Western Conference Playoff Preview

San Antonio (1) vs. Utah (8)

Game 1 – Sun. April 29, Utah at San Antonio, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 2 – Wed. May 2, Utah at San Antonio, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Sat. May 5, San Antonio at Utah, 10 p.m., TNT
Game 4 – Mon. May 7, San Antonio at Utah, TBD
Game 5 * Wed. May 9, Utah at San Antonio, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, San Antonio at Utah, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, Utah at San Antonio, TBD

Things are much different this time around for the San Antonio Spurs. This time they’re not limping into the playoff but instead have all their superstars healthy and raring to go. Tony Parker is playing MVP basketball, Manu Ginobli has embraced his new role off the bench with vigor and Tim Duncan is doing the same he has for years, if only slower. The Jazz have the tall timber that could bother the Spurs in Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap brusing their way through the lane. With no true defensive center left in San Antonion, this is where the Jazz can win the series. But the electric offense of the Spurs should be too much for the Jazz. Expect a reasobably easy series win here.

Oklahoma City (2) vs. Dallas (7)

Game 1 – Sat. April 28, Dallas at Oklahoma City, 9:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 – Mon. April 30, Dallas at Oklahoma City, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Thu. May 3, Oklahoma City at Dallas, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 4 – Sat. May 5, Oklahoma City at Dallas, 7:30 p.m., TNT/R
Game 5 * Mon. May 7, Dallas at Oklahoma City, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Oklahoma City at Dallas, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Dallas at Oklahoma City ,TBD, TNT

Surely the Thunder were hoping for an easier first round matchup than with the reigning champs. Championship experience runs deep in the roster and the Mavericks pose a real threat to the Thunders potential championship run. But the absence of defensive anchor Tyson Chandler, who now makes port in the Knicks key, will seriously effect the Mavs chances. Whether ageing center Brendan Haywood can stand in the way of the likes of Russel Westrook and Kevin Durant will hold one of the main keys to the series. Also, Serge Ibaka will have to stay with Dirk Nowitzki. Same thing with Shaun Marion on Kevin Durant. It’s there for the Mavs to win, but the Thunder will probably go on to the second round out of this one.

L.A. Lakers (3) vs. Denver (6)

Game 1 – Sun. April 29, Denver at L.A. Lakers, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 2 – Tue. May 1, Denver at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Fri May 4, L.A. Lakers at Denver, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 – Sun. May 6, L.A. Lakers at Denver, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Denver at L.A. Lakers, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, L.A. Lakers at Denver, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Denver at L.A. Lakers, TBD, TNT

Well the Lakers got here. And if it wasnt for Ron Artest’s flailing elbows, they would of arrived in one piece. Playoffs seem to turn this team into another creature. It’s said so often, but the Lakers are built for the playoffs. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol give them unmatched size and now with Ramon Sessions running the point, there’s even an element of speed in Lakerland. However, Sessions’ number one task will be to slow down rocket point guard Ty Lawson, who could very well claim to be one of the All Stars of the second half of the season. But Bynum’s improved low post play and rebounding will be the key here. There’s simply noone who can match up with him in the league, let alone on the Nugget’s roster. Look to him to have a big series and possibly an opinion changing playoffs as the Lakers get the win here.

Memphis (4) vs. L.A. Clippers (5)

Game 1 – Sun. April 29, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 2 – Wed. May 2, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 9:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Sat. May 5, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 – Mon. May 7, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, TBD
Game 5 * Wed. May 9, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, TBD

The Clippers gave up homecourt advantage in the dying stages of the regular season and that could very well make all the difference as the Grizzlies building is one of the more hostile environments around the league. It’s a difficult building to win in, as the Spurs showed last time around. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin form a dangerous duo and one that could very well win the series for the Clippers. However, if the bustling Zach Randolph can get Blake into foul trouble early, then the Clippers could be in a bit of trouble. Paul is one of the better clutch performers in the league and the matchup between him and Tony Allen during crunch time is something to look forward too. The Clippers don’t really have anyone to match up with Rudy Gay, the hard running and slashing guard likely to cause some headaches for the Clippers. This one is almost too close to call, but the edge goes to Lob City in this one.

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Posted on April 28, 2012, in Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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