Tag Archives: Western Confrence

Color Me Purple The Nuggets are in the Playoffs

At the beginning of the season we made predictions on how we thought the Western Conference would shake out. By and I swung and missed on a few picks like the Clippers, Jazz, Warriors, and Rockets, but we were right about the easy picks aka the top 5 teams. I guess I did write that I wished I included Memphis on the predictions a month into the year, but that’s a moot point. Anyways, the season is nearing it’s end, and the playoff teams seem set, except for seeding. Seriously though, does it look like anyone will beat the Lakers in the west? I can’t say I feel like anyone will beat them, not even the Sonics who I feel like could beat them, but won’t. We all know deep down that the Lakers will be in the Finals no matter who they are matched up against in a week and a half.

The real reason for this post was that the Sportschump was very adamant that we were horribly wrong for leaving the Nuggets out of the playoff picture. They secured a spot a few days ago, and look like they should be the #5 seed. I’m sure he’d be the first to admit that Denver has made the playoffs in a different way than he or anyone expected (without Melo), but nonetheless he was right and I was wrong. The Nuggets have been a very interesting team this season since the Melo trade. It’s weird seeing a team actually use 10 of it’s players every night. Especially since all are getting significant minutes in a guess who’s playing tonight game of musical chairs. Karl goes with the hot hand. If you’re playing well, you play 40 minutes. If you struggle, you’re only playing 15-20. It’s something you rarely see in the NBA, which makes them the anti-big three. They are all about the team over the individual. It’s a good reason to root for them in the playoffs, but if they end up playing the Sonics in the first round I guess I won’t be on that bandwagon…


Doin Western Conference Predictions

Two days into the season we decided to pick our 8 playoff teams from the West. We are probably way off not including Denver or Phoenix, but what can you do!?!

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#1 Seattle SuperSonics – This will most likely be the year of the “Durantula”.  Winning Gold over the Summer in which the ball was placed squarely in Durant’s hands has me believing that he’s prime to take that next step towards league dominance.  It’s like when Neo finally “got it” in the first (and only good) Matrix.  I can talk about Durant forever, but it’s not like he’s alone out there in OKC.  The maturation of Russell Westbrook has me thinking, Rajon Rondo?  Yes, Westbrook can be that good.  Plus in order to beat LA, you have to dominate the PG position, and Westbrook had his way with Fisher for the most part.  Expect even more improvement from him, as he too benefited from the World Championships’.  The pool of young talent doesn’t end there for OKC, as Jeff Green, James Harden and Serge Ibaka round out their core.  Each of these players will contribute substantially to the team, with Harden being the most intriguing piece.  Harden has looked good in the pre-season, and if he continues to play well, watch out!  It’s refreshing to see a team like this built from the ground up.  No huge free agent signings, no big trades.  Aside from my beloved Warriors, I’ll be rooting for this team to succeed!

#2 LA Lakers – The Lakers may finish second in standings out West by season’s end, but they’re still the best team coming out of the conference.  In fact, as much as it pains me to say it, they’re still the best team, period.  Only question surrounding the Lakers is health.  I’ve said this all Summer long, everyone’s worried about Kobe’s knee, but what they should be worried about is that finger he fractured last season.  I don’t think he’s ever fully recovered from it, nor will he ever.  Andrew Bynum’s timing on electing to have his knee surgery didn’t please anyone in the Lakers organization, but they’ll hold the fort down without him.  Now, can he stay healthy once he returns?  They’ll need Bynum out there come money time.  This might be the season in which Pau Gasol gets the credit he deserves as being the Lakers’ best player.  I still can’t believe the voters robbed him of the Finals MVP last season.  Kobe went 6-24 in the biggest game of his career.  Just saying.  Nothing else to touch upon with this team, it’s Phil’s last ride, will it be off into the sunset?  Hope not.  Probably will.

#3 Houston Rockets – I’m finishing up these predictions today, which means I got a chance to watch the Rockets in action last night against the Lakers, and I must say, I’m impressed.  Primarily by that explosive back court!  Aaron Brooks and Kevin “Drake” Martin can light it up in an instance!  I still like the combination of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis a little better, but the Brooks/Martin duo can do some serious damage.  Of course the concern for Houston is if Martin can stay healthy.  Over the past few seasons, he’s battled Andrew Bynum neck and neck for the title of “Most Fragile”.  I’d put Greg Oden in that conversation too, but I feel sorry for the guy.  Speaking of injuries, Yao Ming looked solid in his first regular season action in quite some time.  He moved around fairly well, and once he shakes off some of that rust, he should be able to resemble his old self.  Hopefully he’s healthier than what he’s letting off, and those “set” minutes slowly increase during the course of the season, because he’s a huge asset to the Rockets.  Having Luis Scola makes up for a lot though.  Ultimately, good coaching, solid role players, and big upside is why I’m high on the Rockets, but I know having them atop the South West division might be a bit of a stretch.

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Doin NBA Playoff Predictions

Yes, the playoffs are here, and whether your team made it or not probably changes your excitement level for the whole extravaganza. We are doing our second installment of predictions, we already put our baseball picks for the season up, and now it’s time predict how the NBA playoffs will play out. It’s about as competitive of a league as any I can remember,at least in the west, so this should be a great playoff run.

Western Conference Quarter Finals

By:  Dallas Mavericks in 6, Phoenix in 4, and Utah in 7, OKC Thunder in 6, what?  Yes, I said it.  Phil Jackson’s comments on Durantula was just the edge Durant needed to pull off the upset.  Kobe has not been himself from the second-half of the season going forward, and despite L.A. having a huge advantage in the paint, their Achilles heel has always been good point guards.  Russell Westbrook will give them fits.

Chappy: L.A. Lakers in 6, Dallas Mavericks in 7, Phoenix Suns in 5, Utah Jazz in 7 – It’s amazing how balanced the West is. Every team won 50 games, and it’s tough pick against anyone even the 8th seeded Thunder… The Suns got an easy draw playing the depleted Blazers. The best two series in the first round will be Dallas vs. SA, and Denver vs. Utah. I actually think that the Nuggets will win, but I want to try and jinx the Mormons…

MCeezy: L.A. Lakers in 5, San Antonio Spurs in 7, Phoenix Suns in 6, Denver Nuggets in 7 – I like what’s going on with Phil Jackson and Kevin Durant, because a driven KD could push the series to the limit. The Mavs are stacked, but full of mismatched pieces; SA on the other hand has that familiarity as a unit that plays such a huge role in playoff series. Everyone’s writing off the Blazers without Roy, and rightfully so, but Portland is still good enough to keep it interesting. Denver having home court against Utah will make the difference, plain and simple.

Western Conference Semi-Finals

By: Utah in 6, and Phoenix in 7 –  I wouldn’t be surprised if Dallas defeats Phoenix though, as both teams are stacked.  I just like Steve Nash a lot, and so I chose Phoenix.

Chappy: LA Lakers in 6, Phoenix Suns in 7 – I’d be really happy if I was wrong and the Jazz upset the Lakers, and I fully believe it’s possible the way the Lakers played down the stretch, but still don’t see it happening. The Suns are my darkhorse this year. Since they decided to start playing a little defense, they’ve looked like champions. Is Amare playing for a new contract? Maybe, and if they get this far he may as well opt out of that last year on his contract, because he will get paid somewhere!

MCeezy: L.A. Lakers in 6, Phoenix Suns in 6 – As much as I don’t want to agree with Chappy here, I don’t see it playing out any other way. The Lakers will be ready for the Nuggets this time, and now that Ron Artest is thrown into the mix, there’ll be so much emotional volatility on the floor that hijinx will certainly ensue. Phoenix vs. San Antonio is going to be a last man standing match. In the second round, I’m willing to bet injuries are going to be the deciding factor – and I’m betting it’ll be on the Spurs’ side. Steve Nash has to be thinking this is his last shot.

Western Conference Champions

Have you heard?!? Grant Hill still drinks Sprite!

By: Phoenix in 6, what!?!  Yes, finally Steve Nash gets the trip he deserves to the 2010 NBA Finals.  Too bad it’s as far as he gets this season 😦

Chappy: Phoenix Suns in 7 – I’m going to be completely wrong on this, but I’m really hoping that the 8 seconds or less pace of play can actually bring home a championship. I guess it’s the inner Warriors fan in me, that just wants to see it happen. Besides, who else in the league deserves a championship more than the most ridiculous man in the world. Nash will have more than one 20 assist game if they do make it this far. I bet he’d trade all those MVP awards in for one championship!

MCeezy: L.A. Lakers in 6 – I’d love to be wrong on this, but Phoenix vs. L.A. is one of those matchups where the former team is never going to get over the hump. If they’re going to, it will be the result of Nash having the series of a lifetime. Despite his multiple MVP awards, we don’t often mention his name in the same breath as the Kobes and Lebrons. This postseason will go a long way in defining his legacy. ….Assuming they do, in fact, make it this far.

Eastern Conference Quarter Finals

By: Cleveland in 4, Orlando in 6, Atlanta in 4 – (No Bogut out in Milwaukee), Miami (Yes Miami) over Boston in 6.  Dwayne Wade is playing at that level again, and we all know how he gets, when he’s at “that” level.

Chappy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 5, Orlando Magic in 7, Atlanta Hawks in 5, Miami Heat in 7 – I really want to pick Charlotte. Especially since SJax lead the W’s to a playoff upset of their own, but I think the Magic will be too much for them. Pierce will need to have a huge series if Boston has any hope. I’m hoping D-Wade is just too much and he takes over the series because nobody can guard him. Who knows, Sheed might even tip a few in for them. I’d love to see Lebron vs. Wade in the second round. The Hawks will take advantage of their deer in the headlights opponent.

MCeezy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 5, Orlando Magic in 5, Atlanta Hawks in 6, Boston Celtics in 5 – Chicago always plays the Cavs close, but Cleveland is going to be too driven to let up against the Bulls. I’d love to have seen the Bobcats draw someone like the Cavs or Celtics, because then they could really embrace the underdog role and play inspired ball a la the 2007 Warriors. Instead, they’ll relax and subsequently get eliminated by Dwight Howard and Co. The Bucks are far from playoff tested, but they’ll find a way to steal a game or two from Atlanta. Everyone expects a long series from Boston and Miami, but Dwyane Wade is going to be held to 35ppg while the rest of the Heat are held in check.

Eastern Conference Semi-Finals

By: Cleveland in 7, Orlando in 6 –  I love Josh Smith so much, but he can’t match up against LeBron alone.  No one can, and as good as the Hawks are, LeBron is that much better.  Dwight Howard will ultimately be too much in the battle of Florida.

Chappy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 6, Atlanta in 7 – I REALLY like the Hawks this year, and hope they can put together a solid run in the playoffs. They along with the Magic are probably the most complete teams in the eastern conference. I’ll find it funny if my prediction works out, because the only real reason the Cavs got Shaq was to have someone to guard Dwight, and I don’t even have them in the conference championship!

MCeezy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 6, Atlanta in 6 – These two series are nearly impossible to predict. You never know what you’re going to get with Boston, and you could say the same about Orlando, although they did dominate the season series against the Hawks. Some how, some way, though, you don’t see a whole lot of repeat series from year to year in the NBA. It’s amazing how we get new matchups each postseason. Instead of Cavs-Magic, it’ll be the Hawks’ turn to to stand on the brink of the NBA Finals.

Eastern Conference Champions

By: LeBron in 6 – The Cavs will exact revenge against everyone’s favorite pick in Orlando.  I know there are a lot of similarities in how Cleveland entered this season’s playoffs to last season’s, but the differences will be the turning point.  Shaq & Antawn.

Chappy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 – Atlanta might be a more complete team, but there’s just no way to knock Lebron out this year. He’s somehow better than last year, and will average a triple double in the series if that’s what it takes. If the Lakers get knocked out like I predicted, the NBA will force the refs to get the Cavs in the finals. Look for a poorly officiated series, and Lebron to finally get the cockiness that Jordan had. He’s already molding that arrogance if you haven’t noticed!

MCeezy: Cleveland Cavaliers in 5 – Just can’t see the Hawks hanging in a series this big. They will have flown under the radar to this point – first taking on the Bucks in front of 30,000 or so viewers. Then, their matchup with the Magic will play second fiddle to a Cavs-Celtics series. They’ll be thrust into the spotlight and forced to try to stop Lebron from getting to Kobe.

NBA Champions

Is this just an extension of Larry Johnson's Grandmama?

By: LeBron James. It’s simply his time.

Chappy: Phoenix Suns in 6 – I don’t really think they will win it all, but I’d love to see a winner come out that wasn’t Lebron or Kobe. I’d also like to see Lebron latch onto another team for next year, which would in turn make the current Cavs team into a 7th or 8th seed next season. Reiterating a previous point, I really would like to see the Suns win to prove that the Warriors playing the style can get it done in the playoffs. Plus, how can you root against Grant Hill and Nash getting a title!?!

MCeezy: Utah Jazz in 4 – How did we get here? you’re asking yourself. When was the last time I hit a 14 team parlay? Never. So why should I expect to predict correctly the first 14 series? Therefore, although the Jazz don’t get out of the first round in my scenario, I’m predicting that Jerry Sloan coaches his heart out to win that elusive NBA title and perhaps the respect of my grandfather, Roy, UT resident Jack Christensen; who adamantly maintains that Jerry Sloan has been the one thing holding the Jazz back all these years.


Doin NBA Power Rankings

Thank you Fanhouse! You’ve given me the inspiration to do some power rankings. I couldn’t believe what their power rankings looked like, I mean really!?! I’m as big of a Laker hater there is out there, but putting the Mavs at numero uno over the Cavs and the Lake show is a little bold!! I’m not sure what Brett over at Fanhouse is smoking, but I need to get some! Anyways, here’s how I see the top 16 teams in the league at this point in the season.

#1 Los Angeles Lakers – They don’t have the best record in the league, but having Kobe sit out for a little will help them. Not missing a beat in the win column keeps them atop these rankings. They will most likely cruise to the Western Conference finals before they are truly tested. John Canzano at the Oregonian might have convinced me that they could be tested by the Blazers in the first round, but I won’t get my hopes up at this point of an early Lake Show exit.

#2 Cleveland Cavaliers – Best record in the league, and a very close 2nd to the champs. Is it a big deal that Shaq is out? No, but in case anyone forgot, they have Lebron. You could put him on the Bucks right now, and get through the first couple playoff rounds, so I’m not buying that the loss of the Diesel is that big of a deal at this point. If he ends up missing more time than expected, that might be another story. Lebron is playing in a different league than everyone else, he doesn’t need Shaq.

#3 Orlando Magic – Vince looks like he finally is fitting in, and the Magic are playing their best basketball of the year. If they keep playing like they have, they could be just as scary as Cleveland in the Eastern Conference. Stan Van Gundy reminds me of Rex Ryan in the NFL. He’s a little unpredictable and unstable, but if you were caught in a fight you would gladly take them on your side.

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