Sunday, April 17, 2011


San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies

ANALYSIS: The San Antonio Spurs heard that they were too old and that their window of opportunity was shutting, but they sure did not play like it. San Antonio went 61-21, even though Popovich scaled back Tim Duncan’s minutes in order to save him for the playoffs. The plan worked beautifully as the Spurs have home court throughout the West playoffs, along with a good mix of veterans and young players.

The Memphis Grizzlies enter the playoffs looking to do something that they have never done—win a playoff game (0-12 in three appearances). However, Memphis boasts a hungry and young team, led by Zach Randolph. Since Rudy Gay’s injury, Randolph continues to show why he was snubbed from the All-Star game, nearly averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds after the break.
SEASON SERIES: both teams tied, 2-2 (home team won each time)
PREDICTION: Spurs in 5
KEY MATCHUP: Tony Parker vs. Mike Conley (this match-up embodies what this series is all about—experience vs. youth)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 1 (Manu Ginobili is a bit dinged up after hyper-extending his elbow, so this might be the best chance for Memphis to steal a game)

Los Angeles Lakers vs. New Orleans Hornets

ANALYSIS: The Los Angeles Lakers may have backed into the playoffs, but if any team knows how to flip the switch whenever it counts, it is them. The defending two-time NBA champions still have arguably the best closer and best player in the game in Kobe Bryant and he is not slowing down any time soon.

Despite the trade demands that Chris Paul gave before the season began, New Orleans made the playoffs and sported one of the league’s best defenses. Aside from Paul, Emeka Okafor, and Trevor Ariza, the Hornets have a team of hard-working players that may not be household names. However, these players will have to step up since David West suffered a season ending injury.
SEASON SERIES: Lakers won, 4-0
PREDICTION: Lakers in 5
KEY MATCHUP: Ron Artest vs. Trevor Ariza (Likely they will not guard each other, so this is about the defensive assignments. Ariza may draw Kobe, while Artest’s job might be to shut down CP3.)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 1 (Bynum’s knee is still banged up, so if the Hornets could win one here. However, the Lakers still have the length advantage with Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.)

Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazers

ANALYSIS: The Dallas Mavericks always keep winning, winning 50 games for the 11th year in a row. Dirk Nowitzki continues to show why he is one of the NBA’s top players after averaging 23.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game once again.

No matter what they go through, the Portland Trail Blazers are a dangerous team. LaMarcus Aldridge nearly made the West All-Star team and can arguably be considered as a top 20 player in the league.
SEASON SERIES: both teams tied, 2-2 (home team won each time)
PREDICTION: Mavericks in 7
KEY MATCHUP: Dirk Nowitzki vs. LaMarcus Aldridge (Two of the best power forwards in the game will do battle here. Expect a lot of points between these two)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 7 (This series was dead even in games won and points, and the home team won each time. It is only fitting that seven games will determine this.)

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Denver Nuggets

ANALYSIS: The Oklahoma City Thunder certainly are the team of the future and they have realized their potential. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are both budding stars for the Thunder and it showed as the franchise won its first division title since leaving Seattle.

No Melo? No problem! The Denver Nuggets have stayed on the winning track since trading their once franchise player and Chauncey Billups. The Nuggets finished the season 18-7 without Carmelo and actually looked more like a refreshed team, especially on the defensive end.
SEASON SERIES: Thunder won, 3-1
PREDICTION: Thunder in 7
KEY MATCHUP: Kendrick Perkins vs. Nene (This is one of the main reasons why Oklahoma City traded for Perkins—to match up better against good centers. Nene has really stepped up his rebounding game since the Carmelo Anthony trade, but Perkins gives the Thunder a better defensive presence in the post.)
PIVOTAL GAME: Game 6 (Any game in Denver has the potential to be pivotal, thanks to the high altitude of the city. The same can be said here. Both teams love to score a lot and we will see many tired legs. Who can win the series here or force a seventh game? We will see.)

No comments:

Post a Comment