The 2007 NBA Playoffs may seem like an open and closed case, but Big Al McMordie, an attorney by training, cautions that while Dallas (67-15) looks on paper, the jury is still out, especially in the Eastern Conference. .

McMordie, a member of the Professional Handicappers League and a $ 100,000 grand prize winner from the 2007 Sports Handicap World Series, generally agrees with the conventional wisdom that any one of the West’s “Big Three” could prevail, but go to Orient as a game of chance, although it is highly doubtful that the Heat will be able to repeat.

“Detroit SHOULD come out of the East as they have home-field advantage, but the Eastern Conference teams are all flawed, so nothing would surprise me, not even a repeat of 1999 when the eighth-seeded Knicks reached the Finals! ! ” McMordie said.

“Detroit is sixth in defensive efficiency (Chicago is first and San Antone second), so if you’re looking for a team other than Detroit, Chicago would be a better option than Miami, which ranks eighth in defensive efficiency.

“Chicago ranks first in defensive efficiency, which is a key statistic, but the problem for the Baby Bulls is that they are 19th in offensive efficiency.

“So putting Ben Wallace in the middle will benefit Chicago in the Playoffs, but the Bulls still need better scoring options to be in position to win the NBA Championship.”

Looking at the standings and win-loss records, McMordie, with an impressive 31-10 during March Madness this spring, agrees that it’s hard not to go with the Mavericks in the long run.

“Anyone from Phoenix, San Antonio or Dallas could win the title this year, but the Mavericks surely have the inside track,” he said.

“They started 0-4 and then they followed a season-long streak that we haven’t seen since Michael Jordan played for Chicago.

“They are healthy and they have one of the best coaches in the game in Avery Johnson.

“Certainly, Dallas learned a lot after last season’s collapse in the NBA Finals, and they will have a pretty easy road to the Finals this year (the actual Finals will be the Western Conference Championship series), having only to overcome to Golden State and (probably) Houston.

“San Antonio could be upset about Denver and Phoenix will have a hard time beating San Antonio, so Dallas should emerge with the Larry O’Brien trophy.”

However, McMordie, who splits her time between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, sees surprises as a distinct possibility.

“It all comes down to fighting,” he said.

“Denver, for example, could surprise the Spurs, which would be great for the Suns, who will have a hard time beating San Antonio in Round 2.

“Houston could give Dallas some trouble with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady.

“The Rockets are third in defensive efficiency and they have a great record with McGrady and Yao in the lineup.

“But the NBA is known to be a league whose champion generally has one of the top 3 records (unlike baseball and hockey, for example, where surprises are common), so the winner should come from Dallas, Phoenix. or San Antonio “.

The professional basketball postseason prom begins this weekend after an 82-game regular season that concluded with a flurry of drama Wednesday night when the league did a crazy seed dance that was designed to pay tribute to divisional winners.

The once dynastic Los Angeles Lakers beat Sacramento to clinch the seventh seed in the West and a rendezvous with No. 2 seed Phoenix.

Golden State, which will appear in the Playoffs for the first time in 13 years, now faces the high-flying Mavs in Round 1.

Meanwhile, Cleveland snatched the second seed from the East by losing to Chicago, setting up the Cavs-Wizards and Heat-Bulls series.

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