2011 SEASON PREDICTIONS AND WHATNOT…

  

I’m not really a fan of prediction columns in sports. I mean, sure, it’s a chance to look brilliant (or dumb), but there are simply too many unknowns in even your most typical basketball season.

I mean, what if one or more superstars get injured, or Donald Sterling trades the Clippers to Mark Cuban for the Mavericks (this kind of thing ACTUALLY USED TO HAPPEN, believe it or not), or David Kahn gets one of those genius spasms like Will Ferell in “Old School” and rips off a string of awesome trades? 


I know, that last one was just to see if you’re paying attention. Anyway, we decided to do this anyway, just for the sake of doing it.


Call it peer pressure or some shit. 


 So come, let us show you the future. Or something…






                          2011 NBA PREDICTIONS



JOHN HATHWELL’S PICKS




WESTERN CONFERENCE

1) LA LAKERS
2) OKLAHOMA CITY
3) DALLAS
4) UTAH
5) HOUSTON
6) SAN ANTONIO
7) PORTLAND
8) PHOENIX
9) DENVER
10) MEMPHIS
11) LA CLIPPERS
12) NEW ORLEANS
13) GOLDEN STATE
14) SACRAMENTO
15) MINNESOTA

No secret the Lakers are the team to beat here, and much like last year the second spot is up for grabs. I like Oklahoma City here, but I’m thinking Utah is my sleeper pick here if Al Jefferson adjusts to Jerry Sloan’s way of doing things. Houston is worth kepping an eye on as well, sepecially if Daryl Morey has naother trick up his sleeve. I’m thinking the Nuggets ave the widest variable, with a chance to finish anywhere between 3rd and 10th depending on hoe the Melo drams plays out.

Otherwise, the clips have a shot at the playoffs. Why do I feel like Ive said that before?

Oh, and Minnesota has a shot at not finishing dead last. A really small one.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1)  ORLANDO
2) MIAMI
3) BOSTON
4) ATLANTA
5) CHICAGO
6) MILWAUKEE
7) NEW YORK
8) CHARLOTTE
9) INDIANA
10) WASHINGTON
11) CLEVELAND
12) DETROIT
13) PHILADELPHIA
14) NEW JERSEY
15) TORONTO

Orlando will win the most games in the regular season as injuries will cost Miami enough games to fall just short, and Boston’s senior citizens will need their beauty sleep to gear for the Postseason.

After the big three, I like the Hawks to have another strong year, while the Bulls will struggle for as it longs to take Carlos Boozer from tripping over his purse.

Otherwise, I like the Knicks to sneak into the Playoffs even if thy dont get Anthony, Indiana and Charlotte to slug it out for the 8 seed and Toronto and New Jersey to do likewise for the cellar.

Oh, and I wont be shocked at all if Washington ends up the surprise team here, but I’m also not crazy enough to put my money on it.

PLAYOFFS

WEST


1ST ROUND



LAKERS OVER SUNS
THUNDER OVER BLAZERS
MAVERICKS OVER SPURS
JAZZ OVER ROCKETS


SEMI’S


LAKERS OVER JAZZ
THUNDER OVER MAVERICKS


CONF. FINALS


LAKERS OVER T
HUNDER



EAST


1ST ROUND

MAGIC OVER BOBCATS
HEAT OVER KNICKS
CELTICS OVER BUCKS
HAWKS OVER BULLS

SEMI’S

MAGIC OVER HAWKS
CELTICS OVER HEAT

CONF. FINALS

CELTICS OVER MAGIC

NBA FINALS

LAKERS OVER CELTICS


Not much to say that wasn’t covered in the team previews. Honestly, I don’t think anyone in the East will be able to handle the Celtics, but then again I have no idea what the Heat are gonna look like. Like Wes said in the Heat preview, this shit is completely uncharted waters.

That said, a potential Lakers/Celtics rematch is a wonderful proposition, though I’m not sure if I can take 7 more games of that kind of intensity. Thing, both teams look better on paper this year, so we should be in for a series that won’t soon be forgotten.

And yeah, I’ve got the Bulls going out in the first round. What can I tell you, they don’t move me.

All in all, this years’ playoffs might lack the beginning to end drams of past years, but the battle for the eastern title is gonna be heavy-duty, and a potential Laker/Thunder rematch will as well.

Ok, I’m officially talked out. Let’s get this show on the road.


————————–

   WES LILLIMAN’S PICKS





WESTERN CONFERENCE

1) LA LAKERS
2) OKLAHOMA CITY
3) UTAH

4) DALLAS
5) PORTLAND
6) SAN ANTONIO
7) HOUSTON
8) PHOENIX
9) DENVER
10) NEW ORLEANS
11) LA CLIPPERS
12) MEMPHIS
13) GOLDEN STATE
14) SACRAMENTO
15) MINNESOTA




Out West, it’s still the Lakers and then everybody else. They should finish with the best record, although a few, injury-oriented nights off from Kobe Bryant and OKC living up to the massive hype could see a switch. I have Utah coming in after that because I really like them on paper. However, they could just as easily drop down to the 6 or 7 slot. The rest of the top 8 consists of the usual suspects.

If Phoenix were to really drop off, I could see Denver working their way into the picture. There’s also the ultimate sleeper pick of the Blake Griffin-lead Clippers, but I sure as hell am still not willing to put them and the word “playoffs” in the same sentence.

For the record, I’m going with the Timberwolves to win the “Kyle Singler Sweepstakes” (alright, so the #1 pick will probably be UNC’s Harrison Barnes) and finish with the worst record in the league. Of course, Barnes isn’t a point guard, so they probably won’t draft him.

 EASTERN CONFERENCE


1) MIAMI
2) ORLANDO
3) BOSTON
4) CHICAGO
5) MILWAUKEE

6) ATLANTA

7) CHARLOTTE

8) NEW YORK

9) INDIANA
10) PHILADELPHIA
11) ClLEVELAND
12) DETROIT
13) NEW JERSEY
14) WASHINGTON
15) TORONTO

As far as the Eastern Conference goes, I can’t imagine too many people picking anybody other than the Heat to at least win the regular season crown (although a small case could be made for Orlando, especially if Miami were to be hampered by injuries). After that, the middle of the pack is something to be pretty certain of, although you can tweak the order of the teams.

I’m counting on Larry Brown to guide the Bobcats back to the playoffs and, yes, I’ve also been swept up in KNICKS FEVER and have them sneaking into the postseason for the final seed. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, because I’d much rather watch Miami roll into MADISON SQUARE GARDEN than the uninspiring, mind-numbing Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers. It’s like the difference between a night out with Lindsay Lohan or one with Hilary Swank – one is guaranteed to be a SPECTACLE and the other, eh… I’d just rather stay home.

PLAYOFFS

WEST


1st Round

Lakers over Suns


Thunder over Rockets


Jazz over Spurs


Blazers over Mavericks

Semi-Finals

Lakers over Blazers


Thunder over Jazz

Conference Finals

Lakers over Thunder

EAST

1st Round

Heat over Knicks


Magic over Bobcats


Celtics over Hawks


Bulls over Bucks

Semi-Finals

Heat over Bulls


Celtics over Magic

Conference Finals

Celtics over Heat

NBA FINALS

Lakers over Celtics

That’s right. When it’s all said and done, I think we’ll see a repeat of last year’s tremendous clash between Boston and L.A. Boston kept all of their critical pieces and added more monsters in the middle, while L.A. also has everything and made great strides to sure up their overall depth. Not enough talent in South Beach to stop the matchup nightmare that is the Celtics, and no amount of Durant heroics and Thunder momentum will be enough to counter the interior-presence and the experience that the Lakers have.

And, as long as there’s Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol, I’m picking L.A….

… and I’m no fan of either team, so somebody feel free to shake things up.

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