The East

Chicago Bulls

Joakim Noah is the living embodiment of the theology of the cross. No one with a jump shot that ugly should be playing in the NBA. And yet, there he is, bringing life out of death.

Miami Heat

Miami’s supporting cast has been playing more and more poorly, as though they, too, want LeBron to stew in his own juices for eternity.  Miami will get to the East Finals, but “not four, not five, not six…” will continue to haunt more than the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

Indiana Pacers

Everyone’s wondering if a team without a legitimate superstar (and no, Danny Granger, you don’t count) can win a championship. No.

Boston Celtics

Since moving Kevin Garnett to center, the Celtics have been on a tear. In related news, Kevin Garnett is a bully who should have to wear a muzzle.

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have been the same team for the last five years. They did get rid of Mike Bibby’s rotting corpse (and I’m a fan…we started at Arizona at the same time…so, um, we’re the same age) and replaced it with Jeff Teague. However, they insist on trotting out a person named Zaza Pachulia. “Zaza” is Russian for “first round exit.”

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy have the same amount of love in their relationship that a Venus Flytrap has for the fly. Stan Van has one playoff series left before TNT makes him buy blazers that fit.

New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony’s tacit assassination of Mike D’Antoni this year was inexcusable. You know, unlike other kinds of assassinations, like JFK and Anthony’s more active assassination of offensive flow.

Philadelphia 76ers

See comment on Indiana Pacers, replacing “Danny Granger” with either “Elton Brand” or “Andre Iguodala.”

 

The West

San Antonio Spurs

Can anything good come out of the Old Folk’s Home? Apparently, just the best record in the league and my pick for NBA champion.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Kendrick Perkins thinks a perma-scowl and a couple of hard (and cheap) fouls per game will make people think he’s Kevin Garnett. It works, as long as they’re both on the bench. In more related news, James Harden, the Thunder’s most important player, seems to be recovering well from…

Los Angeles Lakers

Metta World Peace’s ridiculous elbow. His seven game suspension is the fourteenth of his career. He’d own Queensbridge by now if not for all those forfeited game checks.

Memphis Grizzlies

The sleeper in the West. Led by O.J. Mayo, the Condiment All-Stars (okay, he’s the only one) will go as far as Zach Randolph will take them. That’ll be about as far as the next Carl’s Jr.

Los Angeles Clippers

Blake Griffin makes you think, “Good God, what is he going to do now?” every time he jumps into the air. Vinny del Negro makes you think, “Good God, what is he going to do now?” every time he calls timeout.

Denver Nuggets

Can you name the best player on the Nuggets without the help of the internet? If you said rookie Kenneth Faried (a.k.a. “The Manimal”) (seriously, “The Manimal”), you’re right. Also, you’re a liar.

Dallas Mavericks

I was going to say, “Watch out for the Mavericks. They’re poised to replicate last year’s nobody-believed-in-us” run through the playoffs.” Then I remembered that, this year, they have Vince Carter on their team.

Utah Jazz

Owners of the “most inexplicable name” award trophy, which is a wrought-iron bust of Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Okay, fine. They spent their first five seasons in New Orleans, where free-form jazz is beloved. In Salt Lake City, you can’t even walk on the grass.

 

Eastern Conference Champions: The Miami Heat.

Western Conference Champions: The San Antonio Spurs

NBA Champions: The San Antonio Spurs

Finals MVP: Tony Parker.