DAY NINE - The defending champs try to prevent being swept, while the Lakers, Raptors, and Mavericks all look to tie up their respective series.
Bulls at Heat, 1:00 PM, ABC
Thoughts: I've been persistently picking Miami to win, expecting to see something that I'm not even sure if there anymore. Whatever was in Miami during last year's championship run seems to have been thoroughly sucked from their collective being. I would like to see them pull out a win today if only to make the series competitive, but the Bulls have been quicker and played with more desire the entire way and facing a chance to advance, I believe Chicago will go after Miami with everything they've got.
Suns at Lakers, 3:30 PM, ABC
Thoughts: I said I would pick the Lakers once they reminded me of why they can win this series. Consider me reminded. In game two we saw what makes the Lakers able to beat this Phoenix team. Kobe played great (45 points on 26 shots), and he got support from his teammates, particularly from his bigs, Odom (18 points) and Brown (19 points). In addition to LA's offensive improvement, we saw them do a much better job defending the pick and role, slowing down Steve Nash and as a result the entire Phoenix offense. This, ladies and gentlemen, may finally be a series. Lakers win.
Raptors at Nets, 7:30 PM, TNT
Thoughts: The Nets were able to win at home, as I expected they would, taking a 2-1 lead in the series. In fact, things couldn't have gone any better than they did in game three for the Nets, and as ass backwards as this may sound, that's why I think they'll lose game four. The Nets, despite being able to have games like they did in game three, are only a .500 team, and that's generally due to a lack of consistency. Furthermore, Chris Bosh (3-10 in game 3) will bounce back as will Anthony Parker both of whom had rough shooting nights. Toronto takes one in Jersey to tie up the series. Raptors win.
Mavericks at Warriors, 10:00 PM, TNT
Thoughts: When Dallas won game two suddenly people were saying they would sweep the rest of the series. Golden State wins game three and now everyone's is saying the series is over. Easy there, partner. Dallas isn't going anywhere quietly. The Warriors and Don Nelson, despite what ESPN and TNT want you to believe, is not some unsolvable enigma of basketball logic. They're small, they're fast, quick on both offense and defense. Pound the ball inside and pound the offense glass and you cut down their running opportunities. Spread the floor on offense and the quickest double team in the world fails. And we no 1-1 match up imaginable is favorable against Nowitzki. Avery Johnson can coach basketball, too. Dallas adjusts. Mavs win.
*all times Eastern
Jordan's Playoff Picks so far:
20/26 - 77%
Cavaliers at Wizards
Jazz at Rockets
Spurs at Nuggets
NOTE: This edition of Daily Picks unfortunately got out a little late, but rest assured my picks for all the games were already decided on well before tip off on the first game today.