Round 2!.. Fight!

Here are my predictions for the Conference Semifinals:
Boston in 6. Chicago in 5. Oklahoma in 5. Dallas in 6.
I will be explaining the reason for these in future blogs. So for now, feel free to post away in the comments.

Here is my pick chart for Games 1 to 4..

May MIA
BOS
CHI
ATL
OKC
MEM
LAL
DAL
Default if
MEM 2-1
if
MIA 2-0
if
ATL 2-1
if
LAL 2-0
1 G1 G1 M.Gasol
2 G1 G1 Crawford
3 G2 G2 Bosh
4 G2 G2 Bynum
6 G3 G3 Bryant Nowitzki
7 G3 G3 Lebron Rondo
8 G4 G4 Johnson Rose
9 G4 G4 Wade Durant Garnett

For the Game 1s, I'll be picking players from the obvious match-ups -- Gasol of the Grizzlies, and Crawford of the Hawks. For the Game 2s -- Bosh of the Heat, and  Bynum of the Lakers. On the Default column, you can see my picks based on the top 8 players still available to me (note: Zach Randolph may still be in your top 8)..

Lebron 41.0
Wade 35.8
Bryant 30.0
Bosh 29.6
M.Gasol 28.7
Johnson 28.0
Bynum 26.2
Crawford 25.0

Their picking order is rearranged based on each player's home and road record. Lebron, Crawford and Marc Gasol, for example, are road warriors. Note that anytime I can replace Crawford with Conley (also 25.0), Josh Smith (24.8) or Pau Gasol (24.0), and then provide a slightly different chart.

As result of games go against my best-case scenario, I'll be adding dates and players. But most importantly, I have already laid out my Plan B for each series. If, for example, the Heat wins their first two home games, then that is the time to switch sides and start picking Celtics. This pick chart will change as we go along the playoffs. I'll be sure to mention and elaborate on these tweaks in my blogs.

::cross-fingers::

State of the Notion

We're almost done with first round of the playoffs (::grumbles at the Spurs and Grizzlies::) As you can see my picks have met no fortune as I grade my Round 1 as average. Absolutely below the standards I set for myself. At this point of the playoffs last year I was already in the 80th+ percentile, but clearly this is not the case this year. At the beginning of this blog I mentioned I would like to beat the final 95th percentile I got last year. That is still possible but it will be extremely difficult. Like the Mavs, my motto from hereon is "persistence". Just keep on playing.

So instead of targeting just the end goal, I would like to divide it into milestones. And to help me with that will be the so-called experts of NBA.com and TNT.

This Round 1 seems to be just enough to be in par with NBA.com's Expert.

At the end of Round 2, I would like to pass Kenny Smith and Chris Webber. To do that, I would need to plan my picks ahead of time for the whole of the Conference Semifinals by setting up picks based on worst- and best-case scenarios; this is something I didn't do in Round 1 ("prepare"). Look forward for a future blog regarding this as soon as we get the winner of the Spurs-Grizzlies series.

28-Apr Points Rank Percentile
Ernie 417 1,923 91%
Charles 412 2,223 89%
Kenny 383 4,678 77%
C-Webb 368 6,366 69%
Myself 365 6,738 67%
Expert 364 6,860 ?

At the end of Round 3, I would like to pass Charles Barkley. He has been a surprise picker; it seems he has gotten a little smarter this year hehe. Also if last year was an indication, these TNT hosts will quit this game at the end of the Conference Finals to concentrate on the Finals. So they will seem to have an edge in Round 3 as they'll be exhausting all the remaining good players before they pack it up. I'll be keeping the standings comparison at the very last date of their participation, for record purposes.

So that's my Round 1 -- below standards. So how has it been for you?

The Flop

Ok so the Spurs won Game 5. I said two posts ago that I will pick Tony this game. However, Manu has been great since coming back from injury. He led the Spurs in PRA last game (45); I cannot hope to get that again from him but I can settle for 30+.
Week 2, April 29:
Manu Ginobili
Can't wait for round 2! Let's get this round over with :)

CP3's Last Game As A Hornet

This is long overdue. I had Chris Paul reserved for this game: the night which is probably his last game in New Orleans as a Hornet. There is no other night. This has to be it. Down 2-3, CP3 will be looking to even the series and push it to a game 7. Other than that, he will be looking to raise his price as free agency looms. His game 5 performance was unacceptable.

I think you don't need any further explanation with this pick. You're all grown men and women.
Week 2, April 28:
Chris Paul
Eh? You already picked him you say? Go with Trevor Ariza, he's been lighting up this series.. seemingly wanting the Lakers to regret trading him away.

Tony, Manu or Tim?

April 27 schedule:
Philadelphia@Miami (1-3)
Memphis@San Antonio (1-3)
Denver@Oklahoma (1-3)

As much as I hate the Spurs (Mavs' division rival), I have not even thought that the #1 seed in the West will lose the series to the Grizzlies. Not when they lost game 1. Not when they went down 1-2. Well, until now. The Spurs are now down 1-3. As much as good the franchise is, they can never manage to win all three remaining games. So now, I believe they'll exit the first round and have an early vacation.

Like most people, I have not picked from the Spurs and this next elimination game is forcing me to pick one.. now! So who do we pick? Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan have almost equal average PRA in the playoffs (25/26/25) so I cannot base my decision on that. Tony is playing well, especially in the first half of games at least. Manu with his elbow injury has been inconsistent (PRA 28, 31, 20) -- I don't know what I'll get from him in Game 5. Many people in the forums are picking Tim as they think he will not let the Spurs go down in a do-or-die game. Well being the franchise player he is that's most probably true, but I won't believe it until I see the numbers. So I checked the statistics of these three men on elimination games for the last three years..

Date FGA 3PA FTA Pts Reb Ast PRA
Tony May 9, 2010 19.0 0.0 3.0 22.0 5.0 5.0
April 28, 2009 21.0 4.0 4.0 26.0 4.0 12.0
May 29, 2008 22.0 2.0 0.0 23.0 3.0 4.0
May 19, 2008 17.0 0.0 4.0 17.0 2.0 5.0
May 15, 2008 13.0 1.0 3.0 15.0 4.0 4.0
AVERAGE 18.4 1.4 2.8 20.6 3.6 6.0 30.2
Manu May 9, 2010 11.0 6.0 12.0 15.0 6.0 9.0
May 29, 2008 9.0 4.0 2.0 9.0 7.0 3.0
May 19, 2008 19.0 11.0 11.0 26.0 5.0 5.0
May 15, 2008 15.0 9.0 2.0 25.0 4.0 2.0
AVERAGE 13.5 7.5 6.8 18.8 5.5 4.8 29.0
Tim May 9, 2010 14.0 1.0 7.0 17.0 8.0 2.0
April 28, 2009 21.0 0.0 6.0 30.0 8.0 1.0
May 29, 2008 19.0 1.0 10.0 19.0 15.0 10.0
May 19, 2008 17.0 1.0 6.0 16.0 14.0 3.0
May 15, 2008 14.0 0.0 8.0 20.0 15.0 6.0
AVERAGE 17.0 0.6 7.4 20.4 12.0 4.4 36.8

With a very good 36.8 PRA in elimination games, I am picking..
Week 2, April 27:
Tim Duncan
Notice in the table I also included the shot attempts. That shows that when the going gets tough, Tim gets the ball more often.

They have Game 5 at home in San Antonio, and I will be picking the Spurs to win that game. If that happens, we get a bonus pick in Game 6 (for when I plan to pick Tony).

Jameer: Catch You In The 2nd Round

April 26 schedule:
Atlanta@Orlando (1-3)
Indiana@Chicago (1-3)
New Orleans@Lakers (2-2)
Week 2, April 26:
Jameer Nelson
Last year in May 2010, the Magic went down 0-3 against the Celtics. On Game 4, Jameer Nelson bounced back to score 23 points with 5 rebounds and 9 assists; and helped win the game. Down 1-3, Jameer followed that up with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a Game 5 trashing of the Celtics. I mean, the guy has a knack for stepping it up when their necks are on the line.

Down 1-3 against the Hawks, I am hoping Jameer will give his all in Game 5. Besides, he is bound for a rebound after shooting poorly the last three games. Well, Hinrich has something to do with that, but Jameer needs to be reminded that Hinrich is no Rondo.

Jameer to Derrick Rose: Catch you in the second round.

Fee fy mo Mene, Nene!

April 25 schedule:
San Antonio@Memphis (1-2)
Dallas@Portland (2-2)
Oklahoma City@Denver (3-0)
Week 2, April 25:
Nene Hilario
I refuse to believe the Spurs won't rally and beat the Grizzlies, and the Mavs still look in control of the games despite the even series. Down 0-3, the Nuggets are the vulnerable ones.

I was scheduled to pick Nene last game, but backed out due to his groin problem. However, it didn't seem to bother him that game and we can assume that groin injury is history. His numbers are better in the playoffs compared to the regular season. Ok Nene.. you're up!