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WayOutWest
03-24-2004, 02:08 PM
In MY order of likely finishes:

Kings: With Webber, yuck! WithOUT Webber, yikes! When the Kings are "on" they are probably the favorites because you can't really defend them in crunchtime. It's like Kareems skyhook, the Kings are going to get the crunchtime shot, no matter what you do, it's only a matter of wether or not they knock it down because I don't think anyone is going to be able to defensd their pick and roll offense in the playoffs so you're going to have to count on their poor defense and cold outside shooting to beat them.

Lakers: thier defense sucks and their crunch time offense is looking more like the 1999 version that got swept by the Spurs. Devean George is utterly useless, this guy needs to ride the pine in favor of Fox and Walton. It's good to see Malone back in action but I still don't like PJ's substitution patterns. I'd like to see Karl on the floor when Shaq is not more often. Two of the big floor MUST be on the court at all times unless it's a blow out or they're in foul trouble for the Lakers to suceed. At this point I'd give Karl and Kobe the early breather and have them come in when GP and Shaq come out. I just don't like the groups that get put on the floor at times. Shaq's FT's seem to be getting worse and worse. Kobe is inconsistent because of injuries and his court case, which by the way could cause him to miss tonights game vs. the Kings. I really can't complain about GP too much, he's being asked to do too much. I like what I see from Fox, Walton and Rush, although Rush has gotten his minutes slashed. Fisher is a non-factor and I would put him in the liability catagory at this point. I'm not liking or betting on the Lakers future at this point and that bums me out.

Wolves: WFT? These guys could be lethal to their opponents or to themselves, not sure which. I think Kandi's effect on them is very negative and when he's not starting the Wolves are able to turn it around. They look lost at times and other times they look downright unbeatable with KG as the workhorse and SamIAm as the closer. These guys could go either way, 1st/2nd round exit or NBA champ, I have no idea.

Spurs: yuck, "nothing to see here" at times. Timmy needs to get back to his old self for them to have a shot. The Spurs biggest strength, a strength NO OTHER of the top teams have, is their CONSISTANT defensive game. That should keep them in the hunt and if Timmy can once again dominate. IMO the Spurs are underestimating the loss of D-Rob. Rasho is still a stiff who's only contribution to defending the rim will be giving fouls, not actually intimidating. Every center the Spurs face will be to their disadvantage with the possible exception of Grizz and Utah. Timmy cannot carry the the Spurs on BOTH sides of the court and expect to get very far in the playoffs, that's just too much work and the teams are just too good this year. If Rasho/Horry/Rose step it up I would put them in 2nd or 3rd spot depending on what Wolve's and Kings team shows up for the playoffs.

Dallas: I'm not seeing enough of their "junk" defense to give them a legit shot of getting out of the 2nd round. Last year in the playoffs they were able to make defensive stands for several possesions against the Kings and Spurs. A combo of zone and double teams in their man to man defense gave them a legit shot in the playoffs. I was amazed at what they were able to do defensively last year in the playoffs after dogging them all year about their D. Unfortunately with the personnel changes this year I don't think they have it in them from either side of the court in the playoffs to make as much noise as last year.

The rest could make some noise, Grizz/Rockets anyone, but HIGHLY unlikely.

Whoever ends up the 4 & 5 seeds this year will have a near impossible task to come out of the west. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the Lakers hold on but they have the toughest remaining schedule of the top teams. I think it's like 10 of the last 14 are against winning teams and 8 of those 10 are against playoff teams. I'm shocked the Lakers are in this good of a position considering the have had the worst run of injuries this year, the Kings could lay claim to that distinction as well. Wolves have been riddled but not truely at the starting 5.

dalmations202
03-24-2004, 02:23 PM
IMO:
Kings: Best shot I have seen for them to go all the way. They are vunerable though. They could lose in finals to Indy or Det.
Minn: If the curse and lack of playoff experience doesn't get them, then they have a shooter's chance.
LA: Go as far as Shaq takes them.
SA: Go as far as TD takes them.
DAL: Biggest Wildcard inconsistent bunch out there. If they can figure out how to get it in gear, can win it all, if not....out in round 1.
Mem: Biggest chance to upset someone. The two groups Hubie uses keeps people fresh, and forces different game planning based on unit on the floor at that time. They could get to the WCF if things go perfectly for them.

Hou, Den, Uta, Port --- may play well, but won't get out of the second round at best.

chumdawg
03-24-2004, 02:28 PM
Predictions for you:

1 Sac vs. 8 Den - pretty good series, Sac prevails
2 Min vs. 7 Hou - Min handily
3 LAL vs 6 Mem - the Grizz upset the Lake show!
4 Dal vs 5 SA - hard-fought seven-game series, home court prevails

1 Sac vs 4 Dal - if anyone can match up with Sac, the Mavs have a pretty good chance...series goes seven
2 Min vs 6 Mem - Grizz prevail again

WCF - still can't decide who is going to win that Sac/Dallas series...

kg_veteran
03-24-2004, 02:30 PM
Nice post, WOW. Interesting to read your perspective.

WayOutWest
03-24-2004, 03:14 PM
Originally posted by: kg_veteran
Nice post, WOW. Interesting to read your perspective.

Thanks.

I have to agree with the other poster in this thread, MY Lakers are screaming for an upset loss in the first round. i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif

kg_veteran
03-24-2004, 03:29 PM
It all depends on who the Lakers match up with. If I were a Lakers fan, my biggest concern would be the same concern Mavs fans have -- their defense. The Lakers are obviously going to be potent offensively, but if they don't defend they give any opponent a "puncher's chance" of an upset.

WayOutWest
03-24-2004, 03:44 PM
Originally posted by: kg_veteran
It all depends on who the Lakers match up with. If I were a Lakers fan, my biggest concern would be the same concern Mavs fans have -- their defense. The Lakers are obviously going to be potent offensively, but if they don't defend they give any opponent a "puncher's chance" of an upset.

That's not my concern kg, my concern is the "light switch" mentality. I really believed a hungry GP and Malone would end that Laker BS, unfortunately they didn't. If the Lakers hold on to the 3rd seed the will face one of the non-big 5 of the WC. IMO they will not turn the light switch "on" for them and they will regret it BIG TIME. Of the teams fighting it out for playoff spots I'd be worried about the Griz. Utah just doesn't have enough talent to beat the Lakers and Houston won't be taken likey because of the Yao/Shaq rivalry. The Lakers could possibly face Dallas but Shaq will ensure a series victory because of the past history with Nellie and hack-a-Shaq. That leaves Griz as the biggest threat at a first round upset. My biggest consolation is that the 1st round is 7 games now, otherwise everyone except the Spurs and Jazz would be an upset threat for the Lakers in round 1.

kg_veteran
03-24-2004, 03:58 PM
I think the Grizzles would also make a really interesting opponent because of the potential Jerry West storyline.

You're exactly right about the "light switch", though. No team is good enough to do that on a regular basis. The Stars tried that here in Dallas, and it didn't work for them either.

dalmations202
03-24-2004, 04:54 PM
I admit that I am waiting on seeing the Rockets in the playoffs. I think Van Gundy and his D will surprise someone. I don't think they win it all by any means, but they should be fun to watch in a playoff atmosphere.

ISmellmyTshirts
03-25-2004, 04:51 AM
I gotta go with Rudy T. "Never underestimate the heart of a champion."

Lakers and Spurs are the favorites going in. They been through the battles, they know what it takes, and they play D. (maybe not so much the lakers, but Shaq is Shaq. if he steps up the defense will follow). Plus, both are playing reasonably well. Yes Devean George is useless, but I think you'll see a couple of games where the bench steps up.

That leaves the T-wolves and the Kings playing catch-up. Do I see either of these teams winning 4 out of seven against LA or SA? No. There's a chance but the Kings defense is atrocious, and Olowakandi is killing Minn.
Minnesota though will make a strong push - garnett will be um... transcendent, filling up the stat sheet - but he cant do it alone. I expect them make a run similar to what the mavs did last year.

The grizzlies are the dark horse. I dont know how much their inexperience will hurt them, but they seem to play the big teams well. Hard to see hubie not having them prepared. They also seem to win a lot of games by making plays down the stretch. Could easily go deep into the second round.

Which brings us to the mavs. Last year, and the year before that they made the big plays in the fourth quarter - in comebacks, in stifiling comebacks, in close games, in road games. This year, I haven't seen it. Its like they are a baseball team with no closer, whose starting pitching can't complete the games. This, with their significant setback in their defense, will mean an early exit. Although, I hold out hope that Bradley and Williams will step up at the center spot, and force a new rotation; with AJ, and AW leading the second string and the Big Three, and a Center closing out games with AJ/Howard depending on the situation.

NYCdog
03-25-2004, 10:26 AM
My favorites going in........"IF" this team can stay healthy, the Lakers obviously have have what it takes to win it all.

We all that last night in the butt-whooping the gave Sacto. This wasnt the same Laker team we have all seen and made fun of this season. Last night, the Laker team we all expected to see at the beginning of the season finally showed up. ALL of there players (including Shaq and Kobe) look focused and ready to for the playoffs as a cohesive unit last night. The offense was clickin and there defense had the Kings looking lost throughout the game. This was an example of team basketball at its best against the best in the West.

Sure it was only one regular season game.......but this game to me was a sign, a statement if you will, made by the Lakers to show the rest of the league that they are ready for the challenge at hand.....to prevail in the West and regain their throne they lost last year. If the Lakers can play with that energy level all the time and stay on the same page as a team, they are obviously the favorites. Nuff said.

My suprise team, I have said it before and I will say it again. If Minny get H-Town in the first round (which is highly likely), then its bye-bye KG and company. In all of there match-ups this season, the Rockets have presented the Wolves with match up problems the Wolves cant seem to solve. Thus the Wolves have lost two of the three mettings this far. And I dont think they will come playoff time. The Rockets have the best field goal percentage defensively in the league, which means they are definitly playing solid defense. This will give them a chance to steel some victories. Plus they are a young and energetic bunch making there first playoff appearance, so it should be fun and interesting to watch them in the playoffs. I think JVG's word has gotten through to them loud and clear this season. And if this is indeed the case, given the fact that JVG has always had his Knick teams ready for a suprise playoff run in the past no matter how low-seeded and over matched they were, I think the Rockets could be in the same situation.......ready for a suprise playoff upset.

The breakdown........

1 Sac vs. 8 Port - hardly fought series. good effort by Portland........but it will come up short 4-2
2 Min vs. 7 Hou - THE PLAYOFF UPSET.....H-Town wins series 4-2
3 LAL vs 6 Mem - The Lakers make a statement out of the Grizz........4-1
4 SA vs 5 Dal - hard-fought Texas shootout, but these are the champs and they will prevail 4-2

1 Sac vs 4 SA - A classic shootout.......but Sacto will prove to be too much 4-2
3 LAL vs 7 Hou - Finally Shaq and Yao get it on in a playoff series. This un-expectedly becomes a hard fought series as JVG's Rockets will put up a big fight to the bitter end.......this one will go the distance and be a classic much like the Bird and Magic seires'.......but the Lakers will prevail 4-3.

1 Sac vs 3 LAL - An expected classic matchup.......but the Lakers as Shaq put it, "will show who the real capitol of California is!" 4-2

LA vs DET.......this will actually be a very good series. It will go to 6 but Karl Malone and Gary Payton will finally get to celebrate, on the home floor. LA wins series 4-2........

Richard
03-26-2004, 02:59 PM
WOW, I usually enjoy disagreeing with you. So, might as well not stop now. i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif

I'm dreading the playoffs because I think Phil is going to get all his pieces and the Lakeshow act together just in time to finish the season the way they started it. Not fun if you are not a Laker fan.

Of course, one injury to any of their big four and they get as beatable as anybody. Williams into weak knee Act II anyone? hehe.

WayOutWest
03-26-2004, 03:38 PM
Originally posted by: Richard
WOW, I usually enjoy disagreeing with you. So, might as well not stop now. i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif

I'm dreading the playoffs because I think Phil is going to get all his pieces and the Lakeshow act together just in time to finish the season the way they started it. Not fun if you are not a Laker fan.

Of course, one injury to any of their big four and they get as beatable as anybody. Williams into weak knee Act II anyone? hehe.

I think the Laker can afford to lose Payton or (no laughing) Kobe and still have a legit, but not favorite, shot at the title. Yes Kobe! I said it..WHAT?!?

Obviously the Lakers don't go anywhere without Shaq, and as much as I dispise Malone it's pretty obvious he's the heart and glue of the team.

If every team is playing up to their abilities then I give the Lakers a HUGE edge, the problem is the Lakers play down to their competition and against a team like Memphis or even the Rockets that could spell disaster.

Shaq Attack2
03-26-2004, 05:47 PM
Lakers have a chance at the title without Malone or Payton if Shaq and Kobe are healthy. That's really the most important thing. People seem to take for granted that Shaq and Kobe won 3 titles together because the West upgraded last summer. But, if the Lakers had to lose anyone, let it be Payton; Malone is the glue, toughness and the PF the Lakers have needed for 4 years.

rakesh.s
03-27-2004, 12:26 AM
right now, it looks like the lakers are going to run the table and just decimate everyone..

they're almost a combination of sacramento and san antonio

i would like to see the mavs knock them off though i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif