2011 NBA Playoffs Predictions

April 16, 2011

Before you accuse me of making my predictions too late, go take a look at Around The Corn’s Facebook page. The first round predictions were made prior to Chicago and Indiana tipping off this afternoon. I know that none of you really care, but I just thought I’d mention it anyway.

I don’t follow pro basketball nearly as closely as I do college basketball. Actually, other than listening to the shows on ESPN Radio on my way to school in the morning, I don’t really pay attention to pro basketball at all. However, making predictions seems to be the majority of what I have been doing on this site lately, so what the hell, right?

Eastern Conference 1st Round

#1 Chicago Bulls vs. #8 Indiana Pacers

There has been much speculation on whether or not Chicago’s hustle will carry them past teams in the playoffs, where every team begins to play hard. Another issue that has been brought up is their inexperience as a unit in a playoff atmosphere. While these are legitimate question marks, they will not be of concern against the Pacers. Pure talent will propel the Bulls past Indiana here.

Prediction: Chicago in five

#4 Orlando Magic vs. #5 Atlanta Hawks

In last year’s playoffs, the Magic swept the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Don’t expect another four game sweep this time around. Orlando struggled against the Hawks during the regular season, winning just one of their four meetings against Atlanta. Atlanta has done a nice job of controlling the pace against Orlando, which caused the Magic to shoot poorly. If Dwight Howard & Co. want to win, they’re going to need to run, and score a lot.

Prediction: Orlando in six

#3 Boston Celtics vs. #6 New York Knicks

If it’s true that teams start to play defense in the playoffs, then the Knicks are in trouble. Despite the fact that they are aging, the Celtics still have the best defense in the NBA, giving up just over 91 points per game. The Knicks, meanwhile, play the third worst defense in the NBA. Boston has struggled since trading center Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City, but the Knicks haven’t exactly been playing lights out since trading for Carmelo Anthony, either. This may be the hardest first round game to pick, because it’s difficult to tell what kind of teams will show up.

Prediction: Boston in seven

#2 Miami Heat vs. #7 Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia’s youth may actually serve them well in this matchup. If they play like a team “too young to be nervous” about their monster matchup with the Heat, they may be able to surprise some people. While it is unlikely that the 76ers will be able to pull off an upset of such magnitude, the Heat cannot afford to take their opponent lightly.

Prediction: Miami in five

Western Conference 1st Round

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs. #8 Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies have never won a playoff game in their existence as a franchise. Yes, you read correctly; never have they won even one game in a playoff series. That isn’t why they will lose this series, though. The Spurs are just too disciplined, and too good, for Memphis. Welcome to the playoffs, gentlemen.

Prediction: San Antonio in four

#4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #5 Denver Nuggets

Oklahoma City is an extremely talented four seed, and should scare all three higher seeded Western Conference teams that may have to play them. With Kendrick Perkins at the center position, the Thunder now have an enforcer, the key component they lacked in prior playoff appearances. Denver is underrated though, is are probably better off (contrary to popular belief) without a star player. While the Nuggets are probably incapable of making a deep run in the playoffs, they do have the ability to pull off a minor upset here.

Prediction: Oklahoma City in six

#3 Dallas Mavericks vs. #6 Portland Trail Blazers

Throw out the seeds, and this looks like a very even matchup. However, this is a perfect opportunity for LaMarcus Aldridge to show that he truly is one of the best players in the league on a stage bigger than that of the regular season. Aldridge has done well against Dallas this season, and should have the upper hand in his matchup against Tyson Chandler. In addition to the on-court advantage, Aldridge is from Dallas, and should have pretty decent crowd support in the games there. While I’m certainly not going out on a limb here, I do think that Portland has a good chance of upsetting the Mavericks in this series.

Prediction: Portland in six

#2 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #7 New Orleans Hornets

Even without a 100% healthy Andrew Bynum, the Lakers are still too strong for New Orleans. The Hornets don’t score enough to keep up with the Lakers, and rely too much on Chris Paul to ignite the offense that they do have. If the only concern for Los Angeles is containing Paul, then they’re in pretty good shape.

Prediction: Los Angeles in five

The Rest of the Playoffs

Eastern Conference


#1 Chicago over #4 Orlando in seven

#2 Miami over #3 Boston in six


#2 Miami over #1 Chicago in seven

Western Conference


#4 Oklahoma City over #1 San Antonio in six

#6 Portland over #2 Los Angeles in six


#4 Oklahoma City over #6 Portland in seven

NBA Finals

#2 Miami over #4 Oklahoma City in seven

Now that the playoffs are on, the stakes are higher, and no one knows that better than Lebron James and Dwayne Wade. Assuming that Chris Bosh can quickly find a role that doesn’t hinder the team’s ability to out-rebound opponents, the Heat will look like a different team. They weren’t able to beat the best teams in the league during the regular season, but if they can pull off what I think they are capable of, then none of that will matter and no one will even mention that fact.

– K. Becks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *