2010 NBA Playoffs Predictions: Cavs over Lakers
It's the day of the Playoffs / Wow-wow-wow.
Let's start by saying that - with seven wins separating 1 from 8 and key injuries up and down the field - there is absolutely nothing that would surprise me in the West, not even if Russell Westbrook ran wild against the Lakers' PGs to spark an upset.
Indeed, I'm hardly brimming with confidence about my pick of L.A. winning the West, after they limped home with a 15-12 record in the final third of the season, but I just can't figure out who's strong enough to beat them. I liked Utah, but the Kirilenko injury is a killer. I think the Spurs could beat L.A., but they'll be hard-pressed to get out of the first round, and to stay healthy for more than a month. I like the Suns, but don't know if they can play enough defense, or get past their old nemesis San Antonio.
In the East, it'll be all about the Cleveland-Orlando series, which should determine the 2009-10 champion. I see it as a toss-up which has multiple games coming down to the final minutes, as in last year's series. I've gone back and forth on this one, but in the end, I'm going to change my preseason pick of Magic over Lakers, because I just think Cleveland is much better equipped to deal with this matchup this season.
So I'm predicting that
- LeBron will get his first ring
- Shaq will be the "first to 5" titles, beating Kobe and Timmy, and
- Cleveland will get its first championship since 1964.
For the record, here are our full playoff predictions:
First Round: Cavs in 4, Magic in 6, Hawks in 5, Heat in 6
Conf Semis: Cavs over Heat in 5, Magic over Hawks in 5
Conf Finals: Cavs over Magic in 7
First Round: Lakers in 7, Spurs in 6, Suns in 7, Nuggets in 7
Conf Semis: Lakers over Nuggets in 7, Spurs over Suns in 6
Conf Finals: Lakers over Spurs in 7
NBA Finals: Cavs over Lakers in 5
Time for the best sporting event on Earth to start. Let's do it.