Blog Entry

Conference Finals Predictions

Posted on: May 22, 2008 1:08 pm
 
I know it's a little late, but...

[1] Boston Celtics vs. [2] Detroit Pistons

Why the Celtics can win: The Celtics - and their much-heralded trio of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen - entered this postseason untested as a collective, but they have discovered much about each other through 14 games - two grueling seven-games series. Boston has home-court advantage, which has proven to be all they need. The Celtics are 0-6 on the road in the playoffs, but are 8-0 at TD Banknorth Garden. They won the regular season series against Detroit 2-1, claiming the final two games.

Why the Pistons can win: Detroit is making its sixth consecutive trip to the conference finals - the longest streak since the Showtime Lakers made eight straight trips to the Western Conference finals from 1982 to 1989. After losing to Miami and Cleveland as the top seed in their past two trips to this round, Detroit is back in its preferred spot as the No. 2 seed - the same position it held the two times it advanced to the NBA Finals during this run. The Pistons won the title in 2004. They had a full week to rest and prepare for this round after disposing of Orlando in five games.

Difference Maker: Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons. Billups missed the final two games of the conference semifinals against Orlando with a strained right hamstring. He had 28 points in Detroit's lone win against Boston this season and led the Pistons in scoring against the Celtics this season, averaging 22.7 points. He will look to take advantage of his matchup against Celtics second-year guard Rajon Rondo, who has had his ups and downs in his playoff debut.

Bottom Line: Celtics in seven.

[1] Los Angeles Lakers vs. [3] San Antonio Spurs

Why the Lakers can win: Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and Derek Fisher are back in the conference finals for the first time in four years, eager to win another title, the first without Shaquille O'Neal for Bryant and Fisher. Jackson, who has won an NBA-record 46 playoff series, is 3-1 in head-to-head playoff matchups against Spurs Coach Greg Popovich. The Lakers had five days to rest before taking on the Spurs in Game 1, giving Bryant's back time to heal, while the Spurs are coming off a seven-game series against New Orleans. Lakers forward Lamar Odom has raised his scoring and rebounding averages in the playoffs.

Why the Spurs can win: San Antonio is the defending champion and can never be counted out. While the Lakers earned the top seed in the West and have played only 10 playoff games, they are still a relatively new playoff group. The Spurs have much more experience together, with the nucleus of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Bruce Bowen in its sixth season. The Lakers are 8-2 in the playoffs, but have yet to face a defensive team that comes close to rivaling the Spurs. San Antonio has won four championships in the past season, but it is hungry to win back-to-back titles for the first time and cement its status as a dynasty.

Difference Maker: Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs. Duncan took a back seat to Ginobili in the regular season, but Parker has emerged as the Spurs go-to man in the postseason. He is averaging 23.7 points in 12 playoff games. He averaged a team-high 20.7 pointsand shot 56.5 percent in three games against the Lakers this season, with San Antonio winning two of them.

Bottom Line: Lakers in seven.

Category: NBA
Comments

Since: Jan 10, 2008
Posted on: May 24, 2008 8:14 am
 

Conference Finals Predictions

Dry

Great analysis. I agree on the Celtics / Pistons but I think the Lakers may take the Spurs down in six. Of course as I write this, the lakers now have a 2 - 0 lead in the series.

I'm hoping for a Lakers/ Celtics Finals with the Celtics taking it in seven games. That is the way I would like to see it play out.

Nice job.



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