Clippers are young and athletic and all that. The Clippers heavily rely offensively on their transition game as their half-court offense is essentially hoping Chris Paul makes a play as they stand around. They won't be able to run much of San Antonio, who like to play a slower game. San Antonio has the weapons offensively to outscore LA and Tim Duncan will play Blake Griffin physical enough that Griffin will whine at the refs and get a tech. I really think this is a sweep.
Spurs in four

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (3) Los Angeles Lakers
Honestly speaking, I think this is the toughest test for the Thunder in the West. Yes, Los Angeles did struggle to put away the Denver Nuggets in the opening round but with how good they are in the paint with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, as both came up huge late in game 7 last night against Denver, plus the fact that Kobe Bryant still has one run left, in my opinion, makes the Lakers a really tough out. The Thunder have all the pieces to win the title, they have the starpower in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the defense in the paint in Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka, plus a strong bench, but I still do not think they have the desire to win the title just win. You need that fire to win and I don't honestly think that the Thunder have it.
Lakers in seven

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