Mr. Royal covers today. He can say he wrote a “blog.” What actually happened is I simply wrote him an email about an NBA pool and asked “Am I crazy for thinking that the Clippers might win it all?”

Here is his simple response.

Never in the history of the NBA have I hated my playoff picks so much.

These are awful, awful NBA Playoff picks. I HATE them, and I’m the one who picked them. And the worst part is, I have perfectly rational and reasonably reasons for picking them.

The worst part about this year’s playoff picks is knowing that future me is going to hop in the DeLorean and kick “current me” in the ballsack and say things like, “HEY RETARD! HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY PICK AGAINST THE SPURS AGAIN!? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING BASKETBALL!!!??!?!?!”

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(this is Dr. Brown coming back from the future saying, “HOW DID YOU NOT HOW GOOD LEBRON IS? HOW MANY TIMES ARE YOU GOING TO PICK AGAINST HIM!?”)

The most embarrassing part about all this is that if you asked me about the NBA Playoffs a week ago I would’ve said the following:

We’re overthinking this thing and it’s really quite simple. The Thunder are more athletic than the Spurs and those are the only two teams of having a prayer of winning the West, so obviously we’ll take the Thunder. In the East, CLEARLY there’s only two teams that can win and the team with homecourt has the edge, but either team will lose to the Western Conference team.”

It was so simple.

And now I’ve completely pussed out. I’ve literally turned into the exact type of analyst that I hate reading about, because I’ve thought so long and hard about the NBA playoffs that I’ve probably overthought this thing. This column will be a constant battle between overthought and my second-guess instincts.

It’s very similar to the NCAA tournament this year where you I saw just how hot Shabazz and UConn were, but my brain was like, “No way! There’s no way that team runs the table. I mean, come on? Better than Florida? Better than UK? Dream on dude. There’s just no way they finish.” But my gut was like, “Damn. I don’t think any assembly of five basketball players on the planet can stop this UConn team right now.”

So, in an effort to embrace both our brains and our guts, let’s start with some not so given-“givens” and compare them to some “gut feelings.”

  1. The Miami Heat are done winning championships.

Dwayne Wade is like, 40 years old in basketball years. The dude can still ball, and Spoelstra should be commended for how he’s rested Wade throughout this year, but he’s OLD.

Chris Bosh is a very tall, glorified jump shooter.

Lebron James already has an escape route planned for if/when the Heat don’t win a championship this year. If you think I’m crazy, consider the fact that he has a photoshopped picture of him playing one on one with Jordan on the background of his phone. Consider the fact that when he went to Miami he said this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT-I8jQDQ7c

“NOT ONE, NOT TWO, NOT THREE, NOT FOUR, NOT FIVE, NOT SIX, NOT SEVEN…. HEY! And when I say that I really believe that, I’m not just blowin smoke… we believe we can win multiple championships if we handle business the right way!”

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Remember that despite all the bullshit he spews, he still wants – and very much believes – that he is the second coming of Michael Jordan. Remember that the Akron, Ohio area code was tattooed on his body at one point (rumored to be removed now) and that Kyrie Irving lives on as one of the best point guards in the league in Cleveland.

I can’t stress this enough, folks. Unless the Heat win again (in dominant fashion) – Lebron is gone in Miami.

Miami is old. They aren’t as deep as they once were, and they are tired. When your best three players play NBA ball from October to June for three straight years AND participate in the WBC and Olympics stuff, you just can’t be healthy and fresh.

But, as I’ve said all year, a part of my gut feeling says that Lebron is trolling us, still. It’s as if he’s laughing saying, “HOLY SHIT ROYAL! I’m still Lebron James. I can’t wait to remind you that I’m the most gifted athlete you’ve ever laid eyes upon” (which make no mistake, he is – undoubtedly).

  1. To win in the NBA Playoffs you gotta be DEEEEEEEEEP!

Contender team depth:

Spurs: Pass – Ginobili, Parker, Duncan, Leonard, Bellinelli, Green, Splitter. Remember when we were talking about Danny Green as Finals MVP last year!?!?!?!?!

Thunder: Pass – Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, Perkins (healthy y’all!), Collison, Fisher, Jackson, Lamb, Sefolosha, Butler

Heat: Fail – Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Allen, Anderson? Chalmers? Cole?!?!?

Clippers: PASS – Griffin, Paul, Crawford, Jordan, Butler, Barnes, Collison, Granger, Redick, Turkoglu… WOW WOW WOW WOW

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Pacers: Ehhh??? – George, Hibbert, West, Hill, Mahimni?

I’m not even going to include Golden State sans Bogut because it’s a joke. Dream on folks. For those of you who keep pumping the whole, “Memphis is a TOUGH TEAM!” drum, please stop it. There are five teams that have enough depth to survive the grind of the NBA Playoffs and they’re listed above.

  1. Who’s the friggin MVP? Durant. But CP3 will shine in the playoffs.

A lot of talk on the radio shows has been about, “Who’s under the most pressure this year?” Not a lot of talk has been on CP3 and the Clippers, but I guarantee you that Paul is feeling it. He may not be the MVP of his own team, but I promise you he’s feeling the most pressure and is this year’s most overlooked player. He’s the best point guard in the game, BY A MILE I might add, and he’s never been to the Finals. He’s going to be a man on a mission.

Matchups:

Spurs over Mavs in 5. My gut tells me this is a sweep, but I’ll give Dirk a little credit because his fadeaway still keeps me up at night. It’s like Kareem’s hook shot. I just don’t get how it goes in all the time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfewOvwxMR0

I keep trying to do the Nowitzki fadeaway in pickup games and for some reason it doesn’t work as well for me. It’s like I’m less athletic or something. I don’t really get it though….

Rockets over Blazers in 6. Everyone knows I have a man crush on Damian Lillard. But does anyone play defense on that team? Harden is superstar good, and he wants to haunt OKC.

Clippers over Warriors in 5 and I’m being very generous. I think the Warriors will steal a game where Klay and Steph have one of those nights where the rim gets about a foot wider. Otherwise, they will be hopeless in the paint against Deandre Jordan and Blake. It’s gonna be a bloodbath without Bogut.

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Thunder over Grizzlies in 5. This is where I might be smoking dope. I think people who call this a trap series or a potential upset are just out of their minds. I just don’t see it happening, at all. But there’s a lot of smart dudes who say that, so maybe I’m the crazy one. I recognize the Grizzlies are not a team you want to play because they beat you up physically, but KD is stupid, stupid good. He’s even better than he’s getting credit for right now and he’s the no-doubter MVP.

Leastern Conference1st Round: Nobody Cares

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Heat sweep Bobcats

Nets over Raptors in 5

Bulls sweep Wizards

Pacers over Hawks in 5.

**Yawn. Next question. **

Back to the Wild, Wild West!

Spurs over Rockets in 6, I concur with Filler here

Clippers vs. Thunder – OK, this is the big one. Whoever wins this series wins the whole thing in my opinion. I don’t know how the Thunder addresses Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan, and like I said I think Chris Paul will be on another planet in these playoffs. He’s the most overlooked figure in all this and the dude is starting to feel the pressure of never having been in the Finals. He’s hungry. And I LOVE Jamal Crawford off the bench for this team.

Having said all that, I think your first instinct is usually your best one, and I have to take OKC in 7, even though my gut wants me to grow some balls and take LA, really really badly. Although if LA steals game 2 in OKC, I think that changes everything. Also, KEVIN DURANT IS REALLY, REALLY, REALLY GOOD AT BASKETBALL-RELATED ACTIVITIES!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH28e-swVdw

Then I’ll take the more athletic Thunder over the Spurs (I can literally sense future me traveling back in time to kick me in the nuts shouting, “HOW COULD YOU DOUBT THE SPURS AGAIN YOU RETARD!!??)

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(“GREAT SCOTT, YOU’RE STUPID! TIM DUNCAN HAS BEEN DRINKING FROM THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH FOR CENTURIES!!!!”)

In the East I have to caution you on a couple things:

1. The Nets have no chance in a 7-game series against the Heat. None. Three of the four games the Nets beat the Heat this year were decided by one point, and Miami hasn’t actually tried in a regular season game all year.

Miami in 6

Although #Plums will always hold a special place in my heart for this moment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVOReI5NX3M

2. The Bulls are going to abuse the Pacers physically if they don’t get their shit together. My hope is that Roy Hibbert sniffs the smelling salts against Atlanta and the Pacers turn into the Pacers again, but I’ve said it a thousand times: I don’t think Frank Vogel is a great coach, and that’s what they need right now.

Having said that, I’ll take the Pacers in 6 or 7 because the Bulls are so bad offensively.

Eastern Conference Finals:

I think the Heat bring out the absolute best in the Pacers in Indiana. I think the home team wins every game of this series and the Pacers win in 7 making the Heat’s decision to give up on the 1-seed look retarded (because it was).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aMs6khRYPM

“OOOOOH YEA! OOOOH YEA BIG G!”

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Finals:

OKC/LA over Indiana in 6.

Why would I do this? Because I’m sticking with my original picks. I stuck with my NFL picks throughout the entire playoffs this year and only missed one pick throughout the entire bracket (Thanks again to Andy Dalton and the Bengals for letting me down… I was damn near perfect – so CLOSE!!). But then again, I’ve flipped flopped so many times this year.

My preseason pick was Indiana over OKC in 6. Then I swapped to what I’ve got now. Then I said Miami would win the East and beat OKC if they won the West but lose toe the Spurs if they won the West… I just confused the crap out of myself and basically I don’t have the ballsack to stick with my original pick.

But here I am. OKC over Indiana in 6, and I absolutely hate it. My gut says I’m crazy to pick against a Spurs team that’s this fundamentally sound, and the deepest part of my basketball soul knows that Lebron James possesses talent that shouldn’t be allowed on this planet – but I just can’t seem to nut up and pick them. I think CP3 will be the best player of this year’s playoffs and yet I can’t even nut up and pick them.

Long story short, I’m picking OKC and I hate it so much. There’s so many variables. I’m half rooting for KD, half rooting for CP3, whole-rooting against Miami, half-hoping that I get to see Lebron and KD go 7 games… I don’t know. It’s going to be a fun ride.

What I can guarantee is that I will be wrong, and that you shouldn’t have even wasted your time reading this blog and that you will all send Filler nasty emails about how little I know about basketball. As per usual, I’m receptive to any feedback you may have now about my picks.

Alibis:

– I could totally see LA beating OKC and while I think I’d still take them over the Spurs, OKC presents a much worse matchup for the Spurs than LA does. If the Spurs win the West, I think they would embarrass Indiana and take Miami in 7 games.

– Players that could ruin my bracket: Pissed-off Joakim Noah, pissed-off Lebron, pissed-off Greg Popovich, the ghost of James Harden – who still hovers over Chesapeake Arena in OKC

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(“I dare you to bet against me… I DARE YOU, SON!”)

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