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Bloguin NBA: Western Conference Playoffs

We’ve developed quite the big network since the inception of Bloguin, and the following blogs have something to say about the playoffs: BlueBlitz.Net, 2nd Round Reach, Bust a Bucket, T-Wolves Blog, Points in the Paint, Hoop Heads North, The Puns are Starting to Bore Me, Curse of Cleveland, and of course, yours truly (Don from With Malice).
Here’s what Bloguin thinks about the Western Conference Playoffs…
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With Malice

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Blue Blitz

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2nd Round Reach

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Bust a Bucket

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T-Wolves Blog

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Points in the Paint

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Hoop Heads North

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Curse of Cleveland

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Now let’s explore what the bloguin guys had to say about the Western Conference Playoffs…
First up, Zeb of BlueBlitz.Net:
1. LA Lakers vs 8. Utah Jazz
Los Angeles in 7 Games

The Lakers are good, damn good, but I think that they’re going to vastly underestimate the Jazz. Sure, the Jazz are an 8 seed, and literally spontaneously combusted before entering the playoffs. But this is still the same team that the Lakers faced in the Semi-finals last year, and went 4-2 against.
It’s really not that far off to think this can go 7 games. I predict the Jazz steal game 1 and it goes from there.
2. Denver Nuggets vs 7. New Orleans Hornets
New Orleans in 7 Games
This might as well be a 4 and 5 matchup, because these teams are separated by only 5.5 games.
I like the Hornets here. The Hornets have the big man and Point Guard advantage, while the Nuggets have the Swingman advantage.
Ultimately, I think the fact that the Hornets know that this could be their last season together before being broken up and the fact that they have better players in the two most important positions in basketball (PG and C), will win them the series.
3. San Antonio Spurs vs 6. Dallas Mavericks
Spurs in 4 Games

I don’t have much to say about this one, because I just think that the Spurs have an eternal advantage over the Mavericks. I just can’t even envision in my mind the Mavericks winning a single game here. I think the “built for the regular season” image is still stuck in my head.
4. Portland Trail Blazers vs 5. Houston Rockets
Portland to Win in 6 Games
No TMac equals no win in my mind. He’s their clutch man, and he has the most incentive to win this series. Without him, I think the Blazers can overcome the aging Rockets if they can just keep it together game to game.
Brendan of 2nd Round Reach feels:
1. Los Angeles Lakers vs. 8. Utah Jazz
Los Angeles in 6

I’m giving the Jazz two games here based solely on A) their better play at home and B) the fact that Deron  Williams is the friggin’ man.
It’ll probably only go to 5 at most.

2. Denver Nuggets vs. 7. New Orleans Hornets
Denver in 7

By far the toughest matchup to call in the first round, but I’ll default to homecourt and the fact that Denver comes in fully healthy (not positive about Tyson Chandler) and with a slightly better bench than NOLA. Of course, Chris Paul is a flaming godhead, but that Billups guy is a no slouch himself. I think if David West has a big series and can put up consistent numbers in both scoring and rebounding, I’ll probably be wrong about this pick.

3. San Antonio Spurs vs. 6. Dallas Mavericks
San Antonio in 7

I think the Mavs have been a little bit underrated for most of the season, but Tony Parker has been waaay under the radar with maybe his best season ever. The dream may be over for the finally over-the-hill Spurs, but when I look at these teams and think to myself, “who can I still not imagine being bounced in the first round?” the  answer is clear. One last hurrah for Pops and co.

4. Portland Trailblazers vs. 5. Houston Rockets
Portland in 7

Another case where I might have switched picks but for the homecourt advantage. Yao will play well, but the Kids of Destiny will finally have their day. Ron-Ron will make mistakes, Yao will play well, but be bothered by a surprisingly competent Blazers frontcourt, and-honestly… is there any single player you like more in the series to come through huge in the clutch than Brandon Roy?
Sheed of Bust a Bucket tells us:
1. LA Lakers vs 8. Utah Jazz
Lakers in 6
The Jazz only have one true killer on their team, and Deron can’t do it all against the Lakers. The front line of LA is too much to handle for the softies in Utah.
Lakers will step their game up.

2. Denver Nuggets vs 7. New Orleans Hornets
Hornets in 7
The Nuggets lack discipline and concentration. The only reason they even made the playoffs is Chauncey’s arrival.  CP3 will bring his game and make this a fun series to watch.

3. San Antonio Spurs vs 6. Dallas Mavericks
Spurs in 6
There is something about San Antonio and the postseason. With plenty of rest between games, Duncan and Parker will put their game faces on. The Mavericks just don’t have the postseason stones.

4. Portland Trail Blazers vs 5. Houston Rockets
Blazers in 7
Tough match-up for Portland. The Rockets seemed to have their number in the regular season. But with time for scouting, learning in a 7-game series, and the home court advantage, The Blazers pull it off.
College Wolf of T-Wolves Blog thinks:
1. Los Angeles vs 8. Utah
Lakers in 6
It may appear to be somewhat of a tough match-up on paper, but the Lakers absolutely undressed Utah on Tuesday night.
Personally, I wish Utah would have ended up with the 7th seed, because I’d like to see them advance in the playoffs. LA is too talented for the Jazz, unfortunately.
2. Denver vs 7. New Orleans
New Orleans in 7
Denver may be the trendy pick, but I still don’t understand how they ended up with the second best record in the West. I am still unconvinced until they are able to advance past the first round.
If Utah was in this spot, I think they would beat the Nuggets. However, I also think New Orleans can beat the Nuggets too.
I believe it was a blessing in disguise that they dropped down to 7th on the last day of the season!
3. San Antonio vs 6. Dallas
Dallas in 7
Bummer for the Rockets, because I think they would have absolutely destroyed Dallas with ease, finally advancing past the first round. For these two teams, it’s a toss-up. With the current state of their rosters, I think they are the two weakest teams in the playoffs from the Western Conference. I’ll give Dallas the nod because they’ve got Dirk, and San Antonio is missing Ginobili. I could see this series going down to the wire either way.

4. Portland vs 5. Houston
Houston in 7
The home court advantage could end up being key for the Blazers, because this will be a tough series. However, I think Houston’s defense will be too much for them. I also give Houston the nod in the experience column. It’s unfortunate that these two teams are playing each other, because I’d love to see both of them in the second round.
1. Los Angeles Lakers vs 8. Utah Jazz
Los Angeles in 5
I’d probably take the Jazz over a lot of the teams in the West but I just don’t see it happening against the Lakers.

2. Denver Nuggets vs 7. New Orleans Hornets
Denver in 7

I think the Chauncey Billups acquisition really pays off now. To have the former NBA Finals MVP leading the way, he’ll put them over the edge into the second round.

3. San Antonio Spurs vs 6. Dallas Mavericks
San Antonio in 7

This should be a good one as I’m a huge Spurs fan. It hurts that Manu isn’t playing but the Spurs are that team that no matter who’s on it, Pop can somehow magically get it done.

4. Portland Trailblazers vs 5. Houston Rockets
Portland in 6

I’m jumping on the Blazers bandwagon, the Blazers have been bad for so many years but this year is different. I don’t even remember the old Jail Blazers. Broy Wonder, the Natural, whatever you want to call him, Brandon Roy is going to make some noise this post season.

Kirk from the Curse of Cleveland!…
1. Lakers vs 8. Jazz
Lakers in 5
While I think the Jazz matchup with the Lakers better than some in the West, their depth is no match for the Lakers. Who’s going to guard Kobe? I think the Jazz big men (Boozer, AK47, Millsap, Okur) will be able to slow Gasol, Odom, and Bynum. The Jazz will win one on their homecourt, but that’s about it.

2. Nuggets vs 7. Hornets
Nuggets in 7
This is the matchup where I feel an upset is most possible. Chris Paul and David West have the ability to elevate their game in a big way. Even though Denver has changed their style drastically this season, I still don’t like it quite as much as some other teams’ styles for the playoffs. Hornets make it interesting, but Denver wins Game 7 in the thin air.
3. Spurs vs 6. Mavericks
Spurs in 6
Before Ginobili got hurt, I would have said this had outside sweep potential. The Mavericks are wildly inconsistent this season when I’ve seen them, but Kidd and Nowitzki have extensive experience in the posteseason. Duncan and Parker, have about as much postseason experience as anyone, and Pop is one of the best coaches in the game.

4. Blazers vs 5. Rockets
Blazers in 7
I’m disappointed that these two face each other in the first round because I feel they’re the two teams in the West with the best shot at the Lakers. The Rockets have two guys (Battier, Artest) who can guard Kobe well, Yao Ming, Scola, and Dikembe who can handle the Lakers’ bigs, and they’ve overcome a lot of adversity. The Blazers have a go-to guy in Roy, tough bigs in Aldridge, Oden, and Przybilla, and they have had success against LA. The Blazers are young and hungry, plus the T-Mac jinx indirectly lives on.
Lastly… me!
1. LA vs 8. Utah
LA in 5
I really can’t envisage the Lakers coming unprepared to the party.  Could any other team in the Association be more aware of what’s required at this stage of the season?  Deron Williams will be a handful, and both Fisher and (believe it or not) Shannon Brown (ShanWOW) will see time on him… but LA have too much length.  And of course, there’s Kobe.
2. Denver vs 7. New Orleans
Denver in 7
This should be an incredible series.  I really think that New Orleans will step up and become the team we thought they were here, but in the end the maturation of the Denver Nuggets will be too much (not just Melo, but Nene too).  Billups will tip the balance, and the Nugs take this one.
3. San Antonio vs 6. Dallas
San Antonio in 6
I flipped and flopped a lot on this, but it all comes down to my belief that the Mavs have never recovered from the 2006 Finals.  San Antonio are going to struggle a lot, but there’ll be too much Parker for Dallas.
4. Portland vs 5. Houston
Portland in 7
Another possibly amazing series.  I believe that this all came down to the Blazers winning that last game of the season – if they didn’t have home court against Houston, then I couldn’t see them beating the Rockets.
Getting Houston in this match-up is perhaps the Blazers’ worst nightmare tho’ – for no other team matches up less favourably for Portland than this one.   It’ll be tight, and could go either way… but look for Lamarcus Aldridge to be the difference.
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