Thursday, April 16, 2009

2009 NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Preview

No. 1 L.A. Lakers vs. No. 8 Utah

The Lakers and the Jazz ended the regular season playing each other with the Lakers defeating the Jazz 125-112 in the preview of this playoff matchup. The Jazz, who are led by Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Andre Kirilenko, will more than likely struggle defensively against the Lakers. LA's Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum will be a tough match up for Utah in the post. And of course LA has Kobe Bryant who can take over at any time during any game. The Lakers will be too much for Utah and should advance fairly easily.

No. 3 San Antonio vs. No. 6 Dallas

Dallas is a team who needs to capitalize on their talent levels before it is too late. This team that was once the toast of the Western Conference is beginning to show its age. Led by Dirk Nowitzki's 25.9 points per game and with Jason Kidd running the point Dallas' playoff experience could come into play in this series. Unfortunately they are facing a just as experience San Antonio team that has made the most of the talented Tony Parker and continues to get serious stat sheet production from Tim Duncan. I think San Antonia will pull of the series in seven games.

No. 4 Portland vs. No. 5 Houston

Portland has been riding a very productive season out of newly emerged superstar Brandon Roy. Roy, who is averaging 22.6 points per game, came out of nowhere in my opinion to be one of the best players in the Western Conference. This series will be the series of the unknown teams. With Portland relying on players like Aldridge, Pryzbilla, Outlaw and Blake and Houston putting stock into Scola, Altson, and role players like Chuck Hayes. With Yao Ming finally in the playoff roster Houston will need big games from both Yao Ming and star Shane Battier. They have also found production in defensive specialist Ron Artest. Looks for Houston to advance in this series.

No. 2 Denver vs. No. 7 New Orleans

What a matchup of point guards in this series, Chauncey Billups vs. Chris Paul. This may be must watch NBA TV. The Hornest are essentially a two man team featuring Chris Paul and David West. Both Paul and West have elevated their games in 2009 and last years "Cinderella" after securing a #2 seed barely limped into the scene this year. Denver will be playing their own two man game with Billups and Anthony leading the attack. This may be one of the better matched series in the playoffs in the end I think you will see Chris Paul and David West take this series over and shock Denver sending them home early. New Orleans will advance.

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