With reference to this event, I’ve decided to take my own shot at predicting the outcome of the 2009 NBA Playoffs. 5 points are awarded for correctly picking the winner, with an additional 2 for correctly picking the number of games played.
First Round (27)
LAL-UTA (LAL in 5) (7 points, LAL won 4-1) DEN-NOH (NOH in 7) (0 points, DEN won 4-1) DAL-SAS (DAL in 6) (5 points, DAL won 4-1) HOU-POR (POR in 6) (0 points, HOU won 4-2) CLE-DET (CLE in 5) (5 points, CLE won 4-0) BOS-CHI (BOS in 6) (5 points, BOS won 4-3) ORL-PHI (ORL in 5) (5 points, ORL won 4-2) ATL-MIA (MIA in 6) (0 points, ATL won 4-3)
I picked Miami (Dwayne Wade), New Orleans (Chris Paul), Portland (Brandon Roy) over the Hawks, Nuggets and Rockets respectively. Emotional picks, of course. That won’t happen for the next round. The next four picks (LAL, CLE, BOS, DEN) are statistically superior, and have home court advantage.
Eastern/Western Conference Semi-Finals (19)
HOU-LAL (LAL in 7) (7 points, LAL won 4-3) DAL-DEN (DEN in 6) (5 points, DEN won 4-1) ATL-CLE (CLE in 4) (7 points, CLE won 4-0) ORL-BOS (BOS in 7) (0 points, ORL won 4-3)
I was spot on in picking Cleveland and Los Angeles. Los Angeles was a lucky one, as they played badly (but still won). I fully expected Nowitzki and the rest of the Mavericks to put up 6-game series, but instead it was over in just 5. I picked Boston over Orlando as the last game was to be played in Boston, to no avail. The conference Finals will be fairly easy to predict, albeit Lakers inconsistency notwithstanding. With Yao injured in Game 4, they should have wrapped the series in 5 or 6 games, but it took a Game 7 to decide the winner. The Nuggets won’t give them an easy time, but the combined output of Bryant, Gasol, Odom and (hopefully) Bynum should triumph over Billups and company. Despite their current popularity, Denver is still over-rated. For the Magic-Cleveland series, Howard and company should be easily dispatched by LeBron’s Cleveland in just 5 games. And if King James exacts his will, maybe it will be a sweep (again) So it (should be) the NBA’s dream match up Kobe’s Lakers versus LeBron’s Cavaliers after all. Cleveland are too strong, however, and LAL will be sent packing (just like last year) in 5, maybe 6 games, injuries/suspensions notwithstanding.
Eastern/Western Conference Finals (7)
DEN-LAL (LAL in 6) (7 points, LAL won 4-2) ORL-CLE (CLE in 5) (0 points, ORL won 4-2)
I picked the Lakers-Nuggets series correctly. Despite Cleveland’s statistical superiority, Orlando won that matchup, unfortunately. I’d even predicted Cleveland to win the NBA Finals in 6, but unfortunately that was not to be, so we have a new pick to make. Los Angeles is finally playing well, and this time round, they will prevail.
NBA Finals (5)
LAL-ORL (LAL in 6) (5 points, LAL won 4-1)
Total (58 out of 105 points)
Of a maximum score of 105, I scored 58, 17 points off the pace off David Berri, the Stat Geek Smackdown 2009 winner. I picked New Orleans over Denver (Berri +5), Miami over Atlanta (Berri +7), and Boston over Orlando (Berri +7). Had I participated in the official contest, I would’ve placed 6th out of the 9 contestants.
So it was the Lakers whom triumphed in the end. My congratulations to Kobe, Gasol, Ariza, Odom and Fisher, the 5 players that had the most impact on the series. My condolences to the Magic, but Howard is young, and with the return of Nelson and the rise of Lee, he still has many opportunities to win. I do hope that Magic will offload Lewis (somehow) in the offseason, and resign Turkoglu and Gortat, for they are the players that (truly) contribute to the team.
Lewis, at $110,000,000 over 6 seasons, is a ridiculously overpaid scorer who shoots too much, and plays badly at his position of choice (power forward). I would sooner play Gortat/Howard together, for a truly “shock and awe” combination.
Alston, who was signed in light of Nelson’s injury, should also be traded/benched, along with Reddick, players whom simply do not play well enough at the guard position to warrant anything more than garbage minutes.
As I look towards the rest of the star players who’ve had disappointing postseasons, we’ve certainly not seen the last of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul.