2013 NBA Playoffs Preview & Predictions: Eastern Conference

I talked about the Western Conference a little bit earlier tonight, and now it’s the East’s turn. Make no mistake: the Eastern Conference is the Miami Heat’s to lose. Short of the Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, or a healthy Denver Nuggets team, I think a Miami Heat championship repeat is inevitable. (And believe me, I say that without bias toward the Heat–I’m from Cleveland.) Here’s how I think Round 1 will play out…


(1) Miami Heat vs. (8) Milwaukee Bucks

Let’s be real here: Miami is essentially getting a bye in Round 1. The Miami Heat are peaking and far, far better than they’ve ever been before (including when they won the championship last year). Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks had a strong early season and then completely collapsed in the second half of the season. The Bucks have no business being in the playoffs with the caliber of basketball that they’ve been playing, and even against the Heat’s “C-Team”, I see no chance whatsoever of the Heat not sweeping this series.

Prediction: Miami Heat win 4-0


(4) Brooklyn Nets vs. (5) Chicago Bulls

Charles Barkley keeps saying that the Clippers and Knicks are fool’s gold? Well, I’m pretty sure the real fool’s gold in the 2013 NBA Playoffs is the Brooklyn Nets. By far the worst of the top 4 seeds in the east or west, the Nets got the 4-seed through victories over lots of weak lottery teams and few wins against formidable threats. I think Brooklyn will get one victory to save face, but the smothering defense of the Bulls will ultimately send the Nets home early and Brooklyn fans disappointed.

Prediction: Chicago Bulls win 4-1


(2) New York Knicks vs. (7) Boston Celtics

This is a matchup near and dear to my heart, as I moved to Boston from New York last year. The Knicks have been tremendous this year, and Carmelo Anthony is looking unstoppable. Jason Kidd is my favorite basketball player ever, and I think he and the rest of the veteran Knicks will utilize their plethora of experiences to excel here in the playoffs. I love Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, and I think that the Celtics will go down fighting, but I don’t see Boston having the firepower to take down New York this time out.

Prediction: New York Knicks win 4-2


(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Atlanta Hawks

Both the Pacers and the Hawks have played some forgettable basketball lately, and the Pacers are looking the weakest that they have all season. That said, I would still take the Pacers at their worst over the Atlanta Hawks. I’ve watched a good number of Hawks games in the last few months, and none of it has given me confidence that they have a chance against the Pacers at all. It’s possible I’m underestimating Atlanta, but I think it’s more likely others are underestimating the Pacers. I see this as the other likely Round 1 sweep.

Prediction: Indiana Pacers win 4-0

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2013 NBA Playoffs Preview & Predictions: Western Conference

It’s my favorite weekend of the year: the kickoff to the NBA Playoffs! The infinitely stronger Western Conference is my pride and joy, so I’ll begin my playoffs preview and predictions out west…

NBA Playoffs Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets

(1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (8) Houston Rockets

I thought I wanted the Houston Rockets to go into the playoffs, guns-blazing, and give the San Antonio Spurs a real fight. But what I really wanted, in my heart of hearts, was to see James Harden return to Oklahoma City as a superstar and bring his young band of brothers to combat the Thunder. I don’t think the Rockets can win–but I think that they can give Oklahoma City a big scare and make a statement that Houston is a team to watch in the next few years.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder wins 4-2

NBA Playoffs Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies

When the Memphis Grizzlies traded away Rudy Gay, their top scorer, I thought they were finished. I was wrong. They’re even stronger defensively without Gay, though their offense has taken a serious hit. The Clippers managed to barely sneak past the Grizzlies last year, and I think it’s a toss-up which of these monstrous teams will make the Western Semi-Finals this year. Of all eight 2013 NBA Playoffs Round 1 matches, this is easily the most difficult to choose a winner for. I think the defense of the Grizzlies will prevail, despite Lob City’s best efforts to the contrary.

Prediction: Memphis Grizzlies win 4-3

NBA Playoffs San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers

The idea that the media seems to be propagating that a Kobe Bryant-less Los Angeles Lakers are going to walk into the playoffs and take out the San Antonio Spurs is just ridiculous. Yes, the Lakers beat the Spurs last week. Yes, Manu Ginobilli is still not 100%. But when it comes right down to it, the L.A. Lakers–as improved as they have been since the All-Star Break–are just not all that good.

Dwight Howard was forced to play well the last three games of the season without Kobe Bryant, but there’s been no evidence that he can put together a whole series of strong games like that. The Spurs have been strong all year and have drawn a seed where they won’t have to fight the younger and faster Rockets, nor will they have to contend with Memphis or the Clippers in Round 2. The Lakers may win a game or two, but the Spurs are exactly where they want to be and will pull through this series.

Prediction: San Antonio Spurs win 4-2

NBA Playoffs Denvers Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors

(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Golden State Warriors

I’ve been saying all season that the Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors is my personal “Worst Possible Matchup”, as these are respectively my #1 and #2 favorite NBA teams this season (Houston is my #3, by the way). At their best, I think Denver would easily maul Golden State in 5 games. With the injuries to Gallinari, Lawson, and Faried, I still think that Denver will take out the Warriors in 5 games, but I think the games will be perilously close. Stephen Curry’s fantastic play this season may draw this out another game, but ultimately I think this is Denver’s year to go to the Western Conference finals.

Prediction: Denver Nuggets win 4-1

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Why the Nintendo Wii U First-Week Sales Numbers are a Huge Success

I don’t ordinarily make video game blog entries, but I’m so flabbergasted by the “analysis” of the first week of Nintendo Wii U sales being reported by video game “news” sites that I feel a definite need to step in and say something. And that something is this: The Wii U’s launch week in North America is a colossal success and a monumental victory for Nintendo.

Wii U Deluxe Console with Nintendo Land SOLD OUTI’ve seen numerous video games sites touting how the X-Box 360 outsold the Wii U nearly 2:1 during the Wii U launch week, with sales of 750,000 compared to 400,000. Technically, those stats are true. But there are several issues with deriving any kind of conclusion from those sales.

First and foremost, there were far more than double the number of X-Box 360 consoles available in America last week than there were Nintendo Wii U systems. Microsoft’s supply was far greater, so they were able to sell more. However, the Wii U was a complete sell-through, whereas the X-Box 360 supplies were so great that you can literally walk into virtually any video game retailer in America right now and have your pick of a large quantity of on-hand X-Box 360 units.

Sony PS3 Black Friday 2012 BundleSecondly, the X-Box 360 and PS3 were highly-advertised and the subject of a number of discount value bundles and Black Friday sales where consumers could buy the consoles with added games and accessories for some of the lowest prices ever. If you discount an item to its best value of the entire year, of course you’re going to sell high numbers of that product during that specific sales period. The Nintendo Wii U didn’t have a single retailer selling it for below MSRP. Given those circumstances, the competitors should have sold high numbers of their own systems.

Bottom line is this: If you release 400,000 of an item and sell through all 400,000 of that item in a matter of days, your product is a whopper of a success. You cannot beat or exceed a 100% sell-through rate. Nintendo sold all of their available Wii U systems at full price, whereas Sony and Microsoft managed to sell high numbers of their consoles at greatly-reduced prices without selling out. From that perspective, Nintendo is the clear winner of the Wii U launch week.

Is the Nintendo Wii U going to fail or succeed in the future? That’s anybody’s guess, and will be largely determined by the manner in which Nintendo supports the console in the future. It’s probable that the Wii U is not going to be the sales juggernaut that the Wii was at first–we just don’t know yet one way or the other. But so far as the first week of Wii U sales numbers, Nintendo literally could not have done any better than they did sales-wise, and so the Wii U launch is a complete victory thus far.

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TOY REVIEW: Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Ragerock Orc


When it was announced that MEGA Brands had the license to do World of Warcraft Mega Bloks sets, I wasn’t sure what to think. My knowledge of World of Warcraft is pretty much the equivalent of my knowledge of football–absolutely nil. But I do know that I have a growing love and appreciation for Mega Bloks, so I went ahead and ordered the summer/fall introductory wave of Mega Bloks World of Warcraft toys. The small figure-centric sets just came this weekend, and I’ll be starting off with the Ragerock Orc Warrior 91003…

[I can’t post the full version of this review here without Google flagging me for duplicate content, but you can access the prettied-up version of this review on my daily toy review blog with the full photo gallery by clicking right here.]



  • One thing that surprised me when I first started buying Mega Bloks is how great the figures are. Ragerock continues that trend with 12 points of articulation including a ball-jointed head, shoulders and hips. Far more flexibility and posing opportunities than you’d typically expect from a 2″ figure.
  • Ragerock has one weapon: a jagged sword. According to the official Mega Bloks website it’s a “two-handed” sword, but anyone who can get Ragerock to hold it with both hands is a better man than I. The sword looks especially dangerous, and the two-tone purple of the sword makes it very cool to look at. There’s also a piece on Ragerock’s back that you can attach the sword to for storage.
  • As in the game, customization is going to be a huge part of this Mega Bloks World of Warcraft line. Ragerock has removable spiked shoulder pads and a removable chest plate armor piece. I actually like him best without any of the armor, as he looks more like the Hulk, but I have a hunch that customizing figures with all the different pieces of armor we get in this line is going to be a blast.
  • The buildable envionment Ragerock comes with is completely unsophisticated, but that makes complete sense given that Ragerock is a brutish Orc. The rock bricks that build the structure look natural, and I think you could definitely amuse yourself having Ragerock throw the giant boulder around at enemies. I like the idea of changeable faction plates that can be placed in the environments as well, to simulate the territories being invaded and claimed by rival groups. This is simple, but I like it a lot.



  • The packaging isn’t newbie fan-friendly at all. Unlike Halo Mega Bloks, you get no descriptor text of any kind and no explanation for who or what exactly Ragerock is, his affiliations, his story, any background on Orcs–nothing. Since this is the beginning of this line and not every person who buys a set will be a WoW player, some expository information on the packaging would have been really appreciated.
  • The MSRP on these smaller figure sets is $7-$9, and a little bit higher than I think they should be. At $5-$6 retail, Ragerock would be perfect.


Overall: I’m not a fan of the World of Warcraft games, but if this figure is any indication, I’m going to be big into World of Warcraft Mega Bloks. Orc Warrior Ragerock is an outstanding 2″ figure with loads of usable articulation, fun customizable accessories, and a suitable diorama backdrop. In short, he’s every bit as good as any figure in the outstanding Halo Mega Bloks line. This isn’t a huge set and isn’t going to take you a long time to build, but as a figure Ragerock is just plain fun. If you think you might enjoy this line at all, I urge you to give Ragerock a try and to prepare to be impressed with how good a LEGO-sized figure can be. Highly recommended.



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Daily Toy Review: Hulk Avengers Movie Studio Series 6″ Figure


Completely by accident and with no intent, I stumbled across and picked up the entire series of 6″ Avengers Studio Series movie figures this weekend! I’ll be reviewing them all over the next week on my toy reviews blog, and I wanted to start off with the heaviest-hitter in the set: the incredible Hulk!

[You can read the complete, unabridged version of this review with more details and pictures over on my toy reviews blog, Toy Review Daily, by clicking right here!]

The Right:

  • Hulk is a true MONSTER, coming in at a mammoth nearly 8 inches tall! Hulks towers over all of the other Avengers figures and is even slightly taller than Terrax, Piledriver, and Thunderball from the revived Marvel Legends.
  • Sculpting and paint are both amazing, plain and simple. I cannot find fault with the sculpting or paint detail on this Hulk figure in any way. It’s just awesome.
  • You might expect a giant of a figure like Hulk to have lackluster articulation, but he actually has a sensational 30 points including the coveted ankle rockers. Thanks to the ankle rockers, Hulk can easily pose and support his own weight in various walking, running, crouching, or bounding poses.
  • Hulk comes with both a fist and a grasping hand, a fact for which I’m most grateful. I can’t stand figures that only have two fists or two open hands when logically the character needs both.
  • A collector’s display figure stand is included with Hulk. It’s unnecessary since his ankle rockers make him so stable, but it’s always nice to have another figure stand for the collection.


The Wrong:

  • Despite being quite possibly the most in-demand figure of the Avengers Studio Series 6″ movie figures, Hulk is shortpacked at just one per case, compounding the difficulty of finding this store exclusive. I have a hunch Hulk is going to turn out to be a huge pain for a lot of collectors to hunt down.
  • With all the articulation Hulk has, I’m surprised he has no swivel waist.
  • The plastic used for the elbow and knee joints on Hulk feel very cheap and rubbery. I’m concerned about them degrading too much over time and causing the joints to become loose.


Overall: I found some aspects of the 6″ Avengers Hulk to nitpick (I always do), but I really do enjoy this figure. While some of the plastic feels just a bit too cheap and I’m irritated that Hasbro made such a desirable figure a shortpacked store exclusive, this figure comes ever-so-close to being a real masterpiece. The sculpt, the paint deco, and the articulation on Hulk are all pure gold, and his gargantuan size is a sight to behold next to all his Marvel Legends-scale figures kin. While Hulk may take some time and effort to track down, he’s absolutely worth the effort and comes highly-recommended.




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Daily Toy Reviews Digest for May 2012: Avengers, LEGO Lord of the Rings and More!

If you’re not reading my daily toy review blog, Toy Review Daily, there are some terrific reviews you missed out on in May! What’d you miss? Check them all out below…

MAY 2012
Daily Toy Review #120: Halo Anniversary Spirit of Fire Spartan Red Team Set
Daily Toy Review #121: Vehicon Transformers Prime Deluxe Revealers Wave 3
Daily Toy Review #122: Young Justice 6″ Kid Flash Action Figure
Daily Toy Review #123: Transformers Prime Hot Shot Deluxe Revealers Wave 3
Daily Toy Review #124: Hatake Kakashi Naruto Shippuden Figuarts Zero
Daily Toy Review #125: Transformers Prime Knock Out Deluxe Revealers Wave 3
Daily Toy Review #126: Sentinel & Guilty Spark-343 Halo Anniversary Figures
Daily Toy Review #127: Avengers Hawkeye & Black Widow Minimates
Daily Toy Review #128: Avengers Loki & Nick Fury Minimates
Daily Toy Review #129: Vinylmation Park 7 Series Kali River Rapids & Tuxedo Mickey
Daily Toy Review #130: Star Wars Movie Heroes Anakin Skywalker Episode I
Daily Toy Review #131: Vinylmation Cheshire Cat Set Limited Edition Two-Pack
Daily Toy Review #132: LEGO 9461 Monster Fighters The Swamp Creature
Daily Toy Review #133: Halo Minimates Series 4 Prophet of Mercy & The Arbiter
Daily Toy Review #134: LEGO Lord of the Rings Gandalf Arrives 9469
Daily Toy Review #135: My Little Pony Applejack’s Sweet Apple Barn Playset
Daily Toy Review #136: Halo Minimates Series 4 Brute War Chieftain & Rtas Vadum
Daily Toy Review #137: G.I. Joe Retaliation Roadblock Action Figure
Daily Toy Review #138: LEGO Lord of the Rings Shelob Attacks 9470
Daily Toy Review #139: [Pending–Don’t ask]
Daily Toy Review #140: Masters of the Universe Classics Stinkor Action Figure
Daily Toy Review #141: Dark Knight Rises Movie Masters Alfred Pennyworth
Daily Toy Review #142: Amazing Spider-Man Reptile Blast Lizard Action Figure

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2012 NBA Playoffs Round 2 Predictions

NBA Playoffs 2012 BracketsMy Round 1 predictions for the NBA Playoffs were pretty much a total bust. The Dallas Mavericks simply didn’t have enough vigor to pull off even one victory over the OKC Thunder, and Derrick Rose’s injury unceremoniously ended the Chicago Bull’s hopes and dreams. The Knicks suffered crippling injuries of their own but managed to score one victory over the Heat, while the Los Angeles Clippers upset the mighty Memphis Grizzlies to make a historic trip into the Western Conference Semi-Finals. San Antonio cruised past Utah, while Denver took the L.A. Lakers to their absolute limit. When all was said and done, it turned out to be a thrilling first round after all. But now it’s on to Round 2, and a fresh new set of predictions!

Please feel free to comment with your own input and predictions–all opinions and insights are welcome!

(4) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Philadelphia 76ers:

The luckiest team is basketball is the Philadelphia 76ers. They talked smack about the Chicago Bulls, and thanks to Derrick Rose’s calamitous season-ending injury, they actually managed to back it up. Their fairy-tale trip through the playoffs ends here, though. Barring any more surprise injuries, the 76ers are simply outmatched by the Celtics. Rondo and Garnett were amazing in Round 1, and I think the Celtics are a lock to roll into the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.

Dabid’s Prediction: (4) Boston Celtics defeat the (8) Philadelphia 76ers 4-1

(2) Miami Heat vs. (3) Indiana Pacers:

The Miami Heat are probably pretty overconfident going into this series, especially considering virtually every analyst (sans Charles Barkley) has discounted any possibility the Indiana Pacers have of advancing any further in the 2012 Playoffs. I want to believe in the Pacers, but with the relatively few TV appearances they’ve had this year, I haven’t seen enough of them to  be convinced of their chances in this series. The Pacers have statistically played extremely well this year and been in the overall Top 5 in the NBA, but I don’t think they’re at a level yet where they can feasibly topple the Miami Heat.

Dabid’s Prediction: (2) Miami Heat defeat the (3) Indiana Pacers 4-2

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (5) Los Angeles Clippers:

The San Antonio Spurs quietly and without much fanfare decimated the Utah Jazz and strolled into Round 2 of the playoffs. No one’s talking about them, the networks hate them, but the Spurs have nonchalantly won 14 games in a row entering Round 2. Lob City is a strong opponent, but with various injuries hindering the team, I don’t think they have what it takes to get past the overall top-seed remaining in the playoffs. The Spurs are the complete package, and while I think the Clippers may scrape by with one victory, I can’t imagine any more. Spurs will cruise into the Western Conference Finals, guaranteed.

Dabid’s Prediction: (1) San Antonio Spurs beat the (5) Los Angeles Clippers 4-1

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (3) Los Angeles Lakers:

To me, this is the most clear-cut match-up in Round 2 of the playoffs. The Lakers barely managed to escape the Denver Nuggets at all, whereas the Thunder decisively crushed the defending champions in Round 1. In the last game of the regular season between the Lakers and Thunder, World Peace had to attack James Harden and Kevin Durant’s game had to fall apart in the second half for the Lakers to (barely) win–in double overtime. Kobe Bryant may want a 6th ring, but the sporadic play of the Lakers isn’t going to get the job done here against the explosive Oklahoma City Thunder. A lot of people will challenge me on this, but I predict a quick and easy sweep for the Thunder.

Dabid’s Prediction: (2)Oklahoma City Thunder Sweep the (3) Los Angeles Lakers 4-0

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April 2012 Daily Toy Reviews Digest: Halo, Star Wars, WWE, and More!

Not reading my Toy Reviews blog, Toy Review Daily? Here’s what you missed in April:

APRIL 2012
Daily Toy Review #92: Lando Calrissian Sandstorm Outfit Vintage Star Wars Figure
Daily Toy Review #93: Princess Leia Sandstorm Outfit Vintage Star Wars Figure
Daily Toy Review #94: Rebel Pilot Mon Calamari Vintage Star Wars Figure
Daily Toy Review #95:
WWE Build An Interview Set Playset BOPPV Mattel
Daily Toy Review #96:
Arkham City Nightwing Batman Legacy Figure
Daily Toy Review #97: Pokémon Victini Mini Plush Stuffed Toy
Daily Toy Review #98: Luke Skywalker Lightsaber Construction Star Wars Figure
Daily Toy Review #99: Vinylmation 9″ Boxer Urban 8 Series Figure
Daily Toy Review #100: Coby & Helmeppo One Piece Figuarts Zero Figures
Daily Toy Review #101: Blake Griffin NBA 20 Sports Picks Figure
Daily Toy Review #102: ODST Dutch Halo Anniversary Series 1 Figure
Daily Toy Review #103: Uzumaki Naruto Figuarts ZERO Naruto Shippuden Figure
Daily Toy Review #104: Minato the 4th Hokage Naruto Shippuden Toynami Figure
Daily Toy Review #105: Shadow Weaver Masters of the Universe Classics Figure
Daily Toy Review #106: Avengers LEGO Captain America’s Avenging Cycle
Daily Toy Review #107: Spartan Mark VI Halo Anniversary Series 2 Figure
Daily Toy Review #108: Captain Jacob Keyes Halo Anniversary Series 2 Figure
Daily Toy Review #109:
“The Package” Master Chief Halo Anniversary Series 2 Figure
Daily Toy Review #110:
Mickey ODST Halo Anniversary Series 2 Figure
Daily Toy Review #111: Spartan JFO White Halo Reach Series 6 Exclusive Figure
Daily Toy Review #112: King Booker T WWE Elite Series 14 Flashback Figure
Daily Toy Review #113: Spartan Recon Red Halo Reach Series 6 Exclusive Figure
Daily Toy Review #114:
Big Bossman WWE Elite Series 14 Flashback Figure
Daily Toy Review #115: LEGO Minifigures Series 7 8831 Part I
Daily Toy Review #116: Vinylmation Park 8 Combo Topper Future World Mickey Mouse
Daily Toy Review #117: Halo Mega Bloks UNSC Armory Pack 96951
Daily Toy Review #118: Halo Mega Bloks Covenant Armory Pack 96952
Daily Toy Review #119: Halo Reach Generator Defense Deluxe Boxed Set

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2012 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Round 1 Predictions

2012 NBA Playoffs SloganWhile I find the Eastern Conference Round 1 to be pretty cut-and-dried, the West is far, far more intriguing. I predict at least two upsets in this round, but potentially all 4 lower-seeds could pull off victories under the right circumstances. The top seeds in the East may have a pretty easy time in Round 1, but the Western teams are going to have to fight in some real wars just to make it to the second round.

Please feel free to comment with your own input and predictions–all opinions and insights are welcome!

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Utah Jazz:

I have a minor grudge against the Jazz, as I had been looking forward to seeing what the Houston Rocket could do in the playoffs all season long, while I also harbored some hope for Steve Nash and Suns to have an opportunity to show their stuff. Instead, the unlikely Utah Jazz claimed the final 2012 Playoffs spot to my extreme dismay. That said, I have to admit that the Jazz have looked alarmingly strong off-and-on all season. This is going to be a much tougher series for the Spurs than people are expecting, and while I wouldn’t bet on it, I also wouldn’t count out a Utah Jazz series victory. The difference between San Antonio’s first-round loss last year and their match-up this year is that this time the Spurs are healthy and whole. I still think they’re too much for Jazz, but I expect this series to be a battle and not a blow-out.

Dabid’s Prediction: (1) San Antonio Spurs defeat the (8) Utah Jazz 4-2

(4) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (5) Los Angeles Clippers:

Unfortunately for the L.A. Clippers, their breakout year ends here in what I would consider their worst-possible first-round match-up. While the Clippers have had success against the Grizzlies in the regular season, Memphis is perhaps the scariest seed in the entire Playoffs. Without Rudy Gay they knocked off the 1-seed Spurs last year and took the OKC Thunder to their limit. The Clippers have looked sluggish over the last week, and Lob City will need to be at their very best to have a chance against the Grizzlies. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will play their hardest, but I think Memphis is simply too powerful and intimidating for the Clippers to defeat.

Dabid’s Prediction: (4) Memphis Grizzlies defeat the (5) Los Angeles Clippers 4-3

NBA 2012 Playoffs OKC Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks:

To me, this is the most interesting match-up in the first round of the playoffs. The networks may be praying for a Kevin Durant-Lebron James NBA Finals showdown, but I don’t see the Thunder even making the Western Finals, much less the NBA Finals. The Thunder won the regular season series against the Mavs 3-1, but those matches were for the most part very close and could have gone either way–and that was with a broken team of Mavericks competing. This time it’s likely a damaged Thunder going out to battle with James Harden still hurting. The Mavericks have been hot and cold all season, but Dallas is finally healthy and whole and have taken out the trash (AKA Lamar Odom). The Dallas Mavs are my favorite team and I’m more than a little biased, but I really believe that the Mavericks can pull through and defend their championship for just a little bit longer. OKC may want revenge for last year, but they’ll have to settle for gritting their teeth at home earlier than they expected.

Dabid’s Prediction: (7) Dallas Mavericks beat the (2) Oklahoma City Thunder 4-2

(3) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (6) Denver Nuggets:

This is the complete opposite of the Eastern (3)/(6) series. Whereas I’m certain the Orlando Magic will be quickly and decisively annihilated in the East, I expect the Denver Nuggets to come out and not only compete–but to win. The high-scoring, high-energy Denver Nuggets are playing some of their best basketball since the start of the season, and while I think this series will be close, I don’t see the Lakers being able to keep up with the Nuggets point-for-point. The Nuggets may be a wreck defensively, but Kenneth Faried is doing a lot to overcome that deficiency while contributing point-wise as well. To me, this was the best possibly match-up for Denver. If they can drag this series out, I don’t believe that the Lakers will have the stamina to chase them down and win the series.

Dabid’s Prediction: (6) Denver Nuggets defeat the (3) Los Angeles Lakers 4-3

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2012 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Round 1 Predictions

NBA Playoffs 2012 BracketsIt’s what I’ve been waiting for and looking forward to since last June–the 2012 NBA Playoffs! I’ve never put together NBA Playoffs predictions before, but I’ve followed the season pretty closely this year and watched a hell of a lot of games, so I’ll give my best analysis here, starting with the Eastern Conference Round 1.

Please feel free to comment with your own input and predictions–all opinions and insights are welcome!

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (8) Philadelphia 76ers:

The Philadelphia 76ers have been a big disappointment to me the second half of this season. I was really enjoying reading about their success before the All-Star Break, even though they were rarely nationally-televised. Unfortunately, things fell apart and the 76ers had a truly awful latter half of the season. I think they’ll be able to muster some of their mojo and pick up a victory here in the first round, but Chicago will hardly break a sweat in this match-up. The Chicago Bulls have the deepest roster in the Eastern Conference, and the 76ers are just completely outmatched here.

Dabid’s Prediction: (1) Chicago Bulls defeat the (8) Philadelphia 76ers 4-1

(4) Boston Celtics vs. (5) Atlanta Hawks:

The Hawks have a better record and home-court advantage despite being the lower seed, but it’s not going to matter. The Boston Celtics have been a totally different team since the All-Star Break, and I don’t believe that the Hawks have the firepower to keep up with Boston’s Big Three and Rajon Rondo. I legitimately believe that the Celtics have a chance to win not only this match, but defeat the Bulls and Heat later on as well. I can’t say the same for the Hawks at all. Atlanta may avoid a sweep, but this series is Boston’s to win.

Dabid’s Prediction: (4) Boston Celtics defeat the (5) Atlanta Hawks 4-1

(2) Miami Heat vs. (7) New York Knicks:

My heart says to hope for a miracle and a New York Knicks victory, but my brain says that that’s not going to happen. The Knicks, with Jeremy Lin, may have had the slimmest chance in Hell of taking this series. But the Knicks don’t have Lin, and without him I don’t know that they have “enough” to seriously threaten the Heat. I expect tempers to flare in this series, and if Tyson Chandler doesn’t get at least one technical within the first two games I will be stunned. While I think the Knicks may win a couple games in this series when all of the stars align and JR Smith and Steve Novak have a couple hot nights, I just can’t see the Miami Heat falling here.

Dabid’s Prediction: (2) Miami Heat beat the (7) New York Knicks 4-2

(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Orlando Magic:

This match-up is the biggest joke in the Playoffs this year. I genuinely thought that the Charlotte Bobcats would avoid infamy by beating the Orlando Magic this week, and Orlando’s play has been so sporadic that the Bobcats nearly did so. The Dwight Howard-less Orlando Magic would be hard-pressed to beat any quality team, and their beating a consistently-performing Indiana Pacers team is a near-impossibility. I think the much more interesting question here is how well a hot and likely well-rested Pacers team will do in Round 2 against a potentially worn-out Miami Heat.

Dabid’s Prediction: (3) Indiana Pacers Sweep the (6) Orlando Magic 4-0

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