The time has come, the most wonderful time of the year for real hoop heads: the NBA playoffs. What’s wonderful about this year is that there is such a set-in sense of inevitability regarding the Heat that if ANYTHING happens to throw observers off the path then we’ll truly be in for one of the most memorable postseasons in a long while.
Helping you navigate the initial brush of speculation before we all go deep into the forest of seven-gamers and Gone Fishin’ photoshops are the ever-opinionated hosts of Regal Radio’s D and Davis Show as well as WARR online editor Kyle Means.
1. What do you think of the Bulls potential path through the East?
Kenneth Davis, co-host, D and Davis Show: I believe the Bulls have a chance to get past the Nets. If Noah was healthy, I’d place the odds at 60-40, but since he hasn’t been the same since coming back from injury, I’ll say 60-40 now in favor of the Nets.
Demonze Spruiel, co-host, D and Davis Show: I think their patch is rocky with a straight nose dive to come at the end. With Derrick Rose MIA and a banged up Joakim Noah, Bulls fans are set-up for a terrible re-run of last year playoffs.
Kyle Means, Regal Radio online editor: I lean more to the thinking that the Bulls are fine as a No. 5. Of course, it’d be nice to see the Bulls try to coax a 2nd Eastern Conference Final berth in three years by avoiding the Heatles until that round, but all-in-all matching up with the Pacers and Knicks in rounds 1 and 2 would be harder than the Nets (by far, the best matchup for the Bulls in this round) and the Heat. If there’s one thing the Bulls don’t lack against Miami, it is confidence, so bring ’em on whenever.
2. Could you in any way picture D-Rose returning in the playoffs?
Davis: I could see it. Logic-wise it doesn’t make sense for him to come back and play in the playoffs without playing in any regular season games. I’d say that if the Bulls get past the Nets, D-Rose has a 40% chance to come back for the Heat. If he can play close to his former level, I’m sure D-Rose and Adidas would love that- the comeback ads would be in full effect.
Spruiel: In the words the late great Whitney Houston – HELL TO DA NAW!!!
Means: I can see it and I can see it failing horribly. How did we get here? Really? The only thing I’ve hated about this whole “will he, or won’t he” saga with Rose is the stringing along- you can’t pin it all on Rose or the Bulls or the media but somewhere here there should have been a foot being put down and a solid “NO” being said in public. No, Rose is not playing in the 2012-2013 season, and that’s probably how it should be.
3. Who do you see winning the East and who do you WANT to see win the East?
Davis: Hahahhahahhaha, THE HEAT! I’d prefer the Bulls if Rose was healthy, but to be honest I’d hate to see this Bulls team make it to the finals only to be slayed by OKC. So the Heats are my default answer for both questions.
Spruiel: I will answer this question with a question: Who wants to be burned by the Heat? As for who do I want to see win? The New York Knicks, I have them in my office pool.
Means: I want to see the Bulls win but that is a fantastical situation and I wasn’t one of those people running out to see the Wizard of Oz reboot earlier this year. I keeps it REAL, SON! And the only real way to see the East playing out is with the Heat winning the conference again. Anything else would be a wonderful Cinderella story, but this ain’t March y’all.
4. Who do you see winning the West and who do you WANT to see win the West?
Davis: I think OKC will win the west, I’d like to see them win it all. I was rooting for them last year. The Clips wouldn’t be bad, but I don’t want to see Vinny make it (and wind up failing) and the Spurs are always a nice option but I believe Father Time has finished catching up to them.
Spruiel: OKC all day! I really don’t see anyone containing Durant and Westbrook. I want the Spurs to win in the West- office pool again. I’m feeling the 2 seeds!
Means: I see the Thunder winning again and I am especially impressed with how they overtook the Spurs for the No. 1 seed, although as the Spurs have shown the past couple years, that top seed means nothing out West. I can’t get away from Denver though. Hoping very much that the Nuggets can get past the Warriors and the Spurs and at least make it to the WCF, if they meet OKC it’ll make for an even better series than the Dallas-OKC matchup a couple years ago. Plus that would further the chance of a season-ending Javale McGee-starred “Shaqtin’ a Fool” special.
5. Who wins the Finals and in how many games?
Davis: Heat in six games.
Spruiel: I have the Heat in six no matter who they play. LeBron and Bosh gets their second ring with Chicago’s very own Dwayne Wade getting his third! And yeah, I will go head and play Mr. Cleo (Ms. Cleo’s 6th cousin by marriage) and say that the Heat will win next season too! (Ed. note- we’re gonna hold you to that, D)
Means: I watched way too much basketball this year to pick anyone else but the Heat. I’ll just say they’ll do it in seven for the hell of it though because I think any of the top possibilities out the West (Thunder, Spurs, Nuggets) would push them that far. Second titles do not come easy- we know that in Chicago, it took Bobby Hansen’s best game ever (check No. 4) for the Bulls to clinch theirs.