We previously previewed the Eastern Conference 1st round match-ups. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t much to get excited about. I’m tuned in to Knicks/Celtics today, but everything else is borderline watchable at best.
But now we look at the Western Conference. When I think about all of the match-ups and storylines out west, I can’t help but be giddy with anticipation…
As we stated in the Eastern post, no one has time to watch all of these games, so we must be selective. So lets take a look at the West.
We have the Kobe-less Lakers trying to make a stand for their fallen leader vs the Spurs….I know, corny right? But the match-up is intriguing because I want to see if Dwight Howard plays more aggressive with The Mamba sidelined. He’s already getting back to his goofy ways, doing a 300 parody of a pre-game speech on the last day of the season. Ray Lewis, he is not. But he seems more at ease, which is a plus if you’re a Laker fan.
Gasol had 2 triple-doubles in his last 3 games. Which makes you wonder, what in the hell was D’Antoni thinking not starting Gasol earlier in the season? Had he played more through Gasol and Howard earlier, he might not have needed to use Kobe as much as he did late. Everyone is jumping on this match-up. I’ll watch it, but it’s not must-see tv for me. If the Spurs are healthy, I really don’t think they’ll have huge problems dispatching of the Lake Show
The Houston/OKC match-up peeks my interest because of the James Harden dynamic. I still maintain they traded the wrong guard. Had it been me, Westbrook would’ve been shipped out. Go do your Baby Kobe thing elsewhere and build around your superstars who love to share. Harden is one of those rare scorers who can give you 30+ points and still share the ball with his teammates. He’s such a willing passer, I think he and Durant’s games suited each other so much better. But what do I know? I’m just a guy with a blog searching for more readers.
The series will be entertaining because of the style, but I don’t see it being a prolonged affair.
So what series am I saying you should watch?
Best series to watch in the West? Warriors vs Nuggets & Grizzlies vs Clippers
The Steph Curry vs Ty Lawson pg match-up has the potential to be a classic. Two high-octane offenses going at it. I’m thinking this series could be similar to those Phoenix/Dallas series of the mid 2000’s. I can’t wait to watch these teams go full throttle, up and down the court. The questions I have are will anyone play defense? And in a tight game, who does Denver go to for a big basket. We know who Golden State is going to, but Denver has done it by committee all season. I’m wondering who will step up and take on the role of closer for them. David Lee vs Kenneth Faried will also play a major role.
In the end, I think Denver has too much depth and Golden State just inst ready to make that move just yet.
My Pick: Nuggets in 6
Before Memphis traded Rudy Gay, I really thought they were a contender. As a Heat fan, that was the only team out West who somewhat worried me. Z-Bo and Gasol are two of the best bigs in the league. Not overly athletic, but both are extremely skilled and physical. Contrast that with the Clippers and their ridiculously athletic duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
These two teams played an incredibly physical series last year and there’s no love lost between Z-Bo and Griffin.
I need to see if Griffin’s game has progressed past the monster dunks. Do I love the dunks? Of course! But to truly be an elite player I want to see him grow offensively.
Should be a great, old school battle, but I think the Clippers and CP3 find a way to pull it out.
My Pick: Clippers in 7
In the other Western Conference series:
Thunder in 5 over the Rockets
Spurs in 5 over the Lakers
– N.D. face