By Craig Kwasniewski
Just wanted to get my picks in before the games start tomorrow (also so I can blockquote myself in the "I told you so" post in a few weeks). Let's start with the Varsity League, the Western Conference:
LA Lakers (1) vs. Denver Nuggets (8): "The experts" are predicting an easy series for the Lakers... I don't think so. The Nuggets have trouble against physical teams like San Antonio and Boston and the Bynum-less Lakers are far from the bruising days of the Shaq-Kobe era. The Melo "incident" (when is there not one with that guy?) will give Denver the much-needed us-against-the-world attitude and will give them even more focus. These games will be very entertaining and a throwback to the late 80's Lakers vs. the Doug Moe-led Nuggets with high scoring and very little defense. The Lakers will win this series in 6, but it won't be easy.
New Orleans Hornets (2) vs. Dallas Mavericks (7): Quick question... if Chris Paul is such an MVP and better than Isiah Thomas (as the Boston Sports Guy so irresponsibly wrote), then why are a lot of people predicting a Dallas win here? Isn't the MVP supposed to find a way to win the close games? Isn't the MVP supposed to lead a team through the playoffs in the early rounds? Shouldn't this be a relatively easy series for the Hornets because Chris Paul is just that good? Hey, give CP3 his damn MVP and let's get another awesome MVP press conference like Dirk's from last season because New Orleans ain't beating Dallas. Dallas wins in 6.
San Antonio Spurs (3) vs. Phoenix Suns (6): What a series! With so much history and bad blood between these teams it's a damn shame it's happening in the first round. (Actually, no it's not! The Lakers only have to face one of them... so fight it out to 7 guys!) The Suns made the Shaq deal solely for the Spurs and so far it's been a success with two easy W's. Interesting fact: since 1999 either Shaquille O'Neal or Tim Duncan have made it to the Finals. Will 2007-08 be the first season without either big? Who knows... San Antonio has too many nagging injuries and not enough time to rally to save the season. I see is a motivated and quickly gelling Suns beating the Spurs in 7.
Utah Jazz (4) vs. Houston Rockets (5): Are the Rockets the worst team to ever win 22 straight? 10-years from now when we see the top 5 winning streaks in NBA history will we drop a collective WTF when we see "2007-08 Rockets?" Isn't that finger waving thing by Mutombo annoying considering that it's taunting and it should be a technical and that he brings nothing else to the table? Will Tracy McGrady miss the second round again? Is the Yao Ming era one of the most overrated eras in NBA history? Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes and YES!!!!!!! Utah wins in 6.