2010/11 NBA Playoffs: The Western Conference 1st Round

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Saturday, April 16, 2011 with No comments
The wild wild west will be even more wild during this years playoffs.  Over the last ten season teams from the Western Conference have won 7 NBA titles, with only Detroit, Miami, and Boston winning titles for the East during that 10 year span.  The last three years the Western Conference Champion have been the LA Lakers and they've brought the title back to Los Angeles the last two seasons.  The biggest question of the year out west it:  Can the Lakers flip the switch and win a 3rd straight title?  No one will truly know until the end of June but it's all about the journey to the ring.  

Grizzlies vs Spurs

The Grizzlies were one of the hottest teams before the season ended and some say that they cooled off intentionally because they didn't want to move up in the standings and play the Lakers; instead they opted to play the Spurs whom they split the season series with 2-2 with the Grizzlies winning the last two meetings.  Should the Spurs feel disrespected by the Grizzlies?  Perhaps they should but they have a generations worth of playoff experience and the Grizzlies haven't been to the playoffs since 2006.  The Spurs, in the regular season depended on Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili more than they did Tim Duncan and they play a more up-tempo style of play than in years past.  Tim Duncan has been monitored all year and he should give the Spurs and boost in the playoffs but will he be able to contend with Zach Randolph?  How healthy is Manu?  Word is he may not play in game 1 which is a colossal loss to the Spurs but with the Grizzlies being without Rudy Gay the losses cancel each other out.  The Spurs will move on to the second round in six close hard games.

Nuggets vs Thunder

Nuggets you did it, you can exhale.  You guys came together and made the playoffs without Carmelo Anthony in the second half of the season.  Denver went on a roll post the Anthony trade and instead of falling out of the playoff race they made an incredible run and they did it by improving their defense.  Since the trade the Nuggets have allowed 10 less points per game to the opposing team...that's an astounding statistic.  Having said that the same thing that helped the Nuggets in the regular season will hurt them in the playoffs, superstars win in the playoffs when the game slows down and individuality is rewarded.  The Nuggets lack of star power will be their downfall when they face Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook of the Thunder.  This will be the most exciting series in the 1st round of the western conference and it will also be one of the quickest.  Westbrook will continue his maturation process and help Durant lead the Thunder into the second round in five games.

Hornets vs Lakers

No home court, no David West, no chance.  The Lakers are just too big for the Hornets to deal with and even with Bynum hurt, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom are enough to push the Hornets around and grab every rebound.  Outside of leaving his heart all on the court, there is nothing that Chris Paul can do to dethrone the 3 time defending Western Conference Champions.  For those wondering why I didn't mention Kobe, Kobe is Kobe, his game will speak for itself as the Lakers move on in four games.

Upset Special

Blazers vs Mavericks

There's a reason teams wanted to avoid the Blazers, they play with an intense passion that's hard to match and now the Mavericks are tasked with taming the Blazers...yeah the very soft Mavs.  Brandon Roy has been a shell of himself after having knee surgery but the addition of Gerald Wallace at the all star break added a new dimension to the already loaded Blazers.  Lamarcus Aldridge is the real deal and he will give Dirk fits on the defensive end.  Simple put, the Blazers are a terrible match up for the Mavericks and they will win this series in 6 games.  3 of the last 4 years the Mavericks have been eliminated out of the playoffs in the first round; why would it be different now?

Now the first round is set and as you can see the second rounds east and west will be very interesting.  Some fans will be excited to move on and others will be crushed.  The NBA will crown a real champion because barring injury the best teams always win during best of 7 series.  The two month odyssey begins today and we are all in for a long and exciting ride, especially if the playoffs are just as dramatic as the regular season was.