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The NBA Playoffs(1) is my favorite sporting event in all sports throughout the world. I have many fond memories (as well as heartbreak) dating back to the 1992 Postseason when Michael Jordan and the Bulls won their 2nd of Six Championships against the Portland Trail Blazers(2). I remember watch Game 1 of that NBA Finals in Awe, when MJ hit 6 three pointers(3).
At the time that was never heard of…granted 2019, 6 three pointers made in a half is the norm for guys like Steph Curry(4), and Klay Thompson(5), but then it was like WOW! I also remember catching chicken-pox around that time too (I was 10 years old in 4th grade…I suppose that was the average time to catch it).
Since that 1992 postseason I have watched or closely followed every playoff season since. Granted some playoff year stand out more than others, but every single one had something memorable. From that postseason through 2000, I will tell you my Knicks were always relevant (6). Granted, they weren’t realistic contenders all those years but they were certainly in the mix and they came really close in 93(7), 94(8), 95(9) & even 99(10*). Other teams were memorable than too, from the Gary Payton/ Shawn Kemp Seattle Super-Sonics (11), to the Stockton to Malone – Utah Jazz(12) as well as Mark Price(13) and his time on the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Most NBA Fans under 35 would probably have a hard time remembering him(14)).
Of course that decade from 91-99 at least was dominated by MJ and the Bulls(15) and a couple really good Hakeem Olajuwon lead Rockets teams(16), and the young Spurs lead by Tim Duncan*(17) capturing that wack-ass 50 game season Chip in 99 (10*) ! LOL! 2000-2009 was dominated by ShaQobe(18), Duncan*(19), D-Wade(20), the new bad boy Pistons(21) and the 07 Seconds or less Suns(22). Of course, there was LeBron(23) before he reached the peak of his powers. This past decade saw the coronation of Dirk(24), The Spurs still winning (that’s 5 championships over three decades)(25), The Warriors dominating,(26), and of course LeBron leading two separate teams to 8 straight finals (27) All streaks must come to an end. One constant was going over a cousin or Uncles’ house and having a playoff game on.
This year is no different. There’s no LeBron, and the Knicks and Lakers have been terrible for a long while, (6 year playoff drought for both teams…does the birth of my daughter in March 2014 have anything to do with this (Thinking face). LOL! Unlikely as the Knicks have been a dumpster fire (28) since Ewing left and the Lakers seem to be cursed every since Jerry Buss left this Earth (29). I’m excited about D’Angelo Russell and the Nets (30). I never liked the Nets and always was annoyed at them, but I can see why my Uncle would get excited about them being good, given all the dark years being a Knicks fan provides people.
Anyhow, here are my picks for the NBA PLAYOFFS → Written on Thursday April 18, 2019 at approx. 3:40pm
*For the record I get that the past two games results have colored my picks. I’m only human…I’m making it a point to finish this NBA piece this evening starting at 845pm, without having watched anymore basketball or reading any news that will make me want to revise my picks)
East Round 1
1- Bucks v 8. Pistons → Bucks in 4 (They are up 2-0 now)
2- Raptors v 7. Magic → Raptors in 5 (The Series is 1-1 now)
3- 76ers v. 6. Nets → 76ers in 7 (The Series is 1-1 now)
4- Celtics v. 5. Pacers → Celtics in 6 (Celtics are up 2-0 now)
West Round 1
1- Warriors v 8. Clippers → Warriors in 5 (The Series is 1-1 now)
2- Nuggets v. 7. Spurs → Nuggets in 6 (The Series is 1-1 now)
3- Blazers v. 6. Thunder → Blazers in 5 (Blazers are up 2-0)
4- Rockets v 5. Jazz → Rockets in 4 (Rockets are up 2-0 now)
Out of all these Series, I’m most confident that the Bucks will Sweep (31) and that the 76ers v. Nets will go 7 (32) Everything else, other than predicting the winners, I’m not sure how long the Series will go. OKC I’m most disappointed in as I thought they had a great path to the WCF, but they look like mince-meat now, the way PG13 is hurt (33), and just how they are playing.
EAST Round 2
- Bucks v 4. Celtics → Bucks in 7
- Raptors v. 3 76ers → Raptors in 6
West Round 2
- Warriors v. 4. Rockets → Rockets in 6
- Nuggets v. 3 Blazers → Blazers in 7
Side-note, the West Round 2 Series is absolutely the real WCF as the Rockets and the Warriors are the two best teams out West (34), and 2 of the 3 best teams in the League (if not the 2 best). Long live the Warriors! I can’t wait for this series. And I can’t wait for the Rockets to smack it to the Dubs! Nuggets v. Blazers are just roadkill in the WCF. So that series just come down to who wants to have the privilege of losing in Round 3 more. As for the East, I don’t believe in the 76ers, and I find the Celtics such a Wild-Card. The Bucks and Raptors just strike me as two of the most steady even-keeled teams in the League.
Eastern Conference Finals (ECF) Round 3
- Bucks v. 2. Raptors —> Bucks in 7
Western Conference Finals (WCF) Round 3
3. Blazers v. 4 Rockets → Rockets in 6
I like the matchup in the East between Giannis and company v Kawhi and Company. Raptors really feel like the Spurs of the East (until Kawhi leaves). The West will be a bit underwhelming after that epic round 2 matchup…but it’s still all good
FINALS (plus my pick for MVP)
- Bucks v. 4 Rockets → ROCKETS in 6!
The battle of the Titans between the 2 Leading MVP Contenders. Milwaukee’ got home-court, plus my pick for MVP, but the Rockets have the experience, the hunger and the swagger! Plus Houston has last year’s MVP and the guy who finished at least top 2 in voting for MVP four of the past five years, plus Chris Paul. The pick for MVP was harder for me than picking this series or the Rockets V. Warriors Series. Although I think if the Warriors get through the Rockets they will win the Chip again. But there you have it!
Also, I’m still a believer that the Games on the court matter more than the Games off. Even though this Free-Agency/ Drafting Season will be epic. GOD I sure hope the Knick get Zion! But, nonetheless, should be a fun 3 plus months for all basketball heads 🙂
PS -If you enjoyed this NBA Post of mine, you might like this one, as well
1- The NBA Playoffs(Theme Song for NBA Playoffs “Old School” )
2-Jordan and the Bulls won their 2nd of Six Championships against the Portland Trail Blazers(2- It was pretty incredible given this was the first NBA Championship celebration I witnessed).
3- MJ hit 6 three pointers (It was either this Game or this sequence around the 45 second mark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vCi4p3tUVk that made me decide MJ was/is/always will be THE GOAT ).
4- Steph Curry (Three point crazy),
5- Klay Thompson(Three point crazy)
6- From that postseason through 2000, I will tell you my Knicks were always relevant (Awesome Knicks toughness montage).
8-1994 (more Knicks heartbreak),
9- 1995(even more Knicks heartbreak)
10*-1999(I mean this Season was weird)
11-Gary Payton/ Shawn Kemp Seattle Super-Sonics (Dope!)
12-Stockton to Malone – Utah Jazz ( Like PBJ)
13-Mark Price(Cool video highlight reel of him)
14-Most NBA Fans under 35 would probably have a hard time remembering him(Educate yourself on one of the best players of the 90s)
15-MJ and the Bulls(I can’t wait for this Netflix documentary on the Bulls, https://awfulannouncing.com/espn/the-last-dance-trailer-espn-jordan-bulls.htm)
16-Hakeem Olajuwon lead Rockets teams(Hakeem’s “Dream Shake”)
17-young Spurs lead by Tim Duncan*(Duncan 98-99 highlights)
10*-1999 (Spurs first title)
18-ShaQobe(Figure it out LOL!),
19-Duncan*(The Big Fundamental ),
20- D-Wade(His Great MJ Impersonation in the 06 Finals)
21-new bad boy Pistons(2004 title team)
22-07 Seconds or less Suns (Steve Nash highlights, but also check this book out – https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Seconds-Less-Season-Phoenix/dp/0743298136 )
23-LeBron(His coming out party against the Pistons in 2007 ECF)
24-coronation of Dirk(His 2011 Playoff Run)
25-Spurs still winning (that’s 5 championships over three decades) INCREDIBLE FEAT!
27-LeBron leading two separate teams to 8 straight finals (8 Straight!)
28-Knicks have been a dumpster fire (I mean look at our Owner, he’s like a Mini-Trump with his temper-tantrums)
29-Lakers seem to be cursed every since Jerry Buss left this Earth (Son Jim Buss was bad as an owner, Jeannie doesn’t seem much better).
30-D’Angelo Russell and the Nets (Impressive young player!).
31-Bucks will Sweep (GIANNIS!)
32-76ers v. Nets will go 7 (I cheated a little and read that Embiid is out for Game 3 of Round 1, YIKES!)
33-PG13 is hurt (The Truth shall set you free PG!! The Truth Shall set you free!),
34-West Round 2 Series is absolutely the real WCF as the Rockets and the Warriors are the two best teams out West (THIS WILL BE AN AWESOME MATCH-UP!),
https://joshoffthepress.com/2017/06/02/mj-or-lebron-lebron-or-mj-also-2017-finals-predictions/ (Here’s a post of mine from 2 years ago that did a nice break-down of the MJ v. LeBron debate…granted time hasn’t been as kind to LeBron as MJ now…but still an interesting read).
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