NBA Playoffs 2011:Will this be the beginning of the end?

(at least until a new CBA is signed.)

So let’s start it off by answering some questions I saw on ESPN.COM

Which top contender has the most difficult path to the NBA title?

Which top contender has the easiest path to the NBA title?

Who are your NBA Finals teams and how did they get there?

Who should be favored to win it all, and who will win it all?

My Answers

Which top contender has the most difficult path to the NBA title?

76ers. Even if they upset the Heat, they are not going to beat Chicago or Boston (sorry NY).

Edit: You said top contender. I thought it was just contender. Not sure who is considered ‘top’.

Which top contender has the easiest path to the NBA title?

Lakers. Enough talent and experience to pull it off again.

Who are your NBA Finals teams and how did they get there?

Heat. (See: Decision, The)

Who should be favored to win it all, and who will win it all?

Lakers are favored, but I would not be surprised to see a raging Chicago plow their way in.

I predict the Bulls as a repeat to the Magic in '09: overachievers doing it on execution and defense, taking out LeBron in the process. But when they hit the Lakers in the Finals they’ll get starry-eyed and lose a couple of oh-so-close-games before the life is squeezed out of them.

The only difference is they are the favorites until the Finals so it will be harder to sneak by. I’d feel safer with this prediction if Miami was on top like Cleveland was.

I’m still pulling for two small market teams to reach the Finals just to encourage media sanity. That sounds biased because the only realistic option in the East is Orlando, but there are some other fun teams out West I might actually tune in to watch.

Lakers have slipped a bit, but if Bynum’s healthy they have to be considered favorites after winning two in a row. But I think Miami’s going to win. They’re gelling better than ever, and Wade/Lebron can play 44-45 minutes a night in the playoffs. That’s pretty hard to stop.

I like Lakers over Bulls in the finals. Both teams will flat outplay the teams they’ll face, although they will probably have to go the distance in their series with them.

Celtics and Spurs are just too old, and the Heat will fail because their bench stinks. Orlando never seems to have enough and the notion of the 76ers, Hawks, or these other teams going anywhere is laughable.

If Orlando somehow upsets Chicago, I think Miami will destroy them and then make things really interesting if they face LA in the Finals.

It seems like a long time ago that everyone stopped trying to see Kobe vs. LeBron in the Finals due to LeBron’s early exits. If anyone still gives a shit, now’s the chance before Kobe has to use a walker.

Which top contender has the most difficult path to the NBA title?

Orlando if one wants to call them a top contender(they did make it to the finals two years ago). Atlanta has given them a tough time this year, and then (presumably) the Bulls and Boston/Miami? Ouch. On the other hand, I don’t know about Boston. Late season malaise that they’ll wake up from now that the playoffs are here? Or indicative of a real problem? [B]

Which top contender has the easiest path to the NBA title?

[/B]Lakers. A weak team in the first round, the chance for the Mavs in the second (and I have no respect for them in the playoffs), and then whoever’s left. Shouldn’t be that tough a test until the Conference title, though the Blazers may prove me right about the Mavs sooner than I want. I’m much happier with the the Thunder and Spurs potentially facing each other in the second round than the Mavs or even Blazers. Their first round match-up should be the opportunity to get their mojo back (and if not, well, they simply burnt out after so much basketball the previous three seasons).

Who are your NBA Finals teams and how did they get there?

Lakers from the west. At the same time, they appear a lot more vulnerable to elimination before the finals than previous years. If they get there, though, it will be because they made playoff ball work for them. Defense and half court tend to be more important than the regular season. I’m picking them on that basis: they are the team that can inflict their will on the other team when they use their frontcourt to its full advantage. The prevailing wisdom is that the Spurs current style won’t work as well in the playoffs - I’m willing to buy into that, if only out of narrow self-interest, but Pop teams always make me feel queasy, and the Thunder are coming into their own.

The East. Damn. Until the All-Star break, I would have said the Celtics, no matter where they finished. The Heat need a season to gel a bit more and add a decent veteran or two who will work for less. The Bulls have the defense, but depend way too much on Rose for their offense. Which leads me back to the Celtics - if Shaq comes back, they settle down and handle the Knicks, they have the defense and experience and more of a multi-faceted offense to win in the east.

Who should be favored to win it all, and who will win it all?

MVP, best record - place the burden on the Bulls. Or the super-friends manufactured team. Who will actually win it? The Lakers. Experience, coaching, players who have been there before and know how to get it done, and that unique, imposing front-court. But I think there’s really good opportunities for lots of teams this year. I feel less sure about it than last, though, where the Lakers were the class of the west, and the Celtics were far better than their regular season showed (all injuries healed for the playoffs).

Wow, Indiana blew it. Up by 10 with less than 4 minutes to go, then Chicago had a 16-1 run.


Wheeeeeeeew. I think Boozer’s getting ready to turn in another terrible postseason campaign.

Pity the Pacers choked. It would have been a fun opening, and certainly confirmed a lot of opinions that the Bulls regular season record doesn’t necessarily prove that they are the favorites to win it all. But, well…choke!

Thanks to the delights of NBA TV on the internets, this is my first year being able to watch it and damn, that first Bulls game was good stuff. I’m down for Bulls in the east and my chaps, the Lakers, in the west. Until I see how they do tomorrow, I’m kind of worried about the Lakers though, and generally speaking I tend to assume that any sports team I root for will fail at some point prior to the end (this is what happens when you support England in the football for years)…

The Hawks put on a clinic for dealing with the Magic when you don’t have a good center: let Dwight run over you so all the other players go cold and stop defending, then get in his head until he starts picking up retaliatory fouls and technicals.

Even if the Hawks stop shooting so well and the Magic come back, I don’t think Orlando’s going anywhere in the playoffs with all those turnovers. It’s been a problem for months and doesn’t look like it’s going away. The team doesn’t have a “playoff switch” like some of the others.

Sure missed Charles Barkely “Some of these NBA teams should be playing in March Madness!!” Too true unfortunately.

Wake me up when the Lakers decide to ‘turn the switch on’. Off to watch the Dodgers (at least until they give up their customary 6+ runs).

Can I wake you to tell you Kobe got hurt :(

He seems fine now thankfully :)

Hehehe I knew you were still watching!

Can we trade pau back for marc? Total overreaction, but still…