Here's how it works. In the comments, post your picks for the winner of every round in the playoffs, along with the number of games you think each will series will go. You get 5 points for a correct pick multiplied by the round number (so 5 for the first round, 10 for the second round, and so on). You get 2 bonus points for getting the right number of games in a series you also picked correctly. So in later rounds you don't need to pick the correct opponent to get the bonus points (i.e., I picked the Bulls over the Celtics in 6, and it ends up being Bulls over Hawks in 6, I would still get 12 points.)
Since we're in a truncated season, and there's such a quick turnaround between the regular season and playoffs, I'll give everyone until the end of the day Sunday to make your picks. So I guess you could wait and see what happens in game 1 of every series first, but don't be a Bosh like that.
Here are my picks:
Bulls over 76ers in 4
The Sixers have been one of the worst teams in the NBA lately, and then Evan Turner decided to run his mouth off saying they want the Bulls? He can backtrack all he wants, he still gave a team that feels constantly disrespected despite having the best record in the NBA bulletin board material. The Bulls could win this series with a starting 5 of JL3, TBN, JFB, White Mamba, and Turkish D, and I'm only being half-facetious here. I would really like to see that series. I bet it would go 7 games.
Heat over Knicks in 5
This series will be entertaining, and I think the Knicks can steal a game, but I think all the Heat's supposed vulnerabilities are going to go away come playoff time, and the Knicks will be overmatched.
Pacers over Magic in 5
The Magic are the only team in the playoffs I'd rather play than the Sixers. Who are the threats you need to worry about? Jameer Nelson and Ryan Anderson? I think I'd rather play the Magic than the Bucks, Nets, Rockets, or Suns.
Celtics over Hawks in 6
The Celtics worry me. They're playing well at just the right time (wrong time from a Bulls fan perspective.) They match up well with the Bulls, and if any of our secondary players don't show up for the series, it could be ugly. But these are second round problems, and we're talking about the first round. The Celtics have enough to handle the Hawks. Josh Smith will help by taking stupid shots. Also, Avery Bradley will shut Joe Johnson down, and Rondo is going to own Jeff Teague.
Spurs over Jazz in 6
I like the Jazz, I think this will be one of the more entertaining series of the first round. This is not the same Spurs team that got exposed by the Grizzlies last year though. They can score with anybody, and almost have an embarrassment of wing riches with Gary Neal and Kawhi Leonard, along with the usual suspects.
Thunder over Mavs in 6
I like Dirk to steal a couple games, but this is not the same Mavs team without Tyson Chandler and JJ Barea. It is, pretty much, the same Thunder team though.
Nuggets over Lakers in 7
The only real upset I have in the first round, I think the Nuggets style is going to be hard for the Lakers to handle. And I really like the George Karl- Mike Brown matchup for the Nuggets. I realize this pick might screw me over in the long run, but I'm making it anyway.
Grizzlies over Clippers in 5
Three words: Vinny. Del. Negro.
I'll break down the 2nd rounds when I actually know them. Here are the rest of my picks, for the record:
Bulls over Celtics in 7
Heat over Pacers in 5
Spurs over Grizzlies in 6
Thunder over Nuggets in 6
Bulls over Heat in 7
Thunder over Spurs in 6
Bulls over Thunder in 7
(Three straight game 7s. I predict a lot of stress in our future. Buckle up.)