Let’s get this out of the way first, because I hate the NBA East: The Cavaliers are going to the finals. LeBron is obviously unbelievable, and with his supporting cast, Cleveland makes the rest of the conference collectively look like an Al Davis-coached AAU team.

Now that we’ve got that bullshit cleared up, let’s focus on what actually matters (ESPN be damned): the West. The Lakers are the favorites, and deservedly so. Kobe has proven time and again that he refuses to lose. It’s that simple, and he needs to be Finals MVP to help fill out his career resume, so you know he’ll turn it up a notch. Yet with baby-eating Pau Gasol lurking about, I can’t pick them to head to the Finals. Sorry.

The Trailblazers are the shit. They’ve got a wild-ass team, they can play, they’ve proven that they can beat the Lakers and they were my pre-playoff pick to represent the West in the Finals. But they’ve got work to do to get there, and a seven-game series is going to tire them out too much to top L.A.

I haven’t watched the Mavericks-Spurs series. Both of those teams suck.

So who is going to face the Cavs? The biggest upset teams in the NBA have always been the most thugadocious: Portland in the Jailblazers days and the Warriors two years ago are the first that come to mind. This year’s felonious franchise? It’s the Denver Nuggets.

Did you see Chauncey Billups send whiny bastard Chris Paul onto the floor off Kenyon Martin’s screen in their record-setting blowout? Have you ever read J.R. Smith’s lips, finding out how often he threatens people with bodily harm? Have you noticed how nobody will discuss Chris Anderson’s past, despite having a better rehab story than Josh Hamilton, simply because the Birdman is too damn wild? The Nuggets cannot be fucked with, and that, more than anything else, is what it takes to win in the NBA.

I’m taking the Nuggets in seven, with the Birdman setting a record for blocks in the Finals at 20.