March 15, 2002

If the NBA season ended today...: I would bet on the 5-8 seeds to beat the 1-4 seeds in the East (whether Charlotte or Miami faces the Nets). When has that ever happened? And the West - Blazers vs. Lakers in the first round ... again? A Utah vs. Sacramento rematch? (remember that incredible series two years ago?) Duncan vs. Garnett? When have the NBA playoffs ever been so compelling, top to bottom?

posted by djacobs to basketball at 05:12 PM - 7 comments

BTW: Jordan, Shmordan.

posted by djacobs at 05:13 PM on March 15, 2002

Well, it hasn't happened yet. It's hard to assimilate the changes in the East, but the truth is, the top four teams for the most part deserve to be the top four teams and the next four deserve to be where they are. With the exception of Miami, if they make the playoffs, I wouldn't predict any upsets. (I wouldn't be shocked if one happened, but I wouldn't predict any either.)

posted by Bryant at 12:16 AM on March 16, 2002

That's not true at all. I don't think records mean anything in the Leastern conference. If the Nets played out West, they'd finish 7th, and if you count all of their wins against crappy teams, I'm not sure they'd even make the playoffs in the West. In fact, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't. But back to the point in hand - Miami will beat New Jersey (when they get to the playoffs). Indiana and Milwaukee is a toss-up, Philly is better than Boston and anyone (in this case, Orlando) will beat Detroit.

posted by djacobs at 08:34 AM on March 16, 2002

Is this the same Miami that got creamed by the Nets last night? And so far has a 1-3 record against New Jersey this season? I love my Heat, don't get me wrong, but I don't see any way they pick up more than one game before the Nets move on.

posted by tieguy at 09:51 AM on March 16, 2002

It's a different game in the playoffs. Eddie Jones, Jim Jackson, Brian Grant and Zo are all very physical players. Jason Kidd wilts in the playoffs (see: Pheonix playoff history). Kenyon Martin is not a physical player, he's a spazz. Heat in 5.

posted by djacobs at 10:46 AM on March 16, 2002

The West is clearly a better conference than the East, but that doesn't mean that the Eastern Conference standings aren't valid when you're looking at just the Eastern teams... and that's what we're talking about, right? I mean, drop the truisms ("It's a different game in the playoffs") and talk matchups. Indiana is a .500 team. They are not what they were two years ago. Milwaukee can be beaten with an inside presence, but Brad Miller isn't going to get that job done. Detroit is talented and if Stackhouse is healthy, they'll win their first round. Again, Orlando isn't the kind of grind it out team that can slow down a Detroit. And Detroit has that inside presence that Orlando lacks, with Ben Wallace and Cliff Robinson. I don't think Horace Grant and Pat Garrity are gonna give that pair much trouble. Boston has the bench and the scoring options they've needed all season now; they recently beat Philly in a determined, gritty game and as Iverson continues to punish his body Philly will continue to slip. The last Boston-Philly game is a template for the next ones. And Miami is the hottest team in the East, so they may very well beat a slumping Nets. But I said that already.

posted by Bryant at 01:33 PM on March 16, 2002

Indiana will win. Jermaine O' Neal is good enough to get boards, and I think he wants to prove himself in the playoffs. Reggie Miller does not want to go out in the first round. Orlando - just had a great victory over Philadelphia. They're well coached - despite what King George has to say and they'll be ready. Ben Wallace is good - not that goodm and teams never do well their first time there.

posted by djacobs at 03:36 PM on March 17, 2002

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