The NBA regular season (a rather mundane one in my opinion) is about to wrap up, and while the long haul to get to this point certainly flatlines for a while around February, the last few years have provided some intense, extremely entertaining playoff matchups.
Out East, if the Bulls can hold onto that 8th spot they just wrestled away from Toronto, they’ll face up against the Cavs in the first round. Honestly, I’d almost rather play Cleveland than Orlando if I were the Bulls. And like last year, if Chicago can ride a hot hand or two, they’ll be a much tougher No. 8 than expected. Still, LeBron is king of the league, and nothing is stopping him from at least getting back to the Eastern Conference finals this year. So I’m predicting Cavs in five. We probably won’t see Shaq, but even with Cleveland’s questionable depth, they have enough to get the job done with home court. However, and I know this is an Eastern Conference matchup, but I like the over in most games, especially those in Cleveland. I have watched both teams closely all year and have never fallen in love with their consistent defensive efforts.
Out West, I love this current Dallas/San Antonio matchup. Let’s hope it stays that way. Why? Because there’s only 4 games separating the No. 2 and No. 7 seed. That’s crazy, but a credit to the parity in the league this year (outside of LA, of course). Betting the Spurs, though, has burned me the last couple years, and I haven’t been riding that wagon much since then. I think the window is just about closed on this team, and we might even see Duncan move somewhere else before his career is over. The Spurs actually outshoot (percentage wise) their opponents by almost 2% (47 to about 45). Still, I feel Dallas has more clutch weapons, and while both teams have the experience, Dallas has more recent playoff success from which to draw. If these two teams face, it’ll be Dallas in 6.