My NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Bracket

There are many teams who are starting off fresh, so this year will be much more competitive than last year or any other year so far.

THE EASTERN CONFERENCE

The East hasn’t been known as the very competitive conference, though now, teams like the Brooklyn Nets and new-look NY Knicks might have a shot at beating powerhouse teams such as the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. Here is my bracket.

1. Miami Heat

Miami is coming in as championship favorites and are defending champs from last year. Miami will still rely on LeBron, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh, though they will rely on point guard Mario Chalmers and bench players such as Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Norris Cole, and Udonis Haslem.

2. Boston Celtics

Boston is an aging team with one of the strongest benches in the league. This team is still led by Rajon Rondo. Leandro Barbosa will lead the bench for the Celtics this year.

3. Brooklyn Nets

The Nets are now in Brooklyn and are ready to go in a new stadium and new city. D-Will, Gerald Wallace, and Kris Humphries will lead the pack in its 1st year in Brooklyn.

4. NY Knicks

NY has no Jeremy Lin, though they still have ‘Melo and Amar’e Stoudemire, and Raymond Felton has returned. NY is a led by reigning defensive player of the year Tyson Chandler, though their offense will need to improve if they want to surpass round 1 of the NBA playoffs. Amar’e Stoudemire was officially on Tuesday afternoon (October 30, 2012) listed on the injured list for the beginning of the 2012-2013 season. He will be out 6-8 weeks with a left knee injury. Jason Kidd signed a contract to play with the NY Knicks.

5. Philly (Philadelphia) 76ers

The 76ers were the only Eastern Conference team that had effect on the Dwight Howard trade, as they got Andrew Bynum from the Lakers, and Jason Richardson from the Magic. The downside is the fact that the ‘Sixers lost Andre Iguodala, who went to the Denver Nuggets. Nick Young went from the Clippers to the ‘Sixers. The ‘Sixers have the talent from point guard Jrue Holiday to get past round 1 and possibly past the Conference Semifinals.

6. Chicago Bulls

Derrick Rose was furious and he told Tom Thibodeau that no matter what, he will not miss a single game this season.  This will be the main reason that the Bulls will be the 6th seed. Other than that, their defense has been struggling. When Derrick Rose injured his ankle, players like Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Carlos Boozer weren’t able to carry the load for Chicago. The same exact thing happened in the playoffs, though even players like Taj Gibson and Kyle Korver were struggling with their defense, and later on, everything in the organization started falling apart, and because of that, their offense started struggling, and Tom Thibodeau couldn’t lead his team back into the series. If they continue these struggles with Derrick Rose, it’s going to be a very long 82-game season for the Chicago Bulls.

7. Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers were the most surprising team this season, and most of that surprise was due to the addition of power forward David West. He will carry the pack for the number 3 ranked defense from last season. The low part will be that Danny Granger, the Pacers premier small forward and elite scorer and playmaker, will be out with a sore knee. George Hill, leading the way at point guard, is very healthy and ready to go for this season. He is ruled as the starter due to Darren Collison contract expiration, as he became a free agent, he signed a contract with the Dallas Mavericks after Jason Kidd signed a contract with the NY Knicks.

8. Orlando Magic

Despite the loss of Dwight Howard, who signed with the LA Lakers, the Magic got valuable players from the trade, such as Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington. Jameer Nelson and Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis said that they are ready to lead this team to a good season after being upset by the Indiana Pacers in 5 games in round 1 of last seasons playoffs. JJ Redick and Hedo Turkoglu are players who will be very important roles. The Magic hired new GM Rob Hennigan and new head coach Jacques Vaughn.

* All Logos used here are property of the NBA and the respective teams.

The NBA’s MVP Race: The Top 5

The NBA features many MVP-caliber players to watch this year and many of them could be voted as the MVP. Here are my predictions for this season and these players’ future with their respective teams.

  1. LeBron James

He is a no-matter-what MVP candidate this year. Coming off an NBA Finals win, he is healthy and ready to go for this season.

 

2. Kevin Durant

Durant is a 3-time scoring champ, and could very easily win his 4th of his career. OKC lost James Harden, and now he’ll have to score in bigger bunches.

 

3. Dwight Howard

Howard is coming back from a herniated disk injury in his back and it eventually ended his career with the Orlando Magic. Howard was traded to LA in a 4-team deal, and had recovered from his surgery in LA. Mike Brown, the coach of the Lakers, says that he is healthy, in shape, and ready to go. The Lakers are hoping that he doesn’t get injured again. He had only missed 8 games before his injury, which had tied Andre Iguodala for least amount of games missed in a career through 2012.

 

4. Rajon Rondo

Rondo is THE BEST point guard in the league. The leader in assists will now have to become a huge role to the team after the loss of Ray Allen, a future Hall of Famer.

 

5. Chris Paul

In Paul’s 1st season as a Clipper, he was tied with Deron Williams and Steve Nash for 2nd in the league in assists per game. Paul was 2nd on his team in scoring with 18.7 per game. Vinny Del Negro is hoping that Paul’s stellar performance with the Clippers. Paul and Del Negro were very unhappy though after being swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs

My Top 5 NBA Power Rankings 2012-13

The NBA season is nearing, as tipoff is October 30th. Here are my power rankings and my expectations for each team this season.

(1) Miami Heat

The defending champions are coming in to this season as huge championship contenders for this season. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh had stellar performances in the playoffs, and should carry the load for the rest of the season. Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen will help out the Big 3 when certain struggles start happening.

(2) OKC Thunder

The Western Conference champions are turning into one of the more younger teams in the NBA. Kevin Durant and Co. have the talent to return to the Finals, though teams such as the Lakers and Clippers could come in their way and effect their huge run for this season.

(3) LA Lakers

The 1980 LA Lakers were called “Showtime” for their stellar offensive play. “Showtime” seems to return after the arrivals of free agent Steve Nash, and the 4-team deal in a trade which got them Dwight Howard, adding to the phenomenon called Kobe Bryant. Expect them to be competitive, though don’t be surprised if OKC surpasses them in the tough Western Conference battles.

(4) LA Clippers

The Clippers certainly got some hope when Chris Paul signed the deal with LA. The Clippers can get No. 1 in the Pacific Division, though their defense will need to improve for that to happen.

(5) Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics have one of the oldest starting lineups in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Rajon Rondo has showed the world why he deserves to be the best point guard as well as the best passer in the NBA. Though this team certainly doesn’t lack any depth in their bench, with players like Leandro Barbosa, Keyon Dooling, Jason Terry, a fresh and healthy Jeff Green, and aging Darko Milicic, who is still considered a great jump shooter for a center and a great defensive player who continues to excel in his ability to help his team off the bench.

And the 2012-2013 NBA champion is…

The Miami Heat are repeat-champions thanks to the great bench play and help from Ray Allen. The LA Lakers will be the Western Conference champions and will surpass the OKC Thunder who have a struggling bench and are expected to lose James Harden near the trade deadline late February.

Award Picks:

MVP: LeBron James

Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard

Rookie of the Year: Anthony Davis

Coach of the Year: Eric Spoelstra

Most Improved Player of the Year: Jeremy Lin

Sixth Man of the Year: Ray Allen

* All Logos used here are property of the NBA and the respective teams. 

Redskins vs. Giants: The NFC East Decider

The Washington Redskins are huge underdogs coming into this game, though my prediction is that these 2 teams will go 1-2 in the NFC East and ease into the playoffs. Whoever wins is No. 1 in the division, and the loser gets No. 2. This game is between 2 teams that have MVP-caliber quarterbacks in potential rookie of the year Robert Griffin III and 2-time Super Bowl MVP, Eli Manning. This is a matchup of 2 QBs selected as either No. 1 or No. 2. This also features 2 teams that are tied for the 2nd highest points scored per game.

Key Matchups

RG3 vs. Eli Manning

In a matchup that is very important, this is what I expect.

RG3:

30-36, 309 yards, 1 TD, 12 carries, 100 yards, 1 TD

Griffin is going to have a fantastic performance against the Giants, a team that has just 3.5 sacks in the last 4 games and have one of the lowest amount of sacks by any defense.

Eli Manning

29-45, 305 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Manning will have a great game, though not as spectacular as Griffin’s. Expect some struggles.

My call: The Redskins will win a close battle, winning 26-19.

My MLB World Series Predictions

Now, the Washington Nationals were stunned in Game 5 by the St. Louis Cardinals, the comeback kids. The NY Yankees dreams have been shattered after Derek Jeter went down with an ankle injury and is expected to miss the rest of the postseason. Now, it’s Yanks vs. Tigers, and Cardinals vs. Giants. Here are my predictions for who will win the World Series.

Yankees vs. Tigers

In this situation where you’re down a game and DJ3K is out, you have to panic. He is noted as out for rest of the postseason, so Robby (Robinson) Cano and Alex Rodriguez will have to step up. Hiroki Kuroda, CC Sabathia, and the rest of the bullpen will have to step up late in the game. Josè Valverdè struggled to close the game out in the 9th, and the game was tied at 2 going into the 10th. David Smyly got it done in the 11th and 12th, and Delmon Young’s double made it a 4-2 lead. I expect Miguel Cabrera and Co. to take advantage of Jeter’s absence, as the Tigers cruise into the World Series to sweep NY.

Cardinals vs. Giants

Throughout the DS vs. Nationals, they had outscored the Nats 23-9 thanks to the monster batting game. Carpenter should ease out Game 1 against a Giants batting crew that struggles. Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey have had to ride the whole team on their backs because the team has been struggling all postseason. I expect this to be a big series, though I think Matt Cain and Co. will be able to win and make it to the World Series for the 2nd time in 4 years.

Tigers vs. Giants

The World Series will be decided by who can win the batting battle. Both teams have young, talented batters, and so this series will be one of the best we’ve ever seen in the history of baseball. The Tigers will win in a tough and hard-nosed 7 games. Miguel Cabrera will win the World Series MVP Award.

Chargers vs. Broncos, Manning vs. Rivers

Peyton Manning has had many struggles against the Chargers throughout his career. Philip Rivers has always won the best of the best vs. Manning, though in a new chapter of his career, he might end his great struggles. Here’s how well I think Philip and Peyton will matchup.

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos QB

My prediction:

His stats will be amazing, and he’ll end up burning Quintin Jammer and the ‘Bolts secondary.

28-40, 399 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT

Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers QB

My prediction:

He has improved to start the season after having 11 picks throughout the first 6 games of last season. His stats will not be as impressive, and he’ll struggle against this great pass rush led by Von Miller, and a great secondary led by Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey, and Andrè Goodman.

19-38, 209 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs, 1 FUM

My call:

The great Peyton Manning will win the duel against Philip Rivers and end his struggles. The Broncos will win big 28-10.

NFL Week 5: The Injury Report

Week 5 has been a week in the NFL which has been full of injuries to many key players from their respective teams. Let’s have an update to see how bad the outcome of these injuries are.

Lamaar Woodley: Right Hamstring, Questionable Return.

Woodley’s injury seemed scary at first, but the Steelers won’t have to worry after the great play by backup linebackers Lawrence Timmons and James Worilds. Woodley had not registered a tackle or any other defensive stat.

Troy Polamalu: Aggravating Right Calf, Out Week 6 (vs. Titans).

Polamalu’s injury will be very serious. The Steelers only hope at Strong Safety is Ryan Clark, who says that it is hard to see Polamalu get hurt after forcing Michael Vick’s second fumble (which he recovered and fell 1 yard shy of the end zone).

Robert Griffin III: Mild Concussion, Questionable Week 6 Return.

RG3’s season has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s had one of the best rookie seasons you could’ve imagined from a rookie quarterback. This will hurt for Redskins fans. The Redskins are testing out Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman.

BJ Raji: Ankle, Expected to Play Week 6.

Raji has been one of the best defensive lineman in the NFL, and for Green Bay players and coaching staff, the injury sure did look ugly. Luckily for the Packers, Raji is to return for Week 6.

Cedric Benson: Foot, Questionable Return.

Many said that he would be the best running back in Packers history, though his dreams of being a great back were shattered. Packers are looking to use John Kuhn on a lot of rushing plays.

Andre Brown: Concussion, Questionable Return.

Brown was looking to impress a lot of experts this season with his great speed and blocking ability. The Giants used a good 200 rushing yards from Ahmad Bradshaw, so there’s no need to worry for NY Giants fans.

Will it be a big return and bounce-back for these players, or will some have to go home and cheer on their team as a spectator? What’s next for these players and their future? We shall wait to find out what will happen…