I know we're a day late and a buck short, but here are some of our predictions for the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs. In order to keep it fair and consistent, I have decided not to change the predictions that we made before the first round started on Saturday.
Cleveland over Chicago in 5 - I can see Derek Rose and the Bulls taking a home game away from the James gang, but I don't see Lebron losing in the first round of the playoffs anytime soon.
Atlanta over Milwaukee in 4 - Atlanta is my sleeper this post-season even though they're a 3 seed. I expect them to do great things this year after some heartbreaks last season.
Boston over Miami in 5 - I really don't believe that the Celtics are going to be able to hit the switch now that they're in the post season, but I also don't think that D-Wade can carry the Heat over the C's in a 7 game series with what they've done against us in the regular season.
Orlando over Charlotte in 5 - Orlando isn't anywhere near as dangerous as they were last season, but they'll definitely continue forward past a weaker Bobcats team.
Denver over Utah in 5 - Carmelo and the boys won't disappoint even with Boozer and Williams putting great effort into the fight.
Oklahoma City over Los Angeles in 7 - I struggle with this greatly, but with the scoring champion Kevin Durant has much to prove against the face of the NBA. It's hard to believe, but I think it can be done.
San Antonio over Dallas in 6 - Neither team shows much and neither team really makes me scared. This will probably be the slowest, most mundane series in the post-season.
Phoenix over Portland in 5 - The Blazers are a great up and coming young team, but they won't have what it takes to get past Uncle Steve and Amare this time around.
Cleveland vs. Chicago - This is going to be a quick for game sweep for the Cavs. The Bulls don't pose any sort of threat, and Lebron is saying that it's the playoffs and he is going to be a monster. The Cavs have the most complete team in the NBA and it looks like all roads will go through Cleveland.
Cavs in four.
Orlando vs. Charlotte - This series should be a tough one for the Magic because the Bobcats are one of the top defensive teams in the NBA. The 'Cats are playing very hard for Coach Larry Brown and Gerald Wallace is a monster on both sides of the floor. Plus the addition of Stephon Jackson at the trade deadline was a great pick up and he can drop thirty points in the blink of an eye. However, the Magic should prevail. The 'Cats don't have an answer for Dwight Howard inside. Also, Matt Barnes has come into his own as a deep threat along side Rashard Lewis. The X Factor in these playoffs is Vince Carter. If he plays well, the Magic will go far. If he doesn't, I see a quick second round exit for them.
Magic in Five.
Atlanta vs. Milwaukee - This is going to be a great series to watch because both teams are young and athletic. This might be the Hawks last chance to make an impact in the East if Joe Johnson doesn't re-sign this summer so the Hawks will be ready to play. Losing Bogut was an awful blow for the Bucks but they seemed to have rallied around Coach Scott Skiles and the home town chants of "Fear the Deer." I think this series will come down to home court advantage, with every team winning on their home courts. It'll go the distance with the Hawks just edging out the fiesty Bucks.
Hawks in Seven.
Boston vs. Miami - This series all depends on which Celtics team shows up to the arena. Is it the defensively lazy and stagnant Celtics of recent months? Or will the real Celtics decide to come out of hibernation? What we know is that the Heat consist of Dwayne Wade and that's it. If Wade is neutralized, the Heat will go down without a fight. However, if the Celtics can't contain him, this will be a long series and an early exit for this Celtics team. It has been a very disappointing regular season. Now is the time to erase it.
Celtics in Six.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City - Kevin Durant is fired up for this series after recent comments made by KG and Phil Jackson about his ability to draw fouls and get to the free throw line, leading all NBA players in this category. Durant has come into his own along with this young and exciting Thunder team. LA has been playing lackluster ball recently and they are struggling with chemistry issues. However, these are the defending champions and the Thunder are just too young and inexperienced. They will put up a good fight and steal a couple of games, but this team isn't ready just yet.
Lakers in Six.
Dallas vs. San Antonio - The Spurs have been playing great basketball to close out the months of April and May. If not for their slow start, they could easily have been a two seed instead of a seven. The Mavs have been on fire ever since their trade deadline acquisitions of Caron Butler and Brendon Heywood. Nowitzki is also clicking on all cylinders right now and I see this team ready to go deep into the playoffs. This might be the last hurrah for this Spurs team, but I don't see them escaping the first round.
Mavs in Seven.
Phoenix vs. Portland - The Blazers have faced one injury after another this year and have been able to surprise everyone. However, this latest injury to star Brandon Roy is just too big of a loss. He is the heart and soul of that team and it will take a flawless effort from everyone on the team to compensate. Also, it doesn't help that the Suns are the hottest team in the NBA going into the playoffs, going from missing the playoffs entirely all the way to the third seed. Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire are playing some of the best basketball of their careers and ready to break through in the crowded West. I see the Suns forcing their run and gun style of basketball on the Blazers and coming up on top.
Suns in Six.
Denver vs. Utah - The Nuggets have fallen off considerably ever since George Karl announced he had cancer. They have been playing sloppy unfocused basketball. Once seen as the one true challenger to the Lakers, they are now stuck with a very tough first round matchup against the Jazz. Utah has arguably the best point guard in the NBA in Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, if he can get healthy, will be a force down low. Without Karl manning the bench, I see the Jazz having an easy first round and taking out the Nuggets.
Jazz in Five.
Thanks to Chris Devers for the 2010 Boston Celtics Playoffs Picture.