Blogtable: Primed To Pull Playoff Upset?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


Week 23: Taking Spurs or Thunder? | Pacers or Knicks No. 2 in East? | Team ready to pull a playoff upset?


Tell us which 6, 7 or 8 seed, as they stand now, is most primed for an upset. And why?

Steve Aschburner: Scanning all the likely lower-seeded teams, my conclusion is: In Thibs I trust. If the Chicago Bulls draw anyone but Miami or Indiana in the East, my hunch is they can advance even without Derrick Rose available. One of the Bulls’ biggest problems this season has been letdowns against dubious opponents. Another has been lapses in concentration due to schedule turnarounds. Neither of those will be present in the postseason. Assuming Chicago doesn’t suffer anything as traumatic as Rose’s injury last spring and Joakim Noah‘s subsequent ankle sprain that doomed it against Philadelphia, I think coach Tom Thibodeau‘s ability to lock in and game-plan defensively will thwart the higher-seeded Knicks, Nets or Hawks.

Fran Blinebury: I don’t know that any of them are actually “primed” for an upset. But if I had to pick one team — as the standings are today — I’d go with the Celtics, simply because you can’t count out the veteran know-how and determination of players such as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Of course, the same would apply to the Lakers if they squeeze past Utah for No. 8 in the West. A team with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash is not the kind of reward either the Spurs or Thunder would be happy to get for finishing first in the West.

Jeff Caplan: In the question about the Pacers and Knicks, I’ve already suggested that a 3-6 Knicks-Bulls matchup could provide an upset. In the West, how can anyone not think that the Rockets in a potential 2-7 matchup with San Antonio couldn’t make that very interesting? The Spurs might not have Manu Ginobili against the high-scoring Rockets and that’s a huge blow. Obviously the edge goes to the Spurs, but for potential upsets I like it. I don’t think the Rockets could take down the Thunder in another potential 2-7 series, but it sure would be a fascinating series with James Harden against his old mates. I also don’t think the Warriors, if they face Denver in a 3-6 matchup, have enough to get past the Nuggets, although the Ty Lawson injury factor is significant.

Scott Howard-Cooper: The Bulls. What a brutal draw for the supposed favorite in a 3-6 first-round series. The Bulls aren’t far from being a No. 3 themselves, and that defense, rebounding, toughness and coaching makes them a tough out. The Heat would definitely be favored against Chicago. Anyone else in the East and there are small margins.

John Schuhmann: Chicago. Of any potential 6/7/8 seed, the Bulls have the best defense and the best road record. They’ve proven to be resilient in the face of several key injuries and are also 5-1 against New York (3-0) and Brooklyn (2-1), having held those two potent offenses under a point per possession over the six games. The Celtics’ chances of pulling off an upset obviously depend on Kevin Garnett’s health and their ability to avoid the 8 seed. If they face the Knicks with KG ready to go, I think they have a decent shot to get to the next round. But in the West, I just don’t think any 6/7/8 seed is good enough defensively to pose much of a threat to San Antonio, Oklahoma City or Denver/Memphis.

Sekou Smith: If by “primed for an upset” you mean poised to ruin the postseason for a top seed, I’m going with Chicago in the East and Golden State in the West. The Bulls, as they showed in stopping the Miami Heat’s win streak at 27 games, can crank their game up to another level than what we’ve seen from them on a consistent basis during the regular season. Even without Derrick Rose they are a dangerous group in a playoff setting. The Warriors are the ideal playoff wild card with their streaky 3-point shooting abilities. That said, if the Los Angeles Lakers make the playoff field, they could turn the postseason upside down in a first round matchup against either the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder. Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard are playing at a high level right now and if they get in, they’re going to be a major problem in the playoffs.

17 Comments

  1. wooderson says:

    golden state winning would not be an upset. they are a top team in the west and when bogut is playing big minutes come the playoffs tell me who in the west can handle him, lee, curry and the shooting of the warriors? answer: no one

  2. Bringing the HEAT says:

    I Agree.. If not Miami .. OKC or Spurs will win it

  3. soyouu514 says:

    Whatever team it is that pulls an upset to the top seed won’t have the chance to win the championship anyways (I want to say except the lakers, but no). Indiana, Knicks, Bulls, Nuggets, and GSW are really good teams but they are NOT ready for Championship, let alone NBA Finals. Sure, some players might’ve been in the Finals, but as a team, no they are NOT ready. The only team I see winning this year, if not the HEAT, are the Spurs (though recent Parker injured just ruined them) and OKC

  4. Ice Manila PH says:

    Boston: True that if they can avoid the Heat in the early rounds, there would be an epic Celtics-Heat East Finals again. If Jeff Green, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and the rest of the team like Avery, Brandon, Courtney and especially JET will step up big time.. There would be a great Eastern Finals that everyone will wish to see. Let’s hope these guys stays healthy.

    Love the C’s! I’m a CELTIC

  5. Celts all the way!
    CELTICS-HORAAH-UBUNTU!!!

  6. Karlo Garcia says:

    Either Houston or Boston. I would pick Boston because of the Rajon Rondo injury. I really think he can really b the difference in a playoff series.

  7. Kamote says:

    If Boston stayed at 6 or 7, I think they can pull an upset on either Indiana or New York in the first round… and maybe in the 2nd round too. They just have to avoid the Heat at the early rounds and hopefully Pierce and KG would stay healthy and the other guys would step up big time. Then another epic Heat-Celtic east finals showdown is in place.

    In the West, OKC and San Antonio will be sure to advance to the 2nd round. Memphis-LAC and Denver-GS would be an interesting matchup though. Memphis can put up a good fight against anyone, while GS, if healthy and back into their defensive ways, is a team to watch.

  8. W/E says:

    Lakers are gunna make the playoffs for sure, thats guaranteed cause the NBA is rigged to their favor, i dont know if things are that bad if they are gunna help them win against clearly superior teams like Spurs or Thunder come playoff time…hope not.

  9. Brain32 says:

    East, only Boston, Bulls can upset a game or two, but four? Nahh I don’t think so.
    West – no upsets, sorry. Lakers winning is not really an upset, what’s upsetting about them is the way they played through regular season.

    • Gabe says:

      Bulls one or two? Not at full strenght, especially if they draw up Brooklyn or New York. I think that they can even beat the heat in seven, but their real worry should be Indiana.

  10. KunJayMaster says:

    Chicago upsetting Miami…give me a break. They couldn’t do it in 2010 with a healthy Derrick Rose and the best bench in the NBA against the worst version of this Heat. What makes you think you can do it this year without Derrick Rose and a lesser bench against a lethal Miami Heat. Yes, they broke the Heat’s record without Noah, Bellineli, Hamilton and Rose, that in itself should tell you it was less of what the Bulls did, and more of what the Heat didn’t do. The Heat in the play offs is a complete different animal.

    • Allan says:

      They have a better bench with Robinson and bellineli the only loss was asik but they’ve been doin better on the boards lately the other guys are scrubs and they didn’t say they would upset Miami they said the other teams like knicks or nets

  11. melquin says:

    just wait and see what the lakers can do,big upset………………….

  12. steppx says:

    sekou smith must have a big big man crush on the entire laker team. No sek, they arent a big problem. Thats why they have been terrible all year. They arent better. They havent yet beaten top teams or even come close.