I owe the title of the NBA playoff preview post to TNT’s NBA analyst Reggie Miller. This is the same Reggie Miller who, during a pregame show, asked guest Stevie Wonder, “What do you expect to see in tonight’s game?” Keep up the good work, Reggie.
The playoff matchups are set and the first games get started on Saturday. Here’s the weekend’s schedule of Game 1s, along with our pick for the series winner:
Saturday (All times Eastern)
New Jersey at Toronto, 12:30pm, ESPN. Our Pick: Vince Carter will not get a nice welcome back in Toronto, and the Raptors will put up a fight. But Vince will have the last laugh in the series. Nets in seven.
Miami at Chicago, 3pm, ABC. Our Pick: The Heat dispatched the Bulls in the first round last season, but the Bulls will have the home court advantage and think they can win this time. It will be a close one. Heat in seven.
Orlando at Detroit, 7pm, ESPN. Our Pick: Detroit swept the season series vs. Orlando. They’ll probably sweep the playoff series, too. Pistons in four.
Utah at Houston, 9:30pm, ESPN. Our Pick: This should be a good, hard-fought physical series. When the dust clears, T-Mac will finally get beyond the first round. Rockets in seven.
Washington at Cleveland, 12:30pm, TNT. Our Pick: LeBron vs. the Wizards without Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler? Pretty easy. The Wizards just hope Etan Thomas doesn’t slap Antawn Jamison during the game (see photo). Cavs in five.
L.A. Lakers at Phoenix, 3pm, ABC. Our Pick: The Suns took out the Lakers in the first round last year after being down 3 games to 1. We think it won’t be as hard this year. Suns in six.
Denver at San Antonio, 7pm, TNT. Our Pick: It will be fun to see what happens with Melo and Iverson together on the playoff stage. Tim Duncan won’t have to worry about official Joey Crawford anymore, and the Spurs won’t have to worry about being upset in the first round. Spurs in six.
Golden State at Dallas, 9:30pm, TNT. Our Pick: The Warriors will be happy just to win a game. We think they’ll be happy. Dallas in five.