Triangle Offense

NBA Playoffs 2010 Analysis and Predictions (1st Round) by thesportsminded

Down the drain goes the regular season and off to the post season we go as the most awaited battle royale starts Sunday.

Here’s my ten cents worth of analysis and predictions regarding the playoff match ups:

Wild Wild West:

#1 Los Angeles Lakers (57-25) vs #8 Oklahoma City Thunder (50-32)

This would be an exciting series despite it being billed as a #1 vs #8 match up. This also means the Black Mamba vs Durantula. Don’t get me wrong, Oklahoma will play their hearts out and come out tough against the defending champs. They are talented and a scrappy youthful team that could give the Lakers some problems but I just don’t think they’re ripe enough to take a series. They even whooped LA’s ass in Oklahoma last month. I think the Lakers’ depth and playoff experience would be the difference. Also, Ron Artest should prove his worth in this team and contain Durant. That would be an acid test for him. People can talk about their recent slump but I think Phil and Kobe had enough of that and for them, this is where it matters. The Thunder can take a game or two but there’s no way they can beat the Lakers four times in a series.


#2 Dallas Mavericks (55-27) vs #7 San Antonio Spurs (50-32)

On papers, a number #2 seed should have a walk in the park against a #7 seed but not on this one. There’s no question that the Mavs, with all the moves they did before the trade deadline, put themselves in a position where they can contend better for a spot in June but that’s no easy task especially with a team who’s battle tested and won four titles the past decade. This rematch of last year’s playoffs would be an all-out war from start to finish. Manu Ginobili is playing like his old self the past two months and Tony Parker is coming back from his injury. The Spurs are geared up to get revenge from there first round exit last round however they would have to deal with Jason Kidd’s timeless leadership and Dirk Nowitzki’s unstoppable offense. Great technical series here but I think the difference is Greg Popovich over Rick Carlisle.


#3 Phoenix Suns (54-28) vs #6 Portland Trail Blazers (50-32)

I said before that the Suns won’t get past the first round but I’ll take that back because of this match up. Alvin Gentry said that they want the Blazers in the first round and I agree. I think this is the match up where they would be able to use their strength, which is its patented run and gun style. We all know how depleted the Blazers are since the start of the season plus its main man Brandon Roy is questionable for this series. I think Roy’s health would be the key if this series would be long or short-lived. If the Suns faces either Utah or Denver, they are a shoe in first round exit but lucky for them they beat the Jazz and grabbed the #3 seed.


#4 Denver Nuggets (53-29) vs #5 Utah Jazz (53-29)

This would be a great series. I think these two teams are battle tested and equipped to go to war against each other. They both reached the conference finals once the past four years, Nuggets last year and the Jazz in 2007. Deron Williams vs Chauncey Billups would be amazing. Two of the best court generals in the game will out think each other here. The key would for Utah is the execution of there system and stopping the offensive onslaught of guys like Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith. On the other hand, Denver is dealing with the in-and-out status of George Karl. George Karl’s status would be the key if Denver should go deep in the playoffs again this year. For this one, I think the Jazz would slightly edge them. One thing is for sure, this would be a war.



#1 Cleveland Cavaliers (61-21) vs #8 Chicago Bulls (41-41)

I am glad that the Bulls made the playoffs instead of the Raptors because they would provide more of a challenge for the Cavs. For the second straight year the Cavs gain the best record with excellent team play and excellent usage of LeBron James, the MVP ofcourse. The Cavs are far more talented and complete than the Bulls but I think the exuberant Bulls would somehow make this series exciting and bring the fight to the Cavs. They have the length and athleticism to offer but I just don’t think if the fight they would bring is enough to threten the Cavs the way they did Boston last year.


#2 Orlando Magic (59-23) vs #7 Charlotte Bobcats (44-38)

The Magic have been on a roll to finish the season and I think it would continue leading up to this series. The Bobcats are quite a different team with Larry Brown and Stephen Jackson’s arrival as they made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. I just don’t think the team is deep enough to deal with the Magic’s all-around game. Dwight Howard, despite his woeful shooting, would be a handful for the Bobcats and I don’t think there’s anyone in them who can at least contain this beast in the paint.


#3 Atlanta Hawks (53-29) vs #6 Milwaukee Bucks (46-36)

This would have been a great competitive series if Andrew Bogut will play for the Bucks but since he’s not, don’t expect this one to be thrilling. The Bucks had a magical and a renaissance of a season this year with the emergence of former #1 pick Bogut and rookie sensation Brandon Jennings but they are not the same without its best player. Nevermind the injury prone Michael Redd, Bogut showed this season that it is his team along with Jennings and without him there’s no way they can surpass the Hawks. The Hawks’ wing players would have an easy time penetrating in this series.


#4 Boston Celtics (50-32) vs #5 Miami Heat (47-35)

This is the series that I am looking forward to in the East. I believe that this would be a crazy series. With the way they’re playing this season, the Cs proved that they are no longer the champion team two years ago. They also proved that they can be beaten at home anytime by any team, just ask the Wizards. I think Dwyane Wade would run circles around Boston’s defense because that defense isn’t anywhere near it used to be two years ago. However, the Celtics still have that ring experience and the veteran materials to move forward but the Heat have the best player in this series.


Let’s get the playoffs rollin’! Real season starts Sunday!


Who are in this year’s NBA honor roll? by thesportsminded

With less than three weeks before the real season begins, it’s time to give credit to the players and coaches who made a big mark this season in putting their teams where they stand today. The battle royal starts April 18 but the teams are still jockeying for playoff positions as the regular season winds up. Cleveland will not have the best record right now if not for that freak of nature. Oklahoma City’s stunning leap wouldn’t be possible without proper handling and especially without that versatile player they have out of Texas. Milwaukee won’t be where they are right now if not for a former number one pick living up to his hype. It’s time to put credit where credit is due.

Here are my ten cents worth regarding this season’s NBA awardees:

Coach of the Year: Scott Brooks (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Runner up: Scott Skiles (Milwaukee Bucks)

The significant and vast improvement of the Thunder is very evident this season as they have finally found a way to maximize their young guns and turn it into success. Guiding and teaching a young team isn’t easy but Scott Brooks is doing a fine job in transforming his young talented players into young talented winners. Oklahoma is having a blast this season and their coach should be credited for it. Prior to this season, I know that the Thunder doesn’t lack talents with guys like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green coming in but I didn’t expect them to be this good this early. It’s about jelling and converting those talents into wins and that’s what Brooks did this year. He proved that a mix of youthful talents can work and march to the post season. Oklahoma is 46-28 so far and shows no signs of slowing down heading into the playoffs.

Most Improved Player of the Year: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Runner up: Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks)

Can anyone name a player who deserves this award more than KD? Yeah, that’s what I thought. I watched this guy tear his opponents apart in leading his Texas Long Horns back in 2007. I knew that he will be way, I mean way way, better than Greg Oden that’s why I’m surprised during that ’07 draft that the Blazers picked a injury prone work in progress over a proven winner. I knew back then that Durant will be a huge force to reckon with but I didn’t expect it to be this fast. Well, no further explanations needed for this one. 29.6 ppg (2nd best), 7.6 rpg, 47.6% fg, 46-28 record for OKC. That explains it.

Sixth Man of the Year: Jamal Crawford (Atlanta Hawks)

Runner Up: Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs)

After his move to Atlanta, Jamal Crawford knows that he is now playing for a legit playoff contender and he also knows that something’s got to give in his game for the team to move forward. Crawford, a scoring machine in his previous teams, embraced and accepted his role as the team’s premier sixth man and it is doing wonders for the Hawks. They got Crawford to deepen their team and expand their chances in the playoffs against perennial contenders like the Celtics, the Cavs, and the Magic. So far so good. Crawford has given the Hawks a big spark of the bench on a daily basis plus he also provides some clutch scoring when needed during the stretch. No doubt he will be the key if the Hawks are to overcome the top contenders come playoff time.

Defensive Player of the Year: LeBron James

Runner up: Dwight Howard

I am not exactly LeBron James’ number one fan but I respect his game and I respect what he can do. He is a monster defensively and he upped that this year to surpass Dwight Howard.

Rookie of the Year: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

Runner up: Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings)

If you read my status message in facebook five months ago, I stated that Stephen Curry will be this season’s rookie of the year. I stand by that. Some people will raise their eyebrows on this one and say that Tyreke Evans deserves it more but I beg to disagree. This year’s rookies are led by great class of guards such as Curry, Evans, Brandon Jennings, Johny Flynn, Ty Lawson, Darren Collison, Eric Maynor, James Harden. In those mentioned, Curry and Evans are obviously the top guns. Fanatics are talking all season long about how great  Evans is and I agree with that. It’s just that those fanatics sometimes forget to watch Curry showcase his skills and help his team. Curry is a beauty to watch as he can pass, he can score, he can play the point efficiently, he has composure, he has that textbook  release and he has been consistent as well. This kid is for real and will be one of the top point guards in the league for years to come. It is close but I’ll put my money on this Davidson standout. 16.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.6, apg, 1.8 spg

All NBA First Team:

Center: Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic)

Forward: Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks)

Forward: LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Guard: Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)

Guard: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)

All NBA Second Team:

Center: Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks)

Forward: Amare Stoudemire (Phoenix Suns)

Forward: Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets)

Guard: Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)

Guard: Deron Williams (Utah Jazz)

All NBA Third Team

Center: Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers)

Forward: Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors)

Forward: Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks)

Guard: Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets)

Guard: Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns)

No Brandon Roy for me this year as well as KG and TD. Nash’s Suns are far more consistent than Roy’s Blazers.

Most Valuable Player: LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Runner up: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)

As we know, being the most valuable player is like being a valedictorian. This will be a comfortable win for LeBron as he showed consistency and versatility throughout the season for the succeeding years. With the Cavs being the top team right now, I think 80% of the credit should go to this freak of nature. He leads the league in scoring and is producing his usual numbers. Everyone knows he can do everything on the hardwood. He showed it this regular season in leading his team but the question is: Can he lead his team to play in June this time around? That we don’t know yet but we know one thing. He will receive his plum for the second consecutive season.


Unofficial Awards:

Most disappointing team: Los Angeles Lakers

Yes yes, I know they are number one in the West the entire season and would most probably stay there but everyone knows they are playing subpar. Inconsistent. No fire. No urgency. No passion. No hunger. A Kobe and Phil led team shouldn’t be like this. It is annoying that when you that a defending champion, who arguably have the strongest line up on papers, play subpar and just be contented. It’s simple—— they need to turn on the switch now if they wish to play in June for the third straight year.

Most disappointing player: Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)

Iggy isn’t exactly having his best season. The Sixers are projected to at least contend for a playoff spot but they didn’t show any signs of it througout the season. Iguodala’s game dropped and he obviously can’t jell with Elton Brand and can’t work around Eddie Jordan’s princeton offense.

Forget about player of the year: Sasha Vujacic (Los Angeles Lakers)

The only thing he did all season long is capture Maria Sharapova’s heart and argue with his coaching stuff. His jumpshot will not be back. Don’t expect ”the machine” to charge his batteries anytime soon.

Cluch player of the year: Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)

Six game-winner this season. Who else is more clutch?

Performance of the year: Brandon Jennings’ 55 point explosion

He proved that he is a reliable point that can score. But after that magical night, people expected him to be a score-first point guard which he is not. That is an amazing performance that won’t earn him rookie of the year. I believe Curry and Evans are a bit better overall.

Inspiring player of the year: Sundiata Gaines (Utah Jazz)

Nothing more inspiring than hitting a game-winner a few days after joining an NBA squad.

Surprise team of the year: Milwaukee Bucks

No, not Oklahoma. They have the tools it’s just about execution. The Bucks doesn’t exactly have the best roster at the start of the season. Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings just showed their true worths and led this team not only to respectability but to the playoffs with quite a good seed. Plus, John Salmons’ signing would just help this resurrected team further.

Where ”we are back” happens by thesportsminded
April 1, 2010, 1:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized