Tag Archive: LeBron James

2014-2015 NBA Eastern Conference Preview

Based on my predictions for all 1,230 regular-season games for the 2014-2015 NBA season, here is my predicted order of finish for the Eastern Conference:

1. Chicago Bulls (60-22)

The return of Derrick Rose and the addition of Pau Gasol should help the Bulls address their shortcomings on the offensive side of the ball.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (58-24)

LeBron James’ return will make Cleveland relevant in the Eastern Conference for the first time since James’ infamous departure back in 2010.

3. Brooklyn Nets (48-34)

Lionel Hollins, task master that he is, will get the most out of the Nets no matter how many games Brook Lopez misses or plays this season.

4. Miami Heat (46-36)

Despite the departure of LeBron James, Erik Spoelstra should be able to lead an experienced Heat squad with the likes of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade supported by Luol Deng and Danny Granger to a spot in the top four of the weak East.

5. Toronto Raptors (41-41)

After a surprising Atlantic Division title last season, opponents will pay a little bit more attention to the Raptors this season.

6. New York Knicks (40-42) 4th tiebreaker, predicted to go 29-23 in Conference

Although they will likely struggle early on and will probably have their ups and downs as they adjust to the triangle offense, the Knicks will probably get enough out of the Carmelo Anthony and company to squeak into the postseason.

7. Washington Wizards (40-42) 4th tiebreaker, predicted to go 28-24 in Conference

Can the Wizards, who remained relatively healthy—for them—last season, get another 155 games out of Bradley Beal and John Wall this season?  With Beal likely to miss the first few weeks of the season with a wrist injury, it seems unlikely.

8. Atlanta Hawks (39-43)

Atlanta has made the playoffs an Eastern Conference high seven straight times and despite a tumultuous offseason, the return of Al Horford should help the Hawks push that streak to eight.

9. Charlotte Hornets (37-45)

10. Detroit Pistons (30-52)

11. Indiana Pacers (26-56) 5th tiebreaker, predicted to go 10-19 against predicted playoff teams in East

12. Boston Celtics (26-56) 5th tiebreaker, predicted to go 10-20 against predicted playoff teams in East

13. Milwaukee Bucks (23-59)

14. Orlando Magic (20-62)

15. Philadelphia 76ers (18-64)

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2014 NBA Finals: San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat Game 3 Preview

Today’s Game (All times are Eastern):

 

Time (ET) Visitor Home Prediction
9:00 PM San Antonio Spurs Miami Heat Heat

With 6:43 remaining in Game 2 Mario Chalmers was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul for elbowing Tony Parker in the midsection. At the time of the foul, the Spurs held a two-point, 87-85, lead, and, with two free throws and possession of the ball coming their way, they had an opportunity to bump their lead up to six points or more in a close game that had been played within plus or minus six points since the 8:29 mark of the second quarter. But Parker missed both free throws and on the ensuing possession, Tim Duncan gets fouled in the act of shooting, goes to the line and misses two more free throws.

And just 24 seconds later, LeBron James hit a 24-foot three pointer to give Miami an 88-87 lead. I won’t say that that sequence of events decided the game—San Antonio did in fact take a 93-92 lead with 2:26 remaining in the game—but in a game that was ultimately decided by two points, I will say that the Spurs and their fans wish that at least half of those four free throws had gone done.

But they didn’t and now the series shifts to Miami, where the two-time defending NBA champions have won 11 straight playoff games. The Heat have not dropped a postseason game at AmericanAirlines Arena since losing Game 1 of last season’s NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs.

Miami now holds home-court advantage in this series, and if the Heat can stretch their 11-game home postseason winning streak to 14 Miami would earn their third consecutive NBA championship. But the Heat did not become two-time defending champions by looking ahead. They understand that each game of each series is an entity in and of itself and that the only thing that matters right now is Game 3. The Heat also understand that things will not get easier simply because they are coming home. Miami knows that it will have to play even better than it did in Game 2 to come away with a victory in Game 3. The Heat also know that snatching home-court advantage away from the Spurs in Game 2 will mean absolutely nothing if they give it right back to them with a Game 3 loss.

After winning an NBA-high 30 road games during the regular season, the Spurs have struggled on the road this postseason. San Antonio is just 3-5 in games away from the AT&T Center and has lost at least one road game in the first three rounds of these playoffs.

Sunday’s Results:

 

Visitor Home Prediction Result
Miami Heat 98 San Antonio Spurs 96 Spurs Heat

Random NBA Fan’s Record in Sunday’s Games: 0-1
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Playoffs: 55-31

***Unlike my regular-season game-by-game predictions, which are made well before the beginning of the season, my game-by-game playoff predictions will be made day-by-day as the playoffs progress. This is mainly to avoid the mess that will be made whenever one of my predictions goes awry.***

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2014 NBA Finals: Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs Game 2 Preview

Today’s Game (All times are Eastern):

 

Time (ET) Visitor Home Prediction
8:00 PM Miami Heat San Antonio Spurs Spurs

The Miami Heat, particularly LeBron James, could not handle the heat inside of the AT&T Center in Thursday’s Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. With 3:59 remaining in the game and the Spurs up by two, 94-92, James suffered severe cramps and left the game for good. Without James on the floor for the Heat, San Antonio heated up and totally dominated the end of the game.

The Spurs made six of their final seven shots, including four for four from three-point land, en route to a game-closing 16-3 run and a 110-95 Game 1 victory. That was San Antonio’s 11th straight Game 1 win to open a playoff series. The Spurs are also a perfect 6-0 in NBA Finals Game 1s, including a 92-88 road win over the Heat to open last season’s Finals.

San Antonio was able to maintain those Game 1 winning streaks despite committing a ghastly 23 turnovers Thursday night. The Spurs have now won nine consecutive postseason games at the AT&T Center by an average of 20.8 points. If San Antonio wants to extend that streak to an even 10 games, the Spurs will have to take much better care of the basketball in tonight’s Game 2.

Miami has not suffered consecutive playoff losses since dropping three straight games to the Boston Celtics during the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. Despite those three straight losses, the Heat went on to win that series and every playoff series that they have played in since. Since that series against the Celtics, the two-time defending champions have rebounded from their 11 postseason losses by beating the opponent by an average of 15.1 points in the very next game, including three rebound victories by an average of 12.7 points per game over the Spurs in last season’s Finals. That includes a 103-84 home win over the Spurs in Game 2 of last season’s Finals.

Game 2 of the 2014 NBA Finals will result in either San Antonio extending its postseason home winning streak to 10 games or Miami rebounding from a playoff loss for the 13th consecutive time. One of these two things will occur tonight and which one it will be remains to be seen. But the Spurs have been pretty dominant at home this postseason and I don’t foresee them turning the ball over quite as much tonight as they did in Thursday night’s Game 1. Home court and fewer miscues should be enough to help San Antonio hand the Heat consecutive playoff losses for the first time in over two years.

Thursday’s Results:

 

Visitor Home Prediction Result
Miami Heat 95 San Antonio Spurs 110 Spurs Spurs

Random NBA Fan’s Record in Thursday’s Games: 1-0
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Playoffs: 55-30

***Unlike my regular-season game-by-game predictions, which are made well before the beginning of the season, my game-by-game playoff predictions will be made day-by-day as the playoffs progress. This is mainly to avoid the mess that will be made whenever one of my predictions goes awry.***

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2014 NBA Playoffs: Day 38 Predictions

Today’s Game (All times are Eastern):

 

Time (ET) Visitor Home Prediction
8:30 PM Indiana Pacers Miami Heat Heat

Things to Watch For

Look for LeBron James to rebound from a career-low seven-point performance with a performance for the ages. James played just 24 foul-plagued minutes and missed eight of his 10 shots from the floor in Wednesday night’s Game 5. There is no doubt that James will play more minutes and make more shots in tonight’s Game 6.

The Miami Heat will need James to be a force on the defensive end as well if they want to close out this series tonight. Paul George, who played a game-high 45 minutes Wednesday night, simply imposed his will on the second half of Game 5 and helped the Indiana Pacers avoid elimination. George scored 31 of his game-high 37 points in the second half with 21 of them coming in the final 12 minutes.

Prior to George’s Game 5 explosion, James and the Heat had done a relatively good job of limiting George’s effectiveness. In the four games preceding Game 5, the Heat had limited George to an average of 19.5 points per game on 41.4 percent (24-58) shooting.

Even with George’s phenomenal 37-point, six-rebound, 6-steal performance and James spending as much time on the bench as he did on the floor, the Pacers just barely eked out a three-point, 93-90, victory at home to keep their season alive. But tonight’s Game 6 is in Miami, where the Heat have won nine consecutive series-clinching games. And the Heat, led by a powerful, impactful performance by James, will likely extend their streak of series-clinching victories at AmericanAirlines Arena to an even 10 tonight.

Yesterday’s Results:

 

Visitor Home Prediction Result
Oklahoma City Thunder 89 San Antonio Spurs 117 Spurs Spurs

Random NBA Fan’s Record in Yesterday’s Games: 1-0
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Playoffs: 52-30

***Unlike my regular-season game-by-game predictions, which are made well before the beginning of the season, my game-by-game playoff predictions will be made day-by-day as the playoffs progress. This is mainly to avoid the mess that will be made whenever one of my predictions goes awry.***

2014 NBA Playoffs: Day 30 Predictions

Today’s Game (All times are Eastern):

 

Time (ET) Visitor Home Prediction
8:30 PM Miami Heat Indiana Pacers Heat

Things to Watch For

Can the Miami Heat avoid consecutive playoff losses for the first time since dropping three straight games to the Boston Celtics during the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals or will the Indiana Pacers finally climb above .500 at home for the first time during these playoffs? One of these two things will happen in tonight’s Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Despite three straight losses during the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat went on to win that series and every playoff series that they’ve played in since. The two-time defending champions have lost a total of nine playoff games since those three consecutive losses two years ago. Miami has rebounded from each of those losses by defeating their opponent by an average of 16.7 points in the very next game. Three of those nine rebound wins came by an average of 17.3 points against the Indiana Pacers in last year’s Eastern Conference finals.

The Pacers, who have been up and down all postseason long, climbed back to .500 (4-4) at home this postseason by winning Game 1 of this series. That was Indiana’s first Game 1 victory of these playoffs. The Pacers are still seeking consecutive home wins in these playoffs and need to do just that if they want to maintain home-court advantage in this series.

I expect LeBron James to be aggressive with the ball, get to the line, and do whatever else it takes to lead the Miami Heat to a Game 2 victory tonight. And depending upon which Indiana team shows up tonight, this could either be a blowout, like Miami’s rebound victories against the Pacers during last season’s conference finals, or it could be a nail-biter that goes down to the wire. If it is the latter, Indiana just might give itself a chance to earn consecutive home wins and climb above .500 at home for the first time this postseason.

Yesterday’s Results:

 

Visitor Home Prediction Result
Oklahoma City Thunder 105 San Antonio Spurs 122 Spurs Spurs

Random NBA Fan’s Record in Yesterday’s Games: 1-0
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Playoffs: 45-29

***Unlike my regular-season game-by-game predictions, which are made well before the beginning of the season, my game-by-game playoff predictions will be made day-by-day as the playoffs progress. This is mainly to avoid the mess that will be made whenever one of my predictions goes awry.***

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