KnickSwag Presents: Part 4
#1 OKC vs. #8 POR
Portland might sneak in. If they don’t, the Jazz probably will. It doesn’t matter. OKC has too much firepower to lose to a middling team in a 7 game series.
OKC in 4
#2 LAL vs. #7 DAL
Again, nothing to see here. Dirk might win a game by himself, but I can’t see Dallas putting a scare into the revamped Lakers roster
LAL in 5
#3 SAS vs. #6 MEM
Not this time, Grizzlies. San Antonio developed a new way of playing the game last year, and their new offensive style is too high-paced for Memphis to keep up and pull off the upset. This series could be close though— I don’t expect any blowouts.
SAS in 5
#4 LAC vs. #5 DEN
If LAC manages to stay healthy, they will still have a very tough match-up against the Nuggets. The Nuggets are much deeper than the Clippers and have a much better coach. I think Denver matches up well with LAC, and I think the Nuggets find themselves in round 2
DEN in 6
#1 OKC vs. #5 DEN
As highly as I think of Denver, OKC is once again just too good. Nobody on the Nuggets can guard Durant, and that will doom Denver’s hopes of advancing.
OKC in 5
#2 LAL vs. #3 SAS
If Tim Duncan were younger, I would have more faith in the Spurs. But I don’t see how he can anchor an interior defense strong enough to stop Howard, Gasol, and the Lakers. Both teams have a solid 6th man, with Ginobili having the edge of Antwan Jamison, and the Spurs are a deeper team. But LAL just has too good of a starting lineup in this one.
LAL in 6
#1 OKC vs. #2 LAL
This match-up, if it happens, will be a classic. Two very evenly matched teams will face off. OKC will have to make full use of its home field advantage to advance to the finals. But Nash is not quick enough for Westbrook, and Perkins has always been able to keep Howard from putting up great numbers. Gasol, Harden, Ibaka, Jamison and the others will play a role, but in the end, I think it comes down to Kobe vs. Durant. And I think that Durant has moved past Bryant— just as I believe the Thunder will move past the Lakers in this series.
OKC in 7, advances to Finals
#1 MIA vs. #8 MIL
The Bucks have a weak defense and two turnover-prone guards. Against the Heat, that will end a team’s season, and Milwaukee just doesn’t have the talent to even hope for a miracle here.
MIA in 4
#2 NYK vs. #7 PHI
With all the Trash Talk going on in this division, this match-up will be charged with emotion. But we have seen that Chandler can lock down Andrew Bynum, and to acquire Bynum, the 76ers traded away the one player they had who can guard Carmelo Anthony. Whoops!
NYK in 5
#3 BOS vs. # 6 BKN
If Boston is in this match-up, it means they are healthy. And if they are healthy, it means they are too good to go home this early, especially against the over-hyped bunch from Brooklyn.
BOS in 4
#4 CHI vs. #5 IND
By now, Rose will be back. And with Rose, the Bulls are on a different level than Indiana
CHI in 4
#1 MIA vs. #4 CHI
These conference semifinals will feature two terrific match-ups. The first one will be Miami vs. Chicago. Chicago will have Rose, and will thus be able to put the same team on the court that has been the 1 seed 2 years running. But Miami has always proven to be the better team when these two superpowers meet.
MIA in 7
#2 NYK vs. #3 BOS
This series is almost too close to call. These team’s match-up well with each other. Solid Defenses, Solid Offenses, an elite crunch time scorer, and a great post defender. The Knicks 3 stars are in the front-court, while the Celtics have their big 3 spread out on the wing, in the paint, and at the point. I give the Knicks the small edge here for a few reasons. First of all, home field advantage (but Boston might be the 2 seed, which would give that HFA to the Celtics). Second of all, the return of Stoudemire, who adds another star to the Knicks if he is back in form (which he appears to be). Third: Health. The Celtics will have a harder time staying healthy. And 4th, Depth. The Knicks are deeper, and in what figures to be an intense series with a good amount of aging players, the deeper fresher team will have an edge. I’m picking the Knicks here, but the series is close… almost too close to call. No result would surprise me at all.
NYK in 7
#1 MIA vs. #2 NYK
Oh, it’s you again. The Knicks were better than a first-round team last year, but the team they faced in round 1 happened to be the best team in the NBA. If the Knicks face the Heat again, this time here in the Eastern Conference Finals, a few things will be different. First of all, the Knicks are much improved, and again, adding the real Amar’e will be like adding a star. Second, the Knicks added front-court firepower, which attacks the Weakness of Miami. Third, the Knicks will probably be healthier. Fourth, the Knicks will surely be more confident, having reached the ECF, and fifth, the improved point guard play will limit the turnovers that the Heat feasts on. The Knicks certainly have the tools to pull off and upset this time around, and they have a real chance to advance to the Finals. But do I expect them to? No. The Heat, most likely, will once again prove to be just too good, sending the Knicks home (albeit with a GREAT season in NY), and sending Miami back to the Finals, where they will meet a familiar foe.
MIA in 6, advances to Finals
#1 West - OKC vs. #1 East - MIA (Heat have Home Field Advantage)
Same teams, same coaches, same fans, mostly the same players. OKC’s players have not reached their primes yet, so they will be better. But the Heat’s core will have another year of playing together under their belt, and they will have added the deadliest floor-spacer in NBA history. Either team could win this series, but I am predicting….. same result. Miami will stay on top
Heat in 7
NBA Champion: Miami Heat
Finals MVP: LeBron James
It will be a long, great, entertaining, and wild season. The Knicks are poised to go deep into the playoffs. If they win (and they can), it will be the validation of an effort and a plan which has spanned many years. If not— if they bow out a round shy of the Finals, it will still have been a great season. The only thing to do now is sit back, hope, and watches the games.
Tommy Rothman - @letsgomets773 - Knickswag Contributor