As promised, here’s Part Deux of my NBA Playoffs post.Â If you read Part One, When the East is in the House, Oh My God, then you already know that these posts are about who I want to win, not who I think will win. Side bar:Â I updated When the East is in the House, Oh My God, so please go back and read it.Â I can’t believe no one called me out for an error I made!Â Speaking of calling folks out, as another reminder, I implore you to call me out if I bandwagon hop during the playoffs.Â Although that’s not really my style it’s been known to happen a time or two in the past.
So, I’ve already broken down the Eastern Conference which means that today I’m focused on the Wild Wild West...Conference that is.Â And, now that all of the matchups are set, I’m going to switch it up and go series by series.
Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
For this series, I’m riding with the Oklahoma City Thunder.Â As you can probably imagine, I am not a Lakers fan.Â I would be very disappointed if they won another championship (says the fan of the most winningest franchise in history).Â Â I kind of like employing the “do as I say, not as I do mantra”, lol.Â I’m not going to say that I’m anti-Kobe Bryant, I’m just pro-Kevin Durant.Â I think he’s an amazing talent, and one of the great future stars of the league.Â Case in point, this season, he set the record for the youngest player to win the scoring title.Â He’s the real deal.Â Poor Greg Oden…Â Sorry, I can’t help but think of Oden’s misfortune when I think of how successful Durant’s young career has been.
So successful that Lakers’ coach, Phil Jackson, recently criticized the officials and accused them of giving Durant preferential treatment because he goes to the foul line so much.Â Seriously?Â You have got to be kidding meÂ Phil Jackson has the nerve to talk about someone getting special treatment.Â Pot meet kettle.Â Kettle meet pot.Â Give me a break.Â When Kobe gets those calls, I don’t hear him complaining.Â When Jordan got those calls, he was quiet as a mouse.Â SMH…Durant can’t help that he’s a physical player who knows how to draw the foul.Â Durant can’t help that people can’t D him up without fouling him.Â Durant also can’t help that he’s a 90% free throw shooter.Â So, if and/or when the games come down to the wire, Phil Jackson should be shook because he knows that 9 out of 10 times, that ball is going through the hoop.Â Â Also, I find it very interesting that Phil shares his POV two days before the Lakers/Thunder series begins.Â He’s already politickin’.Â He aint slick.Â I know his type.Â I think he recognized that his team has been falling apart at the wrong time of the season.Â He may be panicking slightly. Although, if I were the Lakers, I wouldn’t be worried.Â Yes, they hit a few bumps toward the end of the season and yes Kobe has a finger injury but I’m sure they’ll be fine.Â He’s Kobe Bryant for goodness sakes.Â Trust me, he’ll turn it on when it’s time i.e. now.Â Also, Andrew Bynum is making his return in time for the series.Â I’m sure his playing time will be limited at first, but their bench just got a little deeper, which is exactly what you want during the playoffs…more weapons.
All in all, I think this is going to be a good series.Â I’m excited to watch Durant go up against Kobe.Â I’m also proud to see this young team and franchise do so well.Â It’s a good story for the league.Â I’d love to see the underdogs send the defending champs home early.Â Let the Thunder, roll!!
Mavericks vs. Spurs
For this series, I’m going with the Mavs.
The Mavs/Spurs is one of my favorite rivalries in the league.Â Both teams have consistent veteran players that continue to carry their teams.Â I also think that both teams take their play to another level when they face each other.Â The good ol’ Texas Showdown will definitely live up to the hype.
Although, I’ve never really been a fan of the Spurs.Â In my opinion, they’re just not an exciting team to watch.Â I don’t really connect with anyone on their team.Â Yes, Tony Parker included.Â In fact, I feel like the Mavs and the Spurs are a tale of two teams.Â With the Spurs, I think the personality of the team is similar to that of Tim Duncan aka The Big Fundamental aka Mr. No Personality aka pretty blah.Â But on the other hand, I think the Mavs’ team personality is that of Mark Cuban aka Mr. Badass.Â I know lots of people think he’s a team distraction, but I don’t.Â I think his level of involvement and fandom is exciting to watch.Â I respect that he’s such an active, passionate owner, who isn’t afraid to speak his mind.Â I also appreciate that he offers transparency for the fans. I once read that he responds to “all” of the fans’ emails personally.Â Notice “all” is in quotes because I think that may be exaggerated slightly,Â but the fact that he responds to any is pretty remarkable.
Mark Cuban also isn’t afraid to spend money to bring talent to Dallas.Â He desperately wants to win a championship and I desperately want him to win one.Â I think owners like him should be rewarded with a Championship for all they do for the franchise.Â He will make all necessary moves until he feels that he has the best team on the court.Â However, despite all of that, the Mavs can never seem to make it happen.Â It’s kind of as if they lack that killer instinct to put teams away for good.Â They made it to the finals in ’06, but got burned by the Heat.Â Maybe this will be their year.Â If they’re able to make it happen, you’d hear no complaints from me.
Suns vs. Blazers
I’m pulling for the Suns on this one.
Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudamire are two of my favs in the league.Â They’re also the heart and soul of the Suns.Â For that reason, all of the Stoudamire trade rumors upset me.Â I feel like he’s so unappreciated.Â Not cool.Â He’s their leading scorer (23.1 ppg), leading rebounder (8.9 ppg) and has played every game this season.Â He doesn’t deserve to be treated like he has. I don’t get it.
I also love that Grant Hill is healthy again.Â Yep, I enjoy a feel good story from time to time, lol.Â Â The funny thing is, I was not a Grant Hill fan during his Duke days because he used to take it to Michigan’s Fab Five all of the time.Â But, when he came into the league, I quickly changed my opinion of him.Â He’s such a good guy.Â I like good guys and I want this group of good guys to succeed, even if the front office is making a bad decision with trying to move Stoudamire.
Ahhh, the Portland Blazers.Â I must admit, they’re pretty impressive.Â Despite losing Greg Oden (again) and Joel Przybilla for the season,Â they’ve somehow pushed through and landed themselves the sixth spot in the playoffs.Â Sadly, this will be the end of the road for them.Â With Brandon Roy out for knee surgery, they don’t have a chance.Â The timing for this couldn’t have been any worse.Â Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.
Nuggets vs. Jazz
If I had my way, the Denver Nuggets would be the team coming out of the West and heading to the Finals.Â I’m a huge Carmelo Anthony fan (go ‘cuse!).Â And, I’d love to see him go up against his fellow 2003 NBA Draft mate, Lebron James.Â This way, it’s guaranteed that at least one of them gets a ring.Â Yes, here I go being a sucker for a feel good story again. But, that’s not the only reason.Â I also enjoy watching the Nuggets play– Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, Chris Anderson, Chauncey Billups, J.R. Smith, Aaron Aflalo, Nene and on and on and on.Â I love this team!
I think this is their most well-rounded and focused team in a minute.Â Chauncey Billups has definitely provided that team with the leadership they needed. And, during the season, they had a nice little run where they were just shutting teams down.Â But, since then, Kenyon Martin suffered a knee injury and I think that’s negatively impacted the team.Â Although he’s back, I don’t think he has the same hop as he did before the injury.Â Hopefully, these past few days off will do him some good.
Now, about the Jazz.Â Admittedly, I haven’t paid much attention to the Jazz since Karl Malone and John Stockton retired.Â It’s partly because they’re out West and partly because they don’t have the same star power they did with Stockton and Malone.
Despite that, I’m aware that Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams hold that team down.Â It”ll be fun to watch Deron Williams and Billups face off against each other.Â Two very strong leaders at the point.Â Game changers.Â And just like the Nuggets, the Jazz are dealing with injuries to some of their major contributors…Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, and Mehmet Okur.
Regardless, these pros know how to battle through the injuries.Â They’re playing to be crowned Kings of the West.Â I doubt they’ll use injuries as an excuse.Â This should be a great matchup, but I’m riding with the Nuggets all day!!
That does it.Â I covered all of the teams. Don’t forget the Playoffs start tomorrow.
Here’s the schedule for the first round.
Let the games begin!