Had to condense, but here are his Spurs predictions:
(1) Spurs vs. (8) Jazz
Season: Spurs 3-1
Power Rankings: Spurs 109.2, Jazz 101.9
Accuscore: Spurs 93% Jazz 7%
Could Utah make this interesting? Perhaps. Size gives San Antonio some problems, and the monstrous Millsap-Jefferson-Favors frontcourt the Jazz have rolled out of late has been incredibly effective. Additionally, Utah stinks against zones, and the Spurs hardly ever play zone.
Nonetheless, I just don't see how the Jazz will get any stops. Utah is by and large awful against the pick-and-roll, and the Spurs have been carving up teams with that play all season. The Jazz's defense at the point of attack would have to dramatically improve to give them much of a chance against this Spurs juggernaut.
Keep an eye on the Jazz because in another year or two they're going to be handful, but they can't handle this big a step up in class just yet. Even when the Spurs sat their three stars in Salt Lake City, the Jazz barely beat them.
Pick: Spurs in 5
(1) Spurs vs. (4) Grizzlies
Season: Spurs 4-0
Power Rankings: Spurs 109.2, Grizzlies 102.5
Accuscore: Spurs 80%, Grizzlies 20%
It's a rematch of last season's huge upset, in which No. 8 Memphis knocked off top-seeded San Antonio, and a few trends from a year ago remain. Memphis did an amazing job taking away San Antonio's 3-point game a year ago, and that will be Job 1 again this time around. The Grizzlies also have a matchup problem for the Spurs in the Randolph-Gasol frontcourt, and this time around they have Rudy Gay on the wing too.
Alas, San Antonio did not stand still. Manu Ginobili is healthy this time, and the supporting cast is much better. Boris Diaw and Tiago Splitter give the Spurs more options for defending Randolph, plus the Spurs aren't facing the Z-Bo of a year ago. Also, the second units are going to matter in a compressed series with a back-to-back in the middle, and the Spurs' bench is going to blow the Grizzlies' off the floor. Finally, there's the issue of accumulated rest. San Antonio is fresh as a daisy; the Grizzlies have been riding the starters all year and may very well be coming off a grueling seven-game slog with no rest.
For all those reasons, I think San Antonio avenges last season and emerges relatively easily as a conference finalist.
Pick: Spurs in 5
Sorry to be so chalky here, but the fact is four teams have dominated the entire regular season, so it would be a little bizarre to go off kilter and pick somebody else to show up at this point. Not saying it can't happen; just saying it's probably not the way to bet.
(1) Spurs vs. (2) Thunder
Season: Spurs 2-1
Power Rankings: Spurs 109.2, Thunder 106.9
Accuscore: Thunder 51%, Spurs 49%
The Thunder are really talented and nearly always play hard. They don't always play smart, however, and they're about to get a serious education in this series. I expect the Spurs' offensive precision to pick them apart, and while Durant and Westbrook will get some of those points back for the Thunder, I still have a hard time picking OKC when the Spurs basically used the regular season as a warm-up exercise and still outpaced them in the standings.
My favorite stat: San Antonio's three stars -- Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan -- have only played 297 minutes together the entire season because Ginobili missed half the year and the Spurs have been so proactive about resting players. When they do play together? San Antonio outscores opponents by 17.8 points per 48 minutes. Again, that's not a typo: 17.8.
The good news for the Thunder is that the Spurs have a few ineffective lineups. The bad news is that most of them included Richard Jefferson, now with Golden State. San Antonio's bench won't be as much of a factor as it was in the regular season, but they'll still run the Thunder's subs off the floor when they're matched up. And that Big 3 that has played just four minutes per game together this season will get closer to 20 minutes of family time a night in this series.
Pick: Spurs in 5
(2) Heat vs. (1) Spurs
Season: Heat 1-0
Power Rankings: Spurs 109.2, Heat 104.6
Accuscore: Spurs 53%, Heat 47%
If you haven't figured this out by now, I'm all-in on San Antonio. The Spurs' best players are in far better shape physically than anybody else's, their bench is kicking serious butt, they can match up any big, small or anything in between, and they've taken steps to address their biggest shortcoming, defending post-up 4s.
Statistically, the lineup data backs the Spurs, too. San Antonio's Big 3, when on the court together, has actually been even more effective than Miami's. The same applies when only two of the three stars share the floor.
And they're still gaining steam. The Spurs outscored opponents by over 15 points per game over the final 20; what stands out about that is that they were resting their best players heavily in that stretch and still destroyed all comers. They're 21-2 in their past 23 games; one of the two losses was a game against Utah in which they opted not to play their three stars. If New York or L.A. had a stretch like this it would break the Internet but because it's San Antonio hardly anyone is discussing it.
So, yes, I expect the Spurs to win it all. But let me offer solace for fans of the other 15 teams: It's been a while since I got this right. Strange stuff can and will happen during the next two months, and that's the best part of the playoffs.
Nonetheless, the odds say that we'll have fiesta No. 5 on the Riverwalk this June.
Pick: Spurs in 6