Written by Kevin Jackman
Twitter- @kjackmansports, Facebook.com/Jackmansports, E-mail- firstname.lastname@example.org
On the day of the 2011 NBA Playoffs opener, what better a time to cement my predictions in stone for you to criticize as much as you want? So without further ado, here are my predictions.
1 San Antonio Spurs vs. 8 Memphis Grizzlies
The questions about the Spurs are continuing to mount. Now, with the added pressure of simply being old, they may now be without arguably their best player Manu Ginobili for the opener. For an offense that now overly emphasizes guard penetration and shot making, this is a potential tremendous loss. Tim Duncan can no longer carry an offense like used to, and Tony Parker is only as good as the shot makers around him. With that said, the Grizzlies are without Rudy Gay, meaning they are down their best and most athletic player. Only way the Grizzlies get past the Spurs is if Zack Randolph puts up 20-20’s in each game and O.J. Mayo lives up to the potential he showed in his rookie year. It flat out won’t happen, no matter how long Manu is out.
Spurs in 5
2 Los Angeles Lakers vs.7 New Orleans Hornets
The Lakers are the two time defending champs. They have the same roster as last year’s title run as well. However, they are now a year older, Kobe’s knees are creakier and he has to deal with the gay slur incident as well. The Hornets on the other hand are porous up front and don’t have anyone to attack with besides Chris Paul. I just cannot see CP3 carrying the Hornets to four victories against this proven Lakers squad. Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol will prove to be too big for New Orleans and because of that, Paul’s efforts will soon be going to another team.
Lakers in 4
3 Dallas Mavericks vs. 6 Portland Trail Blazers
The Mavericks are a legitimate threat; I don’t understand why so many people are picking the Trail Blazers for the upset. The Mavs have one of the best power forwards in the game and have a hall of fame point guard to set things up. Not to mention Tyson Chandler has evolved into an elite defender who understands his role on this team. The Blazers just are not attractive to me. They have way too many moving parts. Yes, LaMarcus Aldridge is stud, but Brandon Roy isn’t the Brandon Roy of old. Andre Miller is a versatile point guard, but in a matchup with Kidd, they cancel each other out. I truly cannot see an upset happening here, if you want an upset, read the Eastern Conference predictions. Dirk is too good for Aldridge and the Mavs are too deep as a team.
Mavs in 6
4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 5 Denver Nuggets
I am absolutely astounded by the performance the Nuggets have displayed since the Carmelo deal. How they came out on top… only Tim Kreutzfeldt seems to know- see The Melo Deal: How Denver Came out on Top. George Karl has done an amazing job getting this team to a number five seed, and if they were playing most other teams, I would pick them. But unfortunately for them, they must face the Oklahoma City Thunder. Personally, the Thunder are my team to come out of the West, so it wouldn’t make sense if I picked Denver here. Kevin Durant is the BEST scorer in the NBA right now and Russell Westbrook is not very far behind. I must say though, Kendrick Perkins was exactly who they needed to make a title run. Kudos for making that deal happen, it will pay off against the Nuggets.
Thunder in 6