Celtics excel, but Spurs will have the edge
For the Review
With the NBA season winding down after next Wednesday, it is anybody’s guess as to how the teams are going to stack up in the West when all is said and done.
The Eastern Conference is basically set, but in reality, it is a one-way track through Boston. Here is my quick insight into how the teams are going to end up when the playoffs begin.
• The boring East Conference: EASTERN CHAMPION: Boston Celtics.
With a seven-game lead separating the first-place Celtics from the second-place Detroit Pistons, the best record in the NBA goes to the Eastern Conference winners. The East just isn’t as deep as the West. The Orlando Magic have secured third place, and the Cleveland Cavaliers will sit at fourth.
There will be no upsets in the first or second rounds, bringing the Celtics and Pistons into the conference championship game. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have been nearly unstoppable this season. The Pistons have already beaten the Celtics once this season, and players like Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace should be able to slow Boston down.
However, Boston will finally get back to the championship game, beating Detroit in six games.
• The West Conference: WESTERN CHAMPION: San Antonio Spurs.
With just four games remaining for the majority of teams, six still have a shot at winning the division.
To be honest, other than a home court advantage, the seeding will mean very little when predicting the winners of the first round games. Every team in the West is capable of taking the conference and earning a shot at the NBA title. Even eighth seed Golden State, which will beat out Denver for the final playoff position, can make a run through the conference.
This was proven last year when the Warriors stunned the Dallas Mavericks, the top team in the NBA in the first round.
Here are my predicted playoff scenarios:
The No. 8 Golden State Warriors will again spoil the No. 1-seeded Los Angeles Lakers’ hopes in the seventh game of the first round. These two have split the season, and it should be a very close series given the proximity of the two teams.
The No. 2 seed, the New Orleans Hornets, will knock off No. 7 seed Dallas Mavericks in five games; and Tracy McGrady will finally make it through the first round as the Houston Rockets will take their No. 3 seed into the second round, beating No. 6 Phoenix in seven games. In the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup, the San Antonio Spurs will “upset” the favored Utah Jazz.
The second round will be the Spurs and the Houston Rockets, giving the Rockets home court advantage. However, it will not be enough, as the Spurs will end the Rockets run after six games.
• NBA CHAMPION: San Antonio Spurs
This championship series will be a doozy. Boston swept the Spurs in the regular season, but will find a different game in the NBA finals.
Tim Duncan has led the Spurs to three titles since 2003. Duncan and Tony Parker have the experience to get things done in the highest of situations.
The Celtics made some moves in the offseason to form a nearly unstoppable trio between Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. The team has dominated throughout the season, working its way to the best record in the NBA. However, it won’t be enough to overcome San Antonio’s team play and experience. The Spurs repeat as NBA Champions in six games.