Staff Writer: Ryan Ward
With only a few weeks left in the NBA regular, the best teams in the league are gearing up for the playoffs and this year it should be as entertaining as ever as we will see some great matchups, especially in the Western Conferences!
Here is how the playoff matchups look in the West if the playoffs started today:
#1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #8 Portland Trail Blazers
The defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers don’t have many weaknesses this season, but one thing they haven’t been able to do with much consistency is win at the Rose Garden against the Portland Trail Blazers.
With that being said, the Lakers would hate to face the Blazers in the first round of the playoffs because of their struggles at the Rose Garden.
As of right now, the Lakers and Blazers seem to be headed towards a first round matchup and that could spell trouble for Kobe Bryant and company.
Even though the Lakers do struggle in Portland they are the champs for a reason and they will prove it with yet another playoff series victory!
Series Prediction: 4-2 Lakers
#2 Denver Nuggets vs. #7 San Antonio Spurs
The Los Angeles Lakers are the best team in the Western Conference right now, but not far behind them are the Denver Nuggets led by scoring machine Carmelo Anthony and arguably the best floor general in the game in Chauncey Billups.
A lot of people thought that last season’s run to the Western Conference finals was a fluke and not many people gave them much of a chance of repeating their amazing run, but despite all the doubters, the Nuggets have been just as good as last season, if not better!
As of right now, the Nuggets look like they are headed to a first round matchup with the always competitive San Antonio Spurs led by four-time NBA champion forward Tim Duncan.
Even though the Spurs would have been a great matchup for the Nuggets in the past, this season Carmelo Anthony and company could quite possibly pull off the sweep as San Antonio has done nothing, but show their age this year.
Series Prediction: 4-1 Nuggets
#3 Dallas Mavericks vs. #6 Oklahoma City Thunder
The biggest surprise team in the NBA this season has been by far the play Oklahoma City Thunder who have gone from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the best in just a single season.
The main reason for the Thunder’s success this season has been Kevin Durant playing out of his mind and lighting up the scoreboards on a nightly basis while leading his team to 40+ wins this year.
Not only has Durant completely turned around the franchise this season, but he has also become a legitimate MVP candidate up there with the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Thunder look like they will end up playing against the Dallas Mavericks who have also turned it around this season after making a blockbuster deal to bring in small forward Caron Butler.
Out of all the playoff series in the West, I believe this one will be the most competitive as the Thunder will be the underdog, but they will give Dirk Nowitzki and company a run for their money!
Series Prediction: 4-3 Mavericks
#4 Utah Jazz vs. #5 Phoenix Suns
No matter who wins this series between the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz, I believe neither one of these teams have what it takes to compete with the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers or the Denver Nuggets, but even with that being said, this should be a good series between pretty evenly matched teams.
The key to this matchup will be the battle of the superstars as the Jazz Deron Williams will go up against two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and All-Star forward/center Amare Stoudemire will face off with Utah forward Carlos Boozer.
In my opinion, the Suns will come out on top just due to the experience factor with Nash leading the way. It could very easily go the other way, but in the end I believe Nash and Amare will be too much to handle.
Series Prediction: 4-2 Suns