Hawks fans

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

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5/8/10 NBA Playoff Predictions

Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks- 5 ET ESPN

Horford showing off the difference of height between he and Dwight

If Atlanta is going to win a game in the series, it’s going to have to come tonight. Facing a 2-0 deficit, they return home where they hope to slow down the Orlando Magic’s winning streak that currently stands at 6 games. In order to make that happen, they’d have to find a solution for slowing down Dwight Howard, something that seems to be very improbable after watching the first two games of the series.

Even with impressive Game 2 performance from Al Horford who went for 24 points and 10 rebounds on 9-13 shooting and was a perfect 6-6 from the line, Horford having offensive outbreaks isn’t a solution. The Hawks would be better off if Horford only scored 12 points and 6 rebounds, if he could contain Dwight Howard. Whether or not Horford is capable of that has yet to be seen and it’s definitely not something I’d count on happening anytime soon.

Expect nothing but the best from VC when he's got fresh legs

For the Magic in Game 2, talk about balanced scoring, the starting lineup pretty much defined it with 4 of their 5 starters scoring 20 or more points. To make matters worse for the Hawks is that they all did it on great shooting percentages. Even being the longtime, die-hard Vince Carter fan that I am, I’m a little bit surprised at how well he’s been shooting the basketball so far in the playoffs. The aging Vince Carter of the past couple years has been better known for his up and down play but now it seems as though we’re back to seeing the old Vince outside of 15 feet. I think the time off, he was given between series paid big dividends for him and for the team to maintain fresh legs. Look for the Magic to stay on track and focused on getting through the Hawks as quick as possible. Magic take Game 3 in Atlanta.

Magic- 108 Hawks- 95

With A Head Coach Like This, There’s No Doubt the Magic Will Be Ready For Tip-Off Tonight

Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz- 8 ET ABC

In Game 2, nearly all the Jazz players played well, except for the most important piece to their puzzle in Deron Williams. D-Will struggled mightily from the field shooting 4-16 for 15 points. While it maybe unfair to except nearly 30 a night out of the star point guard, that’s exactly what the need on a consistent basis in order to beat a team like the Lakers.

Expect improved play from D-Will back on his home court

On the bright side the series heads back to Utah where the Jazz have a great opportunity to get even with their opponents. Not only will Deron Williams benefit from being able to bounce back on his home court but the key role players around him should prosper as well.

For the Lakers, they must take better care of the ball in Game 3. They were fortunate to have come away with a win in Game 2 as they committed twice as many turnovers (20) than the Jazz (10). Any game you commit that many turnovers you don’t give yourself a great chance to win, especially not on the road. Though the Lakers should take much better care of the ball in Game 3, the Jazz will pull out an important Game 3 win to remain close in the series.

Jazz- 106 Lakers-102

This Is What I Call Home Court Advantage!

5/4/10 NBA Playoff Predictions

Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic- 8 ET TNT

The Orlando Magic manhandled the Atlanta Hawks in their season series winning three out of the four games. The one game Atlanta did win happened to be one of the plays of the year as Josh Smith put down a nasty game winning, buzzer beater at home.

If Kurt Thomas/Carlos Delfino can be effective against the Hawks, one can only imagine what Vince Carter/Dwight Howard might do

To add to the concerns I have for the Hawks in this series, they just got finished playing a tough series with the Milwaukee Bucks. If they struggled against a team like the Bucks without height and consistent perimeter shooting, how in the world are they supposed to compete with the Magic who arguably have the best team in the league when it comes to size and shooting ability.

I mentioned it throughout the entire first round that the Hawks struggle due to a lack of bench depth and that weak bench will continue to be exploited tonight. Much like the Bucks were given all they could handle with Atlanta down low, the Hawks now face the same situation. Dwight Howard and the Magic will give the Hawks endless trouble throughout the series.

Although the Bucks took the Hawks 7 games with post problems, the Hawks in a similar situation will do far from the same. If the Magic can gear down, remain focused; this series shouldn’t go anymore than 5 games at best. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Hawks get swept. If the Magic are able to do just that, I’d have to like their chances of making it to the NBA Finals yet again this year.

Magic- 105 Hawks- 96

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

In many facets, this series is very similar to the Celtics-Cavs going on in the Eastern Conference. With that being said, much of my Game 2 predictions where I correctly predicted the Celtics to beat the Cavs, hold true to tonight’s Jazz-Lakers Game 2, I’m going Jazz.

Wish you could have him back yet?

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol can’t play much better than they did in Game 1 as the held their ground in the opening game squeaking out a win. Lakers’ fans may argue that in Game 2 we could see improved play in both Lamar Odom and Ron Artest, but unfortunately I just don’t see that being the case. Odom and Artest are huge disappointments so far in playing big when called upon, both have struggled to even have a worthwhile competition for whose the more significant piece to the Lake Show puzzle.

Yeah, that's right CJ, I'm looking at you to step up in Game 2

Having a unit of guys that have understood their roles and know when they’re being asked to step up has never been a problem with Jerry Sloan’s Jazz team. That will show in Game 2 as the Jazz will stick to the plan or at least how I envision their outlook to be in Game 2. Coach Sloan will simply encourage his guys to stick around, stay between 3 to 5 points until about the 5-minute mark remaining in regulation. Then in the midst of Deron Williams one-man show, one of the Jazz perimeter players will hear his “calling” to step up. I see that man rising to occasion, at the perfect time, and getting the job done assisting Deron Williams and his team. Who do I see that being? C.J. Miles. Much like George Hill over in San Antonio, it’s been Miles’s postseason play that helped the Jazz take down the Nuggets in Round 1. Struggling from the outside in Game 1, I see improvement coming from Miles in Game 2. Jazz take a split series back home to Utah.

Jazz- 106 Lakers- 101

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