2011 NBA Finals Pick

This season, the playoffs were thought to be very balanced among the 16 teams, but especially with the top 4 seeds in both conferences.  The Lakers were primed and ready for another championship run and the Celtics were the veterans and favorites to take out the Bulls and Heat.  While most analysts predicted the Mavericks to get the boot in the first round against the Trail Blazers – including myself – Dallas overcame the adversity and cruised into their second Finals appearance in franchise history. In the East, most people believed the Celtics were just too experienced to lose, especially to the Heat, who lost 3 of their 4 games against Boston during the regular season. But LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade had other plans.

The Mavericks took out Portland in 6 games and met the Lakers in round 2. Although they were considered the underdogs, once again, Dirk Nowitzki led his team to a 4 game sweep of the defending champions. This was Phil Jacksons first time being swept and stopped on his quest for a 4th three-peat! The Mavericks then took on Oklahoma City, who gave it their all but were unable to close out any close games. The Thunder were up by 15 points with 5 minutes to go in game 4, until Dirk went off and Dallas won in OT.  The Mavericks are now headed to the finals for the second time and looking for redemption.

The Heat went through an entire season of adversity. Ever since last year’s decision by LeBron to come to Miami and join forces with Wade and Bosh, the Heat have been the most hated team in the league.  Everyone was concerned that the new Big 3 would be unable to figure it out in their first season together and bashed them all year long for every single loss. The Heat struggled to beat teams with winning records, including losing 3 of 4 to Boston and all 3 to Chicago.  They were unable to close out games late in the 4th quarter, raising questions as to who their “batman” was. But after finishing second in the conference, Miami was learning to play as a team and getting stronger. Winning each series, 4-1, against the Sixers, Celtics and Bulls including an incredible comeback in game 5 on the eastern conference finals against the Bulls, being down 12 points with 3 minutes in the 4th and winning the game by 3. The Heat have proven they are the real deal and improved tremendously in each round of the playoffs.

Now I realize I’m a huge Heat fan, so it’s difficult for me to make a prediction without being somewhat biased, but I believe my arguments are very true.  This Finals rematch of 2006, is far from a rematch.  The only 2 players on the Mavs from that 06′ team are Dirk and Jason Terry, and the only 2 on the Heat are Wade and Haslem. The Mavericks are the hottest team right now, the Heat the better defensive team. The Mavericks have the deepest bench, but the Heat have the better starting 5.  As Bruce Bowen said on ESPN the other day, offense wins games but defense wins championships. I believe Miami’s defense will be shut down against the Mavericks, forcing them to take quick shots.  Miami is also a much quicker team and will be able to score of the fast breaks. I refuse to take anything away from the Mavericks and what they’ve done in the playoffs, but Miami is just too good. They have too many weapons to defend. Miami is beatable for a game or two, but to beat them in a seven game series… near impossible in my eyes.  The Heat have home court advantage – they are undefeated at home this postseason – and will be able to get at least one on the road. The 2-3-2 format will be in favor of the Heat as well, considering Dallas would have to win 3 straight against a very talentaed team. LeBron James is ready for his first title and will stop at nothing to get it done. My pick for the 2011 NBA Finals is of course the Miami Heat in 6 games and LBJ wins the MVP award.

Glad to hear your takes and who you believe will win the title this year…

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2011 NBA Playoff Picks: Second Round

Alright everyone, I thought I had my first round picks spot on but I was wrong.  The Magic couldn’t hit their 3-pointers and the Mavs look a lot better than I thought they were.  So after the first round, I am 6 for 8 and hoping to run away with it here in the second round.  We learned a lot in the first round, but more than anything I am starting to see a new face of the Western Conference rise.  The Spurs, Mavs and Lakers are getting old and the Thunder are just getting started.  With the lockout that everyone seems to believe will come after this season, there may only be another year left for all these veteran teams.  Get ready to watch the Thunder take over with their youth, speed and determination.  In the East, Rose has risen to the occasion but has a lot more competition in the long run.  Durant has proven himself to be one of the top 5 players in the league now and he is still only 22 years old.  Before I get carried away though, lets get right to my picks:


Miami Heat (2) vs. Boston Celtics (3) – As a Heat fan, there is no way I can pick against them, therefore expect this pick to be biased.  While I admit this, I also truly believe the Heat will win this series.  The Celtics didn’t impress me much against the Knicks, even though I thought it would be closer than a sweep.  Stoudemire and Billups were both injured and if it wasn’t for Mike D’Antoni being the worst coach ever, the Knicks would have won the first two games.  The Celtics beat up the Heat in the first game of the season, which was the first full game the big three played together.  They are a completely different team now and playing much better on both sides of the ball.  I believe the Heat will win this series in 7 on their home court.

Chicago Bulls (1) vs. Atlanta Hawks (5) – The Hawks had something to prove in the first round against the Magic, after being humiliated last year in four games.  At the same time, the Magic were assembled as a 3-point shooting team and couldn’t hit any 3’s in this series.  The Bulls played well against the Pacers, but were tested every night.  Rose has stepped up his game tremendously and the rest of the team has followed him.  This will be an interesting series, but I think the Bulls have the edge with Rose playing his best.  I’m going to pick the Bulls in 6.


Oklahoma City Thunder (4) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (8) – The two best stories in the first round will clash here in the second, for what should be an awesome series.  The Thunder have been playing the best basketball of any team in the playoffs, behind Durant and Westbrook.  The Grizzlies completed one of the biggest upsets in playoff history, becoming just the fourth 8-seed in history to defeat a 1-seed (Spurs).  Their confidence is high as well as their determination, and they’re playing with heart, all three of which are ingredients for winning.  With that being said, I believe the Thunder are young and quick enough to handle the Grizzlies and have more talent to overcome them.  Taking nothing away from Memphis and what they accomplished against San Antonio, I have to pick the Thunder to win this series in 6.

Los Angelas Lakers (2) vs. Dallas Mavericks (3) – The Lakers showed signs of slowing against the Hornets, but finished strong in games 5 and 6.  The Mavericks on the other hand played great basketball throughout, proving they are more than ready to make things happen.  This will be the first playoff series between Kobe and Dirk and is sure to be worth the hype.  While the Mavs are playing well and probably going to give the Lakers a hard time, I just don’t see them taking out the defending champions this quickly.  I will stick with my preseason picks (Lakers vs. Heat in the finals) and say that Lakers will win this series in 7.

Let me know what you think…

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2011 NHL Playoffs: Second Round Picks

The first round of the NHL playoffs were incredible.  The last seven days included 7 games ending in overtime.  I was only off with 1 series in the first round, the Ducks over the Preds, but I’m feeling good and back on track.  Even though the EA Sports simulation was 8 for 8 last round, I am going against their second round predictions and hoping to stay strong.  This round will NOT let any hockey fan down and I’m excited to see how it all unfolds.  Here are my picks:


Washington (1) vs. Tampa Bay (5) – Washington was strong and quick to finish off the Rangers last series and the Lightning took out the Penguins, which wasn’t an easy series.  However, the Pens were without Crosby or Malkin in the line-up and didn’t get the support in net from Marc Andre Fleury that they needed.  Washington looked great in the first round and I expect them to continue their push for a championship.  While Tampa Bay had a great season behind Martin St. Louis (the MVP in my eyes), I will still take the Capitals in this series to win it in 6 games.

Philladelphia (2) vs. Boston (2) – If you try to compare these teams, you will see how similar they truly are, especially after their meeting in the second round last season.  In the first round, Philly had their issues in net, but Tim Thomas has been solid for the Bruins, clearly giving them the edge in goaltending.  When it comes to defense, it’s hard for me to go against the Flyers, especially with Pronger back.  Then scoring goes to Philly as well.  Boston was 0 for 21 on the Power Play in their series against Montreal, which is just pathetic.  Boston will be playing for pride this year, after losing to the Flyers last season and being up 3 games to none.  Regardless, the Flyers are too strong and should win this series in 7.


Vancouver (1) vs. Nashville (5) – The Canucks are the obvious choice in this series, but I believe it will be tougher than most people think.  The Predators are playing great hockey, led by sound goaltending and superb defense.  On the other end, Luongo has made some mistakes and Vancouver has shown the rest of the league they are more vulnerable than most thought.  It’s very common for the top seeded team to be eliminated early, but I want to believe that the Canucks can make it happen this season.  This is why I am sticking with them, despite their flaws in the first round.  There is no doubt in my mind that this series will be close, but I’m taking Vancouver in 6.

San Jose (2) vs. Detroit (3) – What can I say about this series?  Both teams looked great in the first round, the Red Wings taking out the Coyotes in 4 and the Sharks ousting the Kings in 6.  Last season, the Sharks sent the Wings packing but something is telling me this year will be different.  One of the greatest hockey franchise’ of all time, a team with years of experience and a coach who knows how to win when it counts.  I’m not saying this series is over before it starts, but I know the Wings first round was no fluke.  They’ve had plenty of time to rest and are fully prepared for the Sharks this year.  The Red Wings will take this series in 6.


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2011 NBA PLayoff Picks: First Round

The regular season has come to an end and we are just days away from the start of the playoffs.  There are some great matchups going into the weekend, along with a few mysteries.  Will the Lakers and Celtics be able to overcome their recent struggles?  I’m not too sure how everything will pan out, but I’ll be picking my favorites from round to round, so let’s start now…


Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers – The Pacers had a great season and were actually one of the few teams that were able to defeat the Bulls during their run late in the season.  With that being said, they don’t stand a chance against Chicago.  Derrick Rose is on fire right now and it’s rubbing off on his teammates.  The Bulls hustle every night they’re on the court and the Pacers will not be able to keep up with them.  These games may be closer than I expect, but the outcome will be the same… Chicago wins it in 4.

Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers – The Heat have also caught fire recently and are taking that momentum with them into the playoffs.  Miami swept the season series against the 76ers, 3-0, and shouldn’t have much trouble doing the same in the post season.  They are easily the best team in the East when they bring their ‘A’ game, but tend to slack off from time to time, giving away games to unworthy teams.  I don’t expect the Heat to take off many nights in the playoffs, but they’ll be able to against Philly, so I will take Miami in this series, in 5 games.

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks – This may actually be the most exciting matchup of the first round.  Boston clearly has the experience and edge in this series, but the Knicks bring so much intrigue to the table.  They have struggled since they traded Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder and are in desperate need of some sort of spark.  On the other side, Carmella Anthony is one of the most dangerous closers in the NBA and will give the Celtics major problems throughout the series.  With the experience Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnet bring to the court, it will be just enough to get by.  I’ll pick the Celtics to win in 7.

Orlando Magic vs. Atlanta Hawks – Who can forget this matchup from last year’s playoffs.  The Magic embarrassed the Hawks in 4 straight games, outscoring them by like 110 points – or something in that area – and quickly moving on to the second round.  Atlanta was able to take 3 of the 4 games against Orlando this season and will be looking for revenge.  While it seems to be a great rematch, I’ll put my money on Dwight Howard powering his way into the second round.  Sorry Atlanta fans, but get ready to lose in the first round for the second straight year, to the same opponent.  Slight improvements from last season, but the Magic will win this series in 6.


San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies – San Antonio quickly propelled themselves to the best record in the West this season and maintained the best record in the league up until the very last game.  While their experience and age has proven to be their friend, it’s also become their enemy.  Ginobli has been in and out of injury over the last couple of years and suffered an elbow injury on Wednesday night.  The Spurs may have made some noise during the regular season, but I believe their strength will wear out soon.  With that being said, it won’t wear out in the first round, which is why I’m picking the Spurs to win this series in 6.

Los Angelas Lakers vs. New Orleans Hornets – The Lakers started the season a little shaky, but no one was too concerned until they lost to the Cavaliers right before the all-star break.  Everyone’s panic meter started to rise, but they answered the criticism by winning 17 of 18 after the break.  Everything seemed to be going their way until they once again started to struggle and lost 5 straight games.  Andrew Bynum is injured at the moment, but they have proven they can win without him.  I don’t know how long it will last, but they will make it through this round and beat the Hornets in 6.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trailblazers – This matchup was a little bit more difficult to decide on.  The Mavericks need to make a run here in the playoffs and you know Dirk wants a ring more than anything.  Psychologically, the Mavs are weak.  They have the same core group and have come up short in the playoffs, year after year.  Along with that, the Trailblazers are a very “under the radar” type of team and will not be intimidated at all with this matchup.  The season series was tied, 2-2, both teams winning on the road, and they are evenly matched.  If the Mavs can’t come out to a quick start in the series, I’m afraid they’ll do too much thinking and find themselves out in the first round once again.  With all of this being said, I think the Blazers will shock the league and come out on top in 7.  This is my upset of the first round.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Denver Nuggets – I am a big fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder.  They may be young and inexperienced when it comes to the playoffs, but with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the team, they are headed in the right direction.  The Perkins trade was great for them, not just for his experience, but also because he has been able to free up Serge Ibaka, who has been playing great.  The Nuggets are playing better than anyone expected after getting rid of Carmelo and they will look to prove everyone wrong by making a run in the playoffs, but the Thunder have to much speed and scoring for them to handle.  I’m picking Oklahoma City to take this series in 6.

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2011 NHL Playoffs: First Round Picks

I made a terrible mistake last September and picked with my heart, not my brain.  This season was very difficult for me, as the Devils missed the playoffs.  While their last season push was extremely fun to watch and experience, they came up short and disappointed me in the end.  With that being said, I am still very excited for the playoffs, as the first round match-ups are incredibly sexy.  Get ready for some awesome hockey over the next two months!  Here are my first round picks:


Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers – While the Rangers had some success in Washington this season, shutting them out twice, I don’t believe they will have the power to overcome the Caps in a seven game series.  Henrik Lundqvist has been the MVP for New York this season, but won’t be able to win four games on his own.  I’ll take the Caps in 6.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Buffalo Sabres – The Flyers are the defending Eastern Conference champions and came out very strong this season.  Although they have shown signs of slowing and many people have them on upset alert, I find it hard to believe they will lose in the first round.  This isn’t my most confident pick, but I’ll take the Flyers in 7.

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens – There are so many incredible story lines going into this match-up, as two of the first six teams go head-to-head to start the postseason.  The Canadiens are a very solid team, but the Bruins are a major powerhouse.  While very entertaining, this series will be over before the puck drops in game 1.  Boston takes it in 5.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning – The Penguins hung on to grab the number 4 seed in the East, even without Crosby or Malkin in the lineup.  Some think Crosby will be back for this series and if so, I can’t pick against them.  Until that point I pick the Lightning to upset the Pens in 7, unless of course Crosby plays.


Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks – This match-up is quite intriguing.  The Blackhawks have taken the Canucks out in the past two seasons, not to mention they are the defending Stanley Cup champions.  With that being said, Chicago made it into the playoffs not by winning their last game of the season (They lost 4-3 to the Red Wings), but by watching Minnesota beat the Dallas Stars.  The Canucks ave been the best team from start to finish and they will not lose three straight years to the hawks.  Vancouver takes it in 6.

San Jose Sharks vs. L.A Kings – This will be an awesome series, not just because it is an all-California match-up, but also due to the fact that they are division rivals.  While these teams each walked away with 3 victories over the other in the regular season, I think this series will be more similar to their last game of the season just over a week ago, when the Sharks won 6-1.  I’m taking the Sharks in 5.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Phoenix Coyotes – This will be the second straight year these two teams have met in the postseason, expect this season they will swap sides.  The Red Wings will have home ice advantage, seeing as they had a much more successful year than last.  I think Phoenix has continued to shine in the regular season, but just can’t keep up with all of the talent and experience the Wings bring to the ice.  Although a very competitive series, the Red Wings will take this one in 7.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators – The Predators took the regular season series over the Ducks, winning three of their four games and appear to be the obvious pick to some.  However, I stress momentum so much, in all sports, when it comes to the playoffs and that is exactly what Anaheim brings.  They seemed to be an after thought 20 games ago, as they sat in the 11th seed, but finished the season 15-5-0, climbing all the way to the number 4 seed.  The Predators might have had their number during the regular season, but playoff hockey is a whole different beast.  I look for the Ducks high flying offense to swarm the Predators defense and take the series in 7 games.

Your thoughts?

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