Over 250 participants can’t be wrong…can they? In graphical form, here is a summary of all of the entries for the 2014 edition of the Boxscore Geeks / Wages of Wins Playoff Prediction Contest.
Indiana Pacers (#1) vs Atlanta Hawks (#8)
Sure, the Pacers haven't looked good since the All-Star break, but the Hawks aren't exactly championship material. Only 8 entries have the Hawks pulling off the 1v8 upset, with Pacers in 5 being the most popular option. After the Hawks won Game 1 relatively convincingly in Indiana, the Pacers will have to win four consecutive games to pull that off; if we go by Game 1, the Pacers will be lucky if they manage to win this series at all.
Miami Heat (#2) vs Charlotte Bobcats (#7)
Not a single entry has the Bobcats beating the Heat. The only question seems to be whether it will take 4 games (39% of voters) or 5 games (52%). With the Heat taking Game 1 handily, and Al Jefferson's injury, it isn't looking good for Charlotte.
Toronto Raptors (#3) vs Brooklyn Nets (#6)
Ah, now this is more like it. In last year's contest, there were a couple of series where our entrants were almost evenly split, and they had a huge impact on the leaderboard. This year's Raptors-Nets series looks like it will be one of those series. Very few entrants have either team winning in four or five games. The most popular option is Nets in 6 (34%), followed by Raptors in 7 (25%). It looks like everyone got a good look at Arturo's Playoff Primer, because he had the same results.
Chicago Bulls (#4) vs Washington Wizards (#5)
It might seem crazy to say this, but whichever team wins this series could have a very good chance at making the Eastern Conference Finals. The winner of this series gets to face the Pacers-Hawks winner, and neither of those teams appear to be difficult matchups. While this a excellent news for the Bulls, the Wizards still have their work cut out for them. The Bulls have been one of the best teams in the league since they traded away Luol Deng. While many pundits don't seem to know this (I'm looking at you, Shaq, Chuck, and Simmons), our participants do; 92% of them have Chicago winning the series, with 5 games (38%) being the most popular option. But with Washington winning Game 1, that means that the Bulls have to win four consecutive games to make this prediction come true.
San Antonio Spurs (#1) vs Dallas Mavericks (#8)
The Spurs had an amazing regular season, and accordingly, only one person picked the Mavericks to beat them in this series. The Spurs won Game 1, so the 42% of entrants who picked a Spurs sweep are still in good shape.
Oklahoma City Thunder (#2) vs Memphis Grizzlies (#7)
After several major early-season injuries, the Grizzlies managed to turn their season around quite nicely. They're facing another team that has had its own share of major early-season injuries: the Thunder. Westbrook and Sefolosha look healthy again, but unfortunately for OKC, so does Kendrick Perkins. Still, even with Scotty Brooks' Perkyfish obsession, 90% of our participants still think that the Thunder will prevail.
Los Angeles Clippers (#3) vs Golden State Warriors (#6)
Last year, when the Warriors upset the Nuggets, they ruined a ton of entries. This year – right before the playoffs started – their top centre suffered a fractured rib, and their starting power forward has had some nerve issues in the weeks leading up to the playoffs. Unsurprisingly, not many of our participants think they are goin to win the series: 90% picked the Clippers to win. Even still, the Warriors pulled out the win in Game 1.
Houston Rockets (#4) vs Portland Trail Blazers (#5)
The 4-5 matchup is typically a series between two relatively evenly-matched teams, but the Blazers have had some serious regression since their hot start. On the other side of the matchup, the Rockets have been solid throughout the season. Makes sense then that 87% of the entries have the Rockets winning – but the most popular option is 6 games (35%). The Rockets have been known to stay up late, and Portland won Game 1 in OT.
Reminder: once Round 1 is finished, not only will we have a form for Round 2, but we’ll be posting the first-round leaders. Keep checking back!