This is it, folks. The NBA's version of the Final Four. Out West, we've got Steve Nash and the Suns against Tim Duncan and the Spurs. Back East, the defending champion Detroit Pistons will square off with a hobbled Shaq and the Miami Heat. Both Conferences sent their top two teams to this round. We can expect some great basketball in the coming weeks.
Here are my predictions:
Phoenix Suns - 1
San Antonio Spurs - 2
NBA MVP Steve Nash has been playing like some sort of long-haired Canadian superhero of late. And his Phoenix Suns own the home-court advantage. But Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs have crucial championship experience on their side.
In the final analysis, Nash can out-pass Tony Parker, but Duncan is capable of out-scoring, out-rebounding, and out-blocking Amare Stoudemire. And San Antonio's outstanding team defense will not allow Nash to score 30+ points, like the Dallas Mavericks did. SPURS IN SEVEN
Miami Heat - 1
Detroit Pistons - 2
This is the matchup fans of the NBA have been waiting for all season. Can the Pistons bounce a heavily-favored Shaq-led team from the playoffs two years in a row? Is Shaq healthy enough to be a big factor in this series? Is Dwayne Wade capable of scoring 20+ points per game against the swarming Detroit defense? Will the brilliant Larry Brown out-coach Stan Van Gundy?
This should be an incredible series. I expect home-court advantage (which the Heat hold) to mean almost nothing. The Pistons were 2-1 against the Heat in the regular season, winning once on the road, and losing once at home. In the end, it will be Detroit's hyperkinetic defense that makes the difference. PISTONS IN SEVEN