Wednesday, May 5, 2010

2010 Playoff Preview - Second Round + First Round Review



Cavaliers (61-21) vs. Celtics (50-32)
SRS: 6.27 (2nd) - 3.37 (10th)
ORTG: 111.2 (6th) - 107.7 (15th)
DRTG: 104.1 (7th) - 103.8 (5th)

PER Matchups
C: Shaquille O'Neal (17.9) vs. Kendrick Perkins (15.0)
PF: Antawn Jamison (16.7) vs. Kevin Garnett (19.4)
SF: LeBron James (31.1) vs. Paul Pierce (18.2)
SG: Anthony Parker (9.9) vs. Ray Allen (15.2)
PG: Mo Williams (16.1) vs. Rajon Rondo (19.1)
If we were just going by the regular season, I'd say the Cavaliers take this easily.  However, the Cavs were somewhat stagnant against the Bulls in round 1, and the Celtics are a much better team.  The Celtics were clearly sleepwalking through the regular season, as they easily dispatched a Miami team that some even predicted they'd lose to.  The Celtics have beaten LeBron before, and they are the same team now that they were then (with Rondo & Perkins' improvement making up for KG and Allen's declines).  LeBron might be the best player in the game today, but the Celtics boast advantages at 3 positions, and that could be a huge factor with LeBron's elbow hurting as he'll need his teammates to step up if they want to move on.



Magic (59-23) vs. Hawks (53-29)

SRS: 7.12 (1st) - 4.44 (7th)
ORTG: 111.4 (4th) - 111.9 (2nd)
DRTG: 103.3 (3rd) - 106.7 (13th)

C:  Dwight Howard (24.0) vs. Al Horford (19.4)
PF: Rashard Lewis (14.0) vs. Josh Smith (21.0)
SF: Matt Barnes (13.6) vs. Marvin Williams (13.0)
SG: Vince Carter (17.1) vs. Joe Johnson (19.3)
PG: Jameer Nelson (15.5) vs. Mike Bibby (12.7)

The Magic face a very different style in round two than they did in round one, but they should still bulldoze their way to the Conference Finals with relative ease.  The Hawks are much better offensively than the Bobcats were, but they're also worse defensively.  That doesn't bode well for Atlanta with Dwight Howard looking to make an impact in this series after struggling badly in the first round.  Normally I'd think this will be a close series (my inner Hawks fan would at least like to think so), but the Hawks were creamed by the Magic in the regular season (1-3) by 65 points (16.2 per game) with Atlanta's one win coming by a mere 2 points.  Given their history as well as the fact that the Hawks struggled mightily against a short-handed Bucks team, and there isn't much reason to think the Magic will have any trouble moving on.

PREDICTION: Magic in 5




Lakers (57-25) vs. Jazz (53-29)
SRS: 4.78 (5th) - 5.33 (3rd)

ORTG: 108.8 (11th) - 110.7 (8th)
DRTG: 103.7 (4th) - 105.0 (10th)

PER Matchups
C: Andrew Bynum (20.2) - Kyrylo Fesenko (9.7)
PF: Pau Gasol (22.9) - Carlos Boozer (21.3)
SF: Ron Artest (12.1) - C.J. Miles (10.3)
SG: Kobe Bryant (21.9) - Wesley Matthews (12.3)
PG: Derek Fisher (9.3) - Deron Williams (20.6)

Even though Utah posted the better SRS this season (and I have been burned badly both times I went against SRS), Utah is still a short-handed team, and has traditionally struggled against the Kobe Lakers.  Much like they did against the Thunder, the Lakers boast a size advantage up front that should be too much for the Jazz to overcome (if there were ever a time they needed Kirilenko to get healthy, it's now).  Deron Williams will pose even greater problems than Russell Westbrook did, but it's tough to envision the Lakers blowing a series when they have advantages at four positions.



Suns (54-28) vs. Spurs (50-32)

SRS: 4.68 (6th) - 5.07 (4th)
ORTG: 115.3 (1st) - 110.0 (9th)
DRTG: 110.2 (23rd) - 104.5 (8th)

PER Matchups
C: Jarron Collins (3.8) - Tim Duncan (24.7)
PF: Amare Stoudemire (22.6) - Antonio McDyess (12.2)
SF: Grant Hill (14.0) - Richard Jefferson (13.1)
SG: Jason Richardson (16.6) - Manu Ginobili (22.5)
PG: Steve Nash (21.6) - George Hill (14.9)

Logic dictates the Spurs will win this matchup AGAIN.  The Suns struggled against a Roy-less Blazer team, while the Spurs already knocked off a higher seeded Mavs team.  A healthy Tony Parker alone should be worth as much as Phoenix's deep bench, and it's not like Parker is alone out there - DeJuan Blair could have a big series (Suns are among the worst rebounding teams), and even Matt Bonner could cause problems.  If Dampier and Haywood couldn't stop Duncan, there's no reason to ultimately think Jarron Collins or Channing Frye will either.


(1) Cavaliers vs. (8) Bulls

As expected, there was just too much LeBron for the Bulls to handle. The Bulls did manage to sneak a two point victory in game 3 to prevent a sweep, but they never had a chance in the series as the Cavaliers had +46 point differential in the series (+9.2 per game).  The Bulls mainstays all played up to par, but they were overmatched in the front court as the rookie Gibson had a poor series and Brad Miller was a complete non-factor.

RASHIDI: Cavaliers in 4

REALITY: Cavaliers in 5

(2) Magic vs. (7) Bobcats
As expected, the Bobcats (24th ranked offense) couldn't score against the Magic (3rd ranked defense), while the Magic (4th ranked offense) had much more success against the Bobcats (1st ranked defense).  When that happens, you get a sweep, even when your star player is in foul trouble the entire series.  It certainly didn't help that the Bobcats top scorer (Stephen Jackson) played hurt the entire series.

RASHIDI: Magic in 4
REALITY: Magic in 4


(3) Hawks vs. (6) Bucks

The Hawks really showed their weakness by allowing an undermanned Bucks team to get to game 7.  If Andrew Bogut were there, they likely would have lost the series!  Brandon Jennings, Ersan Ilyasova, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute played extremely well, and if the Hawks (13th ranked defense) struggled to defend the Bucks (23rd ranked offense), it's difficult to envision them being very competitive in round two.

RASHIDI: Hawks in 4 games
REALITY: Hawks in 7 games


(4) Celtics vs. (5) Heat

Dwyane Wade got no help.  That's all there is to it.

Miami PER
29.9 Wade (+1.9)
11.7 Anthony (+1.5)
11.2 Richardson (-1.7)
10.5 Chalmers (-0.2)
9.9 Beasley (-6.2)
8.8 Arroyo (-3.5)
7.9 Wright (-6.6)
5.3 Haslem (-9.3)
2.5 O'Neal (-15.4)

O'Neal shot 20% from the field and averaged 4 ppg.  His all-star days are long gone, and GMs should take not of that when he hits the free agent market this summer.  Haslem shot 35%, and if these were his last games as a member of the Heat, then he didn't exactly go out on the right note.  Beasley was dominated by Garnett and Miami will be looking to trade him this summer.  It's a very good thing Dwyane Wade likes Miami because if not he'd be posting twitter questions about where he should play next like Chris Bosh.

RASHIDI: Celtics in 6
REALITY: Celtics in 5

(1) Lakers vs. (8) Thunder
The Thunder made this a close series even though Artest covered Durant as well as anyone could have, because as most PGs do, Russell Westbrook went to town on Derek Fisher.  Westbrook averaged 21/6/6 while shooting 47% from the field, all while averaging only 2.3 turnovers per game.  And as predicted, LA's size came into play when Gasol sealed the series with an offensive putback with 0.5 seconds left in game 6.  Oklahoma will be even better next season, but they'd do well to add some size to their frontline.

RASHIDI: Lakers in 5
REALITY: Lakers in 6


(2) Mavericks vs. (7) Spurs
SRS said to go with the Spurs.  My gut said to go with the Spurs.  I wimped out and went with the Mavs because they had home court.  Big mistake.  The Spurs clamped down on defense and Dirk was the only player on the Mavs that could consistently get it going.  Tony Parker was rejuvenated off the bench and the Mavs just didn't have the pieces to keep up.
RASHIDI: Mavericks in 7
REALITY: Spurs in 6


(3) Suns vs. Blazers (6)

Portland snuck in two wins but for the most part they didn't have a chance in this series.  When Brandon Roy returned only 8 days after knee surgery to tie the series at 2-2 you could sense Phoenix losing the momentum, but they quickly snatched it back and didn't relent.  Portland should have a better showing next season with the health of Greg Oden and the jettisoning of Rudy Fernandez (who seems to be affecting team chemistry somewhat).

RASHIDI: Suns in 5
REALITY: Suns in 6


(4) Nuggets vs. (5) Jazz

Once again, I went against SRS, and that didn't work out too well for me.  This was a really weird series.  Kirilenko missed the series, while Okur got hurt in game 1 which left the relatively unknown Kyrylo Fesenko starting the rest of the way.  On Denver's side, coach George Karl missed the series, K-Mart struggled through injury, and Nene nearly tore his ACL (but instead only sprained his knee).  The Nuggets appeared lost without Karl, while the Nuggets bigs were unable to stop Boozer, and the Nuggets guards were not able to stop Deron Williams.  A poor recipe for success, and Utah moved along with relative ease (making me look pretty silly in the process).

RASHIDI: Nuggets in 5
REALITY: Jazz in 6



Anonymous said...

Can't wait to hear your excuse for the Suns vs Spurs matchup.

Anonymous said...