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And Then There Were 4. (Conference Final Preview)

So we're down to four in the NBA. Three traditional "institutions" within the annals of the NBA and the 'Black Sheep' that nobody wants to acknowledge. Breakdown time...

Eastern Conference Finals/80s Redux
Bad Boys 2 vs. The Boston Three Party
- Well, the Pistons decided after letting the Sixers hang out for two more games than they should have to throttle the Magic expeditiously. The Celts have decided to take the "scenic" route here, going 7 in both of their series before ending up here. Boston's proven Dorothy's theory that there is indeed "no place like home" and simply put, that will not get them back to the Finals for the first time since 1987. The Pistons have been there and done that, but as someone on ESPN just pointed out, they've got two trips to the Finals to show for it. One NBA Championship. The window's not closing, or totally shut, but they have to realize time's clearly not on their side. The Celts are going the 'trial by fire' route, but history dictates no team that has gone the distance in their two previous rounds have gotten to the Finals, let alone won it.

Even though the Celts have not lost at home, at this time of the year, your weaknesses become magnified no matter how miniscule. The Pistons will not hesitate to pounce on the Celts when it counts, they don't have the problem that the Cavs and Hawks had in getting offense when it comes down to it. This is, to put it in a nutshell, the Pistons' series to lose. They shouldn't lose this series, even as talented as the Celts are and have become given the circumstances they're presented with. You want a prediction, Lenstradamus will give it to ya. This goes 7. The Pistons steal one in Boston, the Celts figure out how to win on the road. Game 7, this time, the luck will run out for the Irish and they'll be left at home in a heap. Bad Boys 2 will advance to the Finals to face...

Western Conference Finals
The Lake Show vs. The Spurs
- Old friends getting together once again. The Lake Show against the team I picked in the preseason to win it all, again. I more or less said if the Hornets didn't close out the Spurs in Game 6, they'd lose Game 7 and they did. People can't seem to figure out why these guys keep winning and simply put, it's the Big F'N Franchise aka Tim Duncan. Yes, he's as exciting as paint drying. Yes, he's a walking game of pinochle or solitaire as far as excitement goes for his all around game. Truth is and still remains, he's the walking gold standard in the league having more rings than any big name (Horry has the most out of all active players presently) around. These guys are not fazed by the sentiment surrounding them as a whole, they don't care that people think they're boring and that they force people to tune them out. They go out, they play their way and they win.

The Lake Show appears to be back with Kobe Bauer back where he hasn't been in four years. This series will come down to two matchups. Bowen versus Kobe, Pau Pau versus The Big F'N Dynasty. The last time the Spurs and Lakers saw each other, it was a miracle shot by Fisher that kept the Spurs from repeating. Rather, the shot by Fisher gave the Lakers the lead in the series that they would not relinquish. The Lake Show have been revitalized with the generous donation of the Pau Pau Platter before the trade deadline and I think in this series, he will be exposed by the combination of Duncan and Thomas down low. The Lake Show must run to win this series, if it's slowed to a crawl, the Spurs will pick them apart. I think the Lakers from a depth perspective in this series, don't quite match up to the firepower that the Spurs can bring off the bench at any given time. Pops and Big Chief Triangle know each other very well, that's a push. Homecourt's gonna be where this is won and lost. If the Lakers take the first two, it's very conceivable they'll take this in 5, maybe 6. Spurs must split or even better still, steal two on the road to have a hope of winning this series.

I'm going with the Spurs which means Stern's Ratings Nightmare will happen again, Pistons/Spurs in the Finals.
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Nice prediction, Len--how'd that work out for you? ;)

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Me thinks I should've stuck with my gut.

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