The West is king. That side of Mississippi is simply stacked with talent and quality teams. What do GM's on the West Coast know? and whatever it is, please share it with your Eastern counterparts so the playoffs can be more watchable in the East. It is amazing how good the West is, each of those teams have won 50 games, and outside of Cleveland and Orlando, I don't think any of the other Eastern Conference playoff teams could win in a seven game series against the West's eighth seed, the Thunder. I really think this year could be great for the Western playoffs because all the teams really are so close to each other, I could actually see each team winning and being able to advance, but only four can so here 's what i think.
Oklahoma City v Los Angeles
The eight v one is always supposed to be lopsided, a tune up of sorts for the favorites to stay in game shape while their actual foes must run through a gauntlet of much tougher teams and much more strenous games. But the Thunder could provide a much stiffer test for the struggling Lakers. In fact I think the Thunder actually have a chance to beat the mighty Lakers. The Lakers have hit sort of a wall at the wrong time of the year, are going to have to reincorporate an injured Bynum, and their superstar Bean Bryant might be the most banged up player in the playoffs. Also the Thunder have nothing to lose, a young team expected to lose anyway, led by a nearly unstoppable next generation star who is shining far too bright already to be considered potentially great and not already great. I think KD will have a huge series, especially with all this crap from Phil Jackson, and really push the Lakers, but in the end Kobe and Lakers will pull it out. Or will they?......the Thunder have really coalesced as a team...i really want to pick the thunder here..it would be crazy but...okay..c'mon.......and.............
San Antonio v Dallas
This is a tough one. Dallas has looked great since the trade, but the Spurs have Tim Duncan, TP, Manu, and that championship pedigree. I've thought all year the Spurs would come together and make some noise in the playoffs but this is a real tough match-up for them. I think both these teams could make serious runs in the playoffs with some momentum, so whoever wins this series could slide into the Western Conference Championship. I think Dallas will ultimately take this because they are a little younger and a little more athletic than San Antonio. Dallas can push the tempo with J-kidd, Marion and Butler, and Haywood is an athletic big who can give Duncan some trouble. The Spurs on the other hand have closed the season out in impressive wins against top-caliber playoff teams. Ultimately I think this will be one of the more competitive series with the Mavs taking it 4-2, but each game will be highly contested and very close, and though i'm saying Mavs 4-2, I would not be surprised at all if the Spurs took the series 4-2. Basically a cop out answer from me, I have no idea. This will be the best series.
Portland v Phoenix
Phoenix has to be one of the hottest teams in the league right now, and Steve Nash is playing out of his mind. Someone remind him that he is a small, unathletic white kid who shouldn't be dominating games the way he is. Phoenix is a tough match up for anyone because there are just shooters and scorers all over the place being put in perfect positions by one of the greatest set-up men of all time. This could have been a decent series if not for the Brandon Roy injury, which is clearly an example of why you rest your players at the end, all this crap about cheating the fans is ridiculous, cheating Blazers fans of Brandon Roy in the playoffs is the real crime here. Anyway I think Phoenix is too talented right now to be bothered too much by the Blazers, but maybe the blazers get emotionally riled up enough to put up enough of a fight to swipe a couple of games. They have been doing it all year. But ultimately this will be one of the lesser competitive series.
Utah v Denver
This might seem like the most evenly matched series of the bunch, at least on paper and records-wise. Both teams have big time, big point guards who give opposing Pg's nightmares. However, I think I have to give the edge to Chauncey, he is just more steady at the point than D williams who sometimes can get into some turnover problems, but it'll be close. Carmelo will be the difference in this series. I just don't see Utah having an answer for him. He is too physical, too big, and too strong for the Jazz, they just don't have anyone that can really keep him in check (especially with Kirilenko out). But the Nuggets have really had Utah's number all season going 3-1 against them, and their only loss came when Carmelo and Chauncey were both out. However the Nuggets have been struggling as of late, and Kenyon Martin's injury really hurts them, but the Jazz themselves are pretty banged up Boozer, Okur, and Williams all ailing with something or the other. I think injuries will play a major factor in this series but in the end the Nuggets will come out on top.