First off, I was very stunned that the West top-seeded San Antonio Spurs and heavily favored Orlando Magic were ousted by the heavily underdogs, Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks, in the first-round playoffs respectively. After Spurs exiting, the defending two-time NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers have a better chance to have the homecourt advantage throughout at least West Finals and advance to the fourth straight NBA Finals. Unfortunately, Lakers will most likely have tougher times without homecourt advantage if they eventually face either Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Both Bulls and Heat have better overall records than Lakers. Note that more than 75% of the home teams have won the NBA Finals series. As the Lakers fan, I feel like I'm saying "Yuck!"
However, neither Bulls nor Heat will able to get past the defending East champion Boston Celtics, anyway. With the Magic exiting in shock, I see that only Celtics have more advantages than any of the other three East teams. Celtics have a number of more experienced veterans that have already have been to the NBA Finals in the past: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Glen Davis and Shaquille O'Neal. Although I despise the Celtics very much, I still pick them to advance to the NBA Finals for the third time in the last four seasons based on the veteran experiences and secret tricks of defense. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will NEVER have any answer for the Celtics in laughter! Celtics still dare to kill the Heat with secret tricks of defense especially involving KG and Rondo, although Kendrick Perkins is no longer with the Celtics team. (Perkins is now with the Oklahoma City Thunder team since the February trade.)
Since the Magic were eliminated in the first round, the Bulls have a better chance to advance to the first Eastern Conference Finals in 13 years. Last time, they advanced to the EC Finals en route to the 6th NBA championship in 1998. At that time, they had Michael Jordan, who I always despised so much due to his egos. I still see that the young and inexperienced Bulls team most likely will lose the EC Finals series to the more experienced veteran Celtics team in 5 or 6 games.
Here are my predictions of the 2011 NBA Conference Semifinals.
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
1. Chicago Bulls vs. 5. Atlanta Hawks = Bulls in 7
2. Miami Heat vs. 3. Boston Celtics = Celtics in 6
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
2. Los Angeles Lakers vs. 3. Dallas Mavericks = Lakers in 7
4. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 8. Memphis Grizzlies = Thunder in 5
Conference Finals predictions coming up! Enjoy your NBA days!