Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Figured I'd Get Around To It Eventually...

After going 6-for-8 on first round predictions - in which every single top seed advanced, expcet the Nuggets, who shouldn't have been a high seed, anyways - I figured I needed a little help in making my Round 2 predictions. Not too much, though - just a game. So now that all four series have played one time, here goes...

In order of easiest to predict to toughest...

Pistons vs. Cavs. After that game one debacle, its painfully obvious the different classes the Cavs and the Pistons are in - kinda like in third grade how there was always that little table of the "advanced" kids reading their books with "hard covers" and then the rest of us drooling idiots trying to color inside the lines. Man, I hated that table. Buts that's the Pistons. Excluding LeBron, they are superior in basically every meaningful facet of the game: defense, rebounding, passing, shooting, execution, cohesiveness...and plenty more, I'm sure. The LeBron Factor is good for one game, maybe two (hey, if the Bucks can pull of a W, I think Bron Bron can snag at least one at the Q). Although the Pistons are pretty upset over being relagated to NBATV for three games (Why, though? They were playing the Bucks. And when they watch game film of themselves, are they ever jumping up and down? Chauncey looks pretty sleepy in the commercial where he's watching film.) But still, they're pissed, so they could turn this into a statement series.
The call: Pistons in 5.

(OK, screw that "easiest to hardest" thing. The next three series could go either way...)

Heat vs. Nets. In my humble opinion, Game 1 was an anomoly, for a few reasons: 1) The Nets aren't going to continue shooting like that. 2) The Heat will stop being idiots and play hard. As much as you can talk about strategy and whatnot, it comes down to one thing with the Heat: do they play hard? When they give their top effort, they are very, very good, but they don't always do that, probably because their alleged leader will "make his free throws when they matter" (hey, Shaq? They always matter.) and will "decide when he wants to get mean." I think Game 2 sounds like a good time to start. Flip the switch, Big Daddy.

Plus, why are the Heat doubling ball screens with Shaq? Why not go under every screen? Make Carter, Jefferson, Kidd shoot over screens? The Heat perimeter is full of more holes than a pound of Swiss cheese (there's my best Rick Reilly impression), so why not play off them and force them to shoot? If the Nets are going to consistantly drill long range shots, you aren't going to win anyways. So make 'em shoot, Miami, and sure up that perimeter D, and take your chances. Reilly should be able to figure this out, although he seems to just be chilling during games and then all depressed after them, so who knows.
The call: Heat in 6.

Suns vs. Clippers. First and foremost, thank God the "hallway series" never happened. That's the one and only time that monstrosity is ever getting mentioned.

I think I'm a little dissapointed in Sam I Am. Kenny had it right on TNT: he let the Clips fall for the bait. The Clippers were running at weird times, forcing tempo, taking pull up jumpers without numbers...it was just, um...disconcerting. I think they'll figure it out. Plus, if Kwame Brown was able to eat these guys up inside, what can Elton Brand do? Even Kaman? Elton's 40 point game should be a good indicator. Plus, when you throw the ball inside, it forces you to be patient on offense. You put it inside, wait for the double team, play of that...maybe you end up taking a jumper, but it's going to be an open one, and it's going to be later in the shotclock. Which is how you beat the Suns. And the Clippers are going to have 2 very good guards on the court at all times, which means the MVP is going to have to play defense at all times for the first time this playoffs (thank you very much, Smush).

But as much as it is about taking advantage of the Suns lack of D, it's more about stopping the Suns on offense. You are gonna get your points. You need to make sure the Suns don't get yours...and you do that by controlling tempo. By being patient on offense, you slow tempo. Make Phoenix score in the halfcourt. They are still very, very good at that...but the opportunities are limited. The Suns want more attempts. Limit those attempts, and you've won yourself a ball game.

As long as the Clips stop falling for the bait, this series is theirs; they clearly have a superior, deeper team. During stretches last night, when the Clips didn't fall for it, they led. But that bait is so tantalizing. You don't think that carton of milk looked good at first to Ron Burgundy? And we all know how that worked out..."milk was a bad choice." Don't drink the milk, Clippers, and you'll be fine.
The call: Clips in 6.

Spurs vs. Mavs. There is no logic here. None at all. But I think this is Dirk's coming out party. And he really didn't have an exceptional game one...and Bowen pretty much locked him up on that last shot...and he kinda flipped out to the press...I dunno. Just a hunch. Pretty insightful analysis, eh?

This is probably just because I hate the Spurs. Well, mainly Manu. Freakin' balding flopper, I can't stand him. And Bowen is dirty as hell, putting his feet underneath jump shooters...that's so damn wrong, I can't even talk rationally about it. And only Tony Parker could make me hate some one like Eva Longoria. Thanks, "TP" (as in, "old man johnson called the cops on us for playing football in the street, lets "tp" his house.) Duncan and Horry are OK, I guess...but they don't really make me like the Spurs, just not hate them any more than I already do. The sooner they are out of the playoffs, the better. Let's go Mavs!
The call: Mavs in 6.

1 comments so far. Might as well add your own.:

Lily said...

I don't think sticking your feet under a jump shooter is dirty... just a strategy... a good one too. I hope your right about Dirk. Although, I think that the Suns pull it out again...its hard to stop someone for 7 games.