Looking back, my preseason NBA Playoff predictions were an utter disaster. However, my predictions just before the start of the playoffs were pretty damn good. I picked the correct winner in 5 of the 7 completed first round series so far, and nailed the number of games in three of them.
If you’re a TrueHoop reader, you know about the Stat Geek Smackdown. Well, using the scoring system for that with my picks, I’d be tied for 3rd place. Just check out this chart:
STAT GEEK SMACKDOWN + ADAM
ATL-BOS PHI-DET TOR-ORL WSH-CLE DEN-LA DAL-NO PHX-SA HOU-UTAH TOTAL
John Hollinger x 5 5 0 5 5 0 7 27
Mike Kurylo x 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 30
Kevin Pelton x 5 5 0 5 5 0 7 27
Jeff Ma x 7 7 0 5 0 5 7 31
Stphen Ilardi x 5 7 5 7 5 0 5 34
Justin Kubatko x 5 7 5 5 5 5 7 39
Henry’s Mom x 5 5 5 5 7 0 0 27
ADAM REISINGER x 5 7 7 7 0 0 5 31
It’s worth noting that none of the experts had more than 3 series with winner and game, so I’m as good an anyone else there. As for the two people ahead of me, Stephen Ilardi, according to TrueHoop, is a former consultant to the Kansas men’s basketball team and an expert on adjusted plus/minus. Justin Kubatko is the founder of Basketball-Reference.com (one of my favorite sites on the Web). The guy I’m tied with, Jeff Ma, is the real person who wrote “Bringing Down the House”, on which the movie “21” was based. And yes, I do take an unusual amount of pride in matching the score of an MIT-educated card-counting super-genius.
That brings me to my second round picks. I can’t pick the Cavs series yet, because the Celtics are in the most improbable Game 7 in years. As for the other series:
Magic-Pistons (Pistons in 5)
- I picked this as Detroit in 5 before the postseason started, so I guess I should stick with that. My heart now tells me Magic in 6, but, honestly, the Pistons look like they have it together now, and the Magic are a better matchup for them than the 76ers were.
Jazz-Lakers (Lakers in 6)
- Again, I’m going to stick with my pre-playoffs pick, even though I’m leaning more toward Lakers in 5. Los Angeles looks really good so far, while Utah, even though they won in 6, struggled to score against the Rockets, and outscored them by just 9 points for the entire series.
Spurs-Hornets (Spurs in 6)
- I had both these teams losing in the first round, so I’m not sure I should be allowed to comment on this one. Still, here’s how I see this playing out: Spurs steal 1 of 2 in New Orleans (probably Game 2 -- the Hornets will be really fired up for Game 1), then win both in San Antonio. The Hornets salvage Game 5 back in New Orleans, but the Spurs take care of business at home in Game 6. Spurs-Lakers West Final. Good times.