I can’t believe that this will be the first time Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki will face off in the playoff. One would think with the amount of time these superstars have spent in the same conference they would have locked up before now. However, that’s not the case, but now we will get to see it
Were the Lakers challenged in the last series? Who knows? I don’t think anyone could say with a straight face that they felt L.A. was in danger of losing that series at any point. New Orleans never truly challenged the Lakers. I wouldn’t have cared if the Lakers went down 3-0. I would have still expected them to win the next 4 games. The reason New Orleans won two games is because they have Chris Paul and the Lakers are vulnerable at the point guard position (can we someone please take Derek Fisher out of his athletically challenged misery. Dude ain’t had it for 5 years). However, when push came to shove Kobe defended Paul, the Lakers step up their game slightly, and sent the Hornets home. So there’s nothing to take from that series in relation to this one.
Now Dallas on the other hand had a real fight with the Portland Trailblazers. LaMarcus Aldridge and the Blazers gave Dallas everything they wanted. For years the Mavericks were see as a soft team that didn’t play defense. That however is no longer the case. Tyson Chandler has brought an interior toughness to the Dallas Mavericks that hasn’t been there in the past (by the way anytime Tyson Chandler is seen as the savior, things ha veto be bad). So they are not as soft inside. Now they need to fix that defense (I still can’t shake the image of Brandon Roy torching them in game 4, and dude has no kneecaps. What is Kobe going to do?).
I expect the Lakers to win this series. They just have too much length and skill inside. I think Dallas could be competitive early in games, but they just don’t have enough size.
Lakers win 4 – 2
With Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City has made themselves a formidable team in the playoffs and a potential champion. There is one thing consistently holds them back, and that is the inconsistent play of Russell Westbrook.
On just about every night Westbrook has an advantage against any team the Thunder face. His ability to score at the point guard creates problems for the opposition’s defense. However it creates a problem for his team as well. Winning with a score first point guard is nearly impossible. Now it’s great when Russell’s game is on and he’s hitting shots, because not only is he scoring, he’s distributing. Now if his offense isn’t rolling, he shoot tons of shots (like most shooters do) to try to get his offense on track. That’s a problem especially when you’re playing with Kevin Durant. Look I’m not breaking news here. Kevin Durant should be putting g up at least 20 shots a game if OKC plans on winning this series. And if he doesn’t get those shots it shouldn’t be because of Russell Westbrook.
The Memphis Grizzlies have everyone’s attention. After beating San Antonio in 6 games, the Grizzlies have proved that they belong. When you look at Memphis’s roster, you begin to understand why they are having so much success. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are a load in the middle. When you pair that with Mike Conley and their perimeter play, you can see the problems Memphis will pose to Oklahoma.
I really don’t know who’s going to win this series. I will pick Oklahoma City Thunder to advance to the Conference Finals, because I think their better from top to bottom. With that being said, I have absolutely no confidence in my opinion.
Thunder win 4 – 3
-Kortney Shane Williams
Comedian and Writer