With 2 weeks until the 2010 NBA Playoffs begin, it's crunch time for many teams around the league. For many, each game can be the difference between the 2nd seed and the 5th seed. In the loaded West, we have become accustomed to having tight races. Last year, seeds 2-4 finished with the exact same record!
For many NBA fans, these next two weeks are the best two weeks of the regular season. This year Dallas, Utah, Phoenix, and Denver are all in the mix to either be the 2nd seed or the 5th seed. All of these teams are very dangerous, and how they finish will have ramifications on who the Lakers play in the Second round. I personally hope the 4 and 5 seeds are Phoenix and Utah since I believe the Lakers have both Utah and Phoenix's number, but that's just a matter of personal opinion.
Onto a more pressing matter: our possible 1st round opponent. There are 3 teams in the running for the dreaded 8th seed: Portland, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City. For me personally, I think it's pretty obvious which team we want to be facing in the first round, and their name does not start with a P or an O. Oh how the mighty have fallen, San Antonio has gone a long way from being hailed as the only possible team to contend with the Lakers. Now they are fighting just to stay out of the 8th seed.
Not only do I think it would be fitting for the Lakers to close the proverbial window on the San Antonio Spurs, I just think we can easily beat them. The Spurs are injured, struggling, and perhaps most fitting OLD! The Lakers just two years ago swept the Spurs out of the WCF. Granted Manu Ginobili was hampered by injuries that year, but coincidently not too mention as changed for the Spurs. They are two years older than that team, Duncan is now being consistently outplayed by Pau Gasol, and it is unclear whether Tony Parker will be healthy to play.
The alternative to playing San Antonio would be playing against an athletic Oklahoma City team, or the Portland Trailblazers, a team that has consistently throttled us in the Rose Garden. Sure we were able to beat them in the Rose Garden once this year, but we also have to take into consideration we didn't have Kobe playing/going (5-25fg) in that game. As for the Thunder, the utter demolition we suffered at their hands last week was not exactly confidence inspiring. Kevin Durant+Russell Westbrook = Headache for Laker Fans. I'm all for close games, and wonderful match-ups but I am even more in favor of Lakers cruising to 4-0 sweeps of teams.
Lets take a look at San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Portland remaining games:
San Antonio (7)- @ LAL, @ Sac, @ Pho (2nd night of B2B), Mem, @Den(2nd night of B2B), Min, @Dal
Portland (6) - @Sac, @LAC, Dal, @LAL, OKC, GS
Oklahoma City (8) - @DAL, Min(B2B), @UTA, Den(B2B), Pho,@GS, @Por (B2B), Mem
Looking at the schedule on paper, it seems San Antonio will likely lose 4 of its last 7 games. Portland 3 at most of its last 6. And OKC will likely lose at least 4. And if things go according to plan, it seems like the final seedings will look like this:
8. San Antonio
Who do you want the Lakers to play in the first round? 2nd Round? WCF? the Finals?!
What would you think the Playoff seeding will look like?