The International Blogtable: Bold Predictions for the First Round

Every week, the International Blogtable brings together some of the best basketball minds from around the world, posing a burning question to writers and editors from the NBA's fleet of international web destinations. It's a BIG world, after all.

What's your one bold prediction for the first round of the Playoffs?
Pawel Weszka
Editor, NBA Africa

Derrick Roseís return. As bold and sci-fi as it may sound to count on a guy who has not played a competitive game for a year, it doesnít look like Tom Thibodeau may be very picky here. With all the injuries surrounding the Bulls squad for the whole season, D-Rose could provide a spark this team needs. Yes, even MJ didnít do it in 1985, and yes, there are questions of his fitness or being out there without playing one regular season game. And yes, it still seems unlikely.

Does he still have the skills? Well, there is only one way to find out and I am with Thibs on this one. Whenever D-Rose is ready, IF he ever gets to this stage this season, whether in the first, second or third playoff game, he should be playing. The Bulls will need any help they can get this postseason and I am pretty sure Luol Deng has not planned on touring Africa in May just yet.
Guilherme Buso
Blogger, NBA Brasil

Dunks, alley-oops and highlights every single game -- because that's how the Los Angeles Clippers played the whole season. Led by point guard Chris Paul and power forward Blake Griffin, the Clippers have had an amazing journey so far. They have won more than 50 games in the regular season, something that has never happened in the franchise history. They're favorites in the first round of the playoffs. That said, will they be able to raise their level in this competition? I am not sure if they are ready yet and they might not even get to the Conference Semifinals this year.
Hanson Guan
Editor, NBA China

Carmelo Anthony scores 60 points in a single game. How weird it is that after so many years, Melo won his first scoring title this year, as he has always been the most explosive scorer in the league? Three weeks ago, a brutal Anthony dropped 50 points against Heat, thus becoming only the second player in Knicks history who scored 40+ (50pts, 40pts and 41pts respectively) in three games on the trot, after Bernard King. He also set the team record by notching up 36+ in each of 5 consecutive games. He looks like a roadster at full steam!
Philipp Dornhegge

The Spurs will go down in Round 1. It wonít really matter who they play -- they will have their hands full. Manu Ginobili will be out, Tony Parker certainly isnít at a 100 percent. And these are the only two guys that can create off the dribble with consistency. Theyíve already taken a step back offensively in the last two weeks, scoring 100 points just once while losing 5 of 8 before the Warriors game on Monday. In the Playoffs points are even harder to come by. And I donít believe that San Antonio has enough defense to make up for the lack of offensive production, not when they will play a team that regularly puts points on the boards with ease. The 7 seed absolutely has a chance to go deep this year.
Eduardo Schell
Editor, NBA EspaŮa

Lakers advance against the Spurs, then they dig the gold mine in Denver and dry the Storm in Oklahoma. Also Rose returns Torero style. The Jurassic Celtics show the wisdom of age and the Bucks stampede ruins Miami's run to the championship. #WhereAmazingHappens right?
Stefanos Triantafyllos
Editor, NBA Greece

More than one Game 7! Is it me or everybody else think the same, that these Playoffs are going to be some nail-biting contests? We've got some great series ahead of us. And even the 1-8 match-up can turn to thrillers. My bold prediction is that more than one first round series will be decided in one last win-or-go-home game.
Karan Madhok
Blogger, NBA India

Every once in a while, a superstar player in a lower-seeded playoff team whose squad looks destined for a first-round exit decides to take matters into his own hands and wins a game or two on pride alone. The Thunder are matched up against the Rockets in the First Round at this point, and although the Rockets are outmatched at nearly every position -- down to the bench and even from a coaching standpoint -- they might have the most talented player of the series in their backcourt: James Harden. The Rockets are most likely on their way out, but my bold prediction is that Harden is going to average a near triple-double in that series, including at least one 50 point game, which will probably come in Game 3 or 4, in front of his home fans in Houston.
Davide Chinellato
Editor, NBA Italia

Assuming the Lakers will win vs. Houston, I can see them upset San Antonio in the first round and go deep in the postseason, likely to the West Finals where they go down in 6 games with Oklahoma City. With Dwight Howard averaging 20+ pts and 15+ boards in the playoffs, this team has a chance without Kobe. I can also see Chicago making it through the 1st round, upsetting either Indiana or Brooklyn, with Derrick Rose playing a significant role.
Aldo Avinante

The Golden State Warriors will upset the Denver Nuggets in the first round because of sheer good and bad luck respectively. It is very saddening to try and predict that because I really love the squad in the Mile High City, with their unselfishness and disciplined basketball, but Lady Luck is not on their side.

The Warriors look like they are peaking at the right time and Stephen Curry is shooting the ball really well lately -- also, led by their charismatic coach Mark Jackson, they have the best chance for an upset in the first round.

Denver, on the other hand, is decimated by injuries with starters Danilo Gallinari out for the season and a questionable Ty Lawson recuperating from his own injury. Itís all about match-ups in the playoffs and I believe the Warriors matches up well against the Nuggets.