Welcome to the NBA Playoff Preview: Western Conference!
The East will be up shortly.
Spurs vs Grizz
David: Well, the Grizz basically threw the end of the season to getthe Spurs instead of the 2 time champs.Might be a smart move, but there is a reason the Spurs had the bestrecord in the NBA for 95% of the season.I just don’t know what. Seriouisly.Is Tony Parker a top 5 PG? Lets see Paul, D-Will, Rondo and Rose, PlusBillups, Kidd, Nash, Jennings; is he top 5? Duncan is older than dirt,but still solid- but Zach Randolph had an amazing year. Manu? Is he-even if he is 100%- even top 7 in the NBA? Is Jefferson even top 10?All that said- I have a hard time thinking OJMayo and Mike Conley aregoing to retire Timmy. With the s p r e a d o u t NBA playoffs, theSpurs can rest, and a rested Spurs are a dangerous team.
Dan: This is going to be another series that isn’t worth watching. The Spurs are going to be able to beat the Grizzlies in all categories. Granted, the Spurs and Grizzlies have similar standings in the NBA according to defensive points allowed per game (14th for San Antonio, 13th for Memphis), I think that the Spurs are going to show better defensive play, especially since they have more playoff experience at their hands. The Spurs also have the better offensive team, ranking sixth in the NBA while the Grizzlies rank 12th in the NBA in points per game. Rebounds is another advantage for the Spurs, with Tim Duncan down there. The adjusted field goal percentage has a .04 advantage towards the Spurs. The Spurs have the playoff experience and will use that to their advantage, with older guys in Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan all having won an NBA Championship ring before. Plus, Memphis is 30-11 at home and 16-25 on the road while the Spurs are 36-5 at home and 25-16 on the road. I have the Grizzlies winning only one game in the series, and it is a home game.
David:Spurs in 5.
Dan:Spurs in 5.
OKC vs Denver
David: Ouch. Denver gets the WORST first round matchup for them, Karl almost has a hockey team here, where he can just send wave after wave of decent to good players on the floor- problem is, in this series, he has no one to slow Durant and only Lawson can harrass Westbrook, but Westbrook can post him up.This series could be an exciting 7 games or a list of 4 blowouts.
Dan: This is going to be a good series. Denver is an improved team after the Carmelo Anthony trade and is doing better than the Knicks have done as a result of the trade. A big problem for Denver all season has been their inability to win on the road. They posted a 17-24 record away from Denver while posting a 33-8 record at home. Oklahoma City is better at home, posting a record of 30-11 while having a 25-16 record on the road. Denver puts up the best offense in the NBA, scoring 107.5 points per game. While doing so, they have the 21st best defense in the NBA based off of points per game. The Thunder are around the same type of team, having a little worse offense (5th in the NBA at 104.8 points per game) and a little better on the defensive side (18th in the NBA at 101 points allowed per game). The Thunder do rebound better (42.8 rebounds per game for OKC, 42.0 rebounds per game for Denver). I think that, due to the home court advantage for Oklahoma City, they come out victorious in seven games.
David:Thunder in 6
Dan:Thunder in 7
Mavs vs Trailblazers
David: I hate this series. I’d love to see how the Mavs do, and I loves me some Cuban, but the Blazers are just deep here- If Jason Kidd was still alive, then that could really cause some problems at the point, but sadly I think that Roy could skip the first round and watch Aldridge blow up on TNT and Wallace torment half the Dallas roster on the perimeter. I just think that Dirk has been carrying a HEAVY load all year- and with Wallace stronger, Aldridge bigger and Camby just meaner, Dirk is going to look more like a Boxer than a Baller after 6 games.
Dan: This is another game that is going to be decided by rebounds and offensive input. The Mavericks hold the advantage in both categories, sitting at 11th in points per game and 14th in rebounds per game, while the Trail Blazers reside at 24th in points per game and 27th in rebounds per game. While Marcus Camby posts double digits in rebounds per game (10.3), he is almost non-existent scoring wise, averaging only 4.7 points per game. While Portland attempts 81 shots per game (Dallas puts up 79 shots per game), Portland posts a .447 shooting percentage compared to Dallas’ .475 shooting percentage. Definitely an advantage all around to Dallas. .
David: Blazers in 6
Dan: Mavs in 5
Lakers vs Hornets
David: I have no idea what the Hornets are doing here. If they were in the east still, they’d be Atlanta, a solid top 4 seed and a chance to make the finals depending on the matchups- one great piece away, in the west, they are in nowhereland. I loves me some CP3, but with no West, and Ariza looking more and more like a product of the Lakers system, there just is no chance here. The Lakers walk here, but the Hornets make them sweat here.
Dan: I’m taking the Lakers in a landslide. No way do the Hornets even come close to winning this series. I don’t think the Hornets are even going to win a game. The Lakers are just too tough for the Hornets, especially when West isn’t going to be around. The Hornets are a defensive team, but they just aren’t offensive oriented enough to win the series, nor do they have a reliable big man down low, ranking 24th in the NBA in rebounds per game. Oakfor’s 8.9 rebounds per game isn’t going to stand very strong against the Lakers’ Paul Gasol and his 10.2 rebounds per game. The Lakers also play strong defense as well as having a strong offense ranking 8th and 9th respectively. The Lakers are also ranked third overall as a team in rebounds per game, which is a big difference between the two teams. Rebounding plays a big role in this series as well as the ability to put up points, and the Lakers have a strong edge in both.
David:Lakers in 4
Dan:Lakers in 4