NBA and NHL Playoff Predictions

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As a post Mother’s Day present, I asked my mother, who, contrary to the generalization, fed my love for sports, what to write about today. My mother doesn’t know much outside of her native Indians, Browns, and Cavaliers, so she wasn’t of too much help to start out with. But then she said, “well what about predictions?”. Happy Belated Mother’s Day Mom!

With the NBA and NHL playoffs reaching a sizzling point, I thought it would be a great idea to share my thoughts and predictions for both the NHL and NBA playoffs. 

We’ll start off with the NHL. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers are facing off in a “Subway Series” type matchup. In the West, The Phoenix Coyotes are facing off against the Los Angeles Kings.

For both the Kings and the Rangers, the tale of the tape has been goaltending. Both Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundquist have been absolutely stellar thus far. With a Game 1 victory, Quick and the Kings have won all but a single game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs thus far. While the Phoenix Coyotes have been a “feel good” story in the playoffs, with veteran Ray Whitney helping them to their first Conference finals, they simply don’t have a chance with Quick playing this well.

Prediction: Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings take the Phoenix Coyotes in 5.

As for the Rangers and the Devils, both teams are anchored again by their goalies in Lundquist and future first ballot Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur. In my opinion, the Devils should have been ousted by the Florida Panthers in the opening round. They then ran into a Philadelphia Flyers team who was all out of sorts and playing bad hockey at that time. The Devils have had a relatively “lucky” road to the Eastern Conference Finals, and I’m afraid that their luck will soon run out. The New York Rangers have taken a very different road to the this point. They fought an extremely tough Washington Capitals team and came out victorious. In round one, they again toughed out a series victory against the Ottawa Senators who took them to game 7.

Prediction: King Henrik and the Rangers win the series in 6 games.

So the Stanley Cup Finals will feature the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers. This matchup is a complete toss up. Both goalies have been, and will most likely continue to be, incredible. It’s going to come down to who takes the most shots, and which defense is going to step up.

Prediction: The Los Angeles Kings defeat the New York Rangers in 7 games.

So my NHL Stanley Cup Champion is the Los Angeles Kings, who started out as the 8 seed in the Western Conference.

Onto the NBA. The NBA is a league in which I have just a bit more expertise. I’m not the biggest hockey fan in the world, until it comes to the playoffs, so it’s harder for me to analyze exactly what will happen.

In the NBA Playoffs, we have the Conference Semi-Finals. In the Western Conference, we have the Los Angeles Lakers matched up against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers taking on the San Antonio Spurs. In the East, the Boston Celtics are taking on the Philadelphia 76ers while the Miami Heat are up against the Indiana Pacers.

For the Heat and Pacers, many fans have seemed to think that the Pacers will give the Heat a tough matchup. And yesterday, they seemed to prove the fans right. The Pacers came out and played the Heat well for 3 quarters. Ultimately, their lack of veteran presence as well as the Heat’s star power proved too much for the Pacers. Unfortunately, at the end of this series, that trend will continue.

Prediction: Miami Heat take the Pacers down in 6.

In the Celtics and Sixers series, I think it will be much of the same. The wiley veterans are going to take down the young guns. The Sixers beat a severely hobbled Chicago Bulls team, which doesn’t mean too much. The Celtics have been at this point again and again, while this is the Sixers first rodeo. As much as I love Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, and Andre Iguodala, Pierce, Rondo, Garnett, and Allen will prove too much for the Sixers.

Prediction: Boston Celtics beat the Sixers in 6.

The city of Los Angeles is having a brilliant post season in both the NBA and NHL. We’ll start with the Lakers first. Will the Oklahoma City Thunder hand LA their first loss in a playoff series this season? People seem to think so, but I’m not so sure. Their is just something about the Lakers. They seem to always gel at the right time, and I think in Game 7 they started the gelling process. Oklahoma City has been the overwhelming favorite in the Western Conference, despite being the two seed, and has shown nothing to dissuade people from that fact. I just have a funny feeling that Kobe is going to go off against the Thunder, and Bynum and Pau are going to step their game up.

Prediction: Lakers take the Thunder in 7.

The San Antonio Spurs have been a surprising team this post season. First of all, they are the number one seed in the West, and swept the Utah Jazz in the first round. The Spurs have always been formidable, but with their incredible amount of veterans, people seemed to think that the Spurs best days were behind them. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli have clearly changed that view. The Clippers struggled to make it into the second round against the Grizzlies, but had just enough talent to edge them out. The Clippers are a very formidable foe, but unfortunately won’t have the firepower to outmatch the wise Spurs, especially if Blake Griffin continues to spend time on the Bench.

Prediction: Spurs beat the Clips in 6.

So in the East, the Heat take on the Celtics in what seems to be a mini rivalry within the past few years. The Big 4 against the Big 2 (Bosh doesn’t count). Miami can easily beat the Celtics. It shouldn’t even be close. It all depends on their ability to close. LeBron is known for his 75 cent mentality, but he seems to be coming up big in the 4th this season. Although I said Bosh doesn’t count, it was simply a joke because clearly in this series Bosh will play a HUGE part. If he is unable to play against the Celtics, the Heat could be in serious trouble. The Celtics have too much defensive ability and with Bosh out, the Heat won’t be able to dig out of that hole. That being said my prediction hinges on Bosh.

Prediction: With Bosh in, Heat beat the Celts in 6. With Bosh out, Celts beat the Heat in 7.

The Western Conference Finals have the Spurs against the Lakers in an epic matchup. Both teams have an incredible amount of experience in this situation. In the end, it’s going to come down to coaching, and unfortunately for the Lakers, they no longer have Phil Jackson. Greg Poppovich is going to thoroughly out coach Mike Brown and the Spurs are going to easily take down the Lakers.

Prediction: Spurs beat the Lakers in 5.

Well, this is a sticky situation. The Spurs are in, but depending on Bosh we don’t know who it’s going to be against. Luckily, however, it doesn’t matter. The Spurs are going to take them both out. The Heat have the firepower, but they simply can’t touch the experience or the coaching of the Spurs. The Celtics, I believe, are certainly a better matchup for the Spurs, but I believe they won’t be able to win the series.

Prediction: Spurs beat the Heat in 6. Spurs beat the Celtics in 7.

So the NBA Finals Champions are the San Antonio Spurs.

In review:

NHL Playoffs:

Conference Finals

Kings beat Coyotes.

Rangers beat Devils.

 

Stanley Cup Finals

Kings beat Rangers.

Stanley Cup Champions: Los Angeles Kings

 

NBA Playoffs:

Conference Semi-Finals

Heat beat Pacers

Celtics beat Sixers

Spurs beat Clippers

Lakers beat Thunder

 

Conference Finals

Heat with Bosh beat Celtics

Celtics beat Heat without Bosh

Spurs beat Lakers

 

NBA Finals

Spurs beat Heat with Bosh

Spurs beat Celtics

NBA Finals Champions: San Antonio Spurs

 

Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove

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