As any basketball fan knows the NBA season doesn’t really start until April. This year is no different. Players have had time to adjust to their new teams, others have had the time to recover from nagging injuries, and ideally come end of April teams are again playing at full force. The pressure is high and the atmosphere intense as 16 teams (8 in each conference) compete to come out as the NBA Champions. This article will look at all of the matchups (and potential) making predictions of who will come out on top. I will start out with
1 San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies-
This series will be more hard fought than many have given credit. This series excites me as I have anticipated it for some time now. Memphis matches up very well against San Antonio and I believe has a legitmate chance in this series. San Antonio will not be able to contain Zach Randolph, and coupled with Marc Gasol- gives Memphis a strong size advantage. Memphis guards are solid defensively and will be able to contain Parker and Ginobli to a reasonable extent. That said, the Spurs playoff savy and experience will help them to come out on top.
My predicition: San Antonio in 7 games
2 Los Angeles Lakers vs. New Orleans Hornets-
Boring. Really the only thing that could make this series interesting is seeing a Chris Paul highlight real and if the Lakers allow themselves to get too bored with this series as well. I give the Hornets 2 games out of LA just being bored and not ready to play.
My prediction: Los Angeles in 6 games
3 Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trailblazers-
With the addition of Gerald Wallace, this could be an interesting playoff matchup. Dallas has the advantage on frontcourt size, greater depth, the best player in this series, and better shooters. However, Portland has the size advantage at guard, has an unstoppable force in Lemarcus Aldridge and plays with a physicality and grit that Dallas has had trouble matching in years past.
My prediction: Dallas Mavericks in 6 games
4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Denver Nuggets
OKC trading for Kendrick Perkins made them more respectable as contenders heading into the playoffs this year. Denver, after the Melo trade, has been a trendy pick as they have won many close games against quality opponents. They play a solid 8 man rotation, have great offensive balance and still have a Hall of Fame caliber coach in George Karl. However, in the end, the two man game of Durant and Westbrook coupled with Ibaka and Perkins anchoring an improved defense OKC should take this series.
My prediction: OKC in 7 games
1 San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Assuming this happens, it will be a great series. The playoff experience and championship heart of the Spurs against the determination and young talent of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Ultimately, the difference in my opinion will be the Thunder’s size advantage over the Spurs and the Spurs inability to stop Durant or Westbrook as I see OKC taking this series.
My prediction: OKC in 6 games
2 Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
This is the dreaded matchup for any team, but as the saying goes: to be the best you have to beat the best. Dallas has the size, the shooters, scoring and the depth to give the Lakers a run for their money. But, with the Mavericks you always have to question whether they have the heart of a champion or if they will just try to shoot their way to victories. In order for Dallas to have a chance in this series they have to play with physicality, they will need Tyson Chandler to have a monster series and be able to man up on Andrew Bynum. If Maverick forward Caron Butler is somehow able to make a return to play some in this series it could be the spark (and extra size!) they need to take this series, but until that is confirmed, I have to go with the Lakers.
My prediction: Los Angles Lakers in 7 games
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Again, this will be a matchup for the ages. Great, great series. Last year’s round 1 playoff series should be just a small indication of the basketball that will be played here. In the end, it will be hard for OKC to get the spacing that Westbrook and Durant will need to operate in the lane without a bunch of shooters.
My prediction: Los Angeles Lakers in 7 games