NBA Playoff Preview 2011

2011 NBA PLAYOFFS PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

Whatifsports.com presents its 2011 NBA Playoff Preview. Below is the main bracket and round-by-round series breakdown. To the right of the bracket is a table explaining each NBA playoff team's chances of winning each round including the NBA Finals.

We simulated the entire 2011 NBA playoffs 1,001 times. Home court is taken into account. Average wins and losses per series are indicated in the bracket. Because the bracket is simulated as a whole, matchups vary in the conference semifinals, finals and NBA Finals. Average series results are only provided in the first round.

You can simulate any game in the playoffs yourself using our NBA Sim Matchup feature. You can also learn more about our 2011 NBA Playoff Preview.

1
8
Bulls
Pacers
4
1
4
5
Magic
Hawks
4
1
3
6
Celtics
Knicks
4
1
2
7
Heat
76ers
4
1
1
8
Spurs
Grizzlies
4
2
4
5
Thunder
Nuggets
4
3
3
6
Mavericks
Blazers
4
2
2
7
Lakers
Hornets
4
1
1
4
Bulls
Magic
3
2
Celtics
Heat
1
4
Spurs
Thunder
3
2
Mavericks
Lakers
1
2
Bulls
Heat
1
2
Spurs
Lakers
1
2
Bulls
Lakers

WINNING PERCENTAGES

Eastern Conference
Seed/Team Round 1 Conf. Semis Conf. Finals NBA Finals
1 Chicago
95.2% 61.7% 38.7% 28.3%
2 Miami
90.0% 62.8% 28.1% 16.4%
4 Orlando
98.5% 37.8% 20.9% 11.9%
3 Boston
91.0% 33.4% 12.2% 5.9%
7 Philadelphia
10.0% 2.3% 0.1% 0.0%
8 Indiana
4.8% 0.5% 0.1% 0.0%
6 New York
9.0% 1.5% 0.0% 0.0%
5 Atlanta
1.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Western Conference
Seed/Team Round 1 Conf. Semis Conf. Finals NBA Finals
2 Los Angeles
95.6% 66.8% 51.5% 24.6%
3 Dallas
79.4% 28.4% 19.0% 6.3%
1 San Antonio
71.6% 43.1% 14.1% 4.0%
4 Oklahoma City
55.0% 27.2% 7.8% 1.6%
5 Denver
45.0% 20.9% 4.7% 0.9%
6 Portland
20.6% 4.1% 1.6% 0.1%
8 Memphis
28.4% 8.9% 1.1% 0.1%
7 New Orleans
4.4% 0.7% 0.2% 0.0%
Bulls logo
Heat logo
1
2
Bulls
Heat
Bulls
Record: 62-20
Analysis: Although Miami and Boston garnered much of the preseason hype, Chicago entered the season as dark horse Eastern Conference contenders thanks to offseason acquirements of Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer. Yet few would have projected prosperity for Tom Thibodeau's team after significant injuries to Boozer and rebounding wizard Joakim Noah. While Thibodeau's defensive dexterity and Luol Deng's dependability facilitated consistency, Derrick Rose was Chicago's stalwart in the absence of the Bulls' big men. Averaging 25.0 points and 7.7 assists, Rose's offensive imagination is often overlooked due to the team's imposing defense (91.3 points allowed). However, his creativity helped guide the team through a delicate assimilation period, integrating Boozer (17.5 points, 9.6 rebounds), who had missed training camp, and Noah (11.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.5 blocks), who had yet to team with a formidable forward in his young career. Besides the fearsome foursome of Rose, Boozer, Noah and Deng, Chicago boasts a potent bench of Taj Gibson (7.1 points, 5.7 rebounds), sharpshooter Korver (8.3 points, 41.5 three-point percentage) and Ronnie Brewer (6.2 points, 1.3 steals). Thibodeau's reps as an assistant in Boston will alleviate any qualms concerning a lack of playoff experience amongst the roster, rendering the Bulls as challengers for the Eastern Conference crown.

Heat
Record: 58-24
Analysis: Miami's season didn't quite go to script, with the bench decimated by injuries to Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller, leaving the Heat to acquire washed-up vets like Mike Bibby and Erick Dampier to augment their depth. The acclimation process was postponed due to a preseason hamstring issue to Dwyane Wade, equating to a 9-8 start. Rumors of disconnect between LeBron James and coach Erik Spoelstra leaked to the media, reports that James didn't necessarily refute. Losing five of six in January and six of seven in late February/early March heightened the hysteria of dysfunction of the supposed super team. Yet through all the trials and tribulations, the Heat finished the season second in the conference with a 58-24 mark. James turned in another MVP-worthy season with 26.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists, with Wade right behind with a line of 25.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.6 dimes. But as effective as James and Wade have been, Miami's title aspirations will come down to the play of the much-maligned third component of their infamous triad, Chris Bosh. The former Raptor contributed 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds this season, but will have to intensify his resistance against the rim if the Heat hope to be relevant in June.

Chances of Winning Conference Finals: Bulls 38.7% - Heat 28.1%
Spurs logo
Lakers logo
1
2
Spurs
Lakers
Spurs
Record: 61-21
Analysis: In what's becoming a preseason ritual, basketball aficionados wrote off the Spurs as contenders for the '10-11 season, citing San Antonio as geriatric and injury-plagued. Yet as April arrived, the Spurs sat atop the Western Conference standings with a 61-21 record. A healthy Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker propelled the Spurs throughout the regular season, as well as the rise of rookie Gary Neal; yet San Antonio's catalyst remains the venerable Tim Duncan. The former Demon Deacon's physical skills are rapidly deteriorating, but the Big Fundamental endures as an elite defensive power thanks to his unparalleled hardwood IQ. Assisting Duncan, Ginobili and Parker has been the downtown deftness of Matt Bonner (45.7 percent from long-range) and Richard Jefferson (44.0 percent from three). George Hill (11.6 points) and DeJuan Blair (8.3 points, 7.0 rebounds) have also excelled in auxiliary roles for San Antonio. However, the Spurs aren't riding a wave of momentum in the playoffs, as Gregg Popovich's squad has lost eight of its last 12 ballgames. Of more concern is the health of Ginobili, who hyperextended his elbow in the season-finale against Phoenix. As disconcerting as both issues appear, the San Antonio Spurs will undoubtedly be a Finals factor once again this spring.

Lakers
Record: 57-25
Analysis: The biggest issue for the Lakers this season? Complacency. A quick glance at other back-to-back champions throughout NBA history will illustrate the same sentiment, as the long haul of 82 games can hamper one's desire to compete night-in and night-out. While a question of mental fortitude amongst his team appeared to be Phil Jackson's biggest concern, a recent injury to big man Andrew Bynum has translated to trepidation in Laker Land. Despite their center's susceptibility, Los Angeles remains the favorite in the West. Kobe Bryant doesn't possess his notorious first-step, but the two-time Finals MVP still poured in 25.3 points per game in '10-11, using a well-rounded repertoire of offensive moves to outsmart his opponents. Pau Gasol (18.8 points, 10.2 rebounds) maintains his designation as one of the league's most underrated players, as the adroit seven-footer tends to fall in the shadow of Bryant's personage. And although he's arguably more famous for his exploits off the floor, Lamar Odom (14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds) was a force off the bench and provides Jackson versatility in the post and open court. Aside from Bynum, Derek Fisher could be the team's Achilles' heel, as the elder statesman has been blown away by opposing guards like a paper bag in a hurricane. If the Lakers can provide reinforcement to Fish on defense, expect Los Angeles to be playing in June for the fourth straight season.

Chances of Winning Conference Finals: Lakers 51.5 % - Spurs 14.1%

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