Welcome to our first ever NBA Playoff Blogger Faceoff, where we pit our favorite team-related bloggers against each other to let them tell why the teams they represent will win their first round matchups. We gave them no set format, no style guide – we just told them to do their thing. Check it out and join in the debate in the comments section.
Next up: 4.Atlanta vs. 5. Miami
WHY THE HAWKS WILL WIN
Written by Aron Phillips, Dime Magazine
While the playoff excitement that comes when an 8-seed takes a 1-seed to the wire isn’t the same, securing homecourt advantage and winning a first-round playoff series this season will more than make up for it.
Ever since the Hawks lost to the Celtics last season, they have been on a mission. Joe Johnson made it back to the All-Star game in a conference full of young stars, Al Horford proved that he can continue his success in this League after a stellar freshman campaign and Mike Bibby has shown time and time again that despite his age, he and his game cannot be slept on.
Also, all the off-season drama stemming from beef between Mike Woodson and Josh Smith, as well as the gaping hole in the rotation when Josh Childress decided to get his Greek on, has been squashed. Winning 47 games in the regular season, this year’s Hawks team is the best we’ve seen since the days of Dominique.
With only Mo Evans and Flip Murray coming off the bench, the Hawks may not be the deepest team, but their rotation is solid. And having to battle through injuries all season they are resilient as well.
When it comes down to it, its going to be whether or not the Hawks can contain the other four guys on the floor. D-Wade is playing on another planet right now, and in a League without guys named Kobe and Lebron, would be the MVP this season. Wade can get 50 a night, but if his teammates can’t get open looks, the Hawks advance to the second-round.
WHY THE HEAT WILL WIN
Written by Patrick Cassidy, Dime Magazine
Let’s be honest. We could pour over the individual player matchups between the Hawks and Heat, analyze each one of their head-to-head battles this season, talk about guys who need to step up, break down the teams’ respective styles of play, or sit here and compare coaching styles on both sides … but all of that would be a waste of time for you and for us. This series is about one player, Dwyane Wade, and whether or not the Hawks can stop him. Period.
It’s a damn shame for Wade that LeBron is having the otherworldly season that he is, because if you take LBJ out of the mix, Dwyane, in my opinion, is a probably a lock for MVP. 30 points, 7.5 assists, 5 boards, more than 2 steals a game this season, plus an outside shot at the Defensive Player of the Year Award – Wade has had one of the greatest individual seasons in recent memory. I’ve been saying since the start of the season that there’s no way Dwyane can keep it going at this level all season. In order for the Heat to win games, Wade has to shoulder so much and take such a physical beating every single night, I was sure he would break down well before the playoffs. But here we are, a few hours before the Heat’s playoff series starts and Wade is coming off a 55-point bludgeoning of the Knicks, and he is looking stronger than ever.
I know that there are readers out there who will say that Wade is just one man, and that one man can’t beat a team in a playoff series, but I say why not? Is it really that crazy to say that Dwyane will singlehandedly win this series all by himself? He basically won 43 regular season games by himself this season, what’s a few more against a middle seed?