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NBA Playoff Predictions

This is the first time in 5 years the Cavs haven’t been in the playoffs.  It’ll be ok Cleveland, we’ll be back.  In the meantime, we get to enjoy what could be a very dramatic NBA Playoffs season.  There are a lot of intriguing matchups and story lines that go beyond basketball.  Can the Heat do what they said they’d do, can the Celtics figure out what’s wrong, are the Lakers healthy enough to three-peat, are the Bulls ready to ascend the mountain to greatness?  We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more as the Playoffs kick off today.  Here are my quick predictions for round 1.

East:

#1 Chicago Bulls vs. #8 Indian Pacers:  The Bulls have a lot of talent.  The Pacers make up for their lack of talent by trying to out hustle everyone else.  I don’t think that’s going to matter.  The Bulls have the league’s likely MVP in Derek Rose.  There is no way he lets Indiana have any sense of hope or having a chance.  Derek Rose is going for the jugular.  The Bulls will get past the Pacers quickly.  Bulls in 5.

#2 Miami Heat vs. #7 Philadelphia 76ers:  The Heat have the three mojitos and the 76ers don’t have anyone that can begin to match up with them.  I think the 76ers are young and athletic enough to make this more interesting than it should be, but they won’t be able to stop LeBron James or Dwyane Wade.  Miami looks scary good in 4 wins, and scary bad in 2 losses.  Miami takes this in 6.

#3 Boston Celtics vs. #6 New York Knicks:  Everyone wants to pick the Knicks because the Celtics are broken.  I’m not that dumb.  The Celtics will turn it on again and look like the Celtics of old.  The Knicks don’t play enough defense to stop Boston and everyone jumps back on the band wagon.  Celtics take this in 6 and Carmelo Anthony faces another early playoff exit.

#4 Orlando Magic vs. #5 Atlanta Hawks:  The Hawks are in shambles and the Magic have Dwight Howard.  Ball game.  The Magic have too much and the Hawks are not the same team they’ve been in years passed.  In fact, they look like they’ve quit on yet another coach.  Magic take this one in 5.

West:

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs. #2 Memphis Grizzlies:  Memphis is young and athletic.  The Spurs are old and experienced with Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili.  I’ll take the latter, but it won’t be easy.  I’ll take the Spurs in 6 very close, highly contested games.

#2 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #7 New Orleans Hornets:  Everyone thinks the Lakers will win this one quickly.  I’m not so sure.  Although David West is out for the season, Carl Landry has filled in nicely, and they still have Chris Paul.  I think the Lakers win this one, but not in the 4 or 5 games everyone thinks.  Lakers win this one in a very scary 7 games.

#3 Dallas Mavericks vs. #6 Portland Trailblazers:  I’m jumping on the upset bandwagon here.  The Blazers are too athletic and have a certified beast in the middle with LaMarcus Aldridge.  Dallas is a one man band at this point with Dirk Nowitzki.  I think Dallas will struggle and Portland will take advantage of it.  This is my lone upset pick of the first round.  Trailblazers win this series in 6.

#4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #5 Denver Nuggets:  I think this will be the most interesting series.  The Thunder are everyone’s pick to make a run to the finals over the Lakers.  The Nuggets have been amazing since losing Carmelo Anthony in the trade with the Knicks.  I think this will be a fun and fast paced series, but the Nuggets don’t have a legit crunch time guy.  The Thunder have two in Westbrook and Durant.  It’ll be fun, but the Thunder win this series in 6.

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The NBA’s Home Stretch… Part Deux!

This is Part Two of the NBA Home Stretch article.  For Part One click here

Side note… this is post #100 so congrats to me on that.  I expect cards, balloons, and money from all of you for such an accomplishment.  The fact that I’ve stuck with this and made it to 100 is truly amazing.  For those of you who have been reading and keeping up over all this time I say sincerely… Thank you!  Here’s to 100 more posts!

Anyways…

Part Two, The Playoff Teams.  At least if the playoffs started today. Continue reading

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Recap: Cavaliers vs. 76ers

Tonight the Cavaliers battled their way to a fairly convincing 101-93 victory over the visiting Philadelphia 76ers.  The victory is the 5th of the season and ended the Cavaliers 4 game home losing streak.

Boobie Gibson led the way scoring 18 points, pulling in 4 rebounds and dishing out 8 assists.  Anderson Varejao, who was questionable going into the game thanks to some bruised ribs, made several key plays on the defensive end as well as putting in 9 points of his own.

However, the two players who had probably the greatest impact on tonight’s game were Jamario Moon and Joey

Boobie Gibson led the way tonight

Graham.  Moon, who has grown accustom to his new role as the starting small forward scored 13 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.  Joey Graham provided a spark off the bench by providing 13 points and 4 rebounds.  Graham’s season high of 28 minutes in place of Jawad Williams was an impressive attempt to prove to Coach Byron Scott that he can be a valuable piece to the puzzle moving forward.

All in all it was a very well balanced attack tonight by the Cavaliers.  Five players scored in double digits and the team racked up 28 assists (16 of which came from Gibson and Sessions).  This was the type of basketball the Cavaliers need to play on a nightly basis if they want to compete this year in the Eastern Conference.  They upped the tempo, rebounded, played tough defense, and completely out-hustled the 76ers.

The 76ers on the other hand played a solid game in their own right and were close throughout.  Philadelphia closed out the second quarter on a solid note and found themselves tied with the Cavaliers at half time.  Unfortunately, things went south after that.  The Cavs put together an 11-0 run thanks to a few high energy plays by Jamario Moon late in the third to take an 80-70 lead.  The fourth quarter would be more of the same as the Cavaliers would close out the game and pull back to .500 with a 5-5 record.

Moon receives a lob from Varejao

The 76ers were led by Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner who both had terrific performances in the losing effort.  Young had 17 pts and 8 rebounds while Turner had 16 points and 9 rebounds.  It was the type of performance Philadelphia had hoped for when they made Turner the second overall pick in the draft.  Unfortunately without Andre Igoudala, Philadelphia lacked the necessary offensive fire power to take down the Cavaliers tonight.  Elton Brand also turned in a solid performance with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Players of the Game:

Cavaliers: Boobie Gibson 18 pts, 4 reb, 8 ast (tied career high), 2 stls

76ers: Evan Turner 16 pts, 9 reb, 0 ast, 1 blk

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Preview: Cavaliers vs. 76ers

 

 

 

 

What:  Cavaliers vs. 76ers

When: 7 pm

Where: Quicken Loans Arena

 

Tonight the Cavaliers look to end a four game home losing streak, the longest since 2003, and a 2 game losing streak overall.  The Philadelphia 76ers could be just what the doctor ordered as they come into Cleveland sporting a 2-8 record and have struggled early on this season.

The Cavs beat the 76ers on Nov. 5th

Tonight’s game is a rematch of the November 5th meeting in Philadelphia which was won by the Cavaliers.

Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, it looks like they may be playing shorthanded once again.  Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao are both listed as game time decisions.  Neither played in the Cavaliers loss Sunday night against the Pacers.  Williams is nursing an injured groin while Varejao is dealing with bruised ribs.  If they are unable to play it’s expected that Ramon Sessions and Ryan Hollins, respectively, will fill in.

The 76ers look to rebound from a loss on Saturday night at the hands of the Spurs.  While they have struggled early on

#2 overall pick Evan Turner

 as a team they have had several pleasant surprises.  Elton Brand looks healthy for the first time in a long time and Evan Turner, the highly regarded rookie from THE Ohio State, has exceeded expectations in the early going.  Both should help play a huge factor in the game.

One area of concern for the 76ers is the health status of Andre Igoudala and Lou Williams.  Both starters are dealing with injuries and have been somewhat ineffective in recent action as of late.  Williams has managed to play through the pain of an injured shoulder while Igoudala missed two games earlier last week with a strained Achilles tendon.

What to expect:

This should be a good game.  Neither team has a definitive advantage that could result in a blow out.  The Cavaliers are a better team from top to bottom.  However, if Williams and Varejao are unable to play it could cause issues with the rotation and in the rebounding battle.  Despite their possible absence, the Cavaliers have an edge in the coaching department and that will be the deciding factor.  Does anyone really trust Doug Collins at this point?  Byron Scott is the better coach with the better players.  The Cavaliers should pull this game out to end their 4 game home losing streak and get back on track.

Potential Players of the Game:

Cavaliers: J.J. Hickson

76ers: Evan Turner

Can J.J. lead the Cavs to victory tonight?

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