The Phoenix Suns’ 2014-15 season mercifully came to its conclusion Tuesday night. Closing out the season with a home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix played with only eight healthy...

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Overview: Perhaps the perfect representation of an NBA journeyman, Brandan Wright has bounced around from place-to-place in his seven-year career, playing for five different teams. However, that...

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Here it is Brightsiders. Make your picks for this year's NBA playoffs and win the admiration and respect of your peers... or at least have something to lord over their heads next time they doubt your prognosticative prowess.

As soon as the final buzzer sounded on Tuesday night's game, and the Suns season, I know the exact thought that was on every Suns fan's mind - I'm so glad it's finally over Where is my playoff prediction contest?

Back by popular demand (and I use demand in the loosest sense of the word) is the (third annual) Bright Side of the Sun 2015 NBA Playoff Prediction Contest!

*This is the part where I imagine people cheering in the background as I type.

What's really awesome about posting this article is that I can cut and paste most of it from previous iterations. That means some of you have wasted precious time reading duplicate content.

Wow

What a waste of time. I can't get the five minutes of my life back after reading this. There is absolutely no purpose/point in this blog.

I know some of you get this.

What sucks is that I'm going to spend sleepless nights tabulating the results as the contest progresses.

Don't worry, I won't quit on you (unlike the Suns pretty much did down the stretch...).

I actually won the playoff prediction contest on this site in 2012 (there may or may not have been a tie), but didn't put up a formal staff run thread until 2013. That means the winner of the first annual contest was none other than the inimitable MMotherwell. He was unable to defend his crown (he didn't really have a crown), though, as jack's complete lack of surprise began his reign of terror. This could be your chance to unseat him and be immortalized in Bright Side of the Sun glory!

Here's how to play: Choose the winner of each series and the number of games each series will last. You will be awarded two points for each correct series winner and one more point if you correctly predict the number of games it took the victor to triumph. Once an entry has been submitted no duplicate entries will be accepted from different contestants.

Here are tiebreakers for the NBA Finals round (because ties suck): If two or more contestants are tied going into the Finals and picked the same team they will be asked to pick the total points scored in the deciding game on a first come first serve basis. The winner will be whoever is closest without going over. If two or more players end up tied after the Finals and picked different teams the contestant who picked the correct team will be the winner.

Point totals will be updated after each round and the story will be front paged as the results are updated. Feel free to check your scoring to make sure the results are correct. Please omit the spaces between your picks to help truncate the comment section. Please be sure to make your picks lucid, as confusing or ambiguous entries may be disqualified. No entries will be accepted after the start of the first game Saturday (4/18).

I think that covers it, but let me know if you notice any loopholes. I've had a rough life.

Western Conference

First Round

Warriors over Pelicans, 4-1

Rockets over Mavericks, 4-1

Spurs over Clippers, 4-2

Grizzlies over Blazers, 4-2

Conference Semifinals

Rockets over Spurs, 4-3

Warriors over Grizzlies, 4-2

Conference Finals

Warriors over Rockets, 4-3

Eastern Conference

First Round

Hawks over Nets, 4-0

Cavs over Celtics, 4-1

Bulls over Bucks, 4-0

Raptors over Wizards, 4-2

Conference Semifinals

Hawks over Raptors, 4-1

Cavs over Bulls, 4-2

Conference Finals

Cavs over Hawks, 4-2

NBA Finals

Warriors over Cavs 4-1

I'm going mostly chalk in the Eastern Conference, mainly because I think the bottom portion of it is fetid garbage. I really don't see any upsets and will be shocked if Atlanta and Cleveland aren't facing off in the Conference Finals.

Think about this... While I have the Warriors wrestling with the Grizzlies in the second round out West, Atlanta will be cruising past the feckless Raptors (who I don't think could beat the ninth place Thunder in a seven game series).

For shame.

The West poses some difficult choices, because I'm really not sure what to think of the Clippers, Spurs and Rockets. I could really see any of these three make it to the Conference Finals. That's as far as they're going, though.

If the Warriors lose it will actually be a pretty big upset.

Golden St. has the second best offensive rating and best defensive rating in the league. In NBA history only seven other teams have had a larger margin of victory (10.1) - six of them won championships. In NBA history only nine other teams have won at least 67 games - seven of them won championships.

I'm sure I could exhume some other interesting tidbits suggesting the Warriors are the overwhelming favorites, but that's enough for me.

Your turn!

**UPDATE**

We're going to up the stakes a little bit this year and offer a Bright Side of the Sun logo t-shirt as a prize for the winner.

BSotS shirt

Official Contest rules are available here.

Zach Lowe makes an excellent point:

Doesn’t it seem like we’re seeing more instances in which teams race each other for the best 2-for-1 chance? One team will score with 36 seconds left in the quarter, confident it has nailed the 2-for-1, only to watch the opponent race down and score in five or six seconds — shifting the final 2-for-1 edge back their way.

The second team in that scenario faces an interesting risk-reward decision — one I’d love for some academic with awesome data-scraping skills to study: nabbing the final 2-for-1 is great, but sprinting for the first shot inevitably results in some godawful looks.

I'll offer a different variant. If a team decides NOT to go for a two for one with more than 24 seconds on the shot clock, they usually waste the possession by eating up clock unecessarily.

One of my biggest pet peeves is watching a team kill 15 seconds at the top of the key when there is a 6+ second shot clock differential. What this means is that the team with the ball, which has a full 24-second shot clock, is opting only to use 7-8 of those seconds, in an effort to make sure that the other team, when it gets the ball, will only have 6 seconds or so to get a shot off. This is sheer idiocy. To see why, imagine what would happen if, instead, the team ran a D'Antoni style set and took a shot which left 20 seconds or so on the shot clock. What will the other team do?

The other team, will, of course, make sure it gets the last shot, and probably run a "horns" variant, killing the clock until there is about 6-7 seconds left before the point guard makes his move from the top of the key. In other words, NO MATTER HOW LONG THE CURRENT TEAM TAKES, the other team is only going to have 6-7 seconds to get a shot off, because that team will kill the clock themselves.

So, clearly, as long as there is a shot clock differential, your team should just run its damn offense normally to get the best shot possible, and forget about fucking around killing clock time. By spending a large portion of the shot clock killing time, your team is only doing the other team (which was going to kill those seconds anyway) a huge favor by handicapping its own offense in this penultimate possession.

End-of-game scenarios, of course, can throw all of this stuff on its head. I'm really referring to the first three quarters here.

Phoenix- Chemistry is a very fickle thing in professional sports. It can tend to be a year-to-year thing. One year it can be fantastic, but thenĀ go down the tube for no specific reason the very next...

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