Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:10 pm
Well I have done this for 3 seasons straight so mine as well keep it up. Last year I called the Lakers Celtics finals match up with Lakers winning in 6 so I was pretty close on that one for sure. After an off season filled with the biggest story being the Miami Heat over and over again. We have the Lakers quietly sitting there as almost an after thought by most. However despite Miami's big moves LA made some more quiet yet equally as big moves in my view. So here we go with my predictions.
Eastern Conference Analysis: The Heat should cruise through the regular season. This team is going to be tough to beat and unless they just aren't motivated or have major injuries I see them coming out with the best record in the league and somewhere between 61-66 wins. Orlando will be runners up and may get very close to 60 wins. I could easily see Boston sandbagging much of the year, but I think they will remain relatively healthy and win enough to get the third seed. I like the Jermaine O'Neal addition. The Bucks I think are one of the most underrated teams in the entire league. I don't think they have any chance at beating any of the top 3 teams in the East, but they are the next best. Atlanta to me didn't do much in the off season and I think they take a step back due to other teams improving and just getting better. Chicago has been one of the more underachieving teams over the years in the regular season. The last few years I have predicted them to finish higher then most people in the conference. This year I am being cautious. I don't love the addition of Boozer as I have always felt he is an overrated player. However Tom Thibodeau should do wonders for this team. As much as I hate Larry Brown he will guide the Bobcats back to the playoffs. The Knicks will sneak in with the final spot once they pull of a trade for Carmello Anthony at mid season.
I see the Pistons, Nets, and Sixers as the teams that will just miss the playoffs. I see the worst teams as clearly the Raptors and Cavs the two teams that lost the most this off season.
Oklahoma City (2)
San Antonio (5)
Western Conference Analysis: The Lakers are the clear cut favorites in the West and even if Kobe is limited I don't see them not finishing with the best record in the conference. However it will likely cost them a shot at the best record in the entire association. The Lakers simply put have vastly improved their bench which was close to non existent for much of last year. Oklahoma City I truly believe is ready to take that next step. Kevin Durant had a monster summer and I think it is KD's time. He will guide the Thunder to the second best record. Dallas is the prototypical regular season team. They seem to always do well and that will be the case this season again. Portland if they can stay healthy could finish anywhere from 2-4 in the conference I will say a few injuries here and there knock them to 4. San Antonio may be old, but I think they are still a good team and will find a way to get the 5 seed. Phoenix will take a step back as they lose Stoudamire who was overrated yet was still key to their team. I am not convinced that Turkoglu or Warrick are the answers. Houston will be the most improved with Yao back and healthy. The Jazz are an experienced and good team. I don't think they will miss Boozer that much and replacing him with Jefferson will allow them to make the playoffs yet again. Derron Williams is the best PG in the league and together with Sloan they will just get in. Unfortunately for them they will be facing LA again a team they just can't beat.
I think the Hornets and Grizzlies will be the two teams that will just miss the playoffs. I give the Jazz the edge due to their head coach and their experience. Not sure who will be the worst team take your pick between the Wolves, Nuggets (if Melo leaves), Warriors, Kings, or Clips.
Mia over NY in 5
Orl over Charlotte in 5
Bos over Chi in 7 (Thibodeau gives fits to his former team)
Mil over Atl in 7 (payback for Mil)
LA over Uta in 4
OKC over Hou in 7 (I think Ming could give fits to the Thunder's undersized front court)
Pho over Dal in 7 (Dal always chokes in the playoffs)
SA over Por in 7
First Round Analysis: Lakers, Orlando, and Miami should have no trouble with their match ups. Beyond that I see potential for 5 classic series in the other 5 match ups as I could see them all easily going 7. Should be an excellent first round!!!
Conference Semi Finals
Mia over Mil in 5
Bos over Orl in 6
LA over SA in 5
OKC over PHO in 6
Semi Finals Analysis: Overall I expect pretty one sided series. Boston/Orlando and OKC/PHO should be good series though.
Mia over Bos in 7
LA over OKC in 6
Conference Finals Analysis: Should be two excellent series. I suspect the Miami Boston one to be a real classic with Miami winning a close one in game 7 as Boston's legs just get tired on the road in the 4th quarter. I suspect the Thunder will come very close to forcing a game 7, but will fall just short.
LA over Miami in 7
NBA Finals: I would love to pick against James again, but I just him finally getting the job done and getting back to the finals. That being said this series will be an absolute classic. It will come down to a game 7 on the road for LA and if any team is going to win a game 7 on the road it is the two time defending champions. Look for yet another classic that just might top last years classic 7 set with the Celtics. I just think in the end the Lakers size, the Lakers improved bench, and Kobe Bryant will be the difference that pushes LA over the top.
Finals MVP: Kobe Bryant will be the MVP once again. I mean who else maybe Gasol could take it, but somehow I doubt it. Kobe is the man and will prove it again with another stellar finals. This time he will have a sensational game 7.
MVP- Kevin Durant it is his time period. Kobe isn't going to go all out in the regular season so it won't be his and LeBron are you kidding me? I don't care what his stats are there is no way in hell you can convince me he is MVP of the league with the two other superstars he is playing with. He may be the best player (debatable) but this is Most Valuable not the best.
Comeback Player- Yao he will be effective and lead the Rockets back to the post season.
Coach- Scott Skiles underrated coach will finally get his pops as he leads Milwaukee to a huge 50+ win season.
Posted on: October 27, 2009 1:04 pm
Well folks the NBA tips of tonight in what is sure to be another exciting season. Last season my Lakers proved to be the best and after an off season filled with big moves. The Lakers appear poised to grab another title however there are three teams out East that may have something to say about that. So here it is my division by division breakdown.
(1) Boston Celtics 65-17
(7) Toronto Raptors 40-42
Philadelphia 76ers 37-45
New Jersey Nets 35-47
New York Knicks 29-53
Atlantic Analysis: The Celtics are clearly the class of this division. After a few though injuries that set them back last season they look ready for one last run at a title. The addition of Rasheed Wallace will probably help them, but bottom line is they need Kevin Garnett to stay healthy. You have to wonder too if he can since he is getting older and that was a major injury. Bottom line is this may be the last year for the Celtics current run you know they are going to try to make the most out of it. I like this Toronto team the addition of Hedo Turkugolu was an underrated addition. I think the Raptors could be a big surprise with young talents like Jose Calderon, Chris Bosh, and Andrea Bargnani leading the way. The sixers could really use Elton Brand to stay healthy if he can they may sneak back into the playoffs. If he can not stay healthy I can't see this team making it. I think the Nets could possibly improve I like some of their young talent especially Devin Harris. Who has really bollosmed into a great player. The Knicks are in for a long season as their fans hope and pray that LeBron James is on the way next season.
(3) Cleveland Cavaliers 61-21
(4) Chicago Bulls 43-39
Detroit Pistons 37-45
Milwaukee Bucks 36-46
Indiana Pacers 34-48
Central Analysis: Yet another division that has a clear cut winner this time to the Cavs. The Cavs definitely went out and improved themselves this season however the pressure on them is astronomical. The question is can Shaq deliver and make a big enough difference. I think Cleveland will be very hard pressed to match what they did last season at home only losing two games all season. They will lose at least 4-5 this year which they will not make up on the road. I see a better Cavs team just not record wise. The Chicago Bulls are my sleeper team sure they lost Ben Gordon, but they get Luol Deng back. Chicago has a ton of young talent that really exploded on to the scene when they took the Celts to 7 games in the first round last year. Derick Rose is a franchise player finally for Chicago and figures to keep the Bulls in the hunt for years to come. While Detroit went out and signed two pretty big free agents I am not so sure it will translate to more wins. It will be interesting to watch this once defensive minded team probably switch gears. I think the Bucks are getting a bad rap yes I did not like the Richard Jefferson trade, but Brandon Jennings should help things. I think the Bucks were very underappreciated last season as despite losing their two best players Redd and Bogut they still had a decent season. Them being back alone should help big time. Indiana is the Danny Granger show and they figure to be near the bottom of this division.
(2) Orlando Magic 61-21
(5) Atlanta Hawks 43-39
(6) Miami Heat 42-40
(8) Washington Wizards 38-44
Charlotte Bobcats 29-53
Southeast Analysis: Again antoher division that has a clear cut favorite in the Magic. While I am not sure the Magic have upgraded may have even downgraded somewhat by swapping Turkoglu for Carter. However if Jameer Nelson stays healthy that will prove to make a difference and is why the Magic should win more games this season. The Magic have a great team that showed they have the ability to make it to the finals even with their 3 point shooting philosphy. They are also led by probably the most underrated coach in the league Stan Van Gundy. Atlanta Hawks will probably see a slight decrease in wins they figure to be right around the 4 or 5 mark in the East again this season. The question is can Atlanta take that next step. Miami has a pretty solid young nuceloues around one of the leagues best players Dwayne Wade. I look for Miami, Atlanta, and Chicago to battle it out all season to be the number 4 team in the East behind the big 3. Either of these teams could be a real darkhorse in the East if things break right. Washington Wizards figure to be much improved as they hope to have Gilbert Arenas healthy all season and Flip Saunders seems to be a great fit as head coach. Look for Washington to easily improve on the 19 games win total of last season. I will not buy a Larry Brown team anyday not sure where the Bobcats will be. I do know this I am sure they will give my Lakers a hell of a time in our two matchups with them.
(2) San Antonio Spurs 57-25
(4) Dallas Mavericks 53-29
(6) New Orleans Hornets 50-32
Houston Rockets 42-42
Memphis Grizzlies 20-62
Southwest Analysis: The Spurs moves this offseason are probably the most underrated of this offseason. The trade for Richard Jefferson was a real steal considering what they gave up. Add him into the mix with Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili makes for a very scary team. The question with the Spurs though is can they stay healthy. If they can stay healthy they are the only real challenge to the Lakers Western throne this season. The Mavericks figure to be improved I absolutely love the addition of Shawn Marion. The Matrix will provide a real boost to that club. Jason Kidd has one last good run in him and Dirk Howitzi is one of the more underrated players in the league. The Hornets were a real surprise drop off last season while I see them improving with the addition of Okafor for Chandler not so sure they will move up in the Western conference hierachy though. Houston figures to have a major drop off with Yao Ming's career in jeopardy their franchise could be in real turmoil too. While I love the addition of Ariza and think Trevor is going to help them greatly. Unforunately he can not make up for the loss of Artest either. Look for this undersized Houston squad to take a big step back. Memphis while maybe they will be better two other teams in their divison got better which will only push them back in the standings. Memphis is still clearly the worst team in this divison.
(3) Portland Trailblazers 56-26
(5) Denver Nuggets 51-31
(7) Utah Jazz 47-35
Oaklahoma City Thunder 25-67
Minnesota Timberwolves 19-63
Northwest Analysis: This is the only division that figures could be a toss up. While I think Portland is the class here and the third best team in the West. Portland has a slew of young talent and figures to be a great team in the future. With Greg Oden and Brandon Roy leading the way. Portland is a scary team with scary potential. I see Denver taking a step back I think last years run was impressive, but Denver figures to fade back a bit due to the additions by some of the other Western powers. Look for Carmello Anthony to have a huge year though and to push for the MVP award. Utah Jazz will be about the same team as last season they need to improve on the road if they want to move up in the West. While I love what the Thunder have brewing down in Oklahoma they still have a long ways to go. Look for another huge year out of Kevin Durant though. Minnesota while I think Kurt Rambis will do a good job their I just see a drop back in wins merely because the West is so though.
(1) Los Angeles Lakers 68-14
(8) Phoenix Suns 43-39
Golden State Warriors 26-56
Los Angles Clippers 23-59
Sacremento Kings 19-63
Pacific Analysis: The Lakers are the clear class of this divison, and really the entire league. While several feel Ron Artest could be a hindrance I say no way. Phil Jackson is our coach and he is a master at handling Ron Artest types see Dennis Rodman. Ron Artest will help a lot on the defensive side of things too. The key to the Lakers being pretty much unbeatable will be the play of Andrew Bynum. If Bynum dominates I don't see how anyone beats this team. The Suns figure to sneak back into the playoffs as they will probably somewhat benefit at least from trying to go back to their offensive ways. Golden State looks locked into the third spot in this division and doesn't figure to come close to the postseason. The Clippers may improve, but not sure I see it. Especially with Blake Griffin already hurt. Look for Sacremento to continue to be suckremento.
Boston over Washington in 5
Orlando over Toronto in 6
Cleveland over Miami in 6
Chicago over Atlanta in 6
Lakers over Suns in 4
Spurs over Jazz in 6
Trailblazers over Hornets in 6
Mavs over Nuggets in 7
Conference Semi Finals
Boston over Chicago in 6
Orlando over Cleveland in 7
Lakers over Mavs in 5
Spurs over Blazers in 7
Boston over Orlando in 7
Lakers over Spurs in 5
Lakers over Celtics in 6
Final Analysis: Lakers win back to back titles as the only thing I can see keeping this from happening will be health. The Lakers could really use Andrew Bynum to stay healthy all year. Bottom line though is the Lakers are so loaded with talent they may still win a title with little or nothing from some key guys.
MVP: Dwight Howard
ROY: Blake Griffin
Defensive: Dwight Howard
Most Improved: Andrew Bynum
6th man: Lamar Odom
Coach: Vinny Del Negro
Posted on: June 4, 2009 7:13 pm
Well the NBA Finals is only a few hours away from starting. Coming up I will reveal my predictions for the finals as well as preview it giving my keys to a Lakers victory. However before I begin that I would like to quickly recap the Western Conference Finals.
Game 1- Game one saw Denver come out on fire as Denver looked very much like the team they have looked like all post season. Their trip to the Western Conference Finals had been a fairly easy ride however the Lakers would quickly show Denver they were in for a far tougher fight in this final. The Nuggets ran out to a double digit lead after the first however the Lakers came back with an equally as impressive second quarter. As they would come all the way back to take the lead on a Derek Fisher’s buzzer beating three pointer. After falling behind again in the second half the Lakers were able to hang tight and fight. Eventually sealing the victory when Trevor Ariza stole an inbounds pass in the closing seconds to essentially win the game. Lakers win game one by a final of 105-103
Game 2- Game two saw the exact opposite of game one. In this one the Lakers ran out to the same exact lead as Denver had after the first. The Lakers were dominate for much of the first half and appeared headed to a comfortable lead at the half. However Denver was able to rally and cut the lead to just one at the half. In the fourth quarter of still what was very much a tight game Denver was able to make just a few more plays then the Lakers to ultimately steal a 106-103 victory from the Lakers.
Game 3- Game three was a another classic as Denver seemed poised to take a 2-1 lead in the series late in the third quarter when they went on a run to end the third and go up by 8. However a big technical foul by JR Smith after his buzzer beating three to end the third set things in motion for the Lakers. The Lakers used an incredibly strong fourth quarter to steal a victory in Denver. Pau Gasol hit two key turn around jumpers in the closing minutes and Kobe Bryant carried the Lakers to the finish line scoring 41 points to help lead the Lakers to the comeback. Lakers would win 103-97.
Game 4- Game four was one Lakers fans prefer not to remember as the Lakers got out played and out worked on the glass. The Lakers looked lethargic as the Nuggets pounded them inside grabbing 58 rebounds of which 20 of those were on the offensive end. Denver’s bench showed up led by JR Smith who had a monster night. Denver won a big game despite getting nothing from a sick and hurting Carmello Anthony. Denver romped the Lakers 120-101. As the questions from many of the skeptics out there began to run wild again.
Game 5- Game five saw an even battle between two teams all the way until the fourth quarter. The Lakers went on a run to end the third that got them back to a tie and in the fourth they used 11 straight missed shots up Denver to build a lead and pull away. Shannon Brown came up huge hitting a big dunk over Chris Anderson that was the catalyst to the Lakers rally. The Lakers pull away as Kobe shows his facilitator side. Kobe needs only 22 points as he gets plenty of help especially from Lamar Odom who was a no show much of the series. The Lakers cruise past Denver to a 103-94 victory.
Game 6- Game six was complete and utter Lakers domination as they had a total team effort. Pounding Denver early and often. The Lakers built a very comfortable 13 point half time lead and would never look back. In what was their most impressive peformance of the playoffs the Lakers obliterate Denver 119-92. Answering many of the skeptics questions empathically. As the Lakers had now positioned themselves as the favorites heading into the NBA Finals. So now that brings me to my NBA Finals preview and predictions.
NBA Finals Preview
Well the NBA Finals is finally here and Thursday has finally arrived. The Lakers have been waiting much like their opponent the Orlando Magic quite awhile now to get started. This match up is not the match up most people wanted however I think it will produce one of the best NBA Finals we have seen in awhile. The Orlando Magic come in red hot as they have been playing some great basketball these past two series to get into the finals. The Lakers have a tall task in front of them this series with a few key questions.
1. How or what will the Lakers do to defend Dwight Howard?
Well the Lakers are certainly in for a test in their front court as they will be facing by far the best player they have seen down low all playoff long. However Dwight Howard will be seeing by far a much tougher front court then the one he saw in Cleveland. The Lakers have plenty of bigs to through at Dwight Howard. It will most certainly start with Andrew Bynum who will be called upon to one on one guard Dwight Howard. It is key for Andrew to hang tough and to try to stay out of foul trouble. Pau Gasol will be called upon to do some one on one work against Dwight. I also expect to see a heavy dose of DJ Mbenga who can also guard Dwight one on one and most certainly can pick up some fouls for us at the very least.
The ultimate key to this series is likely how the Lakers defend Dwight and they need to make it one on one. Let Dwight go off on you. Let him score 50 points on you if he even can? Boston and Cleveland tried to double Dwight which led to wide open 3 pointers. Knowing the Lakers issues with perimeter defense this season we can ill afford to do this.
2. Can we contain Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu?
The other key to this series is very much how can we slow down the Magic’s other two best players Rashard Lewish and Hedo Turkoglu. The Lakers are in much better position to do this then was Cleveland. With Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Kobe Bryant all to throw at these two. Trevor Ariza has a great shot at stunting the effects of Hedo as he should be able to defend him much better then he did Carmello in the last series. Lewis might give Gasol problems however there is no doubt Gasol should give him these same problems right back. I think the Lakers have a great shot at containing the damage done by these two and if they can limit it they should win this series.
3. The Magic live and die by the three?
In order of the Magic to win this series they are going to likely have to shot close to 40 percent from the 3 point line. That is going to be a tall order especially against a team that is better positioned to defend them then the Cavs were.
4. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol we need you?
The biggest thing in this series is the fact that Kobe Bryant has nobody really to defend him. Kobe Bryant ultimately can be a free lancer in this series as well helping his teammates defend whoever they need help defending. Kobe Bryant will be carrying us big time on the offensive end as you can expect many 30+ point nights from him. Simply put he has an advantage over the two guys who are going to likely try to defend him Courtney Lee and Mickeal Pietrus. Look for Kobe Bryant to have a gigantic series and there is little doubt if the Lakers win this series he will be the MVP.
Pau Gasol we really need you man. Pau Gasol was pretty much a no show in the two defeats to the Magic this season. Many people wonder just how this is possibly because the Magic really have nobody that can defend him. Pau Gasol should be able to have his way inside and should have a big series right along with Kobe.
Simply put in the finals you call upon your best players to lead the way. Kobe and Pau need to show up and lead the Lakers to the title.
Prediction: Lakers in 6
Analysis: I really don’t see anything other then the Lakers themselves keeping them from winning the title. The Lakers have home court and are primed for a big series. I think the Lakers showed us in the closing quarters of the Denver series that this team is back to the great play that we saw much of the regular season. I expect to see this in the finals in what should be full of very good games that will come down to the wire. However if the Lakers let Dwight get his and contain the rest they should be in very good shape.
I say the Lakers hold serve in the first two at home. They will take either game 4 or 5 in Orlando. They will then come home and finish the series in game 6. As Kobe Bryant will have his fourth title getting the monkey of his back and giving all the haters something to suck on. Also Phil Jackson gets his long awaited 10th NBA Title cementing himself as the greatest all time NBA coach.
Let’s Go Lakers!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted on: May 25, 2009 7:53 pm
Alright I don't usually do this during the NBA Playoffs, but I think it is time for a blog entry just recapping Saturdays big win for our Lakers and the importance of tonights game.
What can I say about Saturday? Just a big win and a big bounce back after a tough loss in game two at home. As the Lakers snatched the home court back immediately like they needed to. I was very discouraged after the way the Nuggets closed out the third quarter and took a decent size lead to the fourth. That being said unlike the Nuggets the Lakers where able to hold their composure as demonstrated by the boneheaded technical by JR Smith after hitting the big three to close out that quarter. I kept saying to myself I hope this team makes them pay for their dumb technicals.
In the fourth quarter we all saw this Lakers teams great potential come to fuition again as they made the big comeback battling all the way back to eventually pull through in the fourth quarter. Pau Gasol hit a couple of huge turn around jump shots in a row that helped us keep pace with the Nuggets in that quarter in the late stages. I am just so tired of the Pau Gasol bashers out their without him these past two years we would not be where we have been. Certainly Pau has his weaknesses just like anybody else though. What Pau does bring to this team is heart, leadership, great passing, consistency and solid efficient offense. The guy simply put is solid and has been our best player next to Kobe Bryant all year. Thank you Pau for all that you do for this team because without you we would not have made it to the finals last year and without you this year we may not even have gotten much farther then the second round.
I also want to give a shout out to Trevor Ariza. This kid absolutely should be top priority to be resigned next season. His thoughness, heart, and determination have been just what the doctor has ordered for the Lakers since he came over early last season. Trevor appeared down and out late in the third with an injury. However he came back for the fourth and played big coming up with a huge steal that helped seal a victory. Simply put without this guy either we would not be where we are. Please resign him this offseason Lakers and make it priority number one. Odom may have more potential, but I think we all have learned that the only thing he is consistent about is being inconsistent. With Trevor Ariza you know you have a player who is going to bust his butt night in and night out for the team. I only see him getting better he is younger and I think hungier then Lamar.
Then of course how could I forget Kobe Bryant. He took us on his back and carried us the final few stretches in that game. Kobe Bryant shows once again why he is one of the all time greats. Just where he will end up on that list well that will be decided in the last 4-6 years of his career. Let's just enjoy the ride Lakers fans and lets hope he ends it in a Laker uniform and with a few more titles under his belt.
Now to the game tonight we have a big time opportunity to put Denver in an insurmountable hole. I just hope we see the dedicated tough Laker team tonight. Tonight is about hunger and this team should sense the opportunity and do their all to seize it. Play well and you just might come home with a win. Bottom line just play your best and give it your all if you lose a hard fought game I can live with it. Just don't lay an egg like you did twice in the Houston series because now certainly is not the time or place.
A few suggestions to Phil Jackson. I really have no clue what you are doing with Andrew Bynum? Please give this guy sometime especially in the big clutch situations. We are going to need this kid if we are going to win a title and he needs time Phil. Also my last suggestion to you is please sit Sasha. What has the guy done this year or in the previous years to garner this amount of time? I know last year he was money, but that was last year. The years before that the guy showed his real colors which he has shown all year long. Please play Brown or Farmar they have proven at least a few times in these playoffs that they can come up big.
Let's Go Lakers tonight!!!!!!!!
Posted on: May 19, 2009 9:13 pm
Alright folks my recap of round 2 will come later let me give you my quick preview of this round.
The Lakers draw a Nuggets team that is playing red hot basketball and also a well rested Nuggets team. Their is little question the Nuggets are going to give us a challenge. However I think the Lakers match up better to these guys then the Rockets series. Certainly the Lakers prefer to play Denver's style of ball versus Houston's slow methodical ball. I think the key to this series will be the Lakers taking care of business at home the first two games. They absolutely need to hold home court in the first two and if they can I think they set themselves up for a potentially shorter series then people might think. If the Lakers can win the first two at home I think they can and will finish this series in 5. The one advantage we have in this series is Kobe Bryant has nobody to defend him. Their is no Shane Battier or Ron Artest on the Nuggets and I think this is definitely to our advantage. We absolutely need Andrew Bynum to continue to play well if we are going to have any chance at finishing this series early if he has his hit or miss performances we very well are in store for a 6 or 7 game series.
Prediction: I predict the Lakers will win it in 6 I think they will split the first two at home split the two in Denver. Come home in the key game 5 and win it like they have done so many times in the past when a series is tied then take the game 6 in Denver.
Posted on: May 4, 2009 10:44 pm
Well round one has been in the books for about a week and round two is just about to begin so here is a quick breakdown of the first round series as well as my prediction for round two matchup.
Game by game breakdown of round 1:
Game 1- Game one was a tale of two halves. The first half was spectacular in which we saw the Lakers manhandle the Jazz to a tune of 62 points and a 22 point lead. In the second half the Lakers pretty much put the game on cruise control allowing the Jazz to keep the game within reach for much of the half. However they never got it closer then 9 points on a couple of occasions as the Lakers finished off the Jazz 113-100. The player of the game had to be Trevor Ariza as he had a monster 21 point outing. Pau Gasol chipped in with 20 and Kobe Bryant with 24. Lamar Odom came up with a nice effort of the bench with a 13 point and 8 rebound effort.
Game 2- Game two saw a spectacular first quarter for the Lakers as they ran up 41 points and held the lead much of the game. The Jazz made a push and had a chance to maybe win towards the end. However a big three by Trevor Ariza in the closing minutes all but put the game to bed. This game featured a spectacular game by Kobe Bryant with 26 points and 9 assists. He got major help from Pau Gasol with 22 points and Lamar Odom with 19 points. Trevor Ariza had another solid game hitting the back breaking 3 and also coming up with 9 assists. The Lakers control the boards better coming up with an even tie with the Jazz for the game.
Game 3- Game three saw a back and forth battle in which the Lakers had a big lead late in the third quarter however the Jazz where able to continue to chip away coming all the way back and making for a heart pounding ending. Derron Williams hit a fadeaway jumper to ultimately put the Jazz ahead with just 2.2 seconds left. The Lakers struggled to get anyone open on the last play eventually Kobe broke free and took a desperation three and missed it. The Lakers did not play their best in this game by any means. Kobe Bryant shot a terrible 5 of 24 with only 18 points. Lamar Odom had a big night with 21 points. They got dominated on the boards as well as Andrew Bynum had virtually no prescene so far in the series. Phil began to cut into his minutes. Despite all of that they still only lost by 2.
Game 4- Game four was a total rebound for the Lakers that was much needed. The Lakers played perhaps the best game of the series as they will able to use big second and third quarters to dominate the Jazz on their home court. Kobe Bryant put in an amazing performance scoring 38 points and leading the inspired Lakers to a 3-1 lead. Lamar Odom puts in another excellent night with a 10 point and 15 rebound night. The Lakers dominate the Jazz to a tune of a 108-94 win.
Game 5- Game five saw a Lakers team that looked ready to dispose of the Jazz and not allow this series to be extended any further. After a very even first quarter the Lakers exploded with a big second quarter giving themselves a nice 13 point lead at the half. In the second half they appeared to put the game away with a solid third quarter however in typical fashion this year they allowed the Jazz to cut into the lead. It was down to a two possession game defcit with under two minutes to go. However the Lakers where able to do just enough to put the Jazz away once and for all. Kobe Bryant led the way with 31 points. While Lamar Odom had a monster night with 26 points and 15 rebounds.
Player of the series: Hard not to go with Lamar Odom here he was pretty much a key contributor in every game and had some monster nights in the series.
1. Lakers make it look easy- The Lakers overall made this series look pretty easy and yet I feel they have not played their best ball yet not even close.
2. Lamar Odom- Had an amazing series if he can keep this up this team will not lose.
3. Kobe Bryant- Kobe was big when he had to be as always.
Negatives or areas of improvement
1. Hustle- I felt like the Lakers got outhustled sometimes. I just feel like sometimes especially when they get leads this team gets bored and relaxes too much. I think this will correct itself as they get closer and closer to the finals and the hunger just builds even more. However I think this is clearly an area they can work on.
2. Rebounding- I think hustle and rebounding go hand in hand. The Lakers with a front court of Bynum, Gasol, and Odom should be outrebounding pretty much any opponent every night or at least be close. I feel the Lakers have to improve here and they especially need more from Bynum.
3. Andrew Bynum- He was pretty much nowhere to be found in this series. As Phil even drastically cut his minutes in most of the games. He will need to step it up big time in the next series, because we will need him against Yao Ming.
Overall the Lakers took care business in five games like I thought they would. They got a nice week of rest which is perfect in my mind and we should see an even more focused group in the next series. Now let's take a look at that next series which will be against the Houston Rockets.
Preveiw of Round 2:
Lakers v Houston
Analysis: I like this draw the Lakers did not have much problems with Houston this year if any as they swept them in four games. I think the Lakers match up really well with the Houston as Yao is their big threat inside and we certainly have many capable bigs to throw at him. Houston is not known for their offense and if the Lakers can push the ball in transition game after game they should be able to have their way with Houston. Houston is playing some really good ball right now though and they certainly have the ability to make this interesting. The key for Houston will likely be the play of Artest and Yao they are both going to have to carry the load big time and come up with big nights if they are going to beat the Lakers. Overall though I think the Lakers will polish of Houston with relative ease. I suspect we will see a return of Andrew Bynum and he will contribute nicely especially on the defensive end with containing Yao Ming.
Prediction: Lakers win in 5 games sweeping all three games at home and winning one of two in Houston. The game the Lakers lose will be an awfully close one and if the Lakers truly play to their potential every game they could sweep this series.
Posted on: April 18, 2009 4:34 am
Alright everyone after a long 82 game grind the post season is final upon us. This post season figures to shape up to be a very good one. I know a lot of people dog on the NBA Playoffs because it is too long and the such. I completely disagree with this statement. I think the NBA Playoffs is one of the best sporting events out there. I would rank it right up near the NFL Playoffs and the NCAA Tournament. In fact I would even say over the past couple of years it has been just as good if not better then the NCAA Tournament which I think has really been taken over and dominated by the powerhouse teams versus seeing upsets. That being said let's get this thing going as I breakdown how I feel this NBA Playoffs to shape up. I will start with the Eastern Conference.
Eastern Conference First Round
Analysis: Well no one and I mean no one in the National media is giving Detroit much of a chance. That being said I think Detroit does have a chance to make this series interesting. The Detroit Pistons are a scary draw for the Cavs because their is no doubt this team has playoff experience. Detroit has largely had a disappointing season as the trade for Allen Iverson swapping out Chauncey Billups took Detroit from the elite of the conference to just having to claw and fight their way to get in. They are still formiable foe though with the likes of Rasheed Wallace, Tashaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey, and Richard Hamilton. That being said they have a tall order facing the team with the best home and overall record in the league. The Cavs have had a special season with the addition of Mo Williams. We all know LeBron James is one of the best players in the league and he will be next to impossible for the Pistons to stop. I think the Pistons will keep this series competative at least games wise and probably win at least one on their home floor.
Prediction: Cavs win in 5 ultimately the Cavs are just too much for the Pistons to handle, but I suspect the Pistons will keep most of the games close and win one in Detroit.
Analysis: Those pesky Atlanta Hawks are back in the playoffs again and this time as the favorite seed they are hoping to advance. Atlanta is lead by one of the best point guards in the league in Mike Bibby. They also have a great cast of players around him in Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford. The Hawks have the better team in this series however they do not have the best player in the series. That belongs to Miami with Dwayne Wade who is one of the most electryfying players in the game. Dwayne Wade could concievable carry this team to the series victory. He will need some help from a supporting cast of Jermaine O'Neal, Udonis Haslem, and sensational rookies Mario Chalmers and Micheal Beasley also add to the mix. Miami has had a big time rebound season and figures to be a good team in the years to come. I think this is likely to be the best series in the entire first round possibly.
Prediction: Atlanta in 7 I think the Hawks will win this one and it will come down to them having home court in the last game which will motivate them to move past Miami however it will not be easy as you can be assured Wade will do everything in his power to lead Miami to victory.
Analysis: The Magic are part of the fantastic four teams that dominated much of this regular season. The Magic have the best big man in the league in Dwight Howard and the trade for Rafer Alston has kept the Magic afloat despite losing Jameer Nelson. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu are excellent players as well. Courtney Lee has done a nice job lately especially on the defensive end of the ball. The Magic sometimes live and die by the 3 and that may cost them down the line. The Sixers have had a slightly disappointing campaign they had a lot of hype coming into the season with the addition of Elton Brand however with Brand they struggled and without him they have done better. The Sixers best player is Andre Iguodala and he is going to have to have a fantastic series if the 76ers are to have any hope at advancing.
Prediction: Magic in 6 I think Philly has enough talent to keep this one interesting and extend it. That being said the Magic are going to be too much for them to handle as far as pulling of the upset.
Analysis: The Boston Celtics are the defending NBA champions and they are coming off a nice regular season when you consider some of their injuries and losses in this past offseason. The Celtics have dreary news when it comes to Kevin Garnett looks like he might miss the entire post season which is not good news for them. That being said the Celtics still have Ray Allen and Paul Pierce as well as some very good players around them. The Bulls have had a sensational latter half of this season which saw them revamp their team at the all star break adding John Salmons and Brad Miller who both have been nice additions. Rookie Derick Rose has sparked a fire in Chicago and figures to be a star for years to come. Tyrus Thomas is starting to turn heads and live up to his potential. This is scary draw for the Celtics and I look for this to be a series to keep an eye on because I think the Bulls do have a chance to pull of the upset.
Prediction: Boston in 7 I think the defending champions will muster up enough pride to pull this on off however that will not be before a spirited fight from the rising Bulls. Look for a very Atlanta Hawks type scare from the Bulls to the Celtics this season.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers v 4 Atlanta Hawks
Analysis: I actually think the Miami Heat may provide more of a scare to the Cavs then the Hawks. I think Miami could potentially matchp better with them and just the mere fact that Dwayne Wade envokes more fear into you. I think the Cavaliers will likely not have a ton of trouble getting to the eastern conference finals with the draw that they drew.
Preidiction: Cavs in 5 I think the Cavaliers will be too much for the Hawks to handle and I think it will be very though for anyone outside of the Celtics, Magic, or Lakers to win on the Cavs floor.
2. Boston Celtics v 3 Orlando Magic
Analysis: I love this series I would love it even more with KG healthy however I think it still has the potential to be a very good one. This is a clash between two of the best four teams in the NBA this season. Look for this to be a very good season that will likely come down to who can will themselves more to win.
Prediction: Celtics in 7 I think the Celtics find a way to win this and I think home court will ultimately help them do this. Look for Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to lead the way as the Celtics win a classic seven game clash.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers v 2 Boston Celtics
Analysis: This is where the loss of Kevin Garnett will start to really sting I think. Cleveland has shown all year that they are ready to take down and get past the Celtics in the playoffs. If Kevin Garnett is somehow back and effective I think Boston will pull of the upset. If he is not however I think the Cavs homecourt dominance, LeBron James, and no Kevin Garnett will be just too much to overcome even for Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
Prediction: Cavs in 6 this series all really hinges on Kevin Garnett if he is back you can bank on seven games and if that's the case the Cavs better hope and pray that their 39-2 record dominance at home continues. The Cavs take down the Garnett void Celtics in six hard fought games.
Western Conference First Round
1. LA Lakers v 8 Utah Jazz
Analysis: The Lakers have been on a mission all season to get back to the NBA Finals and it has been evidenced by their 65-17 record in the regular season. Phil Jackson's teams typically play just good enough to get in with a decent seed and then turn up the heat for the playoffs. That being said it has been an interesting season for the Lakers in spite of some key injuries the biggest one being to one Andrew Bynum again they still managed to run away with the Western Conference. This season the Lakers are better set up to win it all with a seemingly healthy Andrew Bynum back in the fold and a healthy Trevor Ariza in the mix unlike last season. The Lakers are an improved version of last years team in what I feel is a weaker Western Conference. That being said the Lakers happened to draw one team I feel could give them a lot of trouble and that is the Utah Jazz. The Jazz where scorching red hot for awhile and now have Carlos Boozer back in the mix. However they have struggled during the latter part of the season and backed their way all the way into the eight seed. Derron Williams will give the Lakers some trouble however you know he is going to get his the key will be stopping the rest of the Jazz.The Jazz have the talent to compete with the Lakers and their one of three teams that I think have a shot at beating us in the West.
Prediction: Lakers in 5 I just think the Jazz have fallen a bit and with Bynum back in the mix the Lakers appear ready to hit the switch and go on a tear through the playoffs. Look for this series to be more competative then your typical five game knockout.
4. Portland Trailblazers v 5 Houston Rockets
Analysis: Likely to be the best western conference series of the playoffs. The Blazers have been on a roll at the end of the season and are led by Brandon Roy. They have a young talented nucelous that is ready to see it's first playoff action against a team familar with the playoffs. The Blazers are a scary talented team and one team that I think nobody really wants to play especially with Greg Oden healthy. The Rockets are trying to get out of the first round for the first time in a long time. Ron Artest and Yao Ming will have to lead the way without Tracy McGrady. Look for this series to be very hard fought and it should come down to the wire.
Prediction: Houston in 7 I think Houston finally gets out of the first round in a dogfight with the Blazers. Look for the Blazers lack of playoff experience to hurt them in the deciding game 7 in Portland.
Analysis: The Spurs have had an interesting season one that saw them hold on to the two seed in the west for a long time. However they have lost Manu Ginobili for the season and that figures to ruin their chances to somehow win the NBA Title. They still have a very scary team in Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. The Spurs will be a though opponent for anyone to face. Roger Mason Jr. has been an amazing addition to their squad. The Mavericks are led by Dirk Nowitzki and they will need him to be senstational if they are to pull an upset. The Mavericks have been hot and with a healthy Josh Howard now playing they will be a very though out for San Antiono. This one figures to be another very good first round series.
Prediction: Spurs in 7 I think the Spurs ulimately previal look for Duncan and Parker to will this team to victory in a key seventh game.
Analysis: The Denver Nuggets are one of the most improved teams this season with the addition of Chauncey Billups who has brought discipline and leadership to that team. The Nuggets are obviously lead by Chauncey Billups, but they also have all star Carmello Anthony to help lead the way. Whil the Nuggets have been one of the most improved teams this season the Hornets have been one of the seasons most disappointing. Last season the Hornets where a two seed in the West this season they fell all the way to the seventh seed. Chris Paul figured to be a pre season MVP favorite now he is not talked about in the MVP race that being said he is still a great player and will provide the Hornets with a chance in this series. Tyson Chandlers health will be key though if the Hornets are to have much of a chance.
Prediction: Nuggets in 6 I think Chauncey leads this Denver squad to the next round putting an end to a disappointing campaign for CP3 and the boys.
1. LA Lakers v 5 Houston Rockets
Analysis: The Lakers avoid the Blazers a team we do not really want to face. The Lakers draw a team who they swept with ease this season in the Houston Rockets. The Rockets don't really figure to have much of a chance in this second round series. Kobe Bryant has pretty much had his way with Ron Artest this season and with Andrew Bynum back Yao Ming figures to have a lot on his hands. Look for Pau Gasol to have a monster series.
Prediction: Lakers in 5 if the Lakers can play Houston I think they can make this relatively short and sweet versus a Blazer matchup that I say going at least six games.
2. Denver Nuggets v 3 San Antiono Spurs
Analysis: The Denver Nuggets should give San Antonio an interesting series however I think even without Ginobili the Spurs should be favored in this series. I think duo of Chanuncey Billups and Carmello Anthony is not quite as good as the Duncan and Parker duo. I look for the Spurs playoff experience to take over in this series as they will themselves to yet another WCF.
Prediction: Spurs in 6 I think the Spurs get through the Nuggets in six thanks to another big series from Tim Duncan and Tony Parker look for Roger Mason Jr. to steal one game on the Nuggets court with a big three.
1 LA Lakers v 3 San Antiono Spurs
Analysis: One of the best rivalries in the NBA take center stage in the western conference finals for the second straight year. The Spurs have had a nice run and will somehow will themselves to this point however look for the loss of Ginobili to loom large in this series. I have been saying all year I don't think the Spurs are much better then last years team which lost to the Lakers in five games. With Andrew Bynum back for the Lakers the Spurs task is going to be even harder. Now that a worse Spurs team without Ginboili meets an improved Lakers team with Bynum is a receipe for a sweep.
Prediction: Lakers in 5 I think the Spurs muster out some pride for a game 4 win to avoid the sweep before the Lakers clobber them in game 5 at home to advance to the finals. Duncan will have his hands full with Bynum and Gasol.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers v 1. LA Lakers
Analysis: The matchup everyone is looking forward too and one that figures to be a classic. The Lakers where 2-0 versus the Cavaliers this season including being the first team to beat them on their home court without Andrew Bynum even. The Lakers have been on a mission since last year to prove to the world that they are the best team in the NBA. With a healthy Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza this season I see no reason why this Laker team does not achieve that goal. Look for Kobe Bryant to cement himself as a top five all time player with an historic finals performance leading the Lakers to victory in classic series.
Prediction: Lakers in 7 I think this one goes to the wire and I think the Lakers steal the NBA Finals from the Cavaliers on their home court with a healthy Bynum accomplishing their goal and conquering the demons of last season.
It's game time should be an exciting month and half of playoff basketball. In the end I see my Los Angles Lakers holding that big gold ball and Kobe Bryant getting finals MVP. With a healthy Bynum in the saddle the Lakers will get the job done. Stay tuned to my blog throughout the playoffs as I will be recapping each and every series the Lakers play until then let's go Lakers. It's great being a Lakers fan!!!!!!!!
Posted on: October 27, 2008 12:45 am
Edited on: October 27, 2008 1:49 pm
Well folks the NBA Season is upon us and it is certain to be an exciting year. So here are my predictions for how the season will pan out and what to expect.
(1) Boston Celtics 61-21
(5) Toronto Raptors 45-37
(6) Philadelphia 76ers 43-39
New Jersey Nets 32-50
New York Knicks 20-62
Atlantic analysis: Boston should see a slight drop off with the loss of James Posey and also just the fact that the defending champs often don't have quite the same motivation they had the previous year. Toronto should be improved with the addition of Jermaine O'Neal if he can stay on the court that gives them a solid group of Jose Calderon, Chris Bosh, and Jermaine O'Neal. Philadelphia should also improve with the addition of Elton Brand. While I like the Nets move to get Yi Jianlian don't expect to see an improvement in the standings at all. The Knicks well let's just say I'm not buying the D'Antoni move. I have always felt D'Antoni was overrated and I don't really think he is a great fit in New York.
(2) Detroit Pistons 57-25
(4) Cleveland Cavaliers 47-35
(7) Milwaukee Bucks 38-44
Indiana Pacers 34-48
Chicago Bulls 33-49
Central analysis: The Pistons still rule the central as they should still be very solid with one of the best starting 5's in the league and the improvement of some bench players like Stuckey. The Cavs should be pretty solid as well I like the addition of Mo Williams I think this will give LeBron a possible partner. Milwaukee Bucks I love their off season moves I think the Bucks have created a solid team that has a lot of potential. I think Richard Jefferson will be huge to that offense and Scott Skiles should be able to get his defensive philosophy instilled on these guys eventually. Indiana and Chicago will be not too far out of the playoff picture.
(3)Orlando Magic 54-28
(8)Miami Heat 37-45
Washington Wizards 35-47
Atlanta Hawks 31-51
Charlotte Bobcats 25-57
Southeast analysis: The Magic should be able to easily win this division I like the addition of Mickael Pietrus in the back court. I also like Stan Van Gundy I think he is one of the more underrated coaches in the league. Miami Heat added in Micheal Beasley and Dwayne Wade appears to be back healthy. These few things should help Miami improve greatly not so sure if it is worth 22 games, but I will by into the hype they are getting and say it will. The Wizards I see dropping of Agent Zero can't stay healthy. Atlanta Hawks will likely drop off after a really good season for them last year. I'm a huge Mike Bibby fan, but not sure if he alone can will this team to do any better then last season. Not a believer in Larry Brown and I think Charlotte will actually regress as Larry alienates his young team probably at some point.
(4) Utah Jazz 53-29
(7) Portland Trailblazers 47-35
Denver Nuggets 41-41
Oklahoma City Thunder 23-59
Minnesota Timberwolves 20-62
Northwest analysis: The Jazz should be about the same team as last season however if Boozer can stay healthy that will help. With some improvement from Ronnie Brewer and getting more out of Andrei Kirilenko this team should be a major force in the West. Portland stands to be one of the more improved teams with the addition of Greg Oden look for him to average a double double and help propel Portland to the playoffs. Denver Nuggets are due to drop off this is a team that played all offense and no defense with the loss of Marcus Camby don't expect much more then .500 at best. It will be a long first season in Oklahoma City however maybe they can at least finish fourth instead of fifth. Minnesota is going to struggle again this season.
(1) LA Lakers 63-19
(5) Phoenix Suns 52-30
LA Clippers 40-42
Golden State Warriors 38-44
Sacramento Kings 30-52
Pacific analysis: Lakers should be improved with the addition of Bynum. Bynum is the missing interior piece that the Lakers missed dearly in the finals last season. He could very well have an all star appearance in his future. Look out for Jordan Farmar sooner or later this kid is going to take off and show that he ready to be the starting point guard. Lakers should win the division and get home field throughout the post season. The Suns I think will be improved just not in the win column. Terry Porter was a very good hire and he will get this team to play some kind of defense. The Clippers are getting a lot of hype and they should be if they still had Brand they would easily probably make the playoffs. I just don't know if the big additions minus some big subtractions will improve this team greatly enough to get them in the post season. They will improve though with Baron Davis enough for the playoffs though I think not. The Warriors and the Kings are both looking at drop off seasons.
(2)New Orleans Hornets 58-24
(3) Houston Rockets 57-25
(6) San Antonio Spurs 51-31
(8) Dallas Mavericks 47-35
Memphis Grizzles 18-64
Southwest analysis: This is an absolute beast of a division that could see three teams potentially finish first. I think the Hornets are the best team here with the addition of Posey should help this team at the very least match what they did last season. Look for Chris Paul to put up another MVP type season. Houston Rockets stand to be a great team if they can stay healthy. With the addition of Ron Artest your looking at a solid big 3 in Houston. The only question is will Artest negative things he brings to a team not affect them. I think the Spurs stand to drop off a little. Manu Ginobili is hurting and will miss some key time early. Look for the Spurs to be peaking come playoff time though. The Mavericks should be able to do just enough to make the post season as I see the bottom half of the Western Conference dropping off slightly. The Grizzles are a bad team in a brutal division they might improve just not in standings.
MVP- Chris Paul- I see Chris Paul getting his first MVP last season many felt he should of won however it rightfully went to Bryant. I think Kobe Bryant will have to do something better then last season to get it not sure if I see it. I see Kobe Bryant having another deserving season however the media will favor Paul.
Comeback Player- Andrew Bynum- Look for Andrew to make the all star team and have a great season. Helping lead the Lakers to another division title.
Sixth Man- Lamar Odom- If Odom subjects himself to the bench I can see great things from him. Lamar could easily win sixth man of the year this season as he will be the best player coming of the best teams bench.
All NBA First Team
Amare Stoudemire C
Tim Duncan F
LeBron James F
Kobe Bryant G
Chris Paul G
All NBA Second Team
Kevin Garnett C
Dwight Howard F
Dirk Nowitzi F
Derron Williams G
Dwayne Wade G
All NBA Third Team
Yao Ming C
Paul Pierce F
Chris Bosh F
Steve Nash G
Baron Davis G
Eastern Conference Quarter Finals
Vs. = in 6
Vs. = in 5
Vs. = in 6
Vs. = in 7
Eastern Conference Semi Finals
Vs. = in 6
Vs. = in 6
Eastern Conference Finals
Vs. = in 6
Western Conference Quarter Finals
Vs. = in 5
Vs. = in 6
Vs. = in 7
Vs. = in 7
Western Conference Semi Finals
Vs. = in 6
Vs. = in 7
Western Conference Finals
Vs. = in 7
Vs. = in 6
The Lakers will win it all with a 4-1 series win over Dallas, a 4-2 epic win over the Suns a series built as Shaq's last chance should be a classic, a 4-3 classic Western Conference finals that sees the home team hold serve in the first two games each. Then sees the Hornets shock the Lakers in game 5 only to have the Lakers return the favor in game 6 in New Orleans and then finish them off in a classic game 7 in Staples. Then the Lakers will take care of Boston in the finals grabbing a 3-1 lead much like Boston did last season and finishing of the Celtics in 6. Getting the payback they are looking for and Kobe Bryant gets the finals MVP. I know I'm being a homer, but if the Lakers stay healthy it is title or bust this season!!!!!