This is a day late, but some of the Sonics Rising guys got together to give you thoughts on our quick playoff predictions. These were all in before the series started.
Joel Ashbee: Boston over NY in 7.
Knicks, who live and die by the 3, might get caught by a good defensive team. I can't get past the prime time, clutch players on Boston's roster.
Mr. Baker: Knicks win 4-3
Chris Meirose: Knicks win this in 6. Boston is just too old and too short handed without Rondo to keep up with the Knicks. JR Smith is the key to the series, though Tyson Chandler is perhaps 1b in importance. Carmello will get his.
Steve Stearns: Knicks 4-2. I despise Carmelo Anthony, but I cannot see Boston winning this series without Rajon Rondo and also considering NY has owned them this year. Too much offense for Boston to handle; the Knicks ranked third in offensive efficiency this season.
Kevin Nesgoda: Knicks win this series though, 4-1 and pretty much puts an end to the Celtics in their current incantation.
Pacers vs. Hawks
Joel: Pacers over Hawks in 4.
Hawks have no heart and the Pacers are one of the best Ds in the league. Look for Hibbert to eat up the Hawks bigs.
Mr. Baker: Pacers win 4-2
Chris: Pacers in 6. Pacers defense vs the Hawks limited choices on offense will dominate the series.
Steve: Pacers win 4-2. The Hawks never seem to do much in the playoffs. Indiana is far too good defensively to lose this series to them, even though they've been skidding of late. I could see Atlanta stealing a couple of games on nights the Pacers can't get offense going, but I don't see them winning this series.
Kevin: Taking the Pacers in five even though they haven't been playing the greatest down stretch, but neither have the Hawks.
Bulls vs. Nets
Joel: Bulls over Nets in 6
Wouldn't it be something if Rose surprised everybody and showed up to play the first game of the series? Either way, the Bulls have Noah, who is the most under-rated player in the L.
Mr. Baker: Bulls win 4-3
Chris: Bulls in 7. Without D. Rose, I don't know that it is possible for me to care less about a 1st round playoff matchup.
Steve: Bulls win 4-3. The Bulls owned the Nets during the regular season, so I can't say that Brooklyn has a favorable matchup in this series. Even without Derrick Rose the Bulls have been a tough, competitive squad this year.
Kevin: This will probably be the most over looked series, despite being from two of the three biggest markets. Bulls are so up and down, but so are the Net. Bulls win in seven.
Heat vs. Bucks
Joel: Heat over Bucks in 4.
The "Laverne and Shirley"theme song, "we're gonna make our dreams come true..." was great during the regular season (maybe my favorite NBA commercial of all time) but Jennings and Ellis's dreams will be nightmares tryin to keep up with Lebron and Wade.
Mr. Baker: Heat win 4-0
Chris: Heat sweep this one. They've been banged up off and on all year, and they understand the importance of time off in the playoffs.
Steve: Heat in a sweep.
Kevin: Heat sweep. Won't even be close to resembling a competitive series.
Nuggets vs. Warriors
Joel: Nuggets over Warriors in 6
Hopefully Curry can get hot and push this series further. Either way, these two teams will provide a lot of fire power. If Bogut was in prime form, this would be too close to call. But Denver is too athletic for the Warrior guards.
Mr. Baker: Warriros win 4-2
Chris: This should be A LOT of fun to watch. I fully expect some tremendous offensive fireworks in this series. I'm going with the Nuggets in this one in 6 games.
Steve: Nuggets win 4-3. Both teams are wracked with injuries. I really want to see the Nuggets pull off a deep playoff run this year, but with George Karl teams it's all about drawing the right matchups as they do not have the overall talent level of OKC and the Spurs. The Warriors have been pretty mediocre since the All-Star break but Stephen Curry is arguably the best scorer on the floor in this series. Nothing ever comes easy for Karl in the first round of the playoffs. This time will be no different.
Kevin: This has the chance to be one of the better series of the first round, but even though they are banged up, the Nuggets are too deep to deny. I say Denver takes this one in six.
Grizzlies vs. Clippers
Joel: Grizz over Clippers in 7.
This series is so even that it may take an overtime or two in game seven to get a winner. Gasol and Randolph give the Grizz the edge over Jordan and Griffin and the Clippers.
Mr. Baker: Grizzlies win 4-3
Chris: Maybe the second most intriguing match up. I think this series goes all 7 games. I want to say Memphis, but as long as Griffin's back holds up I'm going with Lob City.
Steve: Grizzlies win 4-3. This is a very difficult series to predict because I think it hinges on how healthy Chauncey Billups is and how much he's able to contribute. The Clipp's bench is one of the best in the NBA but it's really difficult for me to pick against Marc Gasol, dude has been a stud this year.
Kevin: I think the Clippers will win three, but their fast pace and the Grizzlies grind them down style are going to wear them out. Grizzlies take this one in seven.
Spurs vs. Lakers
Joel: Spurs over Lakers in 4.
Unless Nash comes back, then it may be a series. Lakers are too thin and the Spurs bench is too strong.
Mr. Baker: Spurs win 4-2
Chris: Even with Kobe I'd have to go with the Spurs. Short of a miraculous change in chemistry I think the Spurs win this in 4 hard fought games. Yes, a sweep. Pop and crew fully understand the value of time off, and nobody in the playoffs probably benefits more from it.
Steve: Spurs win 4-1. Lakers are without Kobe and even though San Antonio is limping into the playoffs they were 35-6 at home this year.
Kevin: I'm taking the Spurs in six in this one. I think LA has a shot to go up 3-2 in LA, but will ultimately blow that game and then lose game six.
Thunder vs. Rockets
Joel: Thunder over Houston in 5.
Give Harden one game to stick it to his old team...but only one. Westbrook has been on a tear lately and will likely eat up Lin. And who on Houston can guard KD?
Mr. Baker: Blunder win 4-1
Chris: I don't think Houston has what it takes in a 7 game series, though I do expect them to push the Thunder in the 5 games this series will take.
Steve: Thunder win 4-0. Teams really started cracking down on Harden with physical play the last couple of weeks of the season, and he had some trouble getting good looks at the basket. That will definitely continue in the playoffs. Houston simply isn't good enough defensively to contain OKC over a 7 game series. Should be entertaining viewing but I think the Thunder win this one easily.
Kevin: Houston is still one player away from being very good, so I'm going to take OKC in five games in this one. Houston wins game three.
Joel: Heat over Thunder in 6.
Unless Brooks finally decides to play small ball against the Heat. We've never seen that. Makes me think he might be saving something.
Mr. Baker: Heat over Blunder 4-2
Speedcat: Clippers over Knicks 4-3
Chris: Yes, a rematch of last year's finals. Miami is still superior to OKC, though the series goes all seven games. This is the last year that Miami is better than the Thunder however. Miami are your NBA Champions and LeBron James is the Final's MVP.
Steve: Miami over Spurs, 4-2.
Kevin: Heat beat the Nuggets in five. Yep, riding George and THE TEAM that far.