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The NBA Finals have moved into the conference semi-final round. With that comes renewed hope from fanbases around the country, that the first-round stumbles their favorite teams survived would somehow inspire them and make them stronger as they seek an ever-elusive NBA title. As I've proven with better than 91% accuracy over the last 23 seasons, only four of the remaining eight teams have a legitimate shot at winning an NBA Championship this year- San Antonio, the Clippers, Nets and Heat.
When the playoffs began, I identified the eight teams that had a legitimate chance to win an NBA title, based on the outcome of the last 23 seasons- teams from income tax-free states or New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. It was inevitable that some of those teams would fall in the first round. San Antonio and Dallas were two of the eight I identified and they played each other, so only one would advance. The same is true in this round, as two of the other eight teams, Brooklyn and Miami, square off against each other.
The Thunder were lucky enough to advance to the second round, perhaps only because the NBA gave them a boost by handing down a ridiculous suspension of Nick Calathes, but based on nothing more than history, I'll predict the Clippers will prevail. If they don't get the job done, I think the Spurs will. Either Indiana or Washington will have a chance to make the NBA finals, but based on what has happened over the past 23 years, I don't see either of them getting past Miami or Brooklyn to do it.
Will someone who has barely paid any attention to the NBA regular season since 2001 be able to once again accurately predict the outcome of the playoffs or will this year be that one in ten season, where one of the less-desirable free agent destination teams emerges victorious? Stay tuned...