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The NBA’s Freaky First Round Schedule and Predictions (4/22)

22.April.2010

Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy and I have the same opinion about the first-round playoff format/schedule: it’s hard on the teams and players, and that this schedule is pretty much all about making the games available on primetime television. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if you’re a team playing two games spaced out in a week, that has to throw you off, especially after you’ve had a pretty hectic regular season schedule.

As for me, I don’t like the first-round schedule because the games are too spread out and I can’t put out my predictions for the matchups with any regularity since they don’t play games on a fixed every-other-day schedule. But what the heck, I’m just analyzing the games, not playing them. So if I’m having trouble with the schedule, I can only imagine what a pain it could be for the players and coaching staff.

But as always, life goes on. And on that note, here is the next batch of my predictions for these upcoming NBA games:

GAMES TODAY (4/22)

(1) Cleveland vs. (8) Chicago, CLE leads 2-0

Game 1                        96-83

Game 2                      112-102

NBA.com has a poll going: “Which home team is more likely to win Game 3, the Bulls or the Thunder?” The poll gives only two choices, the Bulls or Thunder, and I’d have voted if there was a third option: NEITHER.

So I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that neither team will win Game 3, even if they are at home.

Prediction: Much as I like Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, and Chicago as a basketball city, I’m still sticking to my initial prediction—Cavs sweep the series, 4-0.

(1) Los Angeles vs. (8) Oklahoma City, LAL leads 2-0

Game 1                        87-79

Game 1                       95-92

What happened in Game 2? Kobe happened in Game 2. And yeah, a second “Welcome back Ron-Ron” is in order. Though he didn’t (couldn’t?) exactly put a lid on KD’s prolific offense—Durant actually scored more this game (32) compared to Game 1 (24)—he did shadow the youngest scoring champ in NBA history all-game long, and he pretty much foiled every possible game-winning or game-tying shot by the young fella. So there.

Prediction: Despite a ruckus crowd in Oklahoma City (it’s their first playoff game after all), Lakers, with the leadership of a star player who thrives on adversity (clue: injured finger + wild crowd at OKC) take a 3-0 series lead over the Thunder.

(3) Phoenix vs. (6) Portland, Series tied 1-1

Game 1                        100-105

Game 2                         119-90

A 29-point rout of the Blazers—now that’s more like it. I’m sure my bias towards the Suns is pretty damn obvious. But even so, I can be completely objective about my predictions, especially because it’s about my favorite team. I am doing my best to be on point with my predictions. And I am stoked because of the right predictions I’ve made so far.

Prediction: Phoenix, thanks to momentum, continues its roll, and the Trail Blazers eventually realize how demoralized they actually are (especially if Batum doesn’t play). Suns go up, 2-1.

More predictions tomorrow!

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