NBA Playoffs Preview May 10

Orlando Magic vs. Detroit Pistons

1 – 2

Game 4, 5PM @ ESPN

Orlando won their first home game against a Pistons. The score ( 111 – 86) indicates like it was a blowout, but it wasn’t. The teams scored in runs and Magic had a few more runs. The Pistons nearly tied the game at the end of the 3rd, but Orlando came out red hot in the 4th and made it rain.

Rashard Lewis is stepping his game up at the right time. The basket looked like the ocean to him and he knocked down shots like he couldn’t miss. 11/15 and 5/6 from deep good for 33 points (playoff career-high)…a few easy looks, but mostly contested jumpers.

As you probably saw/heard, Chauncey Billups tried a few ballet moves on the court and strained his right hamstring. Don’t worry, the Pistons condition guy, Arnie Kander, is a genius and he will get Chauncey back on the court soon. Hopefully today.

Rasheed Wallace had the worst +/- stat (-30) in game 3 and you should expect him to bounce back. The early foul trouble and the ticky-tacky calls from the referees took him out of his game. You wanna protect Dwight Howard in the paint? He is like 7′ and 280, he can handle that himself. Just imagine those calls when young Shaq played…he would have dropped 50 on your head every game.

You wanna know why the Pistons lost? I think they left their bench in Detroit. If you count Stuckey as a starter in this one (and he kinda was, because Chauncey played 4 minutes), Detroits bench scored 8 points…combined…6 guys of the bench scored 8 points. That won’t happen again. They got the best bench of all playoff teams and they will show you that I’m right today.

Well, the Magic won at home, because Rashard was hot, Turkoglu held his crazy shots to a minimum (seen the last shot from Hedo in game 2?), Dwight Howard did everything you need him to do and the refereees did their part. I’m not against calling fouls and the referees did a good job of calling about the same amount on both teams, but most fouls weren’t fouls…just good rough playoff basketball.

Prediction: Detroit wins game 4

This depends on Billups health. If he is ready to go, the Pistons will win this one even if the Magic get hot from three. If Chauncey doesn’t play, it could be a nail-biter. I’m pretty sure that Detroit will win, because the defensive lapses they had in game 3 are easy to stamp out. Easy adjustments on the defensive end will prevent Orlando from getting that many open 3-pointers and I expect the Pistons bigs to do a better job on Howard. Detroit’s D is much worse without Chauncey…and Flip, if you read this: Give Prince the ball. He always scores or creates plays against Orlando. They somehow can’t stop him…don’t ask me why, just watch the game and you will see what I’m talking about.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics

0 – 2

Game 3, 8 PM @ ABC

There isn’t much to say. Cleveland is bad at making adjustments on the offensive end…you know, something like giving the ball to a player not named James or running plays. Their offense depends so much on LeBron and offensive rebounding that it is very hard for them to win if you take one of those two things away. With LeBron stuggling in game 1 and 2 the Celtics could win the games without too much trouble. Of course, game 1 was close, but the Celtics always looked like the better team.

Game 2 looked like the Cavs could take when they got a big lead early, but the Celtics tied the game, got a decent lead and cruised to victory.

Ben Wallace isn’t at 100% health right now (inner ear infection & dizziness) and it is a game time decision if he will even play tonight. He got older and isn’t as fast as he used to be, but he is nonetheless a big part of their D and the Cavs look worse when he doesn’t play. Varejoke brings some energy, but…he sucks. He is so annoying…and that is his best trait as a basketball player. Congrats, Varejao.

Prediction: Cavaliers win game 3

Why? Well, the Celtics have to prove that they can win on the road and I think that it is time for LeBron to bounce back and take over like he did last year. It would make the series more fun to watch…

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