NBA Western Conference Semifinal Playoff PredictionsBREAKING NEWS, NBA, News, Western Conference Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
It seems like when the playoffs started, the Eastern Conference was considered to be a wide open race. The West on the other hand was supposed to be more chalk. However after a first round upset of the No. 1 seed San Antonio Spurs things opened up a little. Now after both of the higher seeds suffered home court losses in Game 1, things have opened up even more.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 8. Memphis Grizzlies
I was well aware that the Grizzlies won the season series against the Thunder 3-1, but I didn’t think that mattered. However after watching the first game of the series, I now think this series will go seven games.
The Thunder have the best player in the series on their roster (Kevin Durant) and if he is allowed to take over, it will be a long series for Memphis. But with the emergence of the “new” Russell Westbrook, anything is possible. The Thunder need for Westbrook to accept his role of being Robin and allow for Durant to play the role of Batman. Westbrook took 23 shots from the field, and Durant only took 21. Unless Westbrook is in the middle of having a magical moment in the playoffs, he should never take more shots in a game than Durant.
The Thunder also needs to find an answer for the Grizzlies two big men, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Despite making a trade for Kendrick Perkins, the Thunder still lack the man power to stop the two towers. Randolph and Gasol combined for 54 points and 23 rebounds in Game 1. If the Thunder want to survive they must contain them.
With all that being said, I’m still siding with Durant and the Thunder. The disparity between the Thunders best two players and the Grizzlies two best is big enough to make me confident in OKC.
Prediction: Thunder 4-3.
2. Los Angeles Lakers vs. 3. Dallas Mavericks
This series is a little different to me. I fully understand that the Lakers are the defending champs and that they have arguably the best player in the world on their team. When the series started I would’ve selected the Lakers in five games. However after watching the fourth quarter of Game 1 and how stagnate the Lakers offense looked, I’m starting to second guess them.
The Lakers are an extremely well oiled machine, but they rely on Kobe Bryant a little too much for my taste. Bryant is an amazing player that is capable of putting a team on his back and leading them to victory, but his supporting cast has a tendency to stand around and watch him instead of helping him. His Robin is Pau Gasol, and I’ve never been much of a fan. Gasol finished with a dismal 15 points and only took 10 shots from the field. L.A. will not last long in this series if he continues to play like that.
Dallas on the other hand is clicking. They are a deep team that has an unstoppable superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, who is the key to the series. In Game 1 he finished with 28 points and 14 rebounds. He put the Mavs on his back and made plays when they needed him the most which included making two go-ahead free throws with 19.5 seconds left.
Although the Lakers have more size than the Mavs, I still like Dallas’ chances in the series. The fact that L.A. blew a 16-point lead in second half disturbs me.
Prediction: Mavericks 4-2
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