May 13, 2012

2012 NBA Playoff Predictions: Conference Semifinals


(8) Philadelphia 76ers @ (4) Boston Celtics
Thoughts: The Sixers can't beat the Celtics. That is all.

X-Factor: Health. The only way I could see Boston possibly having trouble is if someone gets hurt. Paul Pierce is playing on a sprained knee, Ray Allen has a bum ankle, Avery Bradley has one available arm. If any of those injuries worsens, or God forbid we have another Derrick Rose/Iman Shumpert situation, the Sixers could fuck around and be in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Prediction: Celtics win in 4.

(3) Indiana Pacers @ Miami Heat (2)
Thoughts: Man, the Pacers sure have been talking a lot of trash, huh? They are a really good team, but they need to chill and act accordingly.

And with that being said, I think it's absolutely fucking ridiculous that Pacers coach Frank Vogel got fined for his comments. I want my Heat to punish him for his words, not David Stern. Besides, if he wants to talk shit, let him. The NBA hasn't made any effort to stop flopping, so you can't expect no one would ever say something like Vogel did. That's just unrealistic. Then again, so is David Stern at times.

X-Factor: Rebounding. If the Heat can control the boards against a much bigger team, this one could be over fast. Conversely, if the Pacers can do a good job of keeping the Heat off both the offensive and defensive boards, it's not inconceivable that this series would be much closer than it probably should be.

Prediction: Heat win in 5.


(3) Los Angeles Lakers @ (2) Oklahoma City Thunder
Thoughts: Go ahead and prepare yourselves to hear some of the loudest boos in NBA history when Metta World War Peace's name is announced, and every time he touches the ball Monday night in Game 1. This shit could rival LeBron's first trip back to Cleveland A.D. (After Decision). I'm just saying, don't have your volume turned up too high.

As far as the actual basketball goes, this series should end up being a lot closer than many others think. If Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol carry their Game 7 performance with them to Oklahoma, and Metta can hold Kevin Durant reasonably in check, things could get interesting. One major concern for the Lakers is Ramon Sessions (aka Tall Lil Duval) on defense. In the last round he got cooked by Ty Lawson, so what do you think Russell Westbrook is going to do to him? It could get ugly.

Another concern would be the back-to-back for Games 3 and 4. Yeah, they're home in L.A., but that could be a lot to ask of Kobe and some of the older Lakers after a 7 game series and against a young team that's been resting for over a week.

X-Factor: Andrew Bynum's attitude. Sessions getting ate up by Westbrook is a forgone conclusion, but Bynum giving a fuck surely isn't. If his effort is minimal and his interest wanes, the Thunder could be looking at back-to-back sweeps.

Prediction: Thunder win in 6.

Thoughts: Too much rest for the Spurs, not enough rest for the Clippers. This series shouldn't take long.

X-Factor: L.A.'s health. If Chris Paul and Blake Griffin aren't 100% or damn near it, the Clippers might as well not even show up.

Prediction: Spurs win in 5.