OK, I know the second round is already underway, but the first round only had one series go longer than 5 games anyway. It was very uninteresting. Plus, it's easier to pick the second round winners if you wait until a couple of games have already been played in the second round ;-) Also, let me preface this post with the following statements:
I have not watched an entire quarter of NBA basketball all season.
I have not watched an entire NBA game since MJ's 2nd retirement.
However, I was into women's underwear way back when Marv Albert was flipping thru his first Victoria's Secret catalog. What? And I have as many NBA titles as Karl Malone and Kiki Vandeweghe (that's van-duh-way, not van-duh-wejee) combined. So, on with the preview, or whatever you wanna call it.
I got two words for you: Da Spurs
To me, they are the team to beat, even though they're only the 3 seed in the West. I know, I know, they're already up 2-0 on the Lakers, so that's easy to say. But seriously, I've been saying since the playoffs began, why is no one really talking about the Spurs? They've won 17 games in a row now. They have the experience and players who don't choke down the stretch. They are almost always the most focused team on the court. TP's gotta keep playing big though. I do think whoever wins this series goes to the Finals, cos if the Lakers get things turned around and somehow win this series, that will obviously mean they are playing very well.
I look for Sacramento to get by the Timberwolves in round two in what should be a tremendous series. Minnesota has a nice team, but really, their marquee players have still never really won anything, have they? Cassell, Sprewell, KG. I don't know how the Kings slipped to the 4 seed in the West. Who would've ever thought Brad Miller would be a key addition for anyone, high school, college, or pro? But he has been a nice player for them.
In the East, it's a 3-team race. Indiana should handle Miami. They just swept a team (Boston) that had no business being in the playoffs. And now they face a team who had no business being a 4 seed, and has no business being in the 2nd round. I say it will go 5, but the Heat have been good at home, and could extend it further. I think Miami is quite probably the worst 4 seed ever. Ever. They play hard. They made a nice turn around this season. But a 4 seed? Not having watched a game all year, I was shocked when I opened the paper and saw the Heat were the four seed in the East. There's probably nothing that says more about the state of the NBA today than that fact.
The Nets/Pistons series is a tough one to pick. I'll give the edge to the Pistons, purely based on coaching. They've always seemed just a scorer short of moving to the next level. Maybe Rasheed can provide that this year. The Nets have that playoff and finals experience to draw from, but I think the additions of Larry Brown and Wallace give Detroit the edge.
In the conference finals, San Antonio will defeat Sacramento. I tend to think it won't even go 6, but just because it's the conference finals, I'll say 6. The Kings will display their usual playoff chokage, usually reserved for when they play LA, to the Spurs this year. And I will go with the Pistons over the Pacers in the East in 7. This should really be a good series, even if it is a bit ugly. Larry Brown and Rick Carlisle. The Wallace boys against J.O. and JBend. (I just made that nickname up.) I could go either way on this one really. Then the Spurs beat the Pistons in the finals, as George Gervin just goes off! Laimbeer, Rodman, and the Bad Boys can't stop him. Oh wait. I'll say Spurs in 6.
There you have it. And remember, I picked one of the final four teams correctly in this year's NCAA tournament ;-) So if I didn't pick your team, you're probably in pretty good shape.
"Sittin' witcha friends as ya'll reminisce about the days growin' up and the first person you kissed. As I think back, makes me wonder how the smell from a grill can spark up nostalgia..."