Please see the parts I, II, and III of the Prognosti-Rank series for our picks through the first 3 rounds of the playoffs.
And so, it comes to this. The predicted finals matchup. I'm really not 100% confident about the Western team here, as you may have gathered by this whole exercise. I think if the Grizzlies win against the Spurs, they'll probably be good enough to beat the Thunder, but not necessarily. And I think the Thunder could -- if they steal game one and Durant has a breakout series going up against Kawhi Leonard or Tony Allen -- potentially oust either the Spurs or the Grizzlies. And honestly? I could see the Lakers in here as well, because if Bynum puts it together they're a team that can blow out any team in the league, four times in a row. Home, road, wherever. There are any number of combinations for the final western team standing that makes sense to me. One thing you would've had trouble convincing me of before the season, though, would've been that any of them stood a chance against the Heat (who I've had penciled in as the presumptive Eastern champion since opening night). In my season preview -- "A Lion in Autumn" -- I essentially gave the Heat the trophy. I didn't think any team in the west would have the firepower to beat them. At this point, though, given the vulnerabilities the Heat have shown this year? I'm officially not certain that any of them CAN'T beat the Heat in a series. Continue reading
And so it comes to two. Our intended-to-be three part series preemptively ranking the playoff teams based on our expectations for them was to end tonight, with our predictions for both the final un-predicted 2nd round matchup (Spurs vs Grizzlies), the conference finals, and — at last — the 2012 Gothic Ginobili pick for the team we think will raise the banner (in — spoiler alert — a tough 7 game slog). Or at least, that was what was SUPPOSED to happen. Then I wrote an incredible amount about the prospective finals, looked at my word count RIGHT as I was about to post it, got embarrassed, and realized the only reasonable way to do this was to split it into Part III and a final post examining the matchup. So… yep. Final part comes tomorrow at lunch. Until then, visit Part I for the first 6 teams, Part II for the next 5, and click the jump to identify our last five standing. Continue reading
As advertised in our Prognosti-ranking series, we’re bringing our formerly retired series of daily vignettes — titled “The Outlet” — back for the playoffs. “Don’t call it a comeback.” Though, you can call it series 2, as we are in the title. Every day, we’ll try to share two or three short vignettes from our collective of writers ruminating on the previous day’s (or weekend’s) events. In this case, the previous few days. Should be a fun time. Today’s Outlet covers primarily Amare Stoudemire's hand injury, and includes the following two pieces.
- "All is Well, All is Good." by Adam Koscielak.
- "Wow, no it's not. I Punched a Cactus Once." by Aaron McGuire.
A distinctly punch-drunk theme, today. Continue at your own risk. If you're made of glass, that is. Which does beg the question: how are we going to save Amare... from himself? (That was a Bad Joke. I should feel Bad. And I do.) Continue reading