The Miami Heat Will Not Three-Peat

My posts have been a bit heavy and gloom-inducing of late, so I plan to have a little fun this Saturday morning. I’m going to lay down my picks for the NBA playoffs. This will give readers who believe I’m a bit pretentious an opportunity to laugh at me. Nate Silver uses formula and calculation to pick winners; I listen to my gut, so you can imagine how that’s worked out for me. I cannot pick a winner in a one-horse race (Wichita State was supposed to win out!…damn those Kentucky Wildcats…who in their right mind gives them an eight-seed!…sigh).

As indicated in the title, I don’t see the Miami Heat pulling off three championships in a row. They are not as good as the Jordan-era Bulls, who three-peated twice. You’ll recall the Heat barely managed two-in-a-row against the Spurs, with a miracle Ray Allen shot last season. The Heat were a bit lackadaisical with their play last season, and they seem even more comfortable with their status on the throne this season. They are ripe for disappointment, even with the underwhelming records of the other Eastern Conference candidates.

So, with no further ado, here’s how I see it playing out:

Eastern Conference First Round

The Indiana Pacers will beat the Atlanta Hawks in five games. While everyone wrings their hands about how the Pacers finished the season, the Pacers have reached the pinnacle of their potential now. It’s debatable of whether they peaked in the middle of the season, though. As for the Hawks, they backed into the playoffs; even their GM Danny Ferry said they weren’t really planning on being in the playoffs. The Pacers have enough stamina to put the Hawks out of their misery.

Miami will not lose in the first round. Good for Jordan that the Charlotte Bobcats have finally found their way out of obscurity, but they’ll be lucky to win two games against the Heat.

There has been no love for the Toronto Raptors this season. They’ve fielded a formidable squad, but most are picking this matchup as an upset for the Nets. The Brooklyn Nets turned their season around with authority at the end. They went from losers to legitimate threats. They managed four wins against the Heat during the season. Jason Kidd went from clown to coach-of-the-year candidate. It will be an excellent series, as the Raptors will wear the veterans on the Nets out with their speed and pressure. The series will go the distance, with Toronto claiming victory in the seventh game.

My Chicago Bulls have been disrespected all season. Without Derrick Rose, it has been accepted early that the Bulls have no chance of winning a championship. If you watched how the Bulls played together, without Derrick Rose, then you’ve seen an excellent defensive team that nobody wants to play. The Bulls make you work for a win, every game. The Washington Wizards are a tough matchup, and they have won two of the three regular season games. However, the Bulls will win this series in six games.

Western Conference First Round

Much more interesting matchups are found in the West, but I don’t see any upsets happening there either. The San Antonio Spurs seem poised to make another run to the top. They have practically the same roster and another head of steam going into the playoffs. The Dallas Mavericks can put up a good amount of resistance to the Spurs, however. I think the Mavericks will win the first game of the series and cause quite a bit of hand-wringing. Then, the Spurs will win four-in-a-row, and close out the series comfortably in five.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will dominate the Memphis Grizzlies. In fact, I believe the Thunder will sweep the Grizz.

The Los Angeles Clippers/Golden State Warriors matchup will be a slugfest. Don’t miss this series. The teams don’t like each other. Mark Jackson appears to be coaching for his job (not sure why). The Clippers have high expectations (probably because they have to make up for the Lakers’ absence). This series will go to seven games. I’m picking the Clippers, but no surprise if the Warriors come out on top when the smoke clears.

My most anticipated matchup is the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trailblazers. I’ve been watching these two teams frequently during the season, and they both have intriguing players. Both teams haven’t really played up to expectations. The Blazers started strong, and the Rockets played stronger at the finish. The Trailblazers are a degree less impressive than the Rockets, so I will pick Houston to win, in six or seven games.

Eastern Conference Second Round

Here is where the Miami Heat will lose (gleefully rubbing my hands together…I still hold resentment for LeBron’s decision, though I’d still love to see him in a Bulls uniform). The Chicago Bulls defense will stifle the presumed kings of basketball, and the Bulls will shock the world in six games (I’m such a homer).

The Toronto Raptors will disappoint network executives by trouncing the Indiana Pacers. The Raptors will beat the Pacers in five games.

Western Conference Second Round

I predict the Houston Rockets will make another big splash in free agency in the off-season. They will be favorites to win it all next season, mostly because of how well they play the San Antonio Spurs in this second round. This season, the Rockets will lose in the seventh game against the Spurs.

I have a feeling that the Oklahoma City Thunder will improve as they advance through the playoffs. The L. A. Clippers will be exhausted from their series against the Warriors, and they likely will be steam-rolled against the dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Thunder win in five.

Eastern Conference Finals

The Chicago Bulls are headed to the NBA championship by beating the Toronto Raptors in six games (I anticipate my buddies calling Vegas after they read this: “Yeah, I want to put all my money on whomever the Bulls are playing…my pal, Scott, put ye ol’ Guffey curse on them, so they have no chance of winning…”).

Western Conference Finals

The best matchup of the NBA playoffs will be San Antonio versus Oklahoma City. Both teams want another shot at the title, and they’ll have to beat each other up to get there. I love both Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant. Duncan has limited time to win another championship, and I’d like to see him get another ring…but it will be Kevin Durant who gets the chance. Thunder beat the Spurs in seven in the most exciting series of the playoffs.

NBA Finals

As much as I’d love the Bulls to win a championship WITHOUT Derrick Rose—just to stick it to all the NBA analysts who overlook Tom Thibodeau’s brilliance—I can’t see an Eastern Conference team beating out the better-seasoned Western Conference teams in the Finals. The Oklahoma City Thunder win the 2014 NBA championship in five games.

…and there you have it. I’ll see you all in a month or so, when all of my picks have proven to be dismally wrong…when we have another boring Heat-Spurs matchup in the Finals, and the Heat likely win another nausea-inducing championship.

{If you appreciated this writing and want to help support the continuation of this blog, please consider sending a donation to:

Scott C. Guffey
P.O. Box 53
Michigan City, IN 46360

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