Finally, it matters. Like the Doc mentioned when he posted his NBA Playoff predictions, there are a lot of question marks heading into the 2011 postseason. When the year began the general consensus was that either the Lakers would continue to dominate after returning the same roster, the Heat super team would live up to their expectations, or the Celtics would make another great run. Any of those things can still happen, but the Lakers struggled mightily at times during the regular season and the Heat have yet to prove they are a dominant force together. The Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins and will be relying on the oft-injured Shaq, who is already out Game 1 against the Knicks. Oh yeah, and in the meantime the Bulls became very, very good.
WESTERN CONFERENCE (Del’s Picks)
(1) Spurs vs (8) Grizzlies – Spurs in five, experience wins out easily here as it so often does in the NBA playoffs.
(2) Lakers vs (7) Hornets – Lakers in five, Lakers lost five out of seven to close the season but they have too many weapons.
(3) Mavericks vs (6) Blazers – Blazers in seven, Blazers are solid and Mavs can’t close in the playoffs until they prove otherwise.
(4) Thunder vs (5) Nuggets – Thunder in six, OKC’s young talent combined with Perkins’ postseason experience could make them dangerous.
(1) Spurs vs (4) Thunder – Spurs in six, experience, experience, experience. Spurs have a ton, OKC has barely any.
(2) Lakers vs (6) Blazers – Lakers in five, Blazers will be spent from giving everything they have to win a series. Lakers will have coasted.
Western Conference Finals
(1) Spurs vs (2) Lakers – Lakers in seven, Even if Bynum misses time, it’s nothing L.A. isn’t used to. Kobe gets it done again.