Sachin Shenolikar

NBA Playoff Preview: Western Conference

  • Hoophead
  • Sachin Shenolikar
  • April 15, 2011, 2:26 PM

The NBA Playoffs start Saturday, and Hoophead and The Wiz are here to preview every series! We've broken down the Beasts of the East, and now it's time to look at Kobe, Durant, those sneaky Spurs and the best of the Western Conference...


(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Memphis Grizzlies

Hoophead: San Antonio cruised for most of the season, but stumbled down the stretch. Injuries to Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are concerns but shouldn't prevent the experienced Spurs from beating Memphis. The Grizzlies will put up a fight, though, with the strong frontcourt of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. The key is whether young point guard Mike Conley can contain his experienced counterpart, Tony Parker. Hoophead’s prediction: Spurs in six.

The Wiz: If I were the Spurs, I'd be mighty nervous. Manu Ginobili is doubtful for Game 1 of this series, and without him these teams are very evenly matched. Yes, the Spurs still have Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and a ton of guys who can catch fire from three. But the Grizzlies are relentless defensively and pound the ball into the paint on offense. San Antonio will get all they can handle. Wiz’s prediction: Spurs in seven.



(2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (7) New Orleans Hornets

Hoophead: The Hornets overachieved this season thanks to the leadership of point guard Chris Paul and coach Monty Williams. However the Lakers have too much size, talent, and experience for New Orleans in this series. The health of center Andrew Bynum is a question mark for the LA, but the Lakers won't need him to get past undersized New Orleans. Hoophead’s prediction: Lakers in five.

The Wiz: Even with Andrew Bynum questionable for the first game or two of this series, L.A. is just going to be too much for the Hornets. New Orleans really took a hit when David West tore his ACL a few weeks back. They just don't have enough depth and size in the frontcourt to handle Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and the rest of L.A.'s bigs. There's going to be a lot of pressure falling on Chris Paul's shoulders, and he's looked beat up at times this year. And, oh yeah, L.A. has that Kobe guy. Wiz’s prediction: Defending champs in five.



(3) Dallas Mavericks vs. (6) Portland Trail Blazers

Hoophead: With an aging roster, this could the the Mavs' final chance to make a run at a title with Dirk Nowitzki as its centerpiece. Even with star Brandon Roy out with an injury, the Blazers have been playing well after trading for swingman Gerald Wallace in February. The matchup to watch is superstar Nowitzki going against playoff newbie LaMarcus Aldridge. The Mavs' urgency to win will get them by Portland. Hoophead’s prediction: Mavs in six.

The Wiz: I want to like the Mavs. I really do. Dirk Nowitzki is great. Jason Kidd is ageless. But this team relies on the jump shot too much for my liking. And even with Tyson Chandler joining Dallas, they're not a great rebounding team. Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge smoked the Mavs for 27.8 points per game in their four meetings, and there's more where that came from. Aldridge and Gerald Wallace will get the job done inside the arc, and Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum will be there to knock down some big shots. Wiz’s prediction: Blazers in six.



(4) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (5) Denver Nuggets

Hoophead: Two of the NBA's hottest teams square off. The Nuggets have played terrific team ball since trading away stars Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups in February (eight Nuggets average double-digits in scoring). The Thunder has gone 19-4 since March 1, boosted by the acquisition of center Kendrick Perkins. Oklahoma City gets the edge because in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook it has two players who can take over games in crunch time. Hoophead’s prediction: Thunder in six.

The Wiz: I really like both of these teams. The Thunder are so well-balanced, and their chemistry is amazing. I think the acquisition of big man Kendrick Perkins will really shine through in this series. As for the Nuggets? Well, George Karl should win coach of the century for the job he's done since they traded Carmelo. This team is actually better now! They defend harder, and while they lack a true Number 1 option, they take nothing but good shots. And I love the fact that they attack and get to the free throw line. These teams are so evenly matched. But in the end, I think it will come down to a superstar making superstar plays. And that superstar would be Kevin Durant. Wiz’s prediction: OKC in seven.


How about your picks? Leave them in the comments section!

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (26 votes)

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go lakers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lets go Lakers burn the Heat!!!!!!!

no go heat

I picked the Mavs to win in all at the start of the season. Now i do not look so crazy!

I am a die hard celtics fan and it kills me to say this but i think they will loose to the heat. =(

No way man the Celtics are the best in the NBA there nt goin to lose.

Mavericks are going all the way!!!!

You only say that cause they beat the LALakers

My prediction:



I made this after two games in the second round.

Hawks all the way we got weapons Hinrich, Johnnson Horford and Smith

My playoff predictions.


Grizzlies over Spurs
Thunder over Nuggets
Lakers over Hornets
Mavericks over Trail Blazers

Thunder over Grizzlies
Lakers over Mavericks

Lakers over Thunder


Bulls over Pacers
Hawks over Magic
Heat over 76ers
Celtics over Knicks

Bulls over Hawks
Celtics over Heat

Bulls over Celtics


Bulls over Lakers

blazers vs.heat winner blazers

i pray that the Bulls win the championship

LAKERS will be the champs again

Only person the lakers look up to is kobe because he's a bast.

Memphis Vs. San Antonio. Winner San Antonio
Lakers Vs. Hornets. Winner Lakers
Dallas Vs. Portland. Winner Portland
Denver Vs. Oklahoma City. Winner Oklahoma City.
San Antonio Vs. Oklahoma City. Winner Oklahoma City.
Portland Vs. Lakers. Winner Lakers
Oklahoma City Vs. Lakers. Winner Oklahoma City

Lakers beat chicago in 5 lakers all da way

Chicago going to win the championship with D. Rose a.k.a MVP!!!!!! he is the next Michal Jordan

The Thunder are gonna win the West. Kobe doesn't have what it takes to carry the Lakers to the Finals. I think that OKC does. Kevin Durant is a beast, the face of the franchise. He and the Thunder will win the West.

i totally agree with u



Grizzlies Grizzles
Thunder Thunder
Lakers Lakers
Mavs Mavs
Blazers Thunder lose to Heat in 6 games.

The spurs have lost in times so with out some big Factors in this game, Memphis in 6

The spurs have lost in times so with out some big Factors in this game, Memphis in 6

The spurs have lost in times so with out some big Factors in this game, Memphis in 6

west final: lakers vs thunder lakers in 6

Thunder in 7



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