I am once again initiating a playoff bracket challenge! This year, the contest will be conducted through an outside site so that I do not have to worry about scoring and all that sort of thing. Here is the guide to entering the challenge:
1. Go to the website http://nbabracketology.com. Set up an account and fill out your bracket. For your username, you should use your SBNation name so that it is easier to keep track of who wins. You must fill out your bracket before joining the group!
2. After you have filled out and saved your bracket, enter the BlogaBull group. You may do so by copying and pasting the following URL:
3. To enter, you must use the password. The password is : LuDeng09
4. You have now entered. View your bracket and click "Bracket Snapshot" and post it in the thread along with your commentary. This is the entire point of the challenge!
Make sure to post your entries before the playoffs begin. It is not clear what the deadline is but get these in ASAP just to be safe.
That's it! May the best blogger win!
As usual, this is an empty exercise if it does not promote discussion. As such, I will post my bracket and discuss my picks. You are also invited to post your brackets in the thread and discuss your various picks. This is the entire point of the "contest"!
Round 1: Only a few of these warrant any real discussion.
Bulls over Nets in 6: I think that we have the Nets number. I think that if even one of Jo or Taj is healthy, we will beat them with tough, physical basketball. We will out-rebound them. We will out-defend them. They will hate us by the time this series is over. (I am assuming that DRose does not return although it would of course be quite nice if he did). DWill will have a great series but it will not be enough to get his team over the hump. Lopez will start out strong but will be ground down by the time it is over. I could even seeing the Bulls going 0-2 and then winning out.
Knicks over Celtics in 5: The Celtics are good but their time is past. They are too small so look for the Knicks to exploit this with some of their small-ball lineups. If Chandler comes back, it's over.
Thunder over Rockets in 5: I think that the Rockets are a fun team but their defense is weak outside of Asik. This is a very bad thing if you are going up against some of the best scorers in the NBA. Westbrook will have his way with Lin.
Griz over Clips in 7: This is close as I think that the Clips are deep and they will have the best player on the floor in CP3. That said, the Griz will teach Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan the true meaning of pain. Look for Jamal Crawford to win one for the Clips. Hopefully that one is not game 7 or else there goes my bracket.
Nuggets over Warriors in 6: The Nuggets have been killed by injuries to both Gallo and Faried. It is very possible that the Warriors pull this one out, especially with Steph Curry playing like a damned animal (on a side note, usually I am a mild-hater when it comes to other team's players. That said, I love watching Steph Curry play basketball. That MSG game was a thing to behold). That said, the Warriors defense just isn't there yet, especially with Bogut still getting over his injuries. Further, and I know that this sounds like malarkey, but the Nuggets just have more of an identity and are more of a team. Everyone knows their role and they go out there and execute (even Javale!). I do not think that this will take them to the finals, but they will be a tough out.
Heat over Bulls in 6: If DRose returns and looks at all like his old self, I would change this to Bulls in 7. That said, there is no real indication that he is returning, so I do not think that the Bulls have enough to take down the Heat. I know this is sacrilege, but, we just do not have the scoring to deal with them.
Pacers over Knicks in 7: Again, the Pacers have been stinking it up lately. However, this matchup favors them in an incredible way. They are bigger, tougher and can defend just about any player on the Knicks that could make a difference. Further, the Knicks have shown that they will wilt in a physical game (ahem... Bulls ... ahem), and the Pacers are just as physical as anything that we threw at them.
Thunder over Griz in 7: I like the Griz and I think that the Thunder have softened up, but they have not softened up that much. Look for ZBo and Gasol to make this a tough series in the paint but I think that the Thunder will pull it off in the end.
Spurs over Nuggets in 7: As I said, I like the Nuggets team but, given that both of these teams are battling injuries, I will give the edge to the Spurs who have all of the same advantages as the Nuggets but still have the best player on the floor (depending on whether Frenchie of Duncan is hot).
Heat over Pacers in 5: I think that the Pacers will make the ECF but mostly on the strength of favorable matchups. They will then be easily dealt with by the Heat.
Thunder over Spurs in 5: Same here. The Spurs will get far, but mainly because everyone that they are playing is not on their level or are just as injured as they are.
Heat over Thunder in 6: If the Thunder still had Harden maybe this outcome would be different. That said, they just have not been playing like the same team as of late. Maybe they will turn it around in the playoffs and start playing transcendent basketball but, given the last part of the season, I have to give it to the Heat, as much as that sticks in my craw.
Alright gang, have at it. Post your brackets and let the discussion begin!
I will edit this post and provide the results for the regular season prediction contest once I have time to crunch the numbers.
UPDATE: Here are the regular season prediction contest results!
1. Dionysus 2.0 - 26 points. Dion managed to win based mainly on some prescient predictions for the Western Conference. As such, the moral victory belongs to the following two players:
2. Basketball Smurf, drock8686 - 18 points.
3. RyPac13 - 14 points.
4. lordrubbish - 13 points.
5. THEKILLERWHALE / Drose1 - 12 points. I totally underestimated the New York teams. Second city syndrome I guess.
6. 5liv4 - 11 points.
Losers who somehow managed to get negative points:
7. ES46NE10 - -4 points. Got very few selections right on the head and, most damingly, had Cleveland making the playoffs!
LAST PLACE: Tuff-gong : -9 points. He selected New Orleans to make the playoffs. 'Nuff said.
Okay gang. Congratulations to Dionysus. May his wine flow eternal. Here is the link to the original prediction contest thread for enhanced naval gazing. Peace out.