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Monday, May 14, 2012

NBA Conference Semifinals

The Conference Semifinals are under way in the NBA.  It may seem like cheating to write a post with analysis and predictions at this point.  But, unfortunately, I haven't been able to write it until now.

Philadelphia v. Boston:  The theme of this series is: "old age and treachery beats youth and skill."  The 76ers are a team on the rise.  They have young and talented players that will be a fixture in the playoffs for years to come.  The Sixers acquitted themselves well in the first round when they bested the injury-riddled Bulls. But, the Celtics are as healthy as anyone at this time of year.  And they are a battle-tested group led by a great coach.  The Celtics also have the home court advantage.  The games will all be competitive, but the Celtics will ultimately prevail in the series.  Banshee Prediction:  Celtics in 6.

Indiana v. Miami:  The first game is already in the books.  Miami won the opening game at home.  But, Chris Bosh went down with an abdominal injury in that game.  Bosh's sore tummy could prove to be the deciding factor.  The Heat have the two best players in the series in Wade and James, but they lack depth ... particularly up front.  The Pacers have a big and talented front line with Hansboro and Hibbert leading the way.  Despite the fact that the Pacers lack household names, they proved all season long that they are no slouches.  Their record earned them the 3rd seed in the East.  Although Bosh is certainly the least important of Miami's Big 3, he is a loss they cannot afford against a team built like Indiana.  Banshee Prediction:  Pacers in 7.

Los Angeles Lakers v. Oklahoma City:  This is the series I am most excited about.  There are fantastic players on both rosters.  There is also bad blood between these teams.  The Lakers clearly have the edge in experience.  Kobe Bryant is still amongst the best closers in the game.  And the Lakers have the scoring edge amongst the big men.  But, the Thunder proved that they have the mental toughness to make a deep run in the playoffs when they swept the defending champion Mavericks in the first round.  Kevin Durant is OKC's best player, but it will be the point guards who make the difference in this series.  The Lakers do not have a point guard that can even think about guarding the Thunder's explosive Russell Westbrook.  Banshee Prediction:  Thunder in 7.

Los Angeles Clippers v. San Antonio:  For the second year in a row, the San Antonio Spurs claimed the top seed in the tough Western Conference.  And, for the second year in a row, they did it with a team that was supposed to be too old to make through the grind of the regular season.  That's why their head coach was awarded Coach of the Year for 2012.  The Clippers made great strides as a franchise this year by advancing to the second round.  But, despite the greatness of Chris Paul, the Clippers will struggle to score against the crafty Spurs.  Also, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, the Spurs are healthier than the young Clippers.  Banshee Prediction:  Spurs in 5.

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