Pistons v. Bulls: This first pick is a little late since the Pistons and Bulls are playing (and Chicago is getting killed) while we're typing, but to be honest, we were never really on the Bulls bandwagon. While a lot of talking heads were going crazy about how the Bulls swept the reigning NBA Champs, we weren't very impressed. The Heat aged exponentially this year and with Shaq no longer as dominant and D-Wade playing at only 75%, we weren't that surprised the Bulls swept them. I mean, did anyone really think Antoine Walker or Jason Williams was actually going to put the Heat on his back and carry them to a few wins over the Bulls? We didn't either.
The truth is that the Bulls season was destined to end in the second round when they couldn't get a win in their final game of the regular season against the Nets to claim the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs instead took that honor. When the Bulls lost that game, our first thought was they're not getting past the Pistons.
The Pistons are just a better, more experienced team than the Bulls are. They also have a deeper and much better bench. Case in point, Chicago's bench was 3 for 30 tonight. Yikes. Chicago's only real hope is that the Pistons lose their focus for a couple of games, which the Pistons do every year in the playoffs.
What's interesting about this matchup is that the Bulls signed Ben Wallace to that huge contract and let Tyson Chandler go. Chandler actually had better stats than Wallace this year, for a fraction of the cost. So had the Bulls kept Chandler instead of getting Wallace, they would have saved a ton of money and the end result would be the same: losing to the Pistons in the second round.
Prediction: Pistons in 6.
Cavs v. Nets: This is a very difficult series to predict. The Nets, when they play at their best, can easily beat the Cavs. The problem is that the Nets don't play their best very frequently. The Cavs are the much more consistent team, but they didn't look all that great against the Wizards. The Wizards were essentially a non-playoff team when the Cavs played them, and even though the Cavs swept them, it was one of the least convincing sweeps in NBA history. Of course, perhaps the Cavs didn't want to tip their hand too early.
Logic says that LeBron will be the MVP-style player we expect and the Nets will continue their frustratingly schizophrenic play.
Prediction: Cavs in 6