What if the 2012 NBA Playoffs Were Played March Madness Style?
Now that my feelings about NBA seven games series are known, let's completely throw them out the window and see how the playoffs would turn out if it were a March Madness style tournament. Since the playoffs have already begun we will use the results of game one in each series.
(1) Spurs defeat (8) Jazz
(2) Thunder defeat (7) Mavericks
(3) Lakers defeat (6) Nuggets
(5) Clippers defeat (4) Grizzlies
(1) Bulls defeat (8) 76ers
(2) Heat defeat (7) Knicks
(6) Magic defeat (3) Pacers
(4) Hawks defeat (5) Celtics
Chris Paul during the Clippers epic comeback
Since these games already happened I will be brief. How much bigger would that Kevin Durant game winner have been if it were during an elimination game? Shots like that, with all of the pressure of elimination on the line, are the stuff legends are made of. The Clips Grizzlies’ game would have been even more epic than it already was, but I imagine that the Grizz would have crumbled even faster in an elimination game. If they couldn't handle the pressure of a game one how would they cope in this situation?
(1) Spurs Vs (5) Clippers: San Antonio wins this game easily. Believe it or not the Clippers would have a better chance of beating the Spurs in a seven game series. In a one game situation with so much on the line, it’s difficult to believe that Vinny Del Negro wouldn’t shoot himself in the foot multiple times during a 48 minute game. Take your pick: a random and illogical substation pattern, poor use of time outs, putting an ice cold shooter on the wing to take the game winning shot. Hey, knowing Del Negro he would be guilty of all three. Spurs advance.
Kevin Durant celebrates after hitting a game winner
(2) Thunder Vs (3) Lakers: How epic would this be? Kobe vs. Durant in a winner take all game. While I think OKC is the better overall team and would be favored in a seven game series, its hard to pick against the Lakers in a winner take all game at a neutral site. The Lakers have everything OKC is lacking in this type of spot, experience, mental toughness and no expectations. OKC would be a huge favorite to win this game and I believe the pressure would get to them. Lakers advance.
(1) Bulls Vs (4) Hawks: It’s hard for me to believe that the Bulls would get through the Hawks without Derrick Rose. But I also know that the Hawks are one of the mentally weakest teams in the league. If you put any type of pressure and expectation on them they crumble. It’s a toss up. Hawks advance.
(2) Heat Vs (6) Magic: The Heat are on a mission and would steam roll the Magic without Dwight and win by 30. Heat advance.