Once again we have an ultra-competitive Western Conference, where 48 wins might not be enough to to get into the playoffs, and a handful of teams have a legitimate shot at the top spot. Here’s my forecast, along with my picks against the Vegas Win-Totals Lines. Regular readers know I’ve had pretty good success with these historically, and particularly recently, going 10-1-1 the last two seasons. But I found only two lines to bet this season, because I demand a lot of edge, and I just don’t see it this year. Sometimes the bookies are pretty good.
[edit: I’m now betting THREE Western Conference lines, going over on the TWolves.] Continue reading
Here are my picks to contend for the 7th and 8th seeds in the West, and a quick analysis of the cellar dwellars. (Check out my analysis of the best six teams in the West here, if you haven’t already.) Continue reading
Posted in Around the NBA, Predictions, Previews
Tagged Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pelicans, Suns, Timberwolves, Trailblazers
Did the Warriors win these last two games because they suddenly decided to play with energy? Because they suddenly felt like competing?
Or was it because of something else? Continue reading
“NBA Finals predictions anyone? I’m going with Miami/Dallas.” — Steve, April 11, 2011
“I think the Mavs can win it. I think things have to break right for them, and they have to continue to play at the level they’ve been playing. But why not?” – Don Nelson, May 12, 2011
I think a lot of veteran NBA types were amazed by how this series played out. The three most interesting comments I saw were from 1) Steve Nash, who was perplexed that the Heat didn’t go small and get Lebron on Dirk (something that I thought was the key to the series in my preview); 2) George Karl, who was surprised by Lebron’s lackluster last two games (something I attribute directly to the Heat’s offensive and defensive gameplans); and 3) the Warriors’ own Reggie Williams, on the post-game show, who stated that Spoelstra’s failure to get shooters on the floor (in particular James Jones) is what allowed Dallas to effectively zone Dwayne Wade and Lebron.
You can see Nellie’s influence in all of those comments. Continue reading
Can’t believe that I’m going to be missing two (one?) of the most dramatic games in Finals history… but c’est la vie. One does not live by basketball alone, as the Thaiblonde will attest.
One of the more intriguing aspects of these Finals is that both of these teams are playing Nellieball. In particular the Mavs, who are built almost exactly like the 2003 team that Nellie might have won a title with, if Dirk hadn’t gotten injured in the Conference Finals. That team featured Nash and Van Exel in the backcourt along with Finley, and Bradley and Lafrentz at the 5 next to Dirk. In addition to Finley, Nellie had 4 quintessential Nellieball defensive wings at his disposal: Bell, Griffin, Abdul-Wahad and Najera. Continue reading
The Heat made several interesting adjustments in Game 3. The most obvious, of course, was to take Lebron off of Jason Terry. The Heat matched up conventionally, with Lebron guarding the three, usually Shawn Marion, and Wade guarding the two. Continue reading
Just finished watching the game for the second time. I watched it the first time out of the corner of my eye from my seat at the 5-10 no limit poker table at Lucky Chances… and quite predictably, my own play suffered greatly in crunch time.
To me this game highlighted the biggest edge that Dallas has over Miami: at Head Coach. Carlisle is an absolute genius: the adjustments he made (staggered screens, etc.) to get Nowitzki open against one of the toughest defenses in history were beautiful. And he does it on the fly, mid-game, which is the hallmark of the elite. Continue reading
I have already predicted that the Miami Heat will win the championship, and as great as the Dallas Mavericks have performed so far in these playoffs, I don’t see any reason to change my mind. Here are my reasons: Continue reading
The Mavs looked to have the better of this matchup during the regular season, but all three games were played before the trade that sent Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic to the Celtics for Kendrick Perkins. So this is an extremely difficult series to handicap. Continue reading
One of the most intriguing NBA playoffs in recent memory didn’t disappoint in the first round. Shockingly, the #1 seed San Antonio Spurs fell to the #8 Grizzlies. But I don’t buy into the idea that this means the Grizzlies are now a better team than the Spurs. Ginobili was playing with one arm, and Tim Duncan was probably only 80% coming off his late season ankle sprain. These sorts of unlucky injuries can mean everything in a playoff series. Remember Lebron on one arm?
The Atlanta Hawks also shocked the Orlando Magic. Which shows conclusively that how a team plays down the stretch in the regular season means almost nothing. Was there a worse team than the Hawks in the last month of the season? I remember the Celtics were also horrible last year in March and April. And of course, the Lakers were 3-7 coming into these playoffs.
Round 2 begins tomorrow, and with it the promise of more intriguing matchups. Jump for the 411. Continue reading
Posted in NBA Playoffs, Predictions, Previews, Wagers
Tagged Bulls, Celtics, Grizzlies, Hawks, Heat, Lakers, Mavericks, NBA Playoffs, Preview, Thunder