We’re getting down to it. The end of the regular season is just a few weeks away. Let’s look at the Western Conference matchups if the season ended yesterday.
1 vs. 8- Houston vs. Oklahoma City. This series wouldn’t go very deep. But the Rockets have done a fine job for being a young an undersized team. They’ve got some pieces to build with. The Thunder are running roughshod over the league right now. They’ve been beating the Lakers in L.A., the Bulls, the Heat, you name it. They are poised to make it all the way. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, they have a “big two” I’d take over any other.
2 vs. 7- Denver vs. San Antonio. This could end up being the first upset of the playoffs. The Spurs are getting older. In a seven game series, they might not be able to keep up with the Nuggets younger legs. One thing we do know, the Spurs won’t panic. They’ve been there and done that. Still, I might go Nuggets in this one.
3 vs. 6- Dallas vs. L.A. Lakers. This one goes at least six, maybe even seven. I like Dallas to beat the Lakers, even if they have to do it on the road. Kobe is getting up there in age, and Andrew Bynum just doesn’t seem to get it. I think Dallas will get into his head and make him do something stupid. Is there a more clutch player than Dirk Nowitzki?
4 vs. 5- Memphis vs. L. A. Clippers. This is where we find out if Chris Paul was worth the money. I want to go with the Clips in this series. I think the longer they stay in, the more interesting the playoffs will be. But we all know playoff basketball is a more grind it out style of play. That doesn’t bode well for the high flying Clippers. Memphis has playoff experience on their side after last season too. I like the Griz in six.
Next Round if my predictions hold up:
Memphis vs. Oklahoma City: No reason to think we will get a different outcome than we got a year ago. If anything the Thunder just keep getting better. Gotta go with OKC.
Dallas vs. Denver: I gotta go with Dallas in this one. They’ve got the horses. They’ve got the experience. They are the defending champs. They won’t go quietly.
Western Conference Finals: Dallas vs. Oklahoma City. This time I think the Thunder will have enough to take down the defending champs. Durant and Westbrook are too young and too good for the aging Mavs to stop four times. Thunder in six games.
This picture could still change drastically between now and the end of the regular season. Right now. Houston is only 1.5 games up on 10th place Phoenix. Houston meanwhile is only two games from 5th place Memphis. So a lot can still happen in the jammed up Western Conference.