The NBA playoffs are once again upon us. Here's a quick look at two of the interesting first round matchups.
The 82 game NBA regular season has finally come to a close. In an action packed final day, the Western Conference playoff spots and rankings were finally confirmed. The drama of whether or not the Lakers would make the playoffs was decided early on, as the Utah Jazz lost to the Memphis Grizzlies to gift the Lakers the eight seed. However, the Lakers went one better by beating the Houston Rockets in over time, and thus securing the seventh seed, pitting them against the San Antonio Spurs in round one.
With all the match ups finally set, it’s time to take a closer look at a few of them. In the eastern conference, many eyes will be on the Knicks and Celtics series. Carmelo Anthony will be the center of attention, as he has been all year long. It seems he has gone too many seasons with unfulfilled playoff potential. He has only made one appearance beyond the first round of the playoff in 9 attempts. It is time for him to take charge of the team which has relied on him all season. One of the strongest attributes of this Knicks team is their high powered offense, and against a much more defensive minded Celtics team, the “win by scoring more” mentality may be the best for the Knicks here. In addition to this, the Knicks have played a smart rotational system, which has worked to their advantage as the squad has good depth to it. The Celtics have an aging Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, have lost Rajon Rondo to injury for the entire season, and are generally unsuited to counter the quick attacking play of the Knicks. If this were a Knicks side without Anthony, there could be a chance for the Celtics to be able to shut down the supporting cast, with Bradley particularly causing Felton problems. Chandler and Martin may still not be 100% following injuries, and Smith could be shut down by the defensive work of the Celtics. However, Anthony is a factor here, and should carry his team to the eastern conference finals at the minimum.
Looking at the western conference, much of the coverage has been on the Lakers, and many suspect the Thunder to go all the way. However, potentially the most interesting round one matchup may be between the Nuggets and Warriors. The Warriors have been the league’s top 3 point shooting team, led by Stephen Curry. They do have a young squad , however, with many of the players competing in their first playoff series. The Nuggets do not necessarily have a star player, but their experience may be just enough to get them past the Warriors. They have a hard working team, which should provide us with a good series.
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