This year's playoffs thus far have been plenty exciting, and I'm a little bit late on getting my playoff previews out since I've been out of the country. I am not suprised at the outcomes of some of the first few games however.
Cleveland vs. Detroit
Well, game 1 was no contest, but I had expected Detroit to put up more of a fight. Depending on whether or not they decide to throw in the towel, they may take a game from Cleveland. But is Detroit, as a .500 team even really worthy of playoff contention? Especially with the late season collapse?
Boston vs. Chicago
I look for the Chicago Bulls to take this series. Not simply because of the Game 1 victory on the road and the strong performance in Game 2. The Bulls finished up the season pretty strong. They are young, like the Atlanta Hawks were last year, and hungry. Boston is hurting, and maybe only their talent will pull them through this. Boston killed the Bulls on the boards in Game 2, and Chicago could have really damaged the C's chances if they were able to rebound better. Noah, you have to take it strong to the hole. I have always been a Rajon Rondo hater, but, the kid can play. He had a great game, and is a bright spot for the Celtics this season.
Orlando vs. Philadelphia
Look for Philly to take this series. Once again, not because of the Game 1 road victory. Orlando peaked early, then fell off toward the end of the season. Philly has had some on again/off again performances this year. Victories over the Lakers and Hawks, but then later blown out by some weak teams. If they bring their A-game they can take it. The Magic should just pound it inside to Howard. Seriously, Howard has tons of talent. Now, if Orlando can pull this series out, I don't look for them to get past Chicago in the second round.
Atlanta vs. Miami
Game 1 was a surprise, maybe to everyone but the Hawks. I would like Atlanta to pull this out. They have a fiesty hungry team. Gotta watch out for D-Wade, he has had a monster season. Atlanta can also take Cleveland, I think. They have just enough disrespect to take it to the Cavs.
LA vs. Utah
Tough matchup possibly for the Lakers, but I look for a sweep. Could be the Homer in me.
Denver vs. New Orleans
Denver is obviously improved over last year, while NO is struggling. Can they turn it around? I have this stigma that Denver is and always will be over-hyped. Enver (No D). Maybe Billups is what they've needed all along.
San Antonio vs. Dallas
Tough matchup to call. The Lakers would've had an easier time with Dallas than Utah, as SA would've had an easier time against Utah than Dallas. But these teams matchup well, in Dallas' favor. Suprising Game 2 blowout by San Antonio. Winner will have a tough series ahead of them.
Portland vs. Houston
Another surprise. I looked for Houston to win, but not like that. Expect a closer rest of series, but Houston should take it. They are a much better TEAM without Tracy McGrady. McGrady is a great player, but not for Houston. The sum was less than their parts, if that makes sense. Portland is a tougher matchup for the Lakers in the second round, but I look for Houston to pull through in this series.