Playoff Preview: The West

In the past few weeks, I’ve rekindled my love affair with baseball and basketball has disappeared from my mind quicker than Charlie Sheen’s fame (we’ve stopped caring about him right?). Since the start of baseball (with the exception of my trip to Portland), I have only watched a few minutes of NBA games while waiting for the next Mariners game. However, my NBA ignorance is not going to prevent me from pretending like I know what I’m talking about and make predictions about the first round of the playoffs. I will warn you that most of my predictions will be based on how much I like the team. Sorry Laker fans but I’ve got plenty of Kobe haterade stocked up.

1 Spurs vs. 8 Grizzlies

The Spurs and Grizzlies split their four games against each other this season, each winning their games at home. Following this logic, the Spurs will win the series because they have home court advantage. I tend to not listen to logic. Look at this Spurs team, their average age is 45 and Tim Duncan is just finishing his 26th season in the NBA. Okay, so don’t quote me on those numbers. Exaggerations aside, the Spurs are old and have inexplicably avoided any major injuries this year. How is this possible? Three of their four top players (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Richard Jefferson) are all at least 30 but played at least 76 games. One of them will not make it through the playoffs. Even though I hate to admit it, I think the Spurs have enough left to make it past the Grizzlies. Without Rudy, the Grizzlies don’t have enough. The Spurs won’t make it deep into the playoffs this year and I’m just hoping for a return of the Manu-Pad.

*Note: I wrote this before the news came out that Ginobili is doubtful for game one. Fine, don’t believe me.

It's way too easy to hate Ginobili.

2 Lakers vs. 7 Hornets

Mmmm… taste that? That’s the wonderful taste of Kobe haterade. Get ready for a heavy dose. Let’s clear up one thing: Kobe Bryant is not the best clutch shooter in the NBA. I’m not the first to make this claim and NBA writers much smarter than me have better arguments. Basically, Kobe becomes a ball hog in the final minutes and takes way too many shots. No one remembers all the ones he misses, just the few shots that fall. If you don’t believe me, here and here are better arguments. And is Kobe really that great? He hasn’t proved that he can win a championship without a big man. Put LeBron on the Lakers in Kobe’s place and I say they have at least as many championships as they do now. Because my hate for the Lakers and my quickly fading hope that the Hornets may one day be in Seattle, I’ve got to root for New Orleans. Although, we all know that David Stern hates Seattle and we’ll never get another team. Anyway, if you need any more reasons to hate Kobe, check out the video below.

3 Mavericks vs. 6 Blazers

I made my prediction for this series about a week ago and I’m sticking to it. The Blazers will advance past the Mavericks. The reason is depth. Who is the second best player on the Mavericks? There could be an argument made for Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion or Jason Terry. Does any one of those guys make it into the Blazers starting five? No. They probably wouldn’t be one of the seven best on the Blazers. If you thought the Spurs were old, look at the Mavericks roster.  I’m pretty sure they were all cast members on “The Walking Dead.” They can’t match Gerald Wallace’s fire and they certainly are not going to win this series.

Dirk wants to eat your brains.

4 Zombie Sonics vs. 5 Nuggets

Part of me wants to love OKC. Kevin Durant played one season in Seattle and it’s almost impossible not to like him. Russell Westbrook is one of the most exciting point guards in the league. The whole team is young and just fun to watch. But they were stolen. I don’t need to get into it again but I can never root for the Zombie Sonics. Even if I really want to. It’s like on Californication were Karen starts seeing Ben. Hank wants to hate Ben because he still loves Karen but Ben is just too nice of a guy to hate. It’s not really his fault that Karen likes him more. If he should hate anyone, it’s Karen, but he can’t because he still loves her. So instead, he just takes his frustration out on Ben. I’m Hank, Karen is the NBA, and Ben is the Sonics franchise. Did I get that right? I think so… moving on. Luckily, I enjoy the Denver Nuggets story more than I like the OKC roster. Since ridding themselves of Melo, the Nuggets are 18-7 overall and 8-4 against playoff teams. The one thing working against them is that they’ve lost to OKC twice in the past two weeks already. I’m still picking Denver. The playoffs are a completely different animal.

Wait, I picked these guys to beat OKC?

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