NBA Playoff Team Odds & Ends

Posted by By at 12 April, at 01 : 00 AM Print

The Playoffs begin Saturday April 16th, and as anxiously await the first tip off, following is TheBowse.com’s review of each Playoff team and a quick synopsis on their chances of winning it all.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

San Antonio Spurs: This veteran club looks to finish atop the standings with the best overall record.  Heading into the playoffs as a #1 seed is crucial to a deep run, and this older and wiser squad if healthy looks primed for a deep run on the slowing legs of Tim Duncan and the speed of Manu and Tony Parker.  Sharp shooter Matt Bonner and George Hill and Gary Neal will break down the opposing defence opening it up for the 3 Stars.

Lakers:  It’s hard to discredit the defending NBA Championship team especially after they went on a 15-1 streak after the All-Star game.  A recent 5 game losing streak is causing some to doubt the Lakers chances, but as long as Kobe Bryant is healthy and playing and the twin towers are on the floor, the Lakers are favoured to return to the Finals.

Dallas Mavericks: Sitting in a 2ndplace tie in the Western Conference with the Lakers, the Mavsare on a season high as they ready themselves for yet another attempt of making it out of the 1st round.  The Mavs are an older squad who have been down this road before, only to come up empty each time.  The addition of Tyson Chandler and the hopeful return of Caron Butler to bolster the Mavs offense should help elevate the Mavs to a 2ndround appearance.  Jason Kidd looks like he is on his last legs and Dirk may get tired of playing for a team that just can’t get over that hump so this may be the last kick at the can for this version of the Mavericks.

Oklahoma City Thunder: After losing an epic Playoff matchup versus the Lakers last year, the Thunder opened up many eyes last year and have continued throughout this season.  Sitting at 54-26, Kevin Durant, Russel Westbrook andco. are a young high flying scoring team that has no fear.  The addition of defensive stopper Kendrick Perkins in a trade with the Celtics at the deadline has given the Thunder the physical toughness they may have missed during last years Playoff s.  Look for the Thunder to push it to the limit this year andsurprise a team or two along the way. Any team with Kevin Durant can never be discounted.

Denver Nuggets: Never in Nugget GM Masai Ujiri imagination could he dream The nuggets would be entering the Playoffs in the 5th seed after the trade of Carmelo Anthony.  The additions of Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari andRaymond Felton has made the Nuggets an extremely deep team that has numerous options andschemes to throw out on the court.  they may not be deep enough to make it out of the 1st round, but to have made the Playoffs after the blockbuster trade is remarkable on its own.

Portland Trail Blazers: Has a team with more injuries ever played as well as these Blazers? With major injuries to Camby, Roy, Matthews, Fernandez, Oden and others, the Blazers just keep on winning.  LaMarcus Aldridge missed being an All-Star, but has put up some monster numbers in the 2nd half of the season and along with a long and lengthy team with some great athleticism they look to shock their 1st round opponent.  the addition of Gerald Wallace at the trade deadline has given the Blazers the rebounding and defensive edge they had been missing and his slashing offensive skill setcompliments the Blazers roster of sharpshooters.

New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul wanted a roster that could win.  They started 7-0 on the season andalong with a healthy David West and a resurgent Emeka Okafor, they looked stronger than expected.  Chris Paul has had one of his best seasons as a Pro and the Hornets did make the Playoffs.  Unfortunately, a season-ending injury to David West has all but killed any chance the Hornets had at a Playoff run and risked further jeopardizing Chris Paul’s future in New Orleans.

Memphis Grizzlies: With a season ending injury to Rudy Gay the Grizzlies have surprised the entire league and have made the Playoffs.  coming in at the 8th spot currently, the Grizzlies are an upstart team with a strong defensive ethic that can shock a team if they are not careful.  Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and O.J Mayo are ever dangerous and teams should beware an upset and not take the Grizz for granted.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Chicago Bulls:  What more can be said about the Bulls other than how scary it is for the league to go up against them in the first round.  Armed with the soon to be announced MVP Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, the Bulls boast one of if not the best starting 5′s in the league.  They’re one of the top defensive teams in the league and are tops in the league at rebounding.  With a 1st round  versus the Pacers, look for the Bulls to cruise into the 2nd round and come in extremely healthy as they make a run to the finals for the first time post-Michael Jordan.

Miami Heat: Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh were all brought to Miami for one thing and one thing only…To Win Championships.  This is the next step in the evolution of the “Heatles”.  After a season filled with uncertainty with some winning and losing streaks, the Heat finally look to be putting it all together after demolishing the Boston Celtics this past weekend.  As long as Lebron and D-Wade are healthy, the Heat are a heavy favourite to make it to the Finals and come out of the Eastern Conference.  Look for the Heat to match up versus the Bulls or Celtics in the East Finals.

Boston Celtics: The Celts are aging.  Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’neal and Nenad Krstic are all aged bodies who have been in the league for years.  This, similar to the Spurs and Mavsmay be the last chance for this roster to make a serious run at the Championship.  With the team apparently making a change to youth with the acquisition of Jeff Green at the trade deadline, the Celtics are playing on some worn legs, but have the veteran knowhow and experience that can go a long way in the Playoffs.  Watch out for the Celtics as they will surprise many as they enter the Playoffs under the radar a bit.

Orlando Magic: With Dwight Howard manning the middle, and the Magic shooting 3 pointer’s with no regard, it’s hard to imagine that the Magic won’t make it out of the 1st round.  A matchup versus the Hawks however may be a cause for concern.  The Magic have finally found how to play Hedu, Gilbert and Jameer Nelson effectively as all three need the ball in their hands at all times.  This free shooting team will fire at will and spread the floor as future defensive player of the year Dwight Howard throws it down and out rebounds anyone that comes near him.  They may not have a deep run in them, but look for the Magic in the 2nd round.

Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson signed the largest Free Agent contact this past off-season, yet he has underachieved all season long.  This Hawks squad will surprise no team come Playoff time as they may have in past years.  The addition of Kirk Hinrich will hopefully add the veteran skilled Point Guard help they desperatelyneeded last season.  With Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, Al Horford and Jamal Crawford on the floor the Hawks can keep up with anyone.  Another good season for the Hawks will be for not as it can be expected for them to not make it out of the 1st round.

New York Knicks:  What an up and down 2nd half for the Knicks.  With the addition of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, expectations were high in New York.  The hope was for a return to the Finals for the Knickerbockers.  Unfortunately, the Knickshave had a hard time gelling and apparently defense is not in their vocabulary.  Not until their recent 7 game winning streak were they spoken in any Playoff chatter as a threat.  With a strong finish to the season the Knicks may instill some fear in their opponents eyes, however a 1st round matchup against the Celtics, Carmelo and Amare will have their hands full.

Philadelphia 76ers: This young and dynamic squad has surprised the league as first year coach Doug Collins has led the 76ers back to respectability and back to the Playoffs.  Through all NBA chatter, it is a going thought that any team that faces the Sixers should be careful as Andre Iguodola and the rest of the athletic Sixers could shock the world with a major upset.  With breakout seasons for Louis Williams and Thadeus Young, the Sixers have multiple weapons that can spread the floor and cause defenses fits.

Indiana Pacers: No one expected them to make any noise this season, but with a change of Coaches Frank Vogel has the Pacers playing great basketball andlook to get some respect in the 1st round.  A matchup versus the Bulls does not bode well for Indiana, but with Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert and Darren Collison on the court, the Bulls should be careful not to lose a game when they enter Conseco Fieldhouse.

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One Comment

  1. Jason, 6 years ago Reply

    Great review. I hope My pacers win at least one game.


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