NBA Playoffs! (for the 3 or 4 NBA fans on this board)


So after a shortened season and a compressed schedule, its come to this. 16 teams (out of 30) battling it out for the championship. The last time this happened was in the 1998-1999 season, where the Spurs won their first championship in a 50 game season. Phil Jackson, ever the playful needler, referred to the Spurs’ win with an asterisk, but Phil’s no longer coaching (though Popovich and Duncan are still together). Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Spurs win again this year? How many Spurs haters would come out of the woodwork and say they seem to only be able to win during shortened seasons (not counting the other 3 they won in the 2000’s during regular length seasons)?

Lots of storylines this year, and if you want a more professional look at it, I suggest you read Bill Simmons’ (the stupid Boston homer! :p) article on But that was written a few weeks ago, I have the benefit of having watched a couple games already!

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs. #8 Utah Jazz: [San Antonio leads 1-0]
Like last year, the Spurs are the top team in the West. Unlike last year, it doesn’t look like they’re going to get bounced by the #8 seed. Utah doesn’t look like they have a chance, though a lot of the prognostication (word of the day!) before the series seems to give Utah a puncher’s chance at it. The reasons are the same: Duncan and co. are old, they aren’t athletic, and they’ll need to try to slow down the pace of the much younger and faster Utah frontline. Same story as last year, but Utah doesn’t have a couple of all stars like the Grizzlies did. Game one was a rout, I don’t expect Game 2-5 to be much better. SA takes this in 5

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #7 Dallas Mavericks: [Oklahoma City leads 2-0]
This would have been my pick before the playoffs to be the best series and so far it hasn’t disappointed. The previous champ vs. the up-and-comers, this series features a bunch of fading but still great stars like Dirk Nowitski and Jason Kidd vs. some possible future HOF-caliber players like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The concern was that the Mavs kind of gutted their team from last year’s championship for some reason and won’t be able to compete this year. I generally agree with that, but now after finally winning a 'chip, I think Dirk’s going to still be a force. Its unfortunate that they are going against the Thunder, who are really deep and have some superstars to carry the load when things get hairy. Its already been proven in the first 2 games. Durant won Game 1 at the last second and Game 2 pretty much came down to the end as well. However, I disagree with some, like an article on, that the Mavs are done. The Thunder held homecourt but that’s what they were supposed to do. The Mavs will get a boost once this thing goes back to Dallas. With how close the games were, the Mavs could still win it. However, I think the Thunder takes this in 7

#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #6 Denver Nuggets: [Los Angeles leads 1-0]
I was really concerned coming into this series, and still sorta am although Game 1 helped a lot to dissipate that worry. People were saying this was the worst first round matchup for the Lakers, as Denver has size and youth and speed, traditionally a killer for older teams (see last year’s Spurs vs. Grizzlies). But LA’s still got some size, even though we didn’t get Howard (whoa, dodged a bullet there!) or Chris Paul, I think we are still capable of winning it all this year. Sure, I didn’t see Game 1 as such a lopsided win, but who did? But I want to be a little wary because the same thing happened after the Spurs game earlier this year where Bynum got 30 rebounds, we lost the next 2 games against the Spurs. Game 2 will be much closer and I think we lose at least Game 3 in Denver. Still, Lakers should finish this in 5.

#4 Memphis Grizzlies vs. #5 Los Angeles Clippers(!!!): [Los Angeles leads 1-0]
A second LA team making the playoffs? What?! Its been 6 years since the Clippers even sniffed the playoffs so the fact that they’re here makes things especially interesting for us who live here in the City of Angels. But this isn’t the old Clippers team (I hope). We’ve got Chris Paul, the best point guard in the league, so this should actually be a regular occurrence for a few years (!!!). Maybe the dream of the Lakers vs. Clippers WCF will finally be realized soon? But back to the series, this team looked like the old Clippers for 3 quarters, going down by as much as 27 before impossibly shocking the Grizzlies at home with a 1 point win and a 28 to 3 run (!!!). I’m running out of exclamation points to describe their play!! I think most people thought this would be an exciting series and Game 1 didn’t disappoint at the end. I hope it wasn’t a fluke and they start playing more evenly from now on. Zach Randolph was hurt, I think, so that doesn’t bode well for the Grizz. If he were healthy, I’d probably say Grizz in 7, but since he’s not, I’m going with Clippers in 6.

#1 Chicago Bulls vs. #8 Philadelphia Sixers: [Chicago leads 1-0]
Lucky for the Bulls that they know how to play without Rose, but even though they’ll win this series, I think they’ll get beaten by the Heat for sure if they even make it that far. What a weird bunch of freak injuries they’ve had so far. I hope this is the last of them, except for Lebron. I hope he gets hurt, I can’t stand that guy. This wasn’t much of an interesting series before, but now with Rose out, I can see Chicago needing 6 games to win this.

#2 Miami Heat vs. #7 New York Knicks: [Miami leads 2-0]
So now we come to the other freak injuries. First Shumpert tears his ACL an hour after Rose, then Amare breaks his hand punching the glass from a fire extinguisher case last night. WTF? New York, why do you keep having these weird head cases on your team all the time? The Knicks were supposed to give the Heat some trouble with their size and length and shooting, but it looks like they’re going to break their record tying 12 straight playoff losses in Games 3 and 4. I see a Miami sweep here, and NY, don’t you dare rush back Jeremy Lin to try and save your asses. You’re done, just give it up. I read a NY paper’s article the other day about how terrible this team’s been in the playoffs. They haven’t won a playoff game in like 10 years. The article listed 96 NYK players who have come and gone in that time without ever winning a playoff game. Hell, the Clippers at even won some games 6 years ago! I just don’t know what’s wrong with this franchise. Somebody sell this team to the same owners as the Yankees, maybe they can do something about this travesty. And for the record, I’m not one of those people who think New York is the mecca of basketball. They haven’t won anything since the early 70’s and except for a brief window with Patrick Ewing, they haven’t been relevant for 20 something years. I’m just annoyed that games in MSG could mean something but they don’t. They do have really vocal and loud fans, which is always nice to see. They deserve better

#3 Indiana Pacers vs. #6 Orlando Magic: [Series tied 1-1]
This is kind of the snoozer series of the playoffs. Orlando’s without Dwight Howard who is out with back surgery, and Indiana has almost nobody you’d be able to pick out of a lineup. With the exception of Danny Granger, I literally have no idea who is on that team. I want Orlando to win because all of the BS surrounding Howard this season (and the emergence of Andrew Bynum as a force) has soured me on him. Plus, I loved that weird press conference where Howard pretend like nothing happened between him and Van Gundy right after Stan told the media he knows Howard tried to get him fired. I wish players would just tell the truth, and I loved that Van Gundy did. It took balls to do that, so I can’t root against him. I hope he outcoaches the Pacers into a Magic win. I’m going to predict (hope) Magic in 6

#4 Atlanta Hawks vs. #5 Boston Celtics: [Atlanta leads 1-0]
I have a sliver of hope, like Bill Simmons, that Boston goes on to win and beats the Heat again, setting up for a culmination of the trilogy with LA vs. Boston part 3. I think the Celtics will at least get to the ECF, because I’ve never had any confidence in the Hawks. They have terrible road history dating back the last few years. And Boston really only had 1 bad quarter before they played them pretty even for the last 3. I can totally believe Boston coming back to win Games 3 and 4 (since Rondo’s suspended for Game 2) and then beating the Hawks on their home floor in a Game 7. And without Rose, I give a slight edge to the Celtics against the Bulls in the next round. Also, that was totally not a suspension worthy bump

I didn’t follow much this year, and I probably won’t catch much of the 1st round. That said, I’m pulling for the Lakers, expect the Heat to win, and would be happy enough with another San Antonio title. I don’t like any of the teams in the East, so I hope the West continues its dominance of the post-MJ era.

The Simmons from Friday column made a great point about the Duncan/Popovich Spurs. If they win the title, that would bookend a 13-year run, which is pretty amazing. So many people talk about the Patriots being the model sports franchise in the US, but it’s hard to look past the Spurs first.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

-A Bulls Fan.

I agree Chicago should still beat the Sixers. I’m not sure what they would do in round two against (I’m assuming) Atlanta or certainly Miami if things got that far. It’s a shame. If this isn’t Miami’s year, I don’t know what is. It’s still a flawed team, but LeBron had an amazing season and if Chicago can’t beat them with out Rose, I don’t see how Atlanta and Indiana can come close. Stoudemire didn’t break his hand, by the way. He cut it and had to get stitches. He’ll probably miss game three at least. The Knicks were screwed anyway, but that certainly makes it worse. I still think Oklahoma City is the likely champion in the West, but I love what the Spurs have done all season. They’ve been way better than expected at a time most people expected them to decline into irrelevance.

I like the Spurs a lot. They are natural rivals with the Lakers over this past decade or so and both teams are very different in terms of style. It kind of reminds me of Lakers and Celtics. LA will forever be the glamorous Hollywood glitzy team, the sexy team, the team with the huge stars and egos. The Spurs are a blue-collar working class team from a small city, and Duncan eschews flashiness for fundamentals. Kinda like the contrast between Magic and Bird

One thing that I forgot to mention was the stat I read a few weeks ago. The Spurs last won a championship when Ginobili was healthy throughout the playoffs. Last year, he went down with an injury on the last game of the season. This year, he’s healthy. I think either the Lakers or Spurs are coming out of the West this year. If that comes true, that would make 11 combined Spurs/Lakers and 1 more this year of West dominance. I like their chances

I feel you man. I think Rose is terrific as a person and a player (though kind of understated and muted during interviews). I wanted them to beat Miami this year (and next year, and the year after that…). Its really a bad break. I saw that jump and landing in slow motion and its hard to imagine you could tear your ACL just from that. But you guys are going to win a championship with Rose, he’s too good not to win one. And he seems like the type of guy who will stay with his team like Durant, a not bail like Howard or Lebron

I agree that everything seems to be falling for Miami this year. If they don’t win, I could totally see Bosh being shipped out in a trade. I think the chances are 100% of that if they don’t make it out of the East and a resurgent Boston team somehow beats them

I’m pretty much over Howard by now, i wish we had traded him straight up for Bynum. Hopefully Orlando manages to make the second round, but even with that game 1 win i doubt we will.

As a Nuggets fan, I can assure you that Denver’s size is nothing to be concerned about. I thought the Nene trade was horrible. They got a backup center and I don’t even know what else in return. Nene’s bulk would have been a bigger issue for the Lakers than Denver’s current softies in the middle; Koufas, McGee and Mozgov. The fact that Bynum had 10 blocks in game 1 should make the Lakers feel much more confident.

Denver’s speed, on the other hand, is serious. When they go small, they can put a very fast paced lineup on the floor. They just need to hit shots. I don’t know how well Galinari, their best scorer, fits the fast paced play.

Overall, I’ll be surprised if Denver can take 2 games in this series and won’t be surprised in the least if they get swept. I’d have rather drawn the Spurs in round 1.

I agree with the Spurs and Patriots comparison. They’re both very well run teams. They draft very well, they know how to pick players who work in their system, and they usually don’t make big mistakes that set them back for years (Richard Jefferson being a notable exception). Their coaches even both hate dealing with the press. The Spurs don’t have that sleaze thing happening, of course; the knock against them is usually that they are boring. I’ve always been a big Tim Duncan fan. That being said, it’s hard not to think it’s Oklahoma City’s time. The Lakers are far, far beneath those two teams in terms of depth even with Kobe healthy.

It’s a huge bummer even though Miami would have still been a difficult matchup. Rose struggled with injuries all year (and the team was very good even without him), so I had a feeling he might not be full strength for the playoffs. But I didn’t think this kind of thing was coming. He plays very hard and I hope injuries don’t continue to slow him down. The core of this team should be together for a while yet and they look sure to win at least one in the next few years, yes- although you never know. And I’m not worried about Rose leaving. He just signed a contract extension and Chicago isn’t Orlando or Cleveland.

I would be very surprised if a torn ACL does not slow him down. Even if only because after that kind of injury it gets harder to trust your own body.

I think if anybody can overcome that kind of psychological hurdle, Rose can. While speed is very important to his game, I was speaking more in terms of the fact that he’s had to deal with a variety of injuries already: he has a toe problem that flares up periodically, he missed a third of this season with a back injury and a groin problem - although he might’ve missed fewer games had the season not been so compressed; the team was being very cautious - and now this ACL tear. He plays very hard and attakcs a lot, and I’m concerned these problems will continue to dog him.

As a Nuggets fan, do you think Ty Lawson’s awful performance was something the Lakers did, or did he just have a bad game? I watched the game and couldn’t see them doing anything different. Maybe that was how good Bynum’s shot blocking was, that it not only blocked people but changed a lot of shots and made people afraid to come into the lane.

Spurs always draft well. I don’t know what it is. They got Parker and Ginobili, plus a lot of pretty decent role players through the draft, and since they’ve been so good, they’ve always had fairly low spots, like in the 20’s as their highest. And wasn’t Ginobili drafted in the 2nd round?

Rose is still really young. I think he’ll totally get over his stretch of injuries and be fine. Dwayne Wade was the same thing a few years ago. I remember when Miami, after their championship, were perennial 6-8 seeds for a like 3 or 4 years. Wade was always hurt because he was going 110% and the team made the playoffs but would always fall. But Rose got the Bulls to the best record twice in a row and is already an MVP. I think he’ll end up better than Wade when all is said and done. All you guys need is maybe a slight upgrade from your 2nd best player, either Boozer or Deng, and I think you’d get to the Finals for sure. Miami, with all their hype, still is pretty thin in terms of depth

They were ahead of the curve in international scouting, and since they don’t have to swing for the fences and pick a star player, they can pick guys who need time to develop and in some cases won’t even be in the NBA for a few years.

Near the end of the second round, even.

I think they’d be in trouble if Boozer was their second best player.

And Tony Parker was the very last pick of the first round.

And I hope you’re right about Rose and Wade. It’s true that Wade used to hit the deck on every drive seems to have figure out how to cut down on that kind of thing, and Rose has definitely improved as a shooter.

I do think (hope) Lawson just had an off game. I don’t like how much they rely on him to score because that’s never been his strength, even in college. But yeah, I expect more from him.

As for the torn ACL, the fact of the matter is you know it’s not as strong after reconstruction. It’s just not. It’s really hard to get that out of your head and it’s almost inevitable that you will adjust your game because of it.

Thunder fan (probably the only one on the SDMB) checking in. I think that we’ll make it to the finals against the Spurs and probably tank then. I’ve gotten quite a kick out of creeping the Dallas media sites to hear all of the “OKC are a bunch of thugs. Look at what they’re doing to poor Dirk” complaints. Nowitzki himself isn’t complaining. He’s letting his play do his talking. He also flops a lot but that’s no doubt due to being raised in a soccer loving country. I think the Thunder win in 6. No way in hell that the Mavs can will 4 out of 5.

I eagerly await a Lakers/Thunder matchup. I actually hope that that Lakers sweep the Nuggets so that Artest has to sit for the first 2 games. My guess is that the Thunder win that matchup in 7.

Then the Spurs beat the Thunder in 5. Experience trumps youth in that one. Next year will be our year. I think that Maynor’s injury has hurt more than expected. I had hoped that Derek Fisher would be able to run the second team offense better than he has. So far, he’s been mostly a disappointment. He did come alive in game 2 for the first time this season. Hopefully that trend will continue, if one game can constitute a trend.

As much as I despise the Lakers, I’m getting that uncomfortable feeling that I get every time they win a championship. That said, I hope Lebron gets his ring. He deserves it. If Miami doesn’t win, I’d like to see the Spurs win again.

I think Indiana will win their series, and I still like Memphis.

OKC is lucky to be up 2-0. When they start settling for jumpers, their offense goes south.

Well this is interesting. Boston summons the ghost of Larry Bird and takes Game 2 on the road. And without Rose, Chicago loses big at home to the lowly Sixers (104-84 right now with 2:15 left as I type this). I’m not going to say the Sixers have a chance, but I think Boston just improved their lot by a ton with this win. Atlanta, over the past few years, have been absolutely atrocious on the road in the playoffs

Come on Lakers! Don’t have an off night! Beat the Nuggets!

Vintage Kobe last night. They needed it too.

This should say “Paul Pierce” instead of “Boston.”