Buzzsaw reviews actual sports?! This season, basketball is real and online.
Indiana Pacers vs. Chicago Bulls
Indiana is delighted to have a basketball team that isn’t as much of a laughingstock as the Hoosiers of the last 3 years, although hilarity may ensue if anyone other than Roy Hibbert tries to dunk. The Bulls are purely dominating and will put on an exhibition. Derrick Rose scores 40 points every night, and only breaks a sweat on the last game when General Manager Larry Bird comes out of retirement to play defense, which the other 12 players are still clueless how to pronounce. Bulls in 4, unless the Pacers wave the white flag after Game 3.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat
Philadelphia has their first relevant team since Allen Iverson was pretending to put an effort into his game on this hemisphere. Nonetheless, the Heat have their blood-diamonds in the rough to thoroughly stomp out hardworking rebuilding teams just like this. Wade and LeBron alternate games with triple doubles in order to hear their names more on ESPN, while Bosh makes a guest appearance with 7 rebounds in Game 2, just for laughs. Heat win in 5, because they decide to use their “bench” for the first time all season in Game 4.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Orlando Magic
The South has never been so bored with a rivalry. The Hawks turned a fairly entertaining team last year into the largest committee of quitters ever assembled. Atlanta shipped out their best player (former coach Mike Woodson) and resigned their oldest for a maximum deal which ensured that Joe Johnson would never have to sprint for his millions again. Meanwhile, the Magic just keep banging down threes, with the exception of Dwight Howard, who still cannot make a shot at or beyond the free-throw line. Remember last year’s series? Yeah, same thing again. Hawks get up 2-1 and then proceed to lose their last three in a row. Orlando in an easy 6.
New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics
Definitely the most intriguing matchup in the first-round of the playoffs: Grumpy Old Men vs. the Mello’s Motley Crew. Mello still can’t handle the spotlight of New York audiences, but Stoudemire is probably the greatest scoring center in the league. Don’t forget Chauncey though, he can still bang out 3’s and is automatic from the line. Garnett, Pierce, and Allen are all just trudging down the court while Rajon Rondo puts on a one-man clinic until they hit their spots to make easy shots. Doc Rivers is probably the best low-key motivator in the NBA and gets the most out of his retirement-home stars. Despite being a native New Yorker and a Celtics fan, I can unabashedly predict Boston winning in a brutal 7-game set.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs
Memphis’s coach Lionel Hollins gets props for making a remarkably underwhelming team into a legitimate playoff team. However, Hollins can’t make up for Michael Conley’s 44% shooting percentage, as opposed to Tony Parker’s 52% (and dynamic moves to the hoop). The Spurs have a perfect basketball team with no outstanding scorers, a savvy veteran in Tim Duncan (albeit a bit creaky), and a great defensive minded coach. Give Popovich credit for keeping his team humble and they should be able to win the series quickly and get some rest for the Old Tim Man. Spurs in 5, but series never in doubt.
New Orleans Hornets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
While everyone does love the feel-good idea of rooting for N’Orlans, even the most casual basketball observers are watching for the Lakers’ three-peat chances. Phil Jackson will be aiming for his fourth three-peat (to go with his one Coach of the Year award), but these Lakers do have creaks in their floorboards. Will CP3 and the Hornets be enough pressure to collapse the Los Angeles platform? No. Sorry, but no David West means no chance. Paul will do all he can, but by the end of Game 2 be calling moving companies to get him closer to New York. Lakers in 4, guaranteed.
Portland Trailblazers vs. Dallas Mavericks
Dallas has a thing for choking under pressure; just ask Tony Romo and his slippery fingers, or Cliff Lee in his most recent World Series. These Mavericks have a healthy Dirk Nowitzki and the world’s richest cheerleader in owner Mark Cuban. I look to the stats to see that this is a team that went into the playoffs hot and are second in the league in assists, and give them a shred of hope. Portland is outsized and out matched by a VERY expensive squad. After Chandler gets his 20th rebound in game 2, they’ll be scrounging for a Frankenstein’s Monster out of Greg Oden’s remaining healthy body parts. Dallas actually wins a playoff series in 5 games, but no guarantee.
Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma Thunder
Let me start with a short rant about how Kevin Durant will be the next Kobe, LeBron, Jordan, Iverson, or possibly better. Let me finish this with trying to rationalize how he will lose in the first round this year. Since they traded Carmello Soprano, the Nuggets have won 72% of their games, scored more points than anyone else in the league, and have the best team chemistry. Their 2-guard tandem of Afflalo and Smith makes the new acquisitions of Gallinari and Felton seem more of afterthoughts. Durant and Westbrook are two of the best young players and the veteran Perkins will add some needed experience in the front court, but this is not their year. Cancer-survivor George Karl proves how he really was the best coach this season with an upset win over everyone’s favorite underdog: Nuggets win in 6, guaranteed.
Second Round: Now for the real games
Denver Nuggets vs. San Antonio Spurs
The greatest series in the entire playoff bracket is going to be the upstart Nuggets versus the best-record Spurs. The Nuggets will be thrilled to be playing this far and like I said before, have the best chemistry and coach to make it interesting. The Spurs also have a balanced team although with a creaky old man playing in the paint. I honestly feel that the two teams are the best teams in the best conference, unfortunately they meet early and the Spurs will win in 7.
Mavericks vs. Lakers
The two most overhyped teams in the era of ESPN covering basketball will lead to a star-studded yet disappointing matchup because of their playoff track records. The Lakers get better as the postseason goes on, as always, and the Mavericks will be so elated to actually win a playoff series that they forget to show up for the next one. Lakers win in 4 and Cuban is ejected for throwing a chair at Kobe’s head.
Celtics vs. Bulls
Well, now the Eastern Conference games can actually begin. Celtics are decimated with age and fatigue after narrowly beating the Knicks while the Bulls are young and refreshed after an exhibition series over the hapless Pacers. Rose will make just enough shots to win the close games, which they all will be. Even as a Celtics fan, I cannot deny the Bulls’ ability to score and defend with the best. Painfully, I have to say that the Bulls will win in 7. Rose advances his blossoming career to the conference finals, and Rivers flirts with retirement for the next 3 months
Magic vs. Heat
The two blockbuster trading teams of the past year are going to meet and greet and one will go home in defeat. Too bad it’s not the Heat. Sorry but I can’t pick a team where Gilbert Arenas is actually playing a pivotal role, no matter how dominant Nelson and Howard can be. LeBron will underachieve because he will receive all the defensive attention (if you can call it that), while Wade and surprise guest star Bibby (back from beyond the grave) will combine for 40 points every game. Van Gundy starts pulling his remaining hair out in Game 4 as the Heat win in 5, guaranteed.
And finally…the Semi-Finals!
Bulls vs. Heat
Now this series will be interesting, and all the sports networks will be talking about for the entire year. The Bulls are definitely the best team, having proved their worth in the playoffs. Meanwhile, King James is playing more at a princely level in his not-so-holy triumvirate in his epic quest to lift the Holy Grail of the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. Unfortunately, none of the three can defend Noah and Boozer in the paint as they take over the scoring for young-man Rose. Bulls win in only 5 and advance to the finals while Wade, Bosh, and LeBron will hold each other in sobs through the night.
Lakers vs. Spurs
For all my predictions, I did pick the top 2 seeds meeting in the conference finals, but this one will be interesting because the Lakers get their closest to a three-peat in years. However, I think the Spurs are balanced and healthy enough to advance. Look for Manu “Bat-killer” Ginuobili to defend Kobe fairly well and fun rampant over the prodigal son’s lackluster defense as Duncan musters up some old school playoff magic to reverse the aging process over scrawny Gasol. Spurs win in 6, Jackson retires in a huff, and Popovich makes his case for reestablishing his dynasty.
A 1 seed versus another 1 seed, I know, real original. But both have balanced teams with great defense in the center of the court and phenomenal scoring guards. Rose is going to do his best to lead his team, but I have some lingering doubts against Parker’s defense. Both run very similar fast-paced offenses that rely heavily on lay-ups and ankle-breaking moves. However, Parker has superior defense and playoff experience over younger guards like Rose. I think this will be the most interesting finals in years, mainly because there’s no Kobe, LeBron, Wade, or Celtics for the first time in 6 years. The Spurs won back then with their genius coach and Timmy Duncan, and they can do it again. Spurs win in 6, but don’t cry Chicago, Rose will return here in a year or two.