I heart hoops. Playoffs start this weekend. My pre-season picks are here. Viewing it would show you that I did well. I picked Cleveland's record exactly (61-21); the largest disparity between my projection and the Vegas pre-season over/under (which, in every sport, is the thing I ask you to check - listen to me, people, I'm always giving you predictions, but I say, over and over again - when you should most seriously take my advice is before the season, when looking at those over/under win totals - that's where you can find the real bargains) was Detroit (actual wins 27, my pick 35, Vegas over/under 41.5) and Memphis (actual wins 40, my pick 36, Vegas over/under total 27.5). I was practically begging you - begging you to invest in Memphis this season.
I don't ever have the confidence picking a short series that I do in thinking about the season as a whole (and in, say, football, I don't have the confidence picking a single game that I have picking a short series) so you should take my thoughts accordingly here. Nonetheless. Let's pick some hoops.
Los Angeles v. Oklahoma City - Lakers in 7 (such a close series, LA is better but only a little bit. It's Kevin Durant time).
Dallas v. San Antonio - Spurs in 7 (I didn't take the 8 over the 1, but I will take the 7 over the 2, what a great series this is going to be).
Phoenix v. Portland - Suns in 6 (not that close)
Denver v. Utah - Jazz in 6 (also not that close, if they turned out to be 5 game series I wouldn't be surprised)
Lakers v. Jazz - Lakers in 7, I don't like the matchups for Utah - I think the Jazz might be the best team in the West - but lack the frontcourt athleticism to matchup with LA
Suns v. Spurs - Suns in 7, only because of homecourt and the challenge the Spurs face in the first round, I'm going back and forth on this one, and that's important, given what I'm going to say about the West Finals
Suns v. Lakers - Suns in 7. I know, right? I'm knocking Kobe out before the finals. Madness.
Cleveland v. Chicago - Cavs in 5 (the Bulls have no chance to win this series if LeBron stays on the court)
Orlando v. Charlotte - Magic in 5 (the Hornets have no chance to win this series if Howard stays on the court, note the disparity between the challenges faces by the top teams in the West to the no doubt about it first round series in the East)
Atlanta v. Milwaukee - Hawks in 4 (yeah, I'm picking a sweep. I said it.)
Boston v. Miami - Heat in 7 (have you seen the Celtics? I think Cornbread Maxwell is coming off the bench)
Cavs v. Heat - Cavs in 5, I'm telling you, unless LeBron gets hurt, there is no circumstance where Cleveland isn't in the conference finals.
Magic v. Hawks - Magic in 6, this is an interesting matchup - Orlando's gonna win, but if it goes 7 and suddenly you're looking at the possibility of the Hawks going to the East finals and you had no idea they were that good, here it is.
Cavs v. Magic - Cavs in 7. It's a coronation.
Cavs v. Suns - Cavs in 7. I said, "it's a coronation." Come on.
LeBron wins the chip - and the Athlete of the Year Award. Boom! King James!