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Old 04-15-2008, 02:12 PM   #1
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Default NBA First Round Playoffs Thread

Put all your random thoughts on first round games here. The matchups are:

EAST

(1) Boston vs. (8) Atlanta
(2) Detroit vs. (7) Philadelphia
(3) Orlando vs. (6) Toronto
(4) Cleveland vs. (5) Washington

WEST

(1) L.A. Lakers vs. (8) Denver
(2) New Orleans vs. (7) Dallas
(3) San Antonio vs. (6) Phoenix
(4) Utah vs. (5) Houston

MY PICKS: Boston, Detroit, Orlando, Cleveland; L.A., New Orleans, Phoenix, Houston
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:08 PM   #2
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But the matchups in the West are not officially set yet. New Orleans can finish anywhere from 1 to 3, the Spurs anywhere from 2 to 6, and Utah, Phoenix, and Houston are all tied with the same record and depending on the outcomes of their final games they could end up in several different spots.
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:23 PM   #3
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My picks: Bullets, Braves, Royals, Nationals, Zephyrs, Huskies, Steamrollers, Stags and Capitols
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Old 04-16-2008, 10:20 PM   #4
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I am surprised that Boston has not gotten more press. They have absolutely dominated the Western conference record wise....somewhere around 25-5 vs. the west.

Unless the Spurs pick it up a bit, I think Boston is the team to beat with the Suns a close second.
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Old 04-17-2008, 04:23 AM   #5
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In the Eastern conference I feel that whats expected will happen. There is no mystery there, Boston, Detroit and Orlando will easily move on, with the Cavs and Wizards battling for respect. Cavs vs. Wizards will probably be the most interesting series in the East.
Now the West is going to be fun to analyze, simply because any team, regardless of the seed, can win the series.

#1 Lakers vs. #8 Nuggets

The Lakers have matured plenty in the past few months, fighting all the way to the top, with their captain Mr. Bryant leading the ship. Their team chemistry has been rising considerably, adapting the triangle offense and being able to execute it. The Lakers have role players that can finish, which comes into play when Kobe is constantly double teamed by defenses. His ability to read the game opens up the whole floor for everyone and the focus that is placed on him by other teams allow the other 4 guys to relax and be able to knock down crucial shots. There is also the ability for Kobe to take over the game, he's been doing it for years and this year has really mastered that ability without forcing his shots. The one concern is their ability to cover perimeter shooting, which they have improved but can still fall to a shooting team like Dallas.
The Nuggets have been a dissapointment this year, coming into the season with high hopes and barely squeezing into the playoffs with such a talented roster. Having two of the best defenders in the NBA, it bothers me that they play such terrible team defense. Blame George Karl for that. There is no doubt that they can score, but their lack of defense keeps other teams in the game giving them a chance to changed to momentum the other way. Carmelo's DUI incident is a distraction, which clearly shows he is not ready to lead a team just yet, and it will show in this series. I don't think A.I. will be able to rescue this team.

Prediction - Lakers win in 5

#2 Hornets vs. #7 Mavericks

This should be a very entertaining series. Mavericks have the experience factor going for them, having 8 straight 50 win seasons, and the reigning MVP on their side doesn't hurt either. As for the Hornets, they have showed poise and ability to run with the big dogs, but I feel that their lack of experience will still come into play. Season records don't matter anymore, everyone has 0 wins and 0 loses coming in and as I had said, this conference was stacked so the difference between the seeds isn't great.
Chris Paul has shown that he can run a team on offense, but there is still much to desire on defense. Yes, he leads the league in steals, but thats because he plays the gaps so well, his one-on-one D still needs some improvement and I think it will show against a verteran point guard like Kidd. I also think they will have some matchup problems against Dirk, I don't think David West will be able to contain him. Jason Terry and Kidd are excellent defenders which will come into play since they will be able to switch on Paul. Josh howard also an underated defender will stick with Peja and try to limit him to good looks on 3-pointers. I think in this series Dirk is going to look to take over and not let an early exit happen to Dallas...again.

Prediction - Dallas in 6

#3 Spurs vs. #6 Suns

This is going to be a great matchup. Two teams come in with experience, with talent and with plenty to prove. The Defending champs looked a little sluggish this season, but every year they always manage to turn it up during playoff time, specially Tim Duncan at times laying down some sick stats. They pride themselves on defense and you can expect that in this series too, even with Bruce Bowen being a cheap player, he is still an excellent defender. Ginobili was hurt late in the season which may affect their energy coming off the bench with Brent Barry and Robert Horry also being injured. Age might also become a factor for the Spurs in this series and their legs might run out late in the games.
As for the Suns, i hate to be wrong, but Shaq has actually been playing well after adjusting to the new team. He has helped with the boards and offered more playing room for Amare on offense. With Nash having two big guys down low is a kid at a candy store. The Feel-Good story of the year is Grant Hill, who has been playing an excellent role for the suns and could even become an X-factor. He is also an underated defender who can really shut people down, including a wobbly Ginobili.
I think the Suns have an excellent chance of taking down the defending champs, with Shaq and Amare taking turn to shut down Timmy D.

Prediction - Suns in 6 (maybe even 5)

#4 Jazz vs. #5 Rockets

I think this one is actually a pretty simple one. No Yao, No Win. Yes, they had that amazing 22-wins in a row streak, but if you look back, half was with Yao, and the other was against teams some teams with lowly records, with the exception of 3 games. I was impressed but not to the extent that the whole nation was and I knew it wouldn't last long before their true color started to show. T-Mac can't do it all and they have good role players but they still don't have Yao. I don't think replacing Yao for Dikembe was an upgrade in anyway.
Jazz have way too much man power. Okur can shoot 3's. AK47 Kirilenko is Mr. Do-it-all. Boozer is the enforcer of the team. Deron Williams is almost as perfect at the point as Chris Paul with a strong body that can drive to the basket. I don't think Houston has enough guys to defend all that. I think it's going to be a Train full speed against a moped. I feel the Jazz will dominate this matchup.

Prediction - Jazz in 5 ( I would call a sweep but I think T-Mac will go off one game and pull one)
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trayhezy View Post
I am surprised that Boston has not gotten more press. They have absolutely dominated the Western conference record wise....somewhere around 25-5 vs. the west.
A lot of that is because the Pistons still have most of the core of the team that won a title a couple of years ago and they really have been the team to beat in the East the past 4 seasons. They have a core of players with tons of postseason experience.

On the flip side of that the Celtics are lead by a trio of players, Allen, KG, and Pierce, who don't exactly have sterling postseason resumes when it comes to getting past the second round.

The Celtics also have history going against them as it is rare for a team to rise from the ashes and make a deep playoff run in the NBA. A team typically needs to have made a couple of playoff appearances together before they get over the hump. That is not to say they cannot do it though.

Quote:
Unless the Spurs pick it up a bit, I think Boston is the team to beat with the Suns a close second.
The Spurs looked more than ready for the postseason in dismantling the Jazz last night.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:35 AM   #7
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Nice breakdown & welcome to the boards, stellez

Eastern Conference:

Boston in a breeze 4-0. Still can't wait to see how KG responds in the playoffs with his new team against tougher foes tho.

Detroit relatively easy 4-1. Battle hardened but once again going into the playoffs without an edge from inactivity/challenges. Be interesting when the comp gets tougher.

Magic in 6 tho both teams have been hot & cold with their play. Magic should win but I wouldn't be surprised if the Raptors came out of this one.

Cavs in a hard fought 7 if James's back holds out. Arenas will probably help by trying to do too much, too soon. James has that 'Jordanesque' (hate that word) quality of 'willing' his team to victory but he better get some help from his boys. Either way, 2 beat up teams with too many holes to make a clear call.

Western Conference:

LA 4-1 cuz Karl doesn't beat PJ & the Nuggets can't defend the triangle tho they can't defend much else anyway. Good start for the Lakers until it comes their time to defend someone in the rounds to come.

Mavs in a tough 7 more cuz they've been there, NO can't buy a win in Dallas, & the Mavs can win on the road. Hornets are in desperate need of some seasoning & the Mavs'll provide it but barely. Then again, would it really be that shocking for a young Hornets squad to wilt under the bright glare of the playoff lights & make this one easier on the Mavs? Tough one to call again...

Suns in a scary 7 based on their scoring ability, the Spurs age/health, having Shaq, Amare on a roll (see Shaq acquisition) & scary cuz of their spotty individual/team D that won't keep the Spurs in check long enough when the SA D has slowed the Suns offense. The Spurs may show that the report of their demise is greatly exaggerated but the last 1/4 of the season has shown some concern that it may be on target.

Jazz in 6. Rockets will probably put up a struggle but without Yao & with McGrady's playoff 'experience' & Alston being out, they should be over matched against Sloan's squad.

Interesting series I'm looking forward too:

LA to see if PJ actually has them confident & focused enough for the playoffs or are they subconsciously satisfied with the relatively shocking regular season results.

Spurs/Suns cuz it's obviously the match up of match ups to start the playoffs besides finally answering the everyone's immediate question of exactly what having Shaq really means to the Suns.





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Old 04-17-2008, 06:57 PM   #8
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Welcome to the boards Stellez

Ok, let's get down to brass tax...

Boston 4 Atlanta 0

Cleveland 4 Washington 3: I don't think Lebron's back is a big issue but the failure of Cleveland to gel since the trade is something to be concerned about. They simply don't have enough low-post scoring (or even the threat of it) when Sideshow Bob and Big Ben are in at the same time to stretch the floor for King James.

Detroit 4 Philly 1: The media love Philly's grit and hussle but the talent/experience disparity is too much here.

Orlando 4 Toronto 2: There's going to be a ton of scoring with 3s hoisted at a record rate but in the end it will be Dwight Howard's assertiveness on the offensive end (FINALLY!) that will get the Magic to Round #2. I'm cautious here cuz if someone can screw up a playoff series...it's Stan Van Spaghetti.

LA Lakers 4 Denver 0: If you watched the games these two played in the regular season you would have seen a Denver squad with absolutely no answer on the defensive end for LA. And when you hoist a ton of shots in a one and done fashion on the other end of the floor to start the Laker fast break...that's a big problem.

Houston 4 Utah 3: The Jazz can't win on the road and Houston is one of four teams to win in Salt Lake this season. It will be interesting to see how much success Boozer has down low against Houston's young big (Landry & Hayes).

Dallas 4 New Orleans 1: Too much experience for the young Hornets to handle. Jason Kidd and Chris Paul will probably cancel each other out (as they did last night) but Kidd's wisdom will force Paul into mistakes.

Phoenix 4 San Antonio 2: It's a shame the two best teams in the NBA have to play each other in the first round but it has been a crazy year. Horry and Barry have injury concerns and the Spurs have played pretty bad down the stretch (don't include last night...Utah isn't fit to field a team to take the floor with SA). That wouldn't bother me against upstarts (every other team in the West including LA) but this is a battle of Yoda vs. Yoda with Shaq and Duncan. The last two meetings between these two had Master O'Neal getting the better of Master Duncan.
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Old 04-18-2008, 04:23 PM   #9
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The Hornets are going to kill the old, depleted Mavs. Dallas' run is over. The Kidd trade was not smart. They are only playing .500 ball with him. Hornets 4-1. Paul is going to make Kidd look like grandpa.
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Old 04-19-2008, 05:34 AM   #10
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Thanks for the welcome everyone.

I do believe that Kidd had a triple-double (27-10-10) on their last season game against the hornets, proving that he is capable of handling the load if needed when Dirk had a terrible scoring night (4-16FG). Even so, Dallas for a 'depleted' team, play excellent team Defense thanks to Avery Johnson who has a Spurs mentality. Not to mention Jason Terry and Josh Howard who are very solid scorers. Matchup Eric Dampier with Tyson Chandler, Chandler is going to have a hard time getting around a big body like him.
I think it's going to be a very fun series to watch, but Dallas will win.
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Old 04-19-2008, 10:12 AM   #11
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Boston 4 Atlanta 0 -
Detroit 4 Philly 1
Orlando 4 Toronto 3 - Think these are the most evenly matched teams in the first round.
Washington 4 Cleveland 1 - Probably more like 2 or 3 wins for Cleveland. Really, just matters how many they can keep close, because the officials will find a way to get wins for LeBron like the other night in Philly to clinch the homecourt. Wizards have more talent and are the deeper team.

Hornets 4 Mavericks 2 - Originally had Dallas winning this 4-2, but like the Hornets a little more. Best player in the series will be Paul and think he will lead them to the series win. Dallas needs to win one in New Orleans if they're going to pull the series out.

Lakers 4 Denver 1

Utah 4 Houston 2 or 3 - or 1. or 0.

Spurs 4 Suns 3 - Think it will go 7, probably the two best teams in the west behind the Lakers. Bigger questions is if it goes 6 or 7 and is a physical team, can the team who moves on recover quick enough for their next opponent?
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Old 04-19-2008, 10:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stellez847 View Post
Thanks for the welcome everyone.

I do believe that Kidd had a triple-double (27-10-10) on their last season game against the hornets, proving that he is capable of handling the load if needed when Dirk had a terrible scoring night (4-16FG). Even so, Dallas for a 'depleted' team, play excellent team Defense thanks to Avery Johnson who has a Spurs mentality. Not to mention Jason Terry and Josh Howard who are very solid scorers. Matchup Eric Dampier with Tyson Chandler, Chandler is going to have a hard time getting around a big body like him.
I think it's going to be a very fun series to watch, but Dallas will win.
True but the issue with Kidd is not so much his offense but his defense, he just does not have the chops to slow the elite PGs down any more. Chris Paul went for 27/6/7, 31/5/11 with 9 steals, and 20/3/10 in his three matchups with Kidd. While Kidd went for 14/9/10, 8/6/5 6 TOs, 27/10/10. Paul had three good performances while Kidd had one good, one awful, and one great game when they hooked up.

Chandler averaged 12.5 points and 10.3 rebounds in the 4 games they played Dallas this year. Dampier really did not bother him during the season so I don't know why it would be significantly different in the playoffs. He is not a big part of their offense anyway. It is probably going to come down to who steps it up between Josh Howard and Dirk Nowitzki for Dallas as they were both atrocious against the Hornets this year and for the Hornets they need David West to step it up as he grossly underperformed against Dallas this year and he is really a bigger factor in the offense and they will need Peja to maintain his 16 points per game and not disappear like he had a tendency to do in Sacramento.

Don't be surprised if Philly manages to push that series to six. They split the season with Detroit with Philly taking the last two matchups. Detroit will win the series but I think the Sixers just may give them more than they are bargainning for.
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:40 PM   #13
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I agree Kidd did have sub-par games, but you also have to understand he was just coming off a trade, while Chris Paul and the hornets were on a roll and have been playing together for a longer time. Look at the Suns with Shaq, I had my doubts about him going to Phoenix, but now that playoffs are here they are looking like a very scary team. (Suns are up by 8 on the spurs are we speak, even with shaq playing limited with foul trouble).
Dallas also has momentum going their way, they made a strong playoff push in the last 10 games of the season, while the hornets dropped a few towards the end, including that final loss to Dallas. It showed that Dallas is starting to build chemistry and Dirk playing like his MVP form again in those games, coming back from that injury.

Chandler's rebounds in those games was actually lower than his season average by a rebound and a half. But having a big body like Dampier on defense against a smaller hornets team can create some problems in the middle.
I do agree with the Dirk and Josh statement, I think Dirk has had enough playoff experience to know what he has to do.
It's going to be interesting how they deal with Peja, if Terry or Howard guards him. If West is guarded by Dirk he will look to have a good series since Dirk is known as Irk for his lack of D.

I do like Philly, very underated team, but going against a Detroit team who has been together for quite some time and have been to the conference finals 5 straight years, will be tough to beat.
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Old 04-19-2008, 06:27 PM   #14
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Phoenix is currently in the process of giving this one away as well. I am really beginning to wonder if the Spurs are in the Suns heads.

Chandler's rebounding difference is statistically insignificant when you are talking about 4 games though. Theoretically he could have three 14 rebound games and one zero rebound game and ended up with 10.5 per game.

Chandler went for 21/13, 15/11, 8/9 and 6/8. So he had two mediocre games and two pretty strong games.

The strong playoff push can work either way. Some teams seize the momentum and make some noise in the playoffs while others simply flame out because they expended too much energy making the push to the postseason. Dallas is an older team and I tend to think having to ramp it up down the stretch could hurt them. The Hornets are younger and should have the fresher legs. One thing to keep in mind about that last game between the two teams is that the Hornets had nothing to play for as they went into that game knowing they were going to be the #2 seed whether they won or lost that game as the Lakers had already clinched the top spot the night before.
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:02 PM   #15
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Well, game 2 will show if they are in their heads, Doublee

This was a gift of gifts today. The Suns just don't close for various reasons. They had the worst string of defensive stands from a solid team that I can remember. Slow switches, spotty perimeter D, players caught in between as tho they didn't know where to be, etc., etc. etc.

On offense, they just don't know how to attack a team in the penalty. I can't remember how many 4th quarter minutes they had the advantage yet everyone stood around watching Nash dribble around like a water bug. No movement, no screens, no nothing to try & get to the line.

Shaq made a big difference but these kind of things have always sunk the Suns. It never was just missing a big man in the middle. Reality is still this is a game #1 road loss & plenty of time to see how they react but if history holds...

James took over the game at the end like expected but this should be just the beginning of this see-saw battle. It'll be curious to see how Arenas feels after this one. He started hot but cooled later & that knee should continue to get more fatigued as the games roll by.
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