The Boringest Pro Sport Playoff Preview

Yee-haw, baby! The NBA Playoffs feel goooooooooood!!

There are many of us out there who bash the NBA for a variety of reasons. But one of the worst things about the current NBA is the way their playoffs aren’t interesting at all except for a couple of series each year.

I admit I’m not a big NBA fan, but I used to watch a fair amount. And as I kid, I remember always watching NBC’s Sunday afternoon game while I dunked mercilessly on my over-the-door hoop with the squishy ball (remember those?).

But the NBA’s regular season is a plodding, boring mess, where most of the players are going through the motions, the coaches barely do any coaching, and there are only a handful of games each year that are actually good enough to stop what you’re doing to watch. The playoffs are an even bigger joke, with the NBA recently jumping from best-of-5 first round series to best-of-7, virtually assuring that there won’t be many first-round upsets anymore.

Last year’s first rounder of the Warriors over the Mavs is of course an exception to this, but Golden State clearly had Dallas’ number last year. Look at some of this year’s… is there any chance – I mean, any at all – that the Hawks could win four our of seven against the Celtics? Put KG and Allen out there with me, boilerdowd and Timmy and I think we’d win in five.

But anyway, enough of my bitching. This year, in the West at least, there are some chances for some really good playoff series. The East will counterbalance that with some dreadful crap. And just for fun – and since I did so poorly with my NHL picks – I’m going to toss out my picks for the first round of the NBA playoffs. Please feel free to agree or disagree in the comments.

Western Conference

(1) LA Lakers vs (8) Denver Nuggets – Okay, so after saying what I said about the NBA, here’s another example where the 8-seed actually isn’t so bad. But that’s more because the NBA has such an amazingly talented Western Conference. The Nuggs had to win 50 games just to make the playoffs! The 9th place Warriors would be the 4-seed in the East. Anyway, the Nuggs have a shot against LA, especially if Carmelo stays sober and AI doesn’t get stoned. Still, the Lakers are too good not to pull this off, I think. (Though I’d love to see Kobe lose in humiliating fashion.) Lakers in 6.

(2) New Orleans Hornets vs (7) Dallas Mavericks – The Mavs traded for Jason Kidd and then almost fell out of the playoffs, which would have made the Nets fans he jumped ship on very happy. But now the Mavs are in against the impressive and not-talked-about-much Hornets. Will this be the Mavericks who gagged memorably in the first round last year or the Mavs who went to the Finals in ’06 before gagging horribly and losing to the Heat? I’ll say the Mavs surprise people and show some heart. Mavericks in 7.

(3) San Antonio Spurs vs (6) Phoenix Suns – Throw out the seeding on this one. No, seriously, not like in a cliché. The Spurs were one game back for the best record in the West; the Suns were two games back. These are good teams and they have a history, having met in perhaps the second-most memorable series last year, when Nash got bloodied by a dirty Bruce Bowen hit and then the Suns had a couple players suspended for leaving the bench as a result. I believe the Suns will be resolved here, but the Spurs are just so damn good. I don’t know how to pick this one, so I’ll go with the edge in experience and titles. Spurs in 7.

(4) Utah Jazz vs (5) Houston Rockets – Thanks to the idiocy of the NBA, the Jazz clinched the 4 seed but will not have home-court advantage because the non-division-winning Rockets have a one-game better record. This might end up mattering, too, because not only are the Rockets good at home (31-10) but the Jazz are terrible (for a 54-28 team) on the road (17-24). The Rockets are really good and the absence of Yao won’t hurt them until the second round. Rockets in 6.

Eastern Conference

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Atlanta Hawks – It’s rare for anyone to ever predict a sweep, but this series will probably set the record for it. No, Atlanta, nobody believes you can win….even a game. It won’t matter what’s on their bulletin board. I'd say Celtics in 3 if it were possible. Or "When Atlanta Gets Off The Bus." Celtics in 4.

(2) Detroit Pistons vs. (7) Philadelphis 76ers – Another walkover. The Pistons are really freaking good and the Sixers…aren’t. 40-42 makes the playoffs in the East and that’s just sad. The Sixers are on their way up, which is good for them and their fans, and it’s always nice to make the playoffs when you didn’t think you were going to be good enough to do so, but the good feelings end here. The Pistons romp. Pistons in 4.

(3) Orlando Magic vs. (6) Toronto Raptors – Not only does 40-42 get the Sixers into the playoffs, a .500 record nabs the Raptors the six-seed. And a chance get flattened by the Magic. I don’t know much about the Magic besides Dwight Howard, they’re coached by Stan Van Gundy who makes teams into winners, and they won 52 games in the East. Does this make them good or just “good enough” because they had the rest of the East to pound on? I don’t know, but I think they’ll make quick work of the middling Raptors. Magic in 5.

(4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (5) Washington Wizards – Goodness, how exciting. Two marginal teams with a superstar each (if you count Gilbert Arenas as a superstar) going at it in the first round. This is the only East series that could go to either team, but it’s also a series that is really uninteresting unless you are from Cleveland, Washington or really like LeBron. After seeing LeBron personally beat the Pistons last year, I’m not betting against him until he faces stiff competition. Cavs in 6.

Very Satisfied (Not Sports Related)

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