Game 7

NBA Finals Game 7 Preview

Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers- 9 ET ABC

Who will get it?

After what can be summed up as a very disappointing year for the NBA Playoffs, the Finals have been far from a let down. Tonight this year’s champion will be decided by one final game in Los Angeles. It’s been a rollercoaster of a series with both team’s having faced their ups and downs.

Game 1: It was Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol who led the Lakers to a victory in the opening game of the series.

Game 2: Ray Allen connected on 8 of 11 three-pointers and Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double which helped the Celtics head back to Boston with a split series, swinging home court advantage in their favor.

Game 3: Celtics’ Game 2 hero Ray Allen shot 0-13 from the field scoring only 2 points that he earned from his only trip to the charity stripe. Allen’s disappointing performance played a huge role in why the Lakers came away with a big Game 3 win on the road. The loss showed just the league just how important Ray Allen’s contributions are to the Celtics success in big games.

Game 4: Glen Davis and Nate Robinson provided the much needed spark and production off the Celtics bench leading their team to the crucial bounce back win at home. Tying up the series at two games apiece.

Game 5: Kobe Bryant’s 38 points wasn’t enough for the Lakers to earn the victory on the road which would’ve given them a commanding 3-2 series lead heading back home for the remainder of the series.

Game 6: Down but not out, the Lakers recovered back at home when faced with elimination. Unfortunately for the Celtics, they experienced an early buzz-kill losing starting center Kendrick Perkins to a knee injury. The Lakers held control of the lead throughout the entire game.

The Boston bench will need a big night from Big Baby and Nate if they are going to come out on top.

Game 7: With both teams one win away from taking ownership of this year’s Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, you can best be sure it’ll be a battle down to the end. For the fifth time in their twelve NBA Finals meetings the Celtics and the Lakers are faced with a Game 7 matchup. Going into tonight’s matchup the Celtics must overcome all odds. Not only are they on the road for the biggest game of the year but they’ll be without Kendrick Perkins. While Perkins may not be the most prolific scorer, his toughness on both ends and defensive presence will most definitely be missed. It’ll be interesting to see just how Doc Rivers decides to approach the Lakers size down low with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

I’m totally against the idea of starting Glen Davis tonight and instead I’m going with Rasheed Wallace. Sheed has been everything but impressive all season long, but these are the types of games a guy like Rasheed Wallace steps up. He’s a proven veteran whose been faced with similar circumstances before, he’s not afraid of attacking the tasks at hand, and being that he’s at the end of his career he’ll lay it all out on the line for the entire 48 minutes.

It’ll be especially important that Rasheed Wallace and the rest of his Celtics team get out to an early jump. You cannot play from behind inside the Staples Center, instead you must force the Lakers hand to keep up with you. That most likely will be decided as the first quarter nears the four minute mark as we begin to see both coaches turning to their benches. If the Celtics bench can come up big tonight, the Celtics have a chance. If not, I see Kobe Bryant determining the fate of his Lakers team and when it’s for all the marbles, I’ll go with Kobe.

A Celtics win will occur if Rajon Rondo has a fantastic overall night and if the Celtics bench can provide the much needed spark and scoring load.

A Lakers win will occur if Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol play up to their standard. Obviously, the chances of this happening is much more likely than the Celtics bench being able to produce to the level needed to have a chance.

Behind a brilliant performance from Kobe Bryant the Los Angeles Lakers will be crown the 2010 NBA Champions with Kobe Bryant taking home the Finals MVP honor.

Lakers- 107 Celtics- 101

Smile, Kobe. You won the title and are Finals MVP

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5/13/10

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics- 8 ET ESPN

There’s a very interesting situation taking place tonight in Boston. One in which the league’s best player will be put to a challenge in a never before seen event. With their backs against the wall, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers face elimination on the road after failing to take Game 5 at home.

King James is coming off the worst playoff performance of his career and being the reigning back-to-back MVP the NBA world expects nothing but a bounce-back, spectacular performance in Game 6. When it comes to the league, In LeBron James I Trust. Despite the elbow injury, James will come out firing early and often in Game 6. Not only will it be important for him to develop a rhythm early but in doing so he’ll also be able to quiet down the Boston crowd.

2010 NBA Finals? The NBA sure hopes so....

It’ll be interesting to see which crew of officials Mr. Stern decides to assign this game. For one, the league’s hope is that this series will go the maximum 7 games and for two, if the NBA could wish upon a star they’d hope for a Kobe vs. LeBron NBA Finals. The NBA will get one of its two wishes granted tonight a 7th game back in Cleveland. Cavaliers behind a fired up LeBron get the job done tonight in a do or die battle.

Cavaliers- 116 Celtics- 102

5/11/10 NBA Playoff Prediction

Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers- 8 ET TNT

Unbelievable in Game 4, down right nasty stat line....

To me, each team’s success in this series isn’t rocket science. For the Celtics to win they must get a big scoring contribution from point guard Rajon Rondo. For the Cavaliers, on the other hand, well it’s clearly got to be the play of LeBron James. After Game 3, I was at a loss of words, you’re meaning to tell me it’s possible for a point guard to drop 29 points, snatch down 18 rebounds, and drop 13 assists? Numbers like that even make Jason Kidd lose his breath, Rajon Rondo was an absolute beast to say the very least! (rhyme intended)

"It's on the the next one" for LeBron & the Cavs after dropping Game 4

Now I’m not a huge fan of Rajon Rondo but it’s hard not liking what he did in Game 3, the Celtics won’t lose a single game if Rondo can play like that on a consistent basis, not to mention go down in the record books. But now the story shifts, as LeBron’s buddy-ole- pal sings, “On to the Next One”. King James is back in his throne at home for Game 5 and his team has a bad taste in their mouths after losing Game 4.

For the Cavs it’s step up time for Mo Williams, he’s been very disappointing to say the least and if you can’t score, please save yourself from getting embarrassed. I don’t care how good a point guard with the size of Rondo is, he shouldn’t be able to do what he did in Game 4. The Cavs need a big win in Game 5 to keep control of the series, but just like tonight’s opening tipoff, the series is up for grabs. I’ll take LeBron James in Game 5.

Cavaliers- 104 Celtics- 96

Three Keys to another Celtics Win

1) Hit Varejao in the Balls

2) Don’t Acknowledge Brian Scalabrine

3) And Clearly, Don’t Score for the Other Team!

5/10/10 NBA Playoff Predictions

Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks- 8 ET TNT

It's time to unleash Mario West & let him try his best to stomp on the Magic

It’s only Monday but T.G.I.F. thank goodness it’s finished! At least as far as this series is concerned, it’s been a complete joke, and there’s no sense wasting anymore of my time or your time doing a write-up on a series that was over even before it started. This has to go down as one of the worst second round series of all time, I mean seriously, each final score looks as if it’s a preseason game matchup. Speaking of preseason, the Hawks should prepare for this one as if it is next season and play their youth. The Atlanta Hawks “so-called” rowdy fans have already thrown in the towel, why shouldn’t the team follow suit? Magic win again.

Magic- 113 Hawks- 93

First Dwight Howard stole the nickname “Superman” from Shaq & Now Take This From King James?!?! haha

Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz- 10:30 ET TNT

Nearly a Game 3 Hero

I wished you all could’ve heard the roar of exasperation that traveled throughout the dorm room on the campus of Marquette University as the final buzzer sounded at the end of Game 3 on Saturday. Our very own, Wesley Matthews fell just short of being a Game 3 hero with a last second tip in at the buzzer, but the ball just didn’t bounce his way.

Facing a 3-0 deficit the Jazz are toast, but I think they’re a team with too much pride and heart to get swept and finished off on their home floor. Deron Williams will be given his time to shine much like Dwayne Wade did in Round 1, down 3-0 against the Boston Celtics. The Jazz will ultimately help the Phoenix Suns get another few days rest and give them a chance to sit down to study the Lakers live. The Jazz are much more similar to the Suns than they’d probably like to admit. While their effort on the defensive end is much different, their size and style with their postmen is very similar. Jazz take Game 4 and avoid the sweep.

Jazz- 108 Lakers- 101

Jazz Rookie Wesley Matthews & Kosta Koufos have a Dance-Off

5/9/10 NBA Playoff Predictions

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics- 3:30 ET ABC

For the Celtics, Game 3 was embarrassing to say the least and it ended up being the historic franchise’s worst playoff loss ever. Game 4 isn’t just a matter of winning or losing it’s more about stepping up to the challenge that comes with playing against LeBron James.

Stop Simply Glancing at the Scoreboard & Make Some Adjustments!

Head Coach Doc Rivers and his handful of well-seasoned NBA greats never once even made an effort to make an adjustment in Game 3 on LeBron. They didn’t show any pride, allowing their team in their city to get absolutely embarrassed in their first home game in Round 2. There are no excuses for not even trying to make adjustments! None! Zip zero!

Now granted LeBron hit his fair share of “nothing-else-you-can-do” shots on Celtics defenders but at some point in the game, you to pick your poison, and force those around LeBron to beat you. Everyone knows there’s a lot of pressure on the Cavaliers to win a championship this year with LeBron heading into a free agency campaign. Despite where you stand on whether LeBron will leave Cleveland or not, the pressure is clearly there. The Cavs organization has done it’s best to surround LeBron will the very best unit that can help him become an NBA champion, make those guys (Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, and heck even Shaquille O’Neal) prove that!

Make Him Beat You

All season long the Celtics have been a team that either show up and play or just aren’t all quite there, a sad but true statement about a group of notable, experienced players. Game 4, I expect the Cavaliers to prevail yet again. If the Celtics are to stand a chance they’ll have to get a big boost scoring wise from Rajon Rondo. But I see LeBron and the Cavs heading home just one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals.

Cavaliers- 107 Celtics- 93

Someone Please Inform LeBron That Tomorrow is in fact Mother’s Day & He Shouldn’t Tell His Mother to “Sit Her Ass Down”….

Coincidentally this happen in a playoff series against the Celtics!

Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs- 8 ET TNT

That Goal Was To Make My Predictions Look Foolish- Mission Accomplished

I’ll be first to admit it, I’ve been horribly wrong with my expectations for the Suns in this year’s NBA playoffs. Maybe it was just my lack of interest in the team, even better, it might just be the fact that in the past two years the only games televised here in Milwaukee are on TNT, or maybe I got it all twisted. Maybe it’s not my expectations for the Suns that are terribly off, instead it’s my expectations for the San Antonio Spurs. After all, I did kind of forget that they’re the 7th seed.

But 7th seed or 1st seed bottom line is both of these teams are very similar. Both have their big names stars ending their prime in Nash and Duncan. Both have their scoring machine shooting guards in Richardson and Ginobili. And probably most importantly both have plenty of concerns to deal with at the end of their seasons.

But hey, I’m not here to bash either team in fact I’ve been very impressed with the Suns demeanor and if they keep this momentum up, I might even give them a slight chance of beating the Los Angeles Lakers in a 7 game series.

Cherish This Suns Fans

There’s really not much to comment on heading into Game 4. The series is clearly over and the Suns would be foolish not to give it their all to finish their business tomorrow night. But if I were still a Suns fan, I’d actually wish upon a Suns loss. If you’re a diehard Suns fan it’d be priceless to be at Game 5 and being able to talk trash and boot the Spurs out of the playoffs in Phoenix, something the Suns fans can’t say they’ve done in years. I can already see the crowd of Suns fans outside the Suns player parking garage anxiously awaiting the departure of the Spurs team bus headed to Sky Harbor that night.

One final note before I call it quits on this post, how can I not at least give some recognition to Goran Dragic. While I’m far from impressed of his potential, I’d be ignorant to say what he did in Game 3 wasn’t very impressive. Congrats Goran, you’ve only continued to help Suns fans maintain some hope that you are the future point guard. Your shot has drastically improved, there’s no doubt about it, but as far as being a leader goes, you got a long ways to go. Keep making steady improvements and maybe I’ll decide to budge a little, but having the tendency to pick up your dribble for no purpose and turning over the ball in the backcourt when faced with backcourt on the ball pressure doesn’t help your case. Oh and by the way, my name is spelled Ross, not Rosse so next time someone decides to try to play a joke on me and ask you to personally make an autograph out to me, drop the “e” my friend. (True Story).  But nonetheless good job in Game 3, you stepped up in a big position and got the job done, something I’m not used to seeing you do in games I’ve been able to watch. So with all this I apologize to any offended Suns fans, maybe it’s just the games I’m able to see that misguide my judgments, as do many of you when it comes to your opinion on my Milwaukee Bucks. But hey, at the end of the day, congrats to the Phoenix Suns, you’ve done it, you’ve finally beat the Spurs and did s in an impressive and very commanding fashion. You’re headed to the Western Conference Finals.

Suns- 111 Spurs- 103

While I could remember this….

I’ll Choose to Remember This….

5/7/10 NBA Playoff Predictions

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics- 7 ET ESPN

The Garden will be painted green tonight!

The only second round series that heads into a Game 3 with both teams tied with one win a piece, this game serves as the game of the night. With the Celtics able to pull out a key victory on the road, the pressure is now on LeBron James and the Cavaliers to steal one in Boston, easier said then done.

Tonight is a must win for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Before you call that statement a stretch, hear me out. A Celtics win in Game 3, enables them to continue to roll off the momentum gained in Game 2. From there, the Celtics would head into Game 4 very well knowing that they could pretty much put the nail in the coffin with a win, which would give them a commanding 3-1 series lead going back to Cleveland for Game 5. Bottom line is the Boston Celtics must win all of their home games in order to win this series. I’d be very surprised to see them pull off any more wins inside the Quicken Loans Arena in the series. So in other words, if the Cavs can just earn one win on the road in Boston, they win the series.

No stopping 'Bron 'Bron tonight...Expect him to put up 40+

As always the Cavaliers will be led behind the play of LeBron James. Coming off a disappointing Game 2 loss, I see the Cavaliers  prevailing in Game 3 over the Boston Celtics despite the Celtics having momentum. Tonight, expect LeBron to go off for 40 points at the very least. King James knows what’s at stake with a loss in Game 3 and he’ll refuse to let it happen, even if he has to do so far, far away from his castle. Cavs win behind a spectacular night from LeBron James.

Cavaliers- 104 Celtics- 99

Can Mo Williams once again leave Coach Mike Brown speechless at the podium?

Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs- 9:30 ET ESPN

Ahh the good ole days of being a Suns fan

The Phoenix Suns have been very impressive to say the least, can they continue to prove me wrong again in Game 3? I can tell you they’ll have their chance. While I fully realize this isn’t the same Spurs team of the past, I definitely feel the Spurs still have what it takes to stretch the series a at least 6 games. But I have to admit, the Suns have been playing so well, I’ve been forced to question my predictions to the joy of the countless Suns fans that read the blog.

Here’s my revised prediction on how I see the rest of the series filling out. Back at home the Spurs taking Games 3 and 4, but after taking both home games, the Spurs will be out of gas. With that, I have Suns winning Game 5 back in Phoenix and stealing one in San Antonio to close out the series in 6 games.

The Spurs need more from Manu in Game 3

But tonight, expect a Suns loss. The Spurs will be able to at least make this a respectable series and will avoid embarrassment. If the Suns yet again prove me wrong with a win in Game 3, expect a Suns sweep. But until that final buzzer rings out with the Suns coming out on top in the points column, shocking me once again, I’ll take the Suns winning the series in 6 games. Expectations for tonight’s matchup includes better play from Manu Ginobili and George Hill back at home and less bench production from Channing Frye and Jared Dudley on the road. Spurs win tonight.

Spurs- 113 Suns-109

As Suns fans very well know anything can happen for the Spurs at home in San Antonio

Bucks/Hawks Game 7 Predictions (Special Edition)

Milwaukee Bucks at Atlanta Hawks- 1 ET- ABC

Prepare for Game 7

As we all know, December 25th is quite the holiday celebration. Now that I’m all grown up, outside of getting to spend quality time with my family, watching the highlighted NBA games on ABC each year is what I look forward to most. This year, Christmas came a little bit early in many respects. On Friday it came for the Hawks as the Bucks gave them a huge gift as they came out very poorly and never recovered, which allowed the Hawks to regain control of the series. Tomorrow marks a gift for the Milwaukee Bucks as they play a deciding Game 7 in Atlanta. You may be wondering how can it be a gift for a Bucks team that could’ve closed out the series at home? While you’re absolutely right, it’s for those exact same reasons that Game 7 is a gift to the Milwaukee Bucks. This Game 7 will forever be known in my book as The Gift & The Curse.

The Bucks gift wrapped Game 6

“The Gift” will come in it’s appropriate holiday fashion with the Bucks wearing their traditional Christmas team colors. “The Gift” will be opened by the Atlanta Hawks and it shall be shared amongst the entire Hawks organization, team, fans , and city. Maybe you’ve already see where this is leading but the Gift is the Curse. The curse to what’s to come in the near future in Atlanta after tragic Game 7 loss in Atlanta occurs. Now you may wonder: How will the gift be successfully sent and presented? How dare you ask such a question, you should’ve learned that answer growing up. The answer: By the reindeer of course!

These "Reindeer" will decide Game 7 for their respected teams

Dasher: “Jamal Crawford” Whomever is defending Crawford must make sure to know where he is at all times, especially during the closing seconds of this game. In his first playoff appearance, Crawford’s going to be dashing all around the floor looking to get off a clean look at the basket. If anyone’s going to deliver the unbelievable dagger to the Bucks chances of moving on it lies in the hands of Jamal Crawford.

Dancer: “Brandon Jennings” In the Game 6 postgame press conference Jennings stated he’s coming ready to play come Sunday afternoon. When he means ready to play, it also means he’ll be ready to swag, so expect a little dancing on and off the court.

Prancer: “Ersan Ilayasova” The Bucks need Ilayasova to prance all around the glass on both ends of the floor. He’ll be important in limiting the Hawks second shots on the defensive end and cleaning up the Bucks missed shots with put backs on the offensive end.

He'll be fired up for Game 7

Vixen: “Joe Johnson” The term Vixen just sounds scary and evil which is exactly how Bucks’ fans would describe Johnson all series long but especially now heading into Game 7. The grammatically correct definition of a vixen is a female fox or ill-tempered woman, none of which apply to Johnson.

Comet: “Josh Smith” J-Smoov will continue to be unsmooth near and around the basket whenever he’s unable to finish above the rim. Under the rim, he’ll continue to look he should be playing for the WNBA’s Houston Comets.

Cupid: “Carlos Delfino”It’s safe to say by now that Delfino has found his shooting touch from the outside. Knowing you can count upon him to hit his open looks, take some pressure of Salmons, and hit big shots, what’s not to love about Carlos….

Donner: “Mike Woodson” Since Donner is not an actual word and just a name, it didn’t ring a bell to who be honored with this reindeer. But Donner does rhyme with goner and that’s exactly what Mike Woodson will be at the end of the playoffs: win or lose tomorrow. Unless the Hawks win the NBA Championship, he’s gone: either leaving under his own will which could potentially end up being to Philly with Larry Brown. Why would he opt to leave on his own? Job Security. Some would already say his job is on the line and that’s before Joe Johnson packs up and leaves this summer.

Everyday a Scrub is Born, Clap for 'em, Clap for 'em...eeeyyy

Blitzen: “Zaza Pachulia & Dan Gadzuric” When it comes to this name, I can’t help but think of the word blitz. Not only would both of these honorable bench players be great defensive football players but they more than make up for it by blitzing (fouling) on the basketball court. Whether it’s to send a statement or just a shot block attempt, both are very gifted when it comes to fouling.

It may be unfair, but the Bucks' Game 7 chances are determined by Salmons

Rudolph: “John Salmons” Coming off a horrendous 2-13 shooting night for only 8 points in Game 6, Salmons is the key to delivering “The Gift and The Curse” to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7. Being Rudolph, he’ll need to use his famous Red Nose to guide his deer to victory. While that starts off on the offensive end by providing a bulk of the scoring load, it can’t end there. Salmons must also provide “hard-nosed” defense on Joe Johnson for the entirety of Game 7. Can he do it all? Of course; has Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer ever let you down? Like Johnson, Salmons leadership is never vocal, but like another popular “Rudolf”, he’s going to “Let It Rock” in Game 7.

NBA fans across the globe should mark this game down as a holiday. Hawks and Bucks fans in particular will be rushing to the television sets like a child rushing to see what Santa left on Christmas morning. The rest will be up to 3 keys to the game are nearly identical to those that determine your Christmas presents:

  1. The Reindeer: Whichever “reindeer” are able to take care of business consistently until the final buzzer sounds will win the game for their respective teams. Collectively as a whole, they must all be on the same page and click with one another. Which “team” of reindeer do this the best separate themselves from other and move their slay onto Orlando to face the Magic in Round 2.
  2. NBA Playoffs = NBA Christmas

    Santa: You may find it a little shocking for me to admit this being the big NBA supporter that I am but NBA Commissioner David Stern is Santa. In the end, Santa has a lot of influence on who’ll end up taking the sleigh to Orlando. As the NBA Playoffs progress he’ll be making a list, checking it twice, gunna find out who’s naughty or nice. And come time for one “nice” team to hoist the NBA Championship trophy, Santa Clause is coming to town!!! My advice to the Bucks being the underdogs and a team that wouldn’t be expected to have much of a chance in making a Round 2 matchup against the Magic a competitive one that has the potential to go 6 or 7 games (bringing in that much more money for the league…cough, cough) and to remember to leave Santa a full glass of Milk (fresh from Wisconsin) and some chocolate chip cookies!

  3. Elfs (Santa’s Little Helpers): Once again, I’m ripping my own support of the NBA into little pieces right now but it’s true. We all know Santa has his little helpers and for the David Stern and the NBA that’s of course the officiating. Like I mentioned above, with the Hawks at home and being the team that looks to be much more able to stretch a series with the Magic to at least 6 or 7 games, the Elf’s most likely will be handing the favorable calls to the Hawks. Here are two prime examples from this year already:

For most of us, Christmas is among the most cherished childhood memories we carry with us throughout our lives. We never forget those mornings we rushed out to the living room to see what Santa had left us. While our thought and belief of one man traveling across the world spreading holiday cheer and leaving children gifts that they had on their wish list may diminish; Christmas is amazing and Santa is a big reason for that. The NBA is also where amazing happens and whether we’d like to admit it or not, David Stern has a lot to do with what’s granted off our wish list.

For Bucks fans, it’s hard to add to the wish list, the Milwaukee Bucks have gotten all that could ever ask for this year and more. An exciting future star in draft pick Brandon Jennings, a strong return from overseas from Ersan Ilayasova, drastic improvement in both leadership and performance roles from Andrew Bogut, a solid free agent signing in Jerry Stackhouse, a great deadline trade grabbing John Salmons, saved tons of money moving Richard Jefferson’s contract and picking up Kurt Thomas who turned out to be a blessing in disguise, great bench play and attitude from Luke Ridnour, even more improved defense from Mbah a Moute, a great swap receiving Carlos Delfino, and the creation of Squad 6. With all of this came recognition and respect, all year long the Bucks weren’t the laughing matter they once were, both of the Bucks masterminds were honored: John Hammond won the league’s Executive of the Year Award and Head Coach Scott Skiles was runner-up for NBA Coach of the Year. And most importantly, the NBA now knows why it should FEAR THE DEER.

Ever since stepping foot onto Marquette campus as a college freshmen, I’ve been a all out supporter of the Milwaukee Bucks. I’ve stood by this team since the first game I ever attended, now over 70 games later (having not missed a single game (preseason or season when in Milwaukee) I’ll continue to stand behind the Bucks in Game 7. While I’ll admit and it’s definitely clear in this post that I have my doubts about Game 7, I’m going to let my bias and just overall passion for the Bucks organization to get the best of me in my Game 7 prediction. No way I’m picking against the Bucks in Game 7, I’ve always been a believer in this city, this franchise, and this team, and it ain’t stopping now.

Bucks- 108 Hawks- 107

If this indeed ends up being my last Milwaukee Bucks Game Post of the Season, I hope you enjoyed them & be sure to stay with us as we follow the rest of the NBA playoffs! Thanks for the support!- Ross Geiger


4/29/10 NBA Playoff Predictions

Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs- 8 ET TNT

These three must lead the charge with their backs against the wall in San Antonio

In their two game trip out to San Antonio to play games 3 and 4, the Dallas Mavericks failed to come through with a road victory. Coming off a home victory in Game 5, staying safe from elimination, the Mavericks have their backs up against the wall traveling into the Spurs country. There’s a strong chance that even before the game tips off, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban won’t have any fingernails left on his hands. This nerve racking Game 6 will be the game of the night as both the Mavericks and the Spurs pose a threats that could head deep into the playoffs.

Both Manu & Timmy will be refreshed for Game 6

Rest assured, Tim Duncan will elevate his game and chomping at the bit to finish off Dirk Nowitzki and the rest of his rival opponents. I can also assure you Caron Butler will not go off for 35 points and 11 rebounds again in Game 6. With Ginobili only clocking 18 minutes in Game 5, the Spurs in a sense are well rested and should be well prepared. It’s almost as if they were okay we allowing the Mavericks to have the Game 5 win and planned to take care of the Mavericks back in San Antonio. I see a change of plans in the forecast; the Spurs won’t execute the organized plan to win Game 6. I predicted the Mavericks to go to NBA Finals this year and I’m going to stand by it with the Mavericks tying up the series.

Mavericks- 106 Spurs- 98

Phoenix Suns at Portland Trail Blazers- 10:30 ET TNT

You know Channing's brought his whole repertoire when he throws down a monster dunk like he did in Game 5

As an NBA fan you always got to give it up to the Phoenix Suns. They always try to keep games interesting. Game 6 should be no different, the Blazers will keep their hopes alive with a huge win at home. My reasoning behind that starts with the Blazers bench and ends with the Suns bench (literally). In Game 5, both Channing Frye and Jared Dudley were spectacular combining for 13-21 shooting, connecting on 8 of just 14 attempted three balls, both perfect from the free throw stripe with 10 boards and contributing 39 of the Suns 55 bench points. That my friends, won’t happen inside the Rose Garden! With that being said, it’s not out of the question that the Suns starters can make up for some of the lack of production off the bench but Frye and Dudley were the key difference makers in the Suns Game 5 success.

On the flipside, the Blazer bench was nonexistent in Game 5 and that includes my guy Martell Webster. I see the injured Brandon Roy largely effecting the outcome of Game 6, Roy always finds a way to play well on his homecourt. Rudy Fernandez must be more aggressive on offense, I can’t even understand how he only took one shot in fifteen minutes, is that even possible? Can you really be a shooting guard and only attempt one shot when playing and being defended by the Phoenix Suns? Seems impossible to me.

Do YOU believe Bayless could soon be in a Phoenix Suns jersey?

My final thought is in regards to Jerryd Bayless, it’s safe to say Jerryd’s probably receiving tons of text messages and phone calls from his Phoenix connects talking about the Suns. Though he’s far from the team’s leader or best player for that matter, Bayless is good enough for me to be confident in saying he won’t allow his team to go out like this at home. At the very least, he’ll help keep them alive and force a Game 7 in Phoenix. Many may think I’m giving the kid way to much credit than he really deserves. But it’s hard to argue against Jerryd Bayless’s performances against the Phoenix Suns. He really does bring it each and every night, coming out with a little more aggressiveness as if he has something to prove. In many ways, he definitely has a lot to prove. He’s got one more year remaining on his contract and I’m sure he’d be interested in signing his first veteran’s deal with the Phoenix Suns if the price is right. By this point in his career the Suns will have a pretty clear evaluation of his potential and his league value, while Suns fans can only pray the Suns organization also realizes Goran Dragic is not the answer to Steve Nash’s predecessor (nor is Bayless but he honestly is a better overall player than Dragic). But in the meantime, Bayless and the Blazers force a Game 7 in Phoenix “for all the marbles” as the Suns legendary broadcaster Al McCoy used to say.

Blazers- 110 Suns- 101

4/27/10 NBA Playoffs Predictions

Miami Heat at Boston Celtics- 7 ET- NBATV

Expect a big night from "The Truth"

The question isn’t whether or not the Boston Celtics are going to take the series, the real question is whether Dwyane Wade allows the Celtics to take the series in Game 5. Wade single handedly defeated the Celtics in Game 4, avoiding the Celtics sweep. He shot 16-24 from the field, including 5-7 from downtown, which for D-Wade is a very rare occurrence, going off for 46 points in total. If the Celtics get a strong performance out of Paul Pierce inside the TD Garden, Boston will be in great shape.

Quite frankly, this is a must win game from the Celtics if they hope to stand any chance against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Round 2. The Celtics need as much rest as possible heading into the Quicken Loans Arena from Game 1 of Round 2. The Cavaliers should cap off their series tonight with a win over the Bulls at home, so the Celtics must do the same. It would kill their chances against Cleveland if it just so happens that the Heat upset them with a win tonight forcing the Celtics to travel back down to Miami for Game 6. It would create all that much more trouble and would also give the Cavaliers some time to tune in to watch their second round opponent. Celtics realize this and the importance of finishing up their first round matchup against the Heat tonight at home. As long as the Celtics limit Dwyane Wade to 35 points or less, they’ll win tonight.

Celtics- 97 Heat- 88

Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers- 8 ET- TNT

The final chalk toss of the first round will take place tonight inside the Q

This game is a wrap even before both teams show up to suit up tonight. With Rose battling an injury and LeBron continuing to be LeBron, it’s a no brainer that the Bulls are cooked. But before this series becomes history, the Bulls should be given a lot of praise. Not expected to beat out Toronto for the last and final playoff spot, the Bulls got the job done, clinching the spot behind Derrick Rose’s promise of a playoff berth. After critics (like me) doubted they’d even make the playoffs, the proved critics (like me) wrong again by making Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland competitive enough to watch.

A lot of changes are on the horizon in the Windy City

The Bulls’ charge was led by Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, both of whom really earned some respect in my book for their on court play and leadership. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires this summer within the Bulls organization. From the progress of their core group of guys in Rose, Noah, Deng, and even rookie James Johnson, to dangling Kirk Hinrich yet again as trade bait, then of course comes the firing of head coach Vinny Del Negro and the search for his replacement (Lawrence Frank?) and last but certainly not least which superstar or star(s) decide to sign with Chicago during the most talented free agent class in NBA history. There’s a lot of changes in store for the Chicago Bulls, tonight begins one of them: the offseason.

Cavaliers- 112 Bulls -98

San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks- 9:30 ET- NBATV

Think he'll be nervous tonight?

It’s a shame this game isn’t being broadcasted on one of the major networks. Tuning into a Mavericks win or go home game taking place in Dallas is all I need to know to be encouraged to watch it. The reason for that is to obviously get glimpses of the Mavericks’s biggest fan, owner Mark Cuban. Both Mark Cuban and GM Donnie Nelson have poured their heart and soul into building this team into one that was expected to be champion contending team. Facing a 3-1 deficit, the Mavericks are already on the ropes in Round 1 against their arch-rivals.

Will the fat lady sing Shawn?

Out of all the 3-1 matchups taking place tonight, this by far (yes, I said by far) is the best one. After a very disappointing Game 4 loss, Shawn Marion said the series isn’t over until the fat lady sings. While I believe the Mavericks will pull out a big win tonight at home, we’ll really see if that fat lady is just waiting to be heard in San Antonio for Game 6. But tonight, I see the Mavericks stepping their game up and getting the job done. Having picked the Mavericks to go to the NBA Finals this season, it’s very interesting to watch them get tested so early against a very challenging San Antonio team. If the Mavericks prove they can dig themselves out of a trench like this, I see no stopping them. Tonight they’ll live another day and stay safe from a first round exit.

Mavericks- 96 Spurs- 91

Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers- 10:30 ET TNT

The Hollywood Stars will be in attendance as always!

With the recent noise the Thunder have been making with their stellar performances in Game 3 and 4 at home, I been receiving a lot of questions regarding whether or not they can take this series. I apologize if I come off sounding like a Thunder hater (if one does exist), but I don’t see the Thunder earning a victory in Los Angeles. Obviously, the most impressive trademark of this Thunder team’s success against the Lakers so far in the series is how young the team is. For many of the same reasons the Thunder and NBA Coach of the Year Scott Brooks deserve kudos for their accomplishments, I also feel are the main reasons they’ll fall short when facing the Lakers in the City of Angels.

credit where it's due

From the Staples Center’s celebrity sightings to Kobe’s confortability and nearly effortless success at home, home court advantage will be the biggest factor in why the Lakers will win the series. But hey, it’s crazy even just thinking about the Lakers possibly losing this series as the #1 seed in the Western Conference, the defending champs, and on top of all of that the Thunder’s unity throughout the entire series. As Kevin Durant continues to receive much of that credit, I once again will be sort of an outkast and come out and say Kevin Durant isn’t the difference maker in the team’s success in the series. Instead I’d argue that it’s been the play and leadership of Russell Westbrook, the team’s floor general. Westbrook currently has dished out a total of 21 assists (5.25 apg) and while that may be well below his season average of 8 apg, so far this series he’s only committed a combined total of 6 turnovers! Westbrook had 11 games this season where he committed at least 6 turnovers alone. Up to this point in his young NBA career, Westbrook has been widely regarded as a point guard thats turnover prone. Since the playoffs, Westbrook has taken much better care of the ball, which clearly leads to more possessions and gives your team a better opportunity to win ball games. Head Coach Phil Jackson must switch up his defense assignments on Westbrook, testing the young guard to make in game adjustments. Personally, I like the idea of assigning Shannon Brown to Russell Westbrook, very similar physique and athletic ability, I think Brown could cause some havoc on defense. But tonight just like Game 1 and Game 2, the Lakers will do a better job executing down the stretch on their home floor. Lakers take Game 5 and prepare for another tough battle back in Oklahoma City.

Lakers- 93 Thunder- 87

4/25/10 NBA Playoff Predictions

Boston Celtics at Miami Heat- 1 ET

Today could mark Wade's last game in a Miami Heat jersey or at the very least it could be his last home game as a member of the Miami Heat

The Miami Heat are down 3 game to none, no team in NBA history has ever come back from such a deficit. Today’s game could very much end up being a historic game for the Miami Heat as it has the possibility of marking franchise’s superstar Dwyane Wade’s final game as a member of the Miami Heat (or at the very least his last home game). Becoming a free agent at the end of the season, Wade could decide to move his career elsewhere, teams that may be ideal include: the Clippers, Suns, Bulls, Knicks, and Nets.

The Miami Heat don’t just look lost trying to find a win in this series, but they seriously look lost as a franchise. HoopsHype.com reported that the Heat may end up trading their future piece in Michael Beasley before the NBA draft if the right options seem to be available. With that being said, the Heat in all likely-hood could lose both their current superstar and their 2nd overall pick of 2008 in Beasley who was supposed to be their future star in the making.

Coach Doc Rivers & "The Truth" should seal the deal in Game 4

In Game 4, I see the Boston Celtics putting the final nail in the coffin. Up 3-0, there’s no reason to put forth a sluggish effort and have to close down the series at home in Game 5. With an aging team like the Celtics, it’s important for them to win series as quickly as possible so that they can rest up and be fully ready to take on their second round opponent. Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers and the Big Three know and understand they have to take care of business; Celtics sweep the Miami Heat.

Celtics- 98 Heat- 85

Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls- 3:30 ET

Vinny Del Negro himself predicting the final outcome of the series, Cavs win 4 games to 1

Everyone and their brother knows that LeBron James didn’t take his Cavaliers’ team loss in Game 3 very lightly. You can be assured that, King James will do a little talking in the locker room before hitting the United Center floor to square off against the Bulls. In the midst of all of this, according to HoopsHype.com, ESPN.com has reported that Bulls Head Coach Vinny Del Negro will not return next year as the Bulls coach. While that’s no surprise, it is surprising that this talks heated up right after a huge Game 3 win in Chicago.

Just as LeBron James didn’t take the Game 3 loss lightly, maybe this was the Bulls way of firing up their head coach for the remainder of the playoffs. Each of the Bulls-Cavs first three games the Bulls have been in striking distance of tying or taking over the lead in games. So I propose the question: What if Vinny Del Negro does the impossible and beats the Cavaliers in Round 1? While I’m just proposing the thought, go ahead call me an idiot, it’s okay because one things for sure, both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah actually believe they can take down the Cavaliers.

The Bulls are title contenders if they add one of these guys or Joe Johnson

While I’m going to take the Cavaliers over the Bulls in 5 games, that isn’t to say that Game 4 and Game 5 won’t be interesting games. The Bulls will continue to demand respect in the series forcing the Cavaliers to play top notch basketball under the final buzzer sounds. Even if the Bulls end up winning just Game 3 in the series, they exceeded the expectations of the majority of the league. Having put up an impressive fight each game can only help their chances of snagging one of the elite free agents come this summer. Don’t try to tell me Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Dwyane Wade, and Joe Johnson haven’t been watching the Bulls fight in this one seed versus eight seed matchup.

Cavaliers- 102 Bulls- 95

Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs- 7 ET

Game 3 served as a wake up call for Caron Butler

There’s no doubt in my mind that the Dallas Mavericks will take Game 4. Nowitzki and crew have too much talent and fight to allow this series to go 3-1 heading back home, the Mavericks will force a split 2-2 series. In order to do so, Dallas will obviously have to make some adjustments, but luckily for the Mavericks they’re one of the most versatile teams in the NBA. Head Coach Rick Carlisle’s decision to only play Caron Butler for 14 minutes should be Butler’s wake up call heading into Game 4. I definitely think we’ll see improved play from him and from the Mavericks centers inside. In Game 3, Mavericks big men Erick Dampier and Brendan Haywood played a combined 45 minutes coming up with just 4 points and 8 rebounds. As Charles Barkley would say, “That’s just terrible”, Barkley himself could probably score 4 points and grab 8 rebounds if it weren’t for having to run the length of the floor each possession. Game 3 key to a Spurs victory in a nutshell was that the Spurs came out to play and the Mavericks (outside of Dirk Nowitzki) didn’t. We’ll see improved play by the entire Dallas Mavericks team today. Dallas takes Game 4 and momentum back home for Game 5.

Mavericks- 99 Spurs- 91

Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz- 9:30 ET

Carmelo continues to battle foul trouble issues

The Jazz won in commanding fashion in Game 3 at home against the Denver Nuggets. Carmelo Anthony yet again ran into foul trouble and for the past two games that’s really been a big key to the Jazz success. Foul trouble for Carmelo Anthony limits his aggressiveness and all the intangibles that makes him the offensive threat that he is when not in foul trouble. When the Jazz are able to contain that aggressiveness, the Denver Nuggets flow on offense suffers greatly.

I don’t know if it’s just me or if Nuggets fans would agree, but I never quite know what to expect from this year’s Nuggets team. While their personnel are uniquely charismatic (to say the least) and are fun to watch, I don’t know how I’d feel if I were a Denver Nuggets fan. Is this group of guys, really a team that you can put your trust in? While I really want to go with my gut feeling and predict a Nuggets win tonight, my logic behind why not to pick the Nuggets seems to be holding me back from doing so.

My logic tells me to take D-Will & the Jazz at home

The Utah Jazz are surprisingly clicking on all cylinders despite the key injury losses. Behind their home crowd at home, I see it hard from them to lose Game 4 and see Head Coach Jerry Sloan leading his team to a commanding 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets as the series then heads back to the mile high city. I’m going with my logic over gut feeling on this one.

Jazz- 109 Nuggets- 107