NBAZ in 7 DAYZ - Playoff Preview

It is Playoff Time and myself and Ryan give you our playoff picks for Round 1. So we will kick it of in the East.

Eastern Conference

Bulls(1) vs Pacers(8)

Key Player: Carlos Boozer (Chi) - Be important for the Bulls to get him off to a nice start because they will need him in later rounds. (James)

Carlos Boozer (Chi)-after several series in Utah and not much success in the playoffs he has a chance to make it all the way to the big show playing alongside D-Rose, but he'll have to show he's ready for the playoff intensity, especially going up against the Pacers bigs (Ryan)

Key to Series: How the Pacers try to cover Derrick Rose- It is a huge problem and one the Pacers have no answer for. (James)

Perimeter Defence- as good as Derrick Rose is offensively, he has a knack for finding the open guys on the perimeter and when given those shots, Korver, Bogans, Deng etc will knock down those shots if not defended properly. the Pacers also have lethal 3-point shooters of their own in Granger, Rush etc and the Bulls will have to stay on those guys to prevent them from getting open looks from beyond the arc as well. (Ryan)

Who Wins? Bulls in 4 (James) Bulls in 5 (Ryan)

Miami(2) vs Philadelphia(7)

Key Player: Chris Bosh (Mia) Let's face it the Heat may not even need Bosh in this series to be honest as Wade and James alone could win it. But it is a good early test to see if Bosh will be able to battle and compete in other more important games down the line. (James)

Chris Bosh (Mia)- he finally gets a chance to hopefully advance past the first round of the playoffs and he'll have to show he's indeed ready for the playoff intensity and won't crack under the pressure (Ryan)

Key To Series: Heat Role Players- We all know about the Big 3 but for Miami to go to an NBA Title it is going to take at least some help. Mike Miller, Mike Bibby, Joel Anthony anybody really that cares to step up, it is needed and welcomed. (James)

How the Sixers can contain James and Wade- These two have a lot of playoff experience and knows what it takes to easier take over a game and claim a victory (Ryan)

Who Wins? Heat in 4 (James) Heat in 5 (Ryan)

Boston(3) vs New York(6)

Key Player: Amare Stoudamire (NYK)- Boston traded away Kendrick Perkins and if the Knicks are going to have any shot in this series it will not be because of Mello it will be Amare that gets it done taking it at Boston in paint. (James)

Rajon Rondo(BOS)- recently it's seemed like he just hasn't got that spunk we're used to see him having and if the Celtics wish to get to the ECF again they'll need him in top form(Ryan)

Key To Series: Paint- This becomes a good old fashion fight in the paint. If the Knicks can turn it into that type of series they could shock the world. But beware of Ray Allen who will hang on the outside. But think this war happens in the paint and team that is more successful wins. (James)

Knicks D- we all know how bad the Knicks defence is, and in the playoffs that kind of defence just doesn't win games. They'll have to step up big time on the defensive end if they want to challenge the Celtics. (Ryan)

Who Wins? Boston in 7 (James) Boston in 6 (Ryan)

Orlando(4) vs Atlanta(5)

Key Player: Dwight Howard (Orl)- Yeah this is very obvious, but Dwight is basically going to carry the Magic on his back for as far as they go. He will need to show all of those reasons he is the Defensive Most Valuable Player. Stay out of foul trouble and techs. Oh and if you can drop like 20 and get double digits rebounds that would be great too. Superman he will need to be (James)

Hedo Turkoglu (ORL): he's been around the block in the last two season and has seen his stock in the league decrease drastically. Recently he's been struggling but this is the time for him to show why he was a huge part of the team that made it to the Finals two seasons ago. (Ryan)

Key To Series: ATL Choke City- The Hawks fired their coach and traded away Mike Bibby. It was all because of this...the playoffs. Atlanta needs to see there Key Players well you know show up. That didn't happen last year and hasn't happened ever. Al Horford was a lonely guy last year in terms of effort and performance if he is again it is good bye Hawks. (James)

Containing Dwight Howard- As we all know Dwight is a force in the paint and Al Horford, who really isn't a C, will have his hands more than full trying to defend him down low.(Ryan)

Who Wins? Magic in 5 (Ryan) Magic in 6 (James)

Western Conference

San Antonio(1) vs Memphis(8)

Key Player: Tim Duncan (SA)- The Spurs all year have been trying to keep him healthy and get him ready for this time of year. A first round match-up with Marc Gasol should let us know how well it worked. Gasol is a rougher and tougher version of his brother on the Lakers. Not as talented but far more aggressive. (James)

Manu Ginobli (SAS)- its already determined that he'll miss game one of this series, and he has been one of, if not the most important, player on that Spur team. If he isn't 100% throughout this series the Spurs could be surprised by this young Grizzles team. (Ryan)

Key To Series: Spurs Reserves/3 Point Shooting- Spurs need guys like Richard Jefferson, Matt Bonner, Hill and others to come up big and drop some bombs on the Grizzlies. Memphis/Vancouver has never won a single playoff game. Kill them with 3's and never let them get close. (James)

The Play of Zach Randolph- In the last few weeks leading into the playoffs, Randolph has shown that he's one of the best PF's in this league. He's a beast on the boards, and can score in a number of ways. Duncan and McDyess will have their hands full containing him on the low block.(Ryan)

Who Wins? Spurs in 6 (Ryan) Spurs in 5 (James)

L.A Lakers(2) vs New Orleans(7)

Key Player: Andrew Bynum (LAL)-Not so much for what he does in this series but for how he looks in this series. Yet another injury heading into this one. A bone bruise on his already banged up knee. Lakers won't need Bynum to squash the bugs. But they will need him later and this series should tell us if he is up for the challenge. (James)

Chris Paul (NOH)- He missed most of last season due to injury and thus the Hornets missed the playoffs. This year the Hornets are back in the playoffs picture and he has a chance to prove when he is still a Top 3 PG in this league, plus he has the clear advantage doing up against Derrick Fisher. (Ryan)

Key To Series: How Hornets Deal with Lakers Size- Lakers are bigger and badder than Hornets. David West is gone and even he would be undersized in this match up. Good luck to them dealing with Laker big people on both ends and even if you do that there is that Kobe Bryant guy who is pretty good. (James)

Scoring In The Paint- David West is out for the Hornets and thus the Lakers have a huge height advantage in the paint, if Bynum's injury isn't too serious him, Gasol and Odom will have to dominate down low for the Lakersd to easily take this series. (Ryan)

Who Wins? Lakers in 4 (James) Lakers in 5 (Ryan)

Dallas(3) vs Portland(6)

Key Player: Gerald Wallace (Por)- Acquired at the trade deadline Wallace is the X-Factor of all X-Factors. He has a better supporting cast with Blazers and I think he goes crazy in this series and will be a load for Dallas to deal with. (James)

LaMarcus Aldridge (POR)- in the absence of Brandon Roy he has stepped this game up and carried this Blazers team for most of the season with the help of Wesley Matthews. Going into the playoffs he'll have to continue doing just that is the Blazers want to move past the first round. (Ryan)

Key To Series: Playoffs and Dallas- Sorry but ever since Mark Cuban went on Letterman and was flying high on the way to his Mavs beating the Heat and winning an NBA Title it has all gone south in post season for Dallas. They fall to 3rd on the last night of season and draw a tougher match-up in the Blazers. It just as smells like another Dallas Debacle. It is all mental for the Mavs it really is. (James)

Experience- the Blazers are a very young team while most of the Mavs key players are already well into their 30's. If the Blazers can push the tempo and force the Mavs to play that pace, they could make this an interesting series. Then again the Mavs do have some young pieces on their bench so, that unit can most likely keep, up with that tempo, but in the end the keep guys will be the ones who'll have the ball in their hands at the end of the game.(Ryan)

Who Wins? Blazers in 6 (James) Mavs in 6 (Ryan)

Oklahoma City(4) vs Denver(5)

Key Player: Kendrick Perkins (OKC)- K.D and Westbrook will do what they do. But the reason why everyone now loves the Thunder (Who I picked to go to Finals in Pre-Season) is this guy. He will get Nene in round one and it will be the first of many challenges for him assuming the Thunder go as far as people are saying. (James)

Kendrick Perkins (OKC)- He was the anchor to the Celtics anchor in Boston, and now he'll be taking that toughness into the playoffs with KD and the Thunder. With Nene and K-Mart, who still has some gas left in the tank, patrolling the paint and going after those boards, Perkins will have to use that size to bother shots as well as keep those guys of the glass.(Ryan)

Key To Series: Road Warriors- No not the hall of fame WWE Tag Team. These are two of the toughest places to play as a visitor in the league. Great fans in both arenas and a challenging atmosphere to deal with. OKC was 25-16 on the road this year and that will serve them well in this series. (James)

Bench Play- the Nuggets have been playing probably the best team all in the NBA since the Melo trade and have had most of their players record 10+ points in games over the last few weeks. OKC also has a good second unit coming off their bench. So the team with the best bench contribution will most likely win this one. (Ryan)

Who Wins? OKC in 5 (James) Ryan OKC in 6

That is our picks, if you want to share yours and play along in the comments feel free. Playoffs are here Raptors or not. Enjoy them because with the looming Lockout no telling when you see basketball again.

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