NBA Rankings | NBA Predictions
Another NBA season is closely upon us and basketball fans cannot wait to see what this season brings after a historic Summer of NBA free-agency. Can the Lakers capture another 3-peat? Will the Miami Heat super-team begin a new NBA dynasty? Have the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic done enough to keep pace? One thing is apparent, the moves of LeBron James and Chris Bosh have likely set off a trend that will continue to develop in the coming years, as superstar players such as Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony have already expressed their desire to follow suit and play with one another. But let's remain focused on the current NBA landscape. The Eastern Conference holds at least 3 of the top 4 teams in the league but then has a steep decline from the top five teams to the remainder of the conference. On the other hand, the Lakers are the Kings of the Western Conference and the NBA world, but the conference maintains incredible parity of strong teams throughout. This season will be one tight race to make the playoffs in the West and some good teams are going to miss out. Last season, the #8 seed had 50 wins and I do not expect much different this season. But where do all of the NBA teams rank in relation to one another? This NBA preview will get you set for another action-packed and exciting NBA season!
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Derek Fisher SG: Kobe Bryant SF: Ron Artest PF: Pau Gasol C: Andrew Bynum
Key Reserves: SF/PF: Lamar Odom PG: Steve Blake SG: Shannon Brown SF: Matt Barnes SG: Sasha Vujacic
The 2-time defending NBA Champions will enter the 2010-2011 NBA season banged up, as Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum underwent knee surgeries in July. Your guess as to why both players waited a month after the season ended to have their surgeries is as good as mine. Kobe Bryant is expected to be ready for the start of the season, while the Lakers will be without Bynum until December. I look for Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol to carry a heavy load throughout the season, allowing Kobe Bryant to be healthy for the playoffs as he will be in search of his second 3-peat. Such a feat would in all likelihood send coach Phil Jackson off into retirement with his fourth 3-peat, which would be truly remarkable accomplishment. What I like about the Lakers is that this is a team that has now played together for years. They have built up outstanding team chemistry, they have championship heart and experience, and will be extremely difficult to knock out of the playoffs. They also added a couple of much-needed 3-point shooters in Steve Blake and Matt Barnes during the offseason. When healthy, the Lakers size with Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom simple cannot be matched. When you add Kobe Bryant and an improved bench to that mix, you have what should once again be the best team in the NBA. What I do not like is the injury history of Andrew Bynum, combined with all of the mileage on guards Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. I'd expect this team to go through some peaks and valleys throughout the regular season, but in the end will come away with the #1 seed in the west and will ride the best player in the NBA, Kobe Bryant and his sidekick Pau Gasol all the way back to what would be their fourth consecutive NBA Finals.
2. Boston Celtics
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Rajon Rondo SG: Ray Allen SF: Paul Pierce PF: Kevin Garnett C: Jermaine O'Neal (note: Kendrick Perkins will start when he returns from injury)
Key Reserves: C: Shaquille O'Neal PG: Nate Robinson SG: Delonte West PF: Glen "Big Baby" Davis
In game 7 of last season's NBA Finals, the Celtics simply ran out of gas in the final 15 minutes against the Lakers. Many had thought the ages of the big 3 had caught up to them and that the Celtics were going to rebuild amidst rumors that Doc Rivers was going to retire. Instead, Rivers and the gang are back to give it one more run. The Celtics also brought in veterans Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, and Delonte West in an effort to build up the team's depth. The amazing thing about this team is that it has 4-5 potential hall of famers on it. Some think it is possible that bringing on the big egos of the two O'Neals could hurt the Celtics great team chemistry, but in my opinion they were great additions considering Kendrick Perkins will miss the first half of the season. I believe that the further development of Rajon Rondo, a supposedly rejuvenated Kevin Garnett, and outstanding size and depth will give this team enough to win the Eastern conference. Boston now has the depth of big men to make things even harder on Dwight Howard, and to over match the Miami Heat super team in the paint
3. Miami Heat
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Mario Chalmers SG: Dwayne Wade SF: LeBron James PF:Chris Bosh C: Joel Anthony
Key Reserves: PG/SG: Mike Miller PF/C: Udonis Haslem PG/SG: Eddie House
The Miami Heat opened many eyes this offseason by complementing Dwayne Wade with two other top 15 NBA players in LeBron James and Chris Bosh. LeBron and Wade arguably make up two of the top three players in the league themselves. There have been other super-teams in the past, but none have received as much attention as Miami's big 3. The Heat have all three players locked up for the next five seasons. I believe the Heat win win a lot of games during the regular season and perhaps have the best record in the NBA. You have to believe when you have LeBron James, who led a mediocre Cavs team to back to back 60 win seasons and Dwayne Wade, who led a poor supporting cast to the middle of the pack in the East last season and you put the two together along with Chris Bosh, that this team will be something special. However, I believe it will take them a second year together to achieve their ultimate goal of an NBA championship. Beyond the big 3, this team is spread pretty thin. I do not believe they have the inside presence to bode well against the Celtics, Magic, or Lakers in a playoff series. They also lack 3-point specialists, other than Eddie House, not to mention the fact that they will have unprecedented media attention and expectations on their shoulders. I do fully expect the Heat to lead the league in free-throw attempts and may even break an NBA record in that department this season, as LeBron, Wade, and Bosh are all traditionally amongst the league leaders in free throw attempts. If the Heat have invested so much in three players that their health is going to be of paramount importance if the Heat are to win a championship.
4. Orlando Magic
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Jameer Nelson SG: Vince Carter SF: Quentin Richardson PF: Rashard Lewis C: Dwight Howard
Key Reserves: SG: J.J. Redick SF: Mikeal Pietrus PG: Chris Duhon PF: Brandon Bass
Since the emergence of Dwight Howard as arguably the most dominant Center in the league, the Orlando Magic have built their team much like the Houston Rockets back-to-back championship teams of the mid 1990's. With Dwight Howard drawing so much attention in the paint, defenses must choose if they want to stop Howard or Orlando's 3-point arsenal that is built around him. As such, the Magic broke the NBA record last season for most 3-point field goals made in a season. Having won 52,59,and 59 games in each of the last 3 respective seasons, expect the Magic to be in the mid-to-high 50's once again and be a prime contender to make it back to the finals as they did in 2008-2009.
5. Dallas Mavericks
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Jason Kidd SG: Caron Butler SF: Shawn Marion PF: Dirk Nowitzki C: Brendan Haywood
Key Reserves: PG/SG: Jason Terry PG/SG: Rodrigue Beaubois PG: Jose Juan Barea C: Tyson Chandler
As you can see, the Dallas Mavericks are as deep, if not deeper, than any team in the NBA. The starting lineup is full of established all-star veterans, who may be on the outer edges of their prime, including first team all-NBA power forward Dirk Nowitzki. Their strong bench is anchored by the 2009 NBA 6th man of the year, Jason Terry. It is also possible that the Mavs go to a smaller lineup as the thought of sending Marion to the bench and starting potential young star Roddy Beaubois, who scored 40 points in a game off the bench last season. Regardless, the Mavs will surely have another strong regular season, but their success will ultimate be measured by how they perform in the playoffs. The Mavs have won 50+ games in each of the last 10 seasons and have lost in the NBA Finals once, Western Conference finals once, the second round four times, and have suffered four losses in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Included in the latter, was an embarrassing first round playoff loss as a 67 win #1 seed to the #8 Warriors in 2006-2007 and another first round loss as a #2 seed to the #7 seeded Spurs last season. This team needs to keep their older players fresh throughout the season and will be able to do so with their depth.
6. Chicago Bulls
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Derrick Rose SG: Ronnie Brewer SF: Luol Deng PF: Carlos Boozer (note: Taj Gibson will replace Boozer for the first 3-4 weeks of the season, as Boozer recovers from injury) C: Joakim Noah
Key Reserves: SG: Kyle Korver SF: James Johnson
The Bulls had their sights set on LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh in the offseason and did not win the luxury of any of them. As a nice consolation prize however, they landed double-double machine Carlos Boozer via free-agency. Unfortunately, Boozer will miss the first 3-4 weeks of the season with a broken pinkie finger. Even without Boozer to start the season, the progression of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah into star-caliber players will make the Bulls a team to be reckoned with . When Boozer returns, I expect this to be a top 5-6 team in the league. The Bulls also picked up deadly 3-point marksman Kyle Korver, who is a much needed outside presence. I look for this team to be just below the elite tier of the Celtics, Heat, and Magic in the East and just above the echelon of the Atlanta Hawks.
7. Oklahoma City Thunder
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Russell Westbrook SG: Thabo Sefolosha SF: Kevin Durant PF: Jeff Green C: Nenad Kristic
Key Reserves: SG: James Harden PG: Eric Maynor PF: Nick Collison C: Serge Ibaka C: Cole Aldrich
Under the leadership of last seasons NBA scoring leader and NBA MVP runner-up Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder improved by a remarkable 27 games in the win column last year. With that kind of development and a host of young promising players, it is no wonder the Thunder have shot up the basketball rankings this season. Not only did the Thunder improve 27 games from last season, but they also gave the eventual back-to-back Champions, the Lakers, all they could handle in the first round of the NBA playoffs as they lost on a buzzer-beater in game 6. Fresh off leading Team USA to a Gold Medal in the World Basketball Championships, Durant is hungry to be recognized as the best player in the NBA. At 22 years of age he may be able to accomplish that feat if he can carry the Thunder to the next level this season but he will need fellow star Russell Westbrook and the other young players to kick their games up another notch as well in order to unseat the Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in the West.
8. Atlanta Hawks
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Mike Bibby SG: Joe Johnson SF: Marvin Williams PF: Josh Smith C: Al Horford
Key Reserves: PG/SG: Jamal Crawford PG: Jeff Teague PG/SG: Jordan Crawford C: Zaza Pachulia
The Atlanta Hawks have improved their record in each of the last 6 seasons but are still struggling to stand up to the Eastern Conference powers come playoff time. After achieving a 53-29 record and #3 seed in the east, the Hawks struggled against an undermanned Milwaukee Bucks team, who pushed the Hawks to a decisive 7th game. Then the Hawks were annihilated out of the second round of the playoffs by the Orlando Magic, who beat them down by 43, 14, 30, and 14 points in the respective four game sweep. Despite hearing boos from the home fans for a poor performance in the playoffs, Joe Johnson re-signed with the Hawks for a max deal. The Hawks are also working on locking up all-star Al Horford to a contract extension. This team has built up a lot of chemistry, as they have played together for a long time but I think they will ultimately fall short again to the elite Eastern Conference teams come playoff time.
9. Portland Trail Blazers
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Andre Miller SG: Brandon Roy SF: Nicolas Batum PF: LaMarcus Aldridge C: Greg Oden (note: Marcus Camby will replace Oden, who will be out until December due to injury)
Key Reserves: SG: Wesley Matthews PG: Jerryd Bayless SG: Rudy Fernandez C: Joel Pryzbilla
The Portland Trail Blazers could not catch a break last season. They lost a total of 311 games due to injury, which forced them to play with lineups full of players that many had never heard of at times. Just when Blazers' superstar Brandon Roy put the team on his back by averaging 27 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game in December, he then went down to a hamstring injury which severely limited him for the remainder of the season. Despite that fact, the Blazers still won 50 games, which is a testament to coach Nate McMillan. This season, Roy is back healthy and will be looking to recapture the promise and progression the Blazers showed in '08-'09. When healthy, this team can really get after it defensively. They have also fared well against the Lakers in recent seasons.
10. Utah Jazz
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Deron Williams SG: Raja Bell SF: Andrei Kirlilenko PF: Paul Millsap C: Al Jefferson
Key Reserves: C: Mehmet Okur SF: C.J. Miles SG: Gordon Hayward
Just when it had appeared that the Jazz were headed to the brink of non-competitiveness and superstar point guard Deron Williams was unhappy with the team for losing Carlos Boozer, the Jazz went out and found an equal, if not better, replacement in Al Jefferson. I like the move of moving Paul Millsap into a more prominent starter role, although their bench will not be as strong as it has been over the last few seasons, especially after the loss of Kyle Korver to the Bulls. When I look at the starting lineup of the Jazz, I see a lot of toughness. Under coach Jerry Sloan's direction, the Jazz are always a lock to make the playoffs and compete throughout the season. Their problem will be trying to compete against the Lakers and their massive size advantage, which they have used to knock the Jazz out of the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. I do not see that changing this year.
11. Denver Nuggets
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Chauncey Billups SG: Arron Afflalo SF: Carmelo Anthony PF: Al Harrington C: Nene Hilario
Key Reserves: SG: J.R. Smith PG: Ty Lawson PF: Kenyon Martin C: Chris "the birdman" Andersen
How the Nuggets end up this NBA season is really anybody's guess. What happens with Carmelo Anthony will have everything to do with that. Melo wants out of Denver and after a couple of promising trades fell through, it now looks more like Melo will start the season with the Nuggets whether he likes it or not. It's also a difficult position for the Nuggets, who could, and almost certainly would, lose him in free agency at the conclusion of this coming season. The Nuggets do not want to end up like the Raptors and Cavs, who essentially got nothing when Chris Bosh and LeBron James left their respective teams in free-agency. That makes you believe that Melo will get moved at some point this season. If that happens, it is difficult to say what happens with Denver. Denver's asking price for Melo is quite high, but the value that teams are willing to concede to the Nuggets in a trade is decreasing by the day, as the Nuggets are losing their leverage. If by some chance Melo remained with the team, there is also the question of whether they would be the same team that looked like they could have won the Western Conference in '08-'09 or the team that lost in the first round of the playoffs to an under-manned Jazz team last season. I'm guessing the latter of the two, although I do like the acquisition of Al Harrington.
12. Phoenix Suns
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Steve Nash SG: Jason Richardson SF: Grant Hill PF: Hedo Turkoglu C: Robin Lopez
Key Reserves: C: Channing Frye PG: Goran Dragic SF: Jared Dudley SG: Josh Childress PF: Hakim Warrick
The Suns may be the deepest team in the NBA with a viable sub at every position. With such depth, the Suns will outlast their opposition on many nights and afford Steve Nash the opportunity to play less minutes, which should ultimately help preserve him throughout the season. They lost Amare Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa, but added Hedo Turkoglu, who should fit in very well in this type of offense. They also added to their depth with the return of Josh Childress to the NBA after a season in Europe. This team is going to be very difficult to match up with as they have 3-point marksmen all over the court at all times and Steve Nash to get them their shots. If they continue to build on the strides they made defensively last season, this team could be one of the top teams in the west again. However, I am not holding that kind of optimism quite yet when Hedo Turkoglu will be the player guarding the opposing teams' power forward.
13. New Orleans Hornets
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Chris Paul SG: Marco Belinelli SF: Trevor Ariza PF: David West C: Emeka Okafor
Key Reserves: SG:Marcus Thornton SF: Peja Stojakovic PG: Jannero Pargo
Chris Paul is back healthy and now has a versatile player in Trevor Ariza at his side. This Hornets team is not very deep, so they have moved Marcus Thornton to a super-sixth man role. Thornton had a very strong 2nd half to last season in his rookie campaign and gives the team a big scoring lift. I am projecting the Hornets to make the playoffs in the tight Western Conference under the premise that Chris Paul stays healthy, unlike last season where he missed 37 games. After losing Darren Collison in an offseason trade, this team is just not deep enough to absorb losing CP3 to injury this season. With that said, CP3 is one of the top 5 players in the NBA and will need an MVP (and injury free) performance this season in order to make the playoffs, and he is more than capable of doing just that. David West will have to regain his all-star form as well.
14. San Antonio Spurs
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Tony Parker SG: Manu Ginobili SF: Richard Jefferson PF: Tim Duncan C: Tiago Splitter
Key Reserves: PG: George Hill PF: DeJuan Blair C: Antonio McDyess
Could this be the year the Spurs miss the playoffs? They San Antonio spurs are currently on an impressive run spanning from the current Duncan/Popovich era back to the David Robinson era of 13 consecutive playoff berths (and 20 playoff berths in the last 21 seasons). Included in that impressive run is four championships in the last 12 seasons. I think this could be the year the string of playoff runs ends in a deep Western Conference. Tim Duncan has been getting his minutes cut back for the past few seasons, Manu Ginobili is a very solid player but is injury-proned, Tony Parker has been injury-proned and not as effective over the last few seasons, and Richard Jefferson did not fit in well with the team in his first season as a Spur in '09-'10. In addition, the Spurs are just not very deep. If they can remain healthy, they will make the playoffs, but that seems far-fetched. George Hill and DeJuan Blair are nice young players, who will give the team a lift off the bench and/or as injury replacements, but I just don't think this team is built for the marathon that is the 82 game NBA season.
15. Houston Rockets
Projected Starting Lineup: PG: Aaron Brooks SG: Kevin Martin SF: Shane Battier PF: Luis Scola C: Yao Ming
Key Reserves: PG: Kyle Lowry C: Brad Miller SG: Courtney Lee SF: Chase Budinger
The Rockets fortunes for this season will be determined in large part by the health of Yao Ming. Affter missing all of last season, Ming is returning to action. The Rockets plan is to play Yao for a maximum of 24 minutes per game and hope he can stay healthy for a potential playoff run. If Yao cannot stay healthy, then this team will struggle to make the playoffs much like they failed to do last season. I like the dynamics of this team with Brooks and Martin as solid scorers, a defensive presence in Shane Battier, and a rock down low in Luis Scola. They also have a fairly good bench and a very good (and underrated) coach in Rick Adelman. Remember, many of the pieces still remain on this team that forced the Lakers to a game 7 in the playoffs two years ago. Yao Ming will be the key.
NBA Rankings: 16-30 (The Best of the Rest)
16. Milwaukee Bucks -The Bucks have a lot to feel good about after their unlikely capture of the #6 seed in the East and their strong under-manned performance against the Hawks in round one of the playoffs. The Bucks hope their young potential star Brandon Jennings will develop into a more consistent player after a rookie season filled with extreme highs and lows. The health of Andrew Bogut is also paramount for the Bucks to continue their progression. If Bogut can stay healthy, the additions of Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden should help the Bucks make ome noise during the regular season, but ultimately they will not have enough firepower to contend with the elite teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Bobcats - Expect the Bobcats to make the playoffs in the East with their core players Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace. Boris Diaw also adds even more versatility to their lineup. They also have some nice young pieces in D.J. Augustin and Tyrus Thomas.
18. Los Angeles
Clippers - Blake Griffin will give this team a resurgence this year, but I think they will fall just short of making the playoffs.
Grizzlies - The Grizzlies have established a nice core of Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol and had a nice season last year with 40 wins. Their problem was they had no bench and relied heavily upon their starters. Fortunately for them, the starters remained healthy last year. This season, they still have a weak bench and will need to remain healthy this year in order to merely duplicate last season's feat. That sounds like asking too much to me.
20. New Jersey
Nets - The Nets should vastly improve upon last season's 12 win disaster and be the most improved team in the NBA this season in terms of wins. The emergence of Brook Lopez and Terrence Williams; combined with the offseason additions of Troy Murphy, Travis Outlaw, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, and Derrick Favors; and the talent of Devin Harris should have this team contending for a playoff spot in the East
Wizards - Star rookie phenom John Wall will team up with Gilbert Arenas in the backcourt to help rejuvenate a Washington Wizards franchise that could use it. Expect them to contend for the final playoff spot in the East.
22. Philadelphia 76ers - New coach Doug Collins will do his best to make the talent on the 76ers equate to more wins than the 27 that the team compiled last year. As stated, the talent is there with Andre Iguodala, rookie star Evan Turner, Elton Brand, young promising point guard Jrue Holiday ,and Thad Young. I think however, that this team is a year away from making a playoff run.
23. New York
Knicks - I think the Knicks will be slightly improved this season with the emergence of Danillo Gallinari and some of the nice pieces they received in the David Lee trade--Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike, and Ronny Turiaf. However merely swapping out David Lee for Amare Stoudemire at the Center spot is not an upgrade. The Knicks will be fun to watch this season, but just will not be a playoff caliber team.
Cavaliers - From near the top of the NBA rankings down to near the bottom all in one NBA offseason. You can see how much LeBron James meant to the Cavs and why he is the 2-time reigning NBA MVP. This team does still have some nice pieces in Mo Williams, Antwan Jamison, J.J. Hickson, and Andersen Varejao but it just will not be enough for new coach Byron Scott to work with in order to get the Cavs into the playoffs.
25. Golden State
Warriors - Now that Don Nelson is out as head coach, new coach Keith Smart is preaching defense to his team. That may come as a new concept to those players who have been with the team for at least a season. Regardless, this team is fun to watch with explosive guards Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. They also have added a great inside presence in all-star David Lee, who should have a seemless transition from the up-tempo Knicks to the even more up-tempo Warriors. If this team can improve their defense, they could surprise some people as they will likely lead the league in scoring if they can develop some depth beyond those three players.
Pacers - The Pacers made a great move in adding young potential star point guard Darren Collison, but took a step back when losing versatile power forward/ center Troy Murphy. In losing Murphy, they are also losing a lot of rebounding. This team will struggle with not only rebounding, but also with finding players who will produce night in and night out other than Danny Granger and Darren Collison. They are hoping Center Roy Hibbert can take another step forward this season, but it looks like it will be a difficult ride for this team either way.
Pistons - The Pistons have had quite a drastic fall over the last few seasons since their streak of six consecutive Eastern Conference finals appearances ended and the trade of former NBA finals MVP Chauncey Billups. Nowadays, the Pistons are stacked with players whose best days are long gone, while they lack terribly in young talent. I'm not seeing any reason to believe this team will have much to get excited about for a long time ahead.
Kings - Last season the Kings drafted Tyreke Evans, who only put forth one of the most impressive rookie seasons of all-time. This year they had DeMarcus Cousins fall to them and he has looked outstanding thus far in the preseason. The Kings are starting to build something, but they will likely be going through some growing pains yet again this season as the remainder of the roster does not look too promising.
Timberwolves - Coach Kurt Rambis supposedly has his team playing at new up-tempo style of basketball this season which should fare well with a team that is very young. They have also improved their athleticism and 3-point shooting with the drafting of Wesley Johnson and the acquisition of Martell Webster. They also got a steal of a deal for former #2 overall pick Michael Beasley. They've brought back Center Darko Milicic (another former #2 overall pick), who has a lot to prove and figures to have a breakout season for a team and coach that believes in him. Kevin Love is also an emerging NBA star, who is a double-double machine. The T-Wolves are starting to get some talent in place, but it will take a few years for this team to contend for a playoff spot in the west--eventually they are going to need a superstar player if they are going to accomplish that. They are hoping Kevin Love is that man.
30. Toronto Raptors - After losing Chris Bosh via free-agency in the offseason and Hedo Turkoglu via trade, the Raptors come into the 2010-2011 NBA season as a roster full of unproven players. I feel sorry for their fans for losing an NBA super-star player like Bosh and not having anything to show for it right now. The team will now feature former #1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani, who has yet to prove he can thrive while being the player whom opposing defenses key on. It will be a long season for the Raptors. Hopefully for their sake, the NBA lottery will reward them next summer.
NBA Predictions: NBA Playoffs - 1st Round
NBA Eastern Conference - 1st Round
#1 Miami Heat over New Jersey Nets (4-0)
#4 Chicago Bulls over #5 Atlanta Hawks (4-3)
#3 Boston Celtics over #6 Milwaukee Bucks (4-1)
#2 Orlando Magic over #7 Charlotte Bobcats (4-1)
NBA Western Conference - 1st Round
#1 L.A. Lakers over #8 New Orleans Hornets (4-2)
# 4 Portland Trail Blazers over #5 Utah Jazz (4-3)
#3 Oklahoma City Thunder over #6 Denver Nuggets (4-3)
#2 Dallas Mavericks over #7 Phoenix Suns (4-3)
NBA Predictions: NBA Playoffs - Conference Semifinals
NBA Eastern Conference - Semifinals
#1 Miami Heat over #4 Chicago Bulls (4-2)
#3 Boston Celtics over #2 Orlando Magic (4-2)
NBA Western Conference - Semifinals
#1 L.A. Lakers over #4 Portland Trail Blazers (4-2)
#2 Dallas Mavericks over #3 Oklahoma City Thunder (4-3)
NBA Conference Finals + NBA Finals
NBA Eastern Conference Finals
#3 Boston Celtics over #1 Miami Heat (4-3)
NBA Western Conference Finals
#1 L.A. Lakers over #2 Dallas Mavericks (4-2)
L.A. Lakers over Boston Celtics (4-3)