The only storyline, as far as I'm concerned, about this year's playoffs is whether or not Kobe Bryant will win his 6th ring. Yes I know the Miami Heat and the "New Big 3" from the Valley of the Kings are in the dance. I also know Dwight "Superman" Howard is also in da house. And yes, I know the San Antonio Spurs with the "Original Big 3" are here looking for ring No. 5. Sorry, but the stage belongs to Kobe. Kobe is a student of the game and he knows what's at stake. He knows he has a chance to equal the great Michael Jordan with two 3-peats and he will do everything in his power to achieve the feat. Although he won't say it publicly but everyone knows Kobe wants this ring and he wants it badly. Call it his "Sixth Sense".
So the only questions on my mind are: Will the Lakers pull of a second 3-peat in the Kobe-era. Will Phil Jackson complete his 4th unprecedented and RIDICULOUS 3-peat and win his 12th ring. Will the Lakers equal the Boston Celtics with their 17th NBA Championship or will the "Other Big 3" and the Celtics open up some elbow room and win their 18th title?
With that said, here are my first round predictions--
The East should just do away with the first round and go directly to the second round because the top 4 seeds will all advance with their eyes closed. So forget the first round and save the bodies for the second round showdown. No. 1 Chicago Bulls, No. 2 Miami Heat, No. 3 Boston Celtics and the No. 4 Orlando Magic easily advance. My bold prediction: Seeds 5 through 8 will win a total of 2 games. Ouch!
In the West things are more interesting. Off the bat, the No. 1 San Antonio Spurs and the No. 2 Los Angeles Lakers advance. Spurs in 6. Lakers in 5.
Now it gets interesting. Mark Cuban and his No. 3 Dallas Mavericks are in for a rude awakening. For some reason things always seem to go wrong for the Mavericks come playoff time. I won't bore you with amateur analysis but I will say I like the No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers in 6. And why? They have more depth than Dallas.
The No. 4 Oklahoma City Thunder over the No. 5 Denver Nuggets in 7. This may be a stunner as the Melo-less Nuggets are on a mission. It wouldn't surprise me if they pull off the upset but I'm going with the Thunder by a whisker. That's all!
Let the games begin....