20 April 2013

NBA Playoffs, a distraction useful?

I'll be surprised if it isn't Miami versus Oklahoma City, and surprised if it isn't Miami in 6 (will take a significant injury to LeBron basically).

East is pretty lame except for the NY-Boston first round matchup and the question of how many games Miami loses on the way the to the finals. Boston if healthy could be a spoiler here just because they're a bad matchup for New York (excellent perimeter defence, and a good jump shooting team themselves to negate Chandler). But I'm not sure how healthy Garnett is. Chicago could make things interesting if Rose were to come back, but given the day-to-day injury to Noah already, I'm doubtful they'd let him back in. Even to play against the Heat. And they'd have to get past the Nets. Without Rose, their offence consists entirely of shots from 12-23 feet. Which I would not trust against the Nets' offensive firepower, even though they're weak defensively.

Later rounds, Indiana presents the most likely team to win more than one game against Miami, but I'm skeptical they could get past New York (would beat Boston and Atlanta though). Although I think Melo is better than the stat community tends to look at him, he's also not enough to win more than one game against the Heat, and even him with Tyson isn't either. I don't trust JR Smith in that series.

The West is much more interesting matchup wise. Harden versus Durant/Westbrook in round one. The injury riddled Spurs versus the Kobe-less Lakers (actually a pretty boring series I think, other than to see who gets healthy regarding Parker especially), the injury riddled Nuggets with their home court high octane high altitude games against the upstart Warriors, and then the Clippers-Grizz rematch. Only the Grizz would worry me as upset potential, indeed, I'd probably favor them mostly because I think del Negro is terrible as a coach and dropping Rudy Gay I think actually very much helped that team. I'm somewhat worried about their crunch time potential, but I'm also not persuaded that they can't attack Jordan and Griffin inside enough.

Both of those teams would also be trouble for the Thunder in round two. I don't like the Nuggets matchup with the Spurs, if healthy for either team, but I could see the Nuggets stretching it to 7 game series. A Spurs-Thunder rematch seems likely, but I also don't see anything from the Spurs that suggests their role players are about to play any better than they did last year, while the Thunder have shown their guys will show up enough. A Nuggets-Thunder matchup would be messier for Oklahoma City. Should they lose in round two, I'd trust the Grizzlies more than the Clippers to keep advancing, as they are a bad matchup for the Spurs, and play very slow in the opposite method from Denver.

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