Best NBA Playoff Ever!!

Published by: Steve C. on 21st Apr 2011 | View all blogs by Steve C.
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Best NBA Playoff Ever!!

Going into this year's NBA postseason, I honestly felt there were more teams with a shot to win it all than ever before, while at the same time it looked as though the first round would be a relative cake-walk for fewer teams than ever before.  And so far, my feelings appear to have been on par.  I mean, other than Chicago's pretty-much-expected dominance of Indiana, every series has been tightly contested, and several of the higher seeds have lost games.

Let's look at the teams whom I felt had a legitimate shot at the title:
 
1. Miami, I mean you've got to consider a team with two of the league's top-5 players as a contender.
2. Oklahoma City, speaking of a team with two top-5 players, well, maybe top-7, and adding Kendrick Perkins at the trading deadline to that team gave them the inside presence to battle L.A.'s trio of length.  Considering the young team lost to the Lakers in a hard-fought 6-game series last year, definitely a contender.
3. Boston, they did win it all two years ago, although without Perkins, I think they would have a hard time matching up with Bynum, Gasol, and Odom.
4. Los Angeles.  Enough said.
5. Chicago, gotta give a shot to the team with the best record and the probable League MVP.
6. Dallas, I know this team has a history of postseason disappointment, but as a twenty-year Dallas resident, I watch this team a lot, and this is the most complete Mavericks team I've ever seen.  Between Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood, the team is stronger in the middle than they've ever been.  If the Mavericks can consistently find a second scorer, whether it be Kidd, Marion, Stojakovic, or Jet Terry, the Mavericks have a chance at winning it, especially with one of the top closers in the game.
7. Portland.  Yes, the Blazers.  They have been one of the toughest teams in the league in the second half.  Aldridge has been playing like a man possessed and Roy coming off the bench gives the team great depth and versatility.  And a number of analysts picked Portland to beat Dallas, so if Dallas has a shot...so does Portland.  An outside shot, maybe, but a shot nonetheless.
8. My beloved San Antonio Spurs.  Boasting the best record in the league until the next-to-last game, the Spurs could have a nice little run.  Duncan seems five years younger, as the team's depth allowed Poppovich to manage his stars' minutes through the season.  The problem for the Spurs, as I and many analysts see it, is size.  While the rest of the league made moves to match the defending Champion Lakers in terms of size in the middle, my Spurs went the other route, playing 6'7” DeJuan Blair at center.  The mistake is obvious even in their first round matchup with Memphis.  Things will only get tougher as the Spurs move on to potentially face Oklahoma City and then either Dallas or L.A., as all three teams have a dominant inside presence.
9. New York, yeah I know...but remember I said these are teams I felt had a shot before the playoffs started.  The Knicks really started clicking in the latter stages of the season, even playing some stout defense at times.  And Dantoni has made some impressive playoff runs in the past.  Unfortunately, the injuries to Amare Stoudamire and Chauncey Billups will likely keep NY from making a run this year, but watch out for that team after it has a chance to work together for a full off-season.
10. And last, Orlando.  Not much confidence in Orlando, being that Howard really has noone around him.  But they made the Finals once before with the same formula and Howard's ability has certainly not diminished.

So, there you go.  Ten of the sixteen playoff teams with a shot at the title.  The most competitive playoffs in NBA history.  And the games have so far not disappointed.  At this point I would have to remove the Knicks from the list, and probably Portland, but eight teams with a legit shot is still pretty awesome.  So, enjoy, NBA fans.  The playoffs may never be this exciting again.

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