2013 NBA Playoffs: Western Conference 1st Round

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Friday, April 19, 2013 with No comments
It's funny how often a player is traded away from his longtime team and then has to face that team the very same year in the playoffs.  The Oklahoma City Thunder will meet the Houston Rockets and old friend James Harden during the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs and this matchup should be electric.  The first question that comes to mind is whether or not the Thunder has anyone that can check James Harden?  Both teams are young and athletic and I'll give the Rockets a slight advantage due to their front court but one can't look past the dynamic duo of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.  The Rockets will have a huge disadvantage when it comes to dealing with those two and I'm sure that Jeremy Lin will have nightmares about Russell Westbrook.  James Harden may duplicate a 46 point performance as he did against the Thunder earlier in the season but it would be the only win that the Rockets achieve....Thunder advances in 5.

The Los Angeles Lakers are trying to prove that there's life after Kobe Bryant and the San Antonio Spurs are making a run to capitalize on what could be Tim Duncan's last great year.  With Bryant out the premier match up is Duncan vs Dwight Howard....advantage Lakers.  A healthy Tony Parker will win a match up with Steve Blake and Steve Nash but Parker's health is a huge question mark at this time and during the last 10 games the Spurs have been wildly inconsistent.  Both franchises have championship pedigree and are loading with years of playoff experience.   Everything I believe in says the Spurs but there's something in my heart that's screaming Lakers and I must follow my heart.  The Los Angeles Lakers will win game 1 and eventually the series.

Their 7 game playoff matchup last season was epic and now we have round 2 between the Clippers and the Grizzlies.  The Clippers escaped with the win last season but this time things will be a lot different.  The Clippers are the deeper team but the Grizzlies are more physical.  With the loss of Rudy Gay for the Grizzlies, the Clippers have more weapons and during end of game situations the Grizzlies have been Mike Conley or bust.  This will indeed be a war and Lob City will be largely absent but the Clippers will grind out a 6 game series win. 

The Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors facing each other is like a throwback to the days of the ABA.  Simply put this will be fun!!!  Losing Danilo Gallinari with the torn ACL was a huge blow for the Nuggets and leaves the door open for a Warriors upset.  Kenneth Faried's health is a question mark as well as he is expected to play but he's no where near 100%.  The Warriors are a young bunch and perhaps too young to knock out the Nuggets at this time but Stephen Curry is on the list of rising stars and we all know that stars in the NBA truly shine during the playoffs.  Steph will be a tough guard for the Nuggets but if push comes to shove, Andre Iguodala can shut him down.  With that being said this matchup will come down to coaching and George Karl is a master of his craft.  The Nuggets will move on in 5 games.