The PUP List’s Final NBA Playoff Predictions
Philadelphia vs. Boston – The Sixers pulled off a big upset of the Chicago Bulls, although they were heavily disadvantaged by injuries to Rose and Noah. The Sixers might be able to win two or three games, but the Celtics are just too hungry right now. Boston knows that this is their last hurrah. Pierce and KG won’t let the Celtics lose. I think the Celtics will win in six games. Celtics win.
Indiana vs. Miami – The Pacers can give Miami some trouble, especially if Roy Hibbert can come through with a big series. Hibbert is the X factor because he is Indiana’s only mismatch against Miami. His size and skill is something that Miami lacks. LeBron can shut down Granger and David West is no better than Chris Bosh. I have a feeling that Wade will really take over in this series. He has been relatively quiet and things could get crazy if he starts filling it up. Miami wins in six. Heat win.
San Antonio vs. Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers defeated the Grizzlies in am impressive game seven. Vinny Del Negro made a bold decision by playing Kenyon Martin late in the game over Blake, and it seemed to work. The Clippers will head in to this series with optimism, but they won’t win. The Spurs are too good, too tough and too seasoned. The Spurs will advance because Tony Parker can go blow for blow with CP3 and no one will be able to stop Manu Ginobili. The Clippers had a good run, but they will lose in six. Spurs win.
Oklahoma City vs. Los Angeles Lakers – This will be a very entertaining series, mainly because we will witness a changing of the guard as far as the powers in the West are concerned. Kobe and the Lakers will put up a good fight, but I can’t see OKC losing this series. The Thunder and the Lakers have developed quite a rivalry recently and Metta’s elbow to Harden’s head at the end of the regular season didn’t help calm things down. Durant, Harden and Westbrook are too young and fast for L.A. There is no chance that Sessions and Blake can guard Westbrook for an entire series. Durant will average at least 28 a game in the series. Pau and Bynum could cause some problems for OKC, but Ibaka and Perkins are tough and scrappy enough to minimize the damage. Thunder win in six. Thunder win.
Boston vs. Miami – This will be one for the ages. The Heat know that this is their chance to experience their own changing of the guard, just like the Thunder with the Lakers. Rondo is the X factor here. He has the intelligence and ability to solely take over a game. And he will need to take over four different times if the Celtics want to win. Paul Pierce and KG are playing on another level right now. Garnett is playing with so much energy and passion that it looks like he is back in Minnesota with Cassell and Sprewell. When Pierce is on, he is unstoppable. However, LeBron is the best player in the world and he will be trying as hard as he can to shed his “un-clutch” title and finally win that elusive championship. Wade can be contained by Avery Bradley. That sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Just Google Bradley’s name and you can read endless quotes from NBA authorities about his defense and massive potential. This will be a great series. I have the Celtics winning in seven. Celtics win.
San Antonio vs. Oklahoma City – The Spurs are rolling on all cylinders right now. Ginobili and Parker are playing with youth and energy and Duncan isn’t messing around. Their bench runs deep. Stephen Jackson and co. can ball…hard. But, that being said, no one is stopping the Thunder this year. It’s OKC’s time. Westbrook and Harden can play with Parker and Ginobili. In fact they match up perfectly. (See this video of Harden at ASU comparing himself to Ginobili)
Boston vs. Oklahoma City – Out with the old, in with the new. Boston is playing with serious intensity and they have veteran experience. But, OKC has some playoff experience of their own. The Thunder will win this series and Kevin Durant will emerge as one of the truly greatest players of a generation. His skill set and basketball IQ is unparalleled. Pierce and the Celtics will be able to win three games. But game seven will go to Durant’s squad. I believe that these playoffs will turn out to be the best we’ve seen in a while, and The Finals will not disappoint. The two teams match up very, very well. Rondo and Westbrook will have an absolute battle, it will be vicious. I’d take Rondo over Russ at this point, Rondo will probably have the better series. Harden will outplay Avery Bradley. Durant and Pierce will go blow for blow, but Durant will prove to be too much for him. Ibaka and KG are a great matchup, that will be entertaining. KG should outplay him, but Ibaka can at least contain him. Don’t forget about Perkins either, he will be playing with revenge on the brain. Danny Ainge and the Celtics traded him to OKC just last year. In the end, KD will take this series over and win a title for Oklahoma City in game seven. The Thunder are the Champions.