Tag Archives: Playoffs

Hawks (1) vs Wizards (5) A Battle of Emerging Stars

This may be the series with the least buzz around it, but may very well be the most important. Both feature teams with emerging star point guards, and both teams are very evenly matched. This will be a series of skill vs coaching.

The Hawks had a slight struggle getting out of the first round due to the odd resilience the Nets showed in the first round. Initially the series looked like a sweep until Atlanta’s offense began sputtering in games three and four. What I took away from that performance is that the Hawks have trouble executing in high intensity games on the road. The doubts they’ve faced all season of not having “that guy” will arise again throughout the series. However, Atlanta does have the ability to score through their amazing offense, and can cause many problems by using Korver to remove an extra help defender. Watch for Atlanta to move the ball swiftly and attempt to create easy buckets to create a rhythm for themselves.

The Wizards showed pure dominance over a decent Toronto team. John Wall has been dazzling through this playoff run and will continue to display it through this round. Paul Pierce has also returned to his vintage ways by hitting big shots when the team needs them. The Wizards have stepped up their defensive play, and only allowed Toronto to score more than 100 points just once in the series. It seems as though they’ve peaked at the right time. However, their issue will be on offense. Depending on John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Paul Pierce won’t be enough. Their bigs, Nene and Gortat, will need to establish themselves going forward.

Starters:

  1. J. Wall vs J. Teague
  2. B. Beal vs K. Korver
  3. P. Pierce vs D. Carroll
  4. Nene vs P. Millsap
  5. M. Gortat vs A. Horford

Keys:

The biggest factor is who will win the point guard battle. If John Wall is able to have another great series, then we can chalk this up as a win for the Wizards. However, if Jeff Teague is able to slow him down and play as an emerging star, then this will be a win for the Hawks.

The Wizards need Bradley Beal to play huge in this series. John Wall helped against Toronto, but this matchup is for him to win. He’s struggled in the playoffs, so this is the perfect time for him to get out of that slump. I see him needing to score 20+ per game to win.

Defense is the last big factor. Both teams play good team defense, but for the Wizards, Gortat and Nene will need to find a way to keep up with Paul Millsap. Being a stretch 4, he has the ability to knock down shots on the perimeter. One of them has to neutralize him.

Prediction: The Wizards beat the Hawks 4-2.

The Wizards have much more firepower than the Hawks and a better point guard. As long as John Wall stays aggressive, and the Wizards continue playing at their peak; I don’t see the Hawks really beating them.

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Warriors (1) vs Grizzlies (5) A Struggle for Control

This a series that I personally have been really looking forward to. I’ve said multiple times if anyone is going to take out the Warriors this year, it would be this Memphis Grizzlies team.

The Grizzlies have been doing what they do every year; except Gasol and Conley have stepped up tremendously this year making the transition from an annoying bottom seed, to a legit championship contender. They’ve surprisingly not only held up without Lionel Hollins, but have actually exceeded anyone’s expectations this year. David Joerger should gain a lot more attention than he already has due to proving many doubters wrong, including myself. They study every opponent very carefully and force them into uncomfortable, long midrange, contested shots. They won’t be beaten with pure athleticism despite their deficiencies in that area. They will make you pay if your team is not fundamentally sound.

Bad part for Memphis is the opponents they have in front of them have both of those attributes. Kerr has made this offense run just as beautifully as I always thought it should when Mark Jackson was running the squad. They went from a lot of isolations and basic set ups to this beautiful well oiled machine. There are multiple possessions where every player will touch the ball, and the communication with everyone on the court is something to behold. This is how basketball should be played. Now add in the best shooting back court of all time with an outstanding bench and a man who just seems to make everything happen out on the court, and you have yourself a favorite to win it all in the very tough Western Conference.

Starters

PG: M. Conley vs S. Curry

SG: C. Lee vs K. Thompson

SF:  T. Allen vs H. Barnes

PF:  Z. Randolph vs D. Green

C:    M. Gasol vs A. Bogut

Keys

The most interesting matchup of this series has to be at the point guard position. The impact each of these two point guards had an equal amount of importance in their two prospective series’. Curry was exactly what every MVP voter in his favor expected him to be. He absolutely dominated and did whatever he wanted to against whoever attempted to guard him.

Conley on the other hand had a different kind of impact for his team, locking down one of the most explosive guards in the game, Damian Lillard. Lillard was made completely irrelevant against the Grizzlies, which was partially do to the entire team, but 90% of that was Conley being an unshakable wall in front of Lillard every chance he got.

Normally I would say that there is no way in hell anybody can lock down Curry, but if we are to be honest we have seen it before. Specifically from the Spurs who stick Danny Green on him and make him nearly completely ineffective. Conley has that same ability to do the same things Danny Green did to Curry. That matchup alone could determine the series.

You have a high paced ridiculous well ran offense against the grind of the Memphis Grizzlies. Finesse versus power. This series will depend a lot on the control of the pace. Golden State has been the best team in the league at running up and down the court while the Grizzlies are notorious for there slow methodical beat down on teams.

Injuries play a huge factor as well with Conley constantly having nagging injuries along with Allen and Lee playing hurt as well. The Warriors are fresh and at 100%. In terms of health, things are definitely in Golden State’s favor.

Prediction: The Warriors beat the Grizzlies 4-3. It’s hard as I can see things going either way in this series. It should be a great playoff series that comes down to the wire.

The NBA Playoffs

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    After about seven months of NBA basketball we’ve finally reached the best part of the season, the Playoffs. To start the First Round off in the Eastern Conference we have the:

1.Miami Heat vs 8.Milwaukee Bucks

4.Brooklyn Nets vs 5.Chicago Bulls

3.Indiana Pacers vs 6.Atlanta Hawks

2.New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics

  In the Western Conference we have the:
1.Oklahoma City Thunder vs 8.Houston Rockets

4.Los Angeles Clippers vs 5.Memphis Grizzles

3.Denver Nuggets vs 6.Golden State Warriors

2.San Antonio Spurs vs 7.Los Angeles Lakers
     Each series has something special going which should keep us entertained throughout!
                  Heat vs Bucks:
Earlier this season Monta Ellis said he was on the same level as Dwade. Shortly after that Jennings said they wanted to play the Heat in the Playoffs. And just the other day Jennings said the Bucks will win in 6. Crazy I know! But with all the trash talk coming out of Milwaukee I feel like the Heat will bring them back down to reality. Heat win this series 4-0.
                    Nets vs Bulls
This series will tell us if we should take the Nets seriously. With D-Will back to his Utah days and Lopez playing at an Allstar level they should be able to beat the Bulls right? The answer is no. Chicago is a better team and will make things look ugly because of their defense. And who knows they may have a surprise return from Derrick Rose. With or without Rose the Bulls will win this series 4-2
              Pacers vs Hawks
In this series we have a budding star ( Paul George,) going against a guy who’s trying to show the world he’s a top notch player (Josh Smith.) This series will be over in 5 games setting up a Pacers-Knicks reunion in round two.
               Knicks vs Celtics:
Upset alert!!!! Ok, maybe not but this will be an interesting series! In this series we’ll see if Melo is the real deal or just a guy with no hope of winning a ring. We’ll also find out if this is Boston’s last stand in the K.G era. I have the Knicks winning 4-3, but don’t be surprised if the Celtics win in six!
            Now lets head to the West.
           Thunder vs Rockets:
Harden vs his old team and good friends turning into rivals.This series will be about Harden showing OKC what they’re missing and OKC showing Harden they don’t necessarily need him. This could also be the series Jeremy Lin breaks out, but I highly doubt it. Anyway Harden and co. may steal one in OKC, but they won’t be able to stop the best duo in the league consistently. OKC wins 4-2
             Clippers vs Grizzles
Rivalry!!!!!! After last year’s series I have a feeling the Grizzles want and will get revenge. The Grizzles will also show us why they don’t need Rudy Gay. The Clippers on the other hand aren’t going to be able to stop the Grizzles bigs downlow. Memphis will win this series 4-3.
               Nuggets vs Warriors
Whoa, Curry vs Lawson; Manimal vs Lee; Jack vs Miller; Karl vs Jackson! This series should be a thriller. Sure Denver doesn’t have Gallinari but G-State doesn’t have Brandon Rush or a healthy Andrew Bogut. Nevertheless this series will go 7 games with the Golden State Warriors winning!
                Spurs vs Lakers:
Upset Alert x10!!!! The Spurs may have one of the best offenses in the league, if not the best, but it has slowed down as of late. Parker is still recovering while Ginobli and Diaw are out. And on top of that they cut Stephen Jackson and signed the First Round Exit Curse himself, Tracy Mcgrady!! But thats not all. Gasol and Dwight have found a way to play together and should be too much downlow for the Spurs. On the defensive side of the ball they’re playing alot better and should be able to stop the Spurs’ offense. And lets not forget Dwight Howard has something to prove and that the other Lakers are inspired and motivated by Kobe Bryant and the death of Dr.Buss….Lakers win this series 4-2.
               Players To Watch:
Josh Smith- wants a Max contact and believes he’s a top 15 player.

Dwight Howard- to show he has what it takes to lead the Lakers.

James Harden- to show he can lead his team with or without stars.

Carmelo Anthony- To show he’s next in line and that he has arrived

Kevin Durant- to show everyone his time is now!

Russell Westbrook- to show the Thunder can win with him and that he’s not taking away from Kevin Durant.

Paul George- to show everyone he can lead the Pacers and that he’s their guy.

LeBron James- to put his stamp on history and spark the Kobe-LeBron-Jordan debate more.

          Honorable Mention:
Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Tracy Mcgrady, Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, Blake Griffin, Jeremy Lin, Derrick Rose, Jeff Green, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Jeff Teague, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker, Kevin Martin, Amare’ Stoudamire, Roy Hibbert,  David West.

         April 20th it all Begins!!!!!!

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