May 20, 2008

NBA Conference Finals Preview

Our NBA Conference Finals Preview comes from our West Coast correspondent, Michael Prodanovich. He also is far more competent to discuss NBA matters than we are.

EAST: (1) Boston vs (2) Detroit

A lot of people saw this one coming, and I even said it would be surprising if the East didn't play out to form with this conference finals matchup. What I did not see coming was the method in which these two teams got here. Boston has been less than impressive. Despite going 8-0 at home, they have gone 0-6 on the road and most of those games were not close. Fortunately for them, with a 66-16 regular season record and home court throughout, they can win the title without ever winning a road game. Unfortunately for them, they really haven't played that well at home, as 3 of their 8 home playoff wins have gone right down to the wire.

The Pistons have looked like a well oiled machine in these playoffs, playing dominant ball both at home and on the road cruising to relatively easy victories against both Philadelphia and Orlando, beating the latter on the road without "Mister Big Shot" Chauncey Billups. Richard Hamilton and Tayshawn Price have both been on top of their games, and other than Posey, the Celtics don't have a perimeter defender who can keep up with either of them. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen's Corpse are both extremely sub-par defenders at this point in their respective careers, and Allen is shooting somewhere around 30% for the playoffs. Detroit has the edge at every position except power forward, where Garnett and Rasheed are probably a toss-up. This Piston team has been together for a long time. I originally thought they were getting old and slow, but their bench has given them the energy to keep up. Their experience is showing at the best possible time. If Boston doesn't show something soon, their season looks to be nearing its end.

Revised Prediction: Pistons in 6.

WEST: (1) Los Angeles vs (3) San Antonio

Two more teams that are no stranger to each other in the playoffs. I thought the Spurs' run was finished this year, but they showed up huge in the first round against the Suns. I also thought they were finished after three blowout losses in New Orleans, but they summoned the testicular fortitude to win a Game 7 on the road. Tony Parker has had an amazing playoff run so far, and is right there with Nash, Paul and Williams as the best point guard in the west. Duncan is still as good as he has ever been, Ginobili has had his best year yet, and their bench has stepped up with huge shots when needed. This cheapshotting (Horry) bunch of whining floppers (Ginobili, Duncan) is the team everyone loves to hate. But with great players, a solid nucleus, a productive bench and the best coach in the game, it is no surprise that they are here.

The Lakers have played extremely well so far, and easily cruised past the Nuggets and Jazz in the first two rounds. Now the real games begin. Kobe is playing the best ball of his career, shooting a high percentage, getting everyone involved and passing like Magic. Gasol has been a godsend, and his play has freed up Odom to feed of his talent. The Lakers are an organized team with a nine man rotation were everyones minutes are set almost to the exact number, with everyone knowing and filling their specific role. Like the Pistons, the Lakers also are peaking at the right time. Even including their two losses in Utah, the Lakers have lost only five games in the last two months.
East Coast Bias
I would be shocked if this series does not go 7, as these two teams are both so good, so experienced and so well coached. I think the home court will decide this one, and with the Lakers hosting Game 7 (thanks to having one more win than the Spurs in the regular season) and having not lost a home game since mid March, I think they will pull it out.
Prediction: Lakers in 7

0 Responses:

Summer is here and there's never been a better time to try your hand at online sports betting. Place your bets on your favorite horse with horse racing or even try your luck with your favorite football team. Enjoying sport is just a click away!