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.

LAKERS IN 5

#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.

SPURS IN 7

#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.

SUNS IN 6

#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.

JAZZ IN 7

EAST COAST:

#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.

CAVS IN 6

#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.

MAGIC IN 6

#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.

HAWKS IN 5

#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.

HEAT IN 7

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

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