Cousin Alex’s NBA Playoff Preview 2013

Apr 19, 2013 by

Ladies and gentlemen, once again the time of year when we get to watch those overpaid athletes run up and down the court in hopes of throwing that peach ball into the hole enough times to keep advancing is upon us.  The NBA Playoffs patiently waited their turn and allowed us to stay glued to our brackets in March, but now they deserve our full attention.  So many people complain the NBA this, the NBA that…if you are interested in watching the best basketball players in the world compete at BOTH ends of the floor then you need to tune into some playoff basketball.  

 

Below I have given my take on each playoff team broken down by conference.  I have personally ranked the teams from least likely to most likely to make the NBA Finals.  In parentheses is their actual seed – you will notice some vary from my rankings.

Eastbound and down for 7 teams

8 (8) Milwaukee Bucks 

Who’s going to win it? The Bucks, The Bucks!  My home state team takes down the Heat in the 1st round…what am I saying?  That’d be like North Korea taking down the U.S.  Either way I am headed with my family to game 3 of the series to see Lebron James, I mean my Milwaukee Bucks.  All jokes aside, playoff basketball is awesome and it’d be great to see the Bucks pull off a win that night.  Either way, odds are we will get to watch the 2013 NBA Champions as well.  I can’t wait to boo Lebron and then watch in awe at his greatness!  

 

7 (6) Atlanta Hawks 

Basically the same feelings here as last year’s article stated “Same old story.  A bunch of B-list stars that are good but not great.  They’ll get you to the playoffs and maybe win one series at best.”   Maybe if Kyle Korver drains ten 3’s a game they could make a miracle run to the Finals, well maybe it’d have to be closer to 12 3’s a game then.  Sorry Atlanta, but hey your Braves are looking good these days!

6 (5) Chicago Bulls

All this city wants is one Rose!  No Rose, no chance.  If he shocked the world and played like the Rose of old they would jump my list from 6 to probably 2 or 3.  Chicago does play exceptional defense and can win ugly games.  This is one of the better “teams” in the NBA as they play unselfishly.  They have an outside chance to make a deep run but ultimately the lack of offense will cost them.  Not a ROSEy outlook here….weak pun I agree…

5 (4) Brooklyn Nets 

People are probably surprised I have them 5th….but if you want to play the contender or pretender game, my choice is pretender.  I do believe they will win their first round series (even though they lost 3 of 4 in the regular season to Chicago), but then the Heat would come to town…D-Will was playing through injuries earlier in the season and now Joe Johnson is battling them.  The Nets have the talent to make a serious run in the East, but I just do not like the make-up of their team for whatever reason.  Maybe they can build some extra toughness in the off season by taking a team building trip to Cuba with Jay-Z?!

 4 (7) Boston Celtics

One more Finals run?  Everyone outside of maybe Bill Simmons and myself say no!  But Pierce, Garnett, the Jet, rising young talent…maybe Simmons and I drink too much Celtic kool-aid or something.  But hey, until they lose 4 out of 7 games, Celtics to the Finals!  The injury bug has reared its ugly head this season, but I do like the emergence of Jeff Green… he would have to play great consistently for the Celts to take down the Knicks, Pacers and then the Heat.  After the recent bombings, another deep playoff run would be all the more special for the people of Boston.

 3 (3) Indiana Pacers 

They have some quality fire power with Roy Hibbert, David West and Paul George.  When this team is playing well, and their defensive length is troubling teams – even the Heat at times, they can beat anybody.  Putting that winning formula together for 4 out of 7 games is not as easy. In my eyes they lack the killer instinct…remember last year when they were up 2 -1 on Miami and enjoyed a double digit lead in the third quarter of game 4, only to never win another game in the series?   

2 (2) NY Knicks 

They say they can beat the Heat, but do they truly believe it in their hearts?  I remain a skeptic, even though they are currently playing great basketball.  It is time for Carmelo to come through in a big way….in the playoffs.  The NBA regular season is what it is.  Do people really remember the scoring champion five years down the road?  Can he get the Garden and Spike Lee to the NBA Finals?  An Eastern Conference showdown vs. the Heat would be a treat for NBA fans.  I like the championship blood Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd bring along with the great season J.R. Smith is having….possible path to the Finals would be the Celtics, then the Pacers followed by the Heat.  Yeah no, not happening.

 Hands Down 1 (1) Miami Heat 

They have the best basketball player walking this planet on their team and this guy, you might have heard about him, his name is LeBron James.  He shoots 57% from the field.  He is the unanimous MVP this season.  D-Wade is shooting 52% with the Bosh hitting 54% of his attempts.  With the Big 3 taking the majority of the team’s shots, I love their chances.  Battier plays defense and hits 3’s at a 43% clip.  Chalmers is extremely underrated as he is drilling 41% of his 3 point attempts while playing the point guard position with a 2.3 to 1 assist to turnover ratio.  NO ONE BEATS THEM 4 OUT OF 7 (barring any significant injuries).

My brother asked me this hypothetical question a couple weeks ago, if the Bucks were given a 2 – 0 advantage could they beat the Heat in a best of seven? ….ahhh no was my response.  They would not pick up a game if the Heat had their backs against the wall starting down 2 – 0.

How the West will be won

8 (6) – Golden State Warriors

 

It is awesome the Warriors are back in the playoffs.  Mark Jackson has done an absolutely excellent job blending young talent while dealing with injuries.  It helps he has Stephen Curry leading the charge as he has become an all-around NBA star, breaking the single season record for 3 pointers, passing Jesus Shuttlesworth.  The first round series with Denver has potential to be as exciting as they come.  A few baskets will be made between these two up and down teams. The only way Golden State makes some noise is if Curry takes over like he did while playing at Davidson when they were a 3 pointer away from the Final Four…thanks for playing, Golden State.

 

7 (8) – Houston Rockets

James Harden has turned into the man this year, although his impressive beard should have already suggested this a few years ago.  The rising young talent on this team really knows how to put the ball into the hoop.  One of the great NBA moments this year came when Kevin Garnett hugged Coach Kevin McHale shortly after the passing of McHale’s daughter.  It was one of those moments that puts life into perspective and makes it hard not to root for McHale’s Rockets to do some damage in these playoffs.  It’s ironic Harden will be headed back to OKC in round one….ya never know…that’s why they play the game.

 

6 (7) – Los Angeles Lakers

They finally get the ball rolling out West and just like that their season for all intents and purposes is over.  Kobe’s ruptured Achilles’ Tendon took all the wind out of the Lakers’ hopeful playoff run.  I am in the same boat with Kobe on this one…as the Doctor said I “exploded” my Achilles’ playing Rec Basketball in early January…Kobe will be back, no doubt in my mind.  Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol need to all of a sudden go into twin tower beast mode for any surprising playoff stay.  The lateral defense of this team is awful as anyone can drive on them.  One thing we have found out though…Ron Artest either engulfed massive amounts of deer antler spray or his body is that well trained and in shape he heals 5x times faster than the average human being.  This off season does promise some great drama…Howard, Kobe, Phil Jackson, etc.  If Kobe was healthy I would have liked their possible draw to the Conference Finals.

 

5 (5) – Memphis Grizzles

 

The trade to acquire Tayshaun Prince was a financial move many Grizzly fans probably did not appreciate right away, but he has really gelled with the team and brings championship experience.  Marc Gasol has quietly had a solid season.  This team brings a nice balance to it, much like Denver, but you generally need big time stars come playoff time.  I do not see them taking down the Clippers, OKC and then San Antonio in the playoffs.

 

4 (3) – Denver Nuggets

 

This team has adopted President Obama’s spread the wealth strategy, so no they are not going to the Finals… The loss of Danilo Gallinari greatly hurt this team’s hopes of an under the radar run. His ability to stretch a defense in the half court will hurt them the most.  The 7th seeded Lakers had two NBA All-Stars who both started and the 3rd seeded Nuggets did not have any All-Stars…makes perfect sense!  Coach George Karl gets my NBA Coach of the Year.  Honestly, who wins 57 games without one All-Star?  The Nuggets are fun to watch and stand to be a tough out.

 

3 (4) – LA Clippers

 

I give them the slight edge over the Grizzles because I favor the team with the best player – Chris Paul, or Cliff Paul if we want to discuss car insurance.  He is a top 3 point guard in this league. By the way, who would have thought the Clippers would be running LA these days?…paging the LA Lakers!  The Clips do have a deep and gifted roster, but at this point Blake Griffin is slightly overrated (not his dunks though).  Griffin could use a nice summer in the gym with Hakeem, the Dream, Olajuwon to polish up his post game.  Can the Clips generate enough half court offense once the game slows down in the postseason?  Should be another great series with the Grizz, but tough to see them taking that series and then OKC followed by possibly the Spurs to reach the Finals.  The fat lady isn’t singing yet on these guys though…

 

2 (2) – San Antonio Spurs

 

Coach Popovich could take 5 token Rec League players and win 30 games during an NBA season…dude’s ridiculous.  And I just called Pop a dude…I do not call many 64 year old white haired guys a dude, oh well.  Duncan is playing as efficient as ever and Tony Parker continues to do Tony Parker things.  The role players on this team are simply better than the average playoff team’s role players.  BUT, is Manu Ginobali going to be healthy enough to make a run to the Finals, something this squad has not done in quite a few years.  A healthy Ginobali and its neck and neck with OKC…speaking of OKC…

 

1 (1) – Oklahoma City Thunder

 

Seems like the talk lately is that they cannot repeat what they did last year without James Harden.  I see how some people can think that, but please remember they have two 1st Team All-NBA players in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.  Durant is silky smooth while Westbrook is electric.  The Thunder also have great interior defense in Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins.

 

My question for this squad is whether or not they can get enough “easy” baskets….they tend to live and die by jump shots against great defenses.  Can Durant lead them back to the Finals and get a second shot against the Heat?  I’m thinking so.

 

 

Well I have to say I went out on a limb by picking both #1 seeds to the NBA Finals…now I know how it feels to be one of those ESPN Analysts who picks straight chalk when they fill out their brackets during the March Madness preview shows.  Guess the reality here is that there is not as much parity in the NBA compared to NCAA basketball.  Enjoy the Playoffs!   

Follow Cousin Alex on Twitter at  @alexallister09

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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68 Comments

  1. Teams 1 to 4 in each conference are the three division winners and the team with the next best regular-season record, with the seeding of these four teams determined by regular-season record. The playoffs seedings of Teams 5 to 8 are based upon regular-season record. Ties are broken pursuant to the rules set forth below. Ties for playoff positions (including division winners) will be broken utilizing the criteria set forth in subparagraph a. below (in the case of ties involving two teams) and subparagraph b. below (in the case of ties involving more than two teams), and the guidelines set forth in subparagraph c. below.

  2. Great comment about ESPN analysts picking straight chalk to the final 4…I think Jay Bilas has picked the 4 #1 seeds for the last 9 years in a row….

    Hard to argue with chalk in the NBA playoffs this year tho…OKC in 6 in the finals?

  3. With three minutes remaining in the game, both teams took their starters out of the game, with the Heat still leading by more than 20 points. With their Game 5 win, the Heat won their second NBA championship in team history, and the first for several Heat players, including James, who was named the NBA Finals MVP after averaging 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists in the finals, capping it all off with his first triple double of the season in the final game.

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