An Idiot's Guide to Beating Every Remaining NBA Playoff Team
As of tonight, we currently have six remaining playoffs teams: the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and the San Antonio Spurs.
Obviously, each of those teams is doing something right. While one team seems doomed at this point (Indiana), the rest are still very much in the playoff race.
Which ones will last? Which one will find themselves hoisting the trophy at the end of this rat race?
It's anyone's game at this point because every team is beatable. This is a straight-forward guide to each team and what must be done to stop them.
In a sense, this is an "Idiot's Guide" to beating every remaining playoff team. Simple, concise and to the point. Enjoy.
San Antonio Spurs
Idiot's Guide Beating the Spurs:
1. Energy and Hustle
2. See #1
At this point, the San Antonio Spurs are the most dangerous team left in the playoffs not named the Thunder.
They have Tim Duncan, whom I don't need to explain. He's a proven superstar.
Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are playing out of their minds. They have a supporting cast of rookies, no-namers and solid role players that all combine to make this team into something special.
But how does one go about beating the mighty Spurs?
At this point, it might not be possible, but taking them out of their comfort zones might be a start. We all saw what happened when the Spurs got scared and uncomfortable last year. They were defeated in the first round by a pesky Memphis Grizzlies team.
This year, they seem overly confident and as if they are on cruise control. Remember, they haven't lost a game yet.
But they are an old team. The only thing that could possibly take them out of their cool is to throw them against a team that hustles even more than they do. Take away that outside shot from Danny Green, Matt Bonner and Kawhi Leonard.
The Oklahoma City Thunder lie in wait and hope to run all over the old and crotchety San Antonio veterans. Stay tuned on Sunday.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Idiot's Guide to Beating the Thunder
1. Be an experienced Playoff-Contender
2. Take away their jumpshots (get them frustrated)
On the flip side, we have the Oklahoma City Thunder.
At this point, they are also overconfident, but in an entirely different way than the San Antonio Spurs. While the Spurs have been there before and know what it's like, the Thunder have not. They are a young team that hasn't made it to the Finals yet. They want to, and they have the fire and heart to get there.
But in much the same way that the Spurs could be done-in by a young team, the Thunder could find themselves upended by a more experienced and playoff-savvy squad.
Playing effective defense might be a key as well. If you take away those jumpshots from Durant and Westbrook they become frustrated quickly. Field-goal percentage will then begin to drop for the both of them.
The Spurs have that defense.
So, in essence, the Spurs and Thunder are pretty much each other's worst enemy. Those games start Sunday.
Idiot's Guide Key to beating the Celtics:
1. Contain KG and/or Rajon Rondo
2. Run Fast
3. Get Rondo Frustrated With a Referee
The Boston Celtics are the Spurs of the East (minus a few titles). While they seem to have found a new energy, they are officially struggling with the surprising 76ers.
Containing Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett will be key for whoever hopes to stop the Celtics from sniffing the Finals trophy.
Rondo is playing a ridiculous brand of basketball, and KG seems to be the KG of old. Both have been playing brilliantly.
In Boston's first loss against the 76ers, Rondo shot horrid (mind you, he still almost had a triple-double). In their second loss to Philly, KG couldn't get anything to fall.
Take those two off their game and any team could have a fighting chance.
Perhaps teams should also focus on flopping against Rondo. Rondo would become frustrated, chest-bump a referee and then find himself suspended. Think about it.
A run-and-gun offense could also be key. Philly is as close as it gets to that.
The Celtics are old and may not have the energy to make it all the way, especially coming up against an exploding Heat team.
Idiot's Guide to Beating the Pacers:
1. Win One More Game
I'm sorry, but the Heat are playing an explosive brand of basketball right now. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are playing exactly like they should. Indiana, at this point, just seems dead in the water.
All the Heat have to do is win one more game. Only an idiot can't figure that out.
Containing Roy Hibbert, Danny Granger and David West may also help. All played terrible in Miami's blowout in Game 4.
Indiana just needs to grab their fishing poles and jump on that boat with Kenny, Chuck and EJ.
Idiot's Guide to Beating the Heat:
1. Start Drama
2. Have a Better Big Man
The Heat seemed to be dead in the water once their pet dinosaur found himself injured (Chris Bosh).
That doesn't seem to be the case anymore. LeBron finally seems to have found that killer instinct, and hopefully D-Wade has patched things up with Erik Spoelstra.
In the end, the only thing that could stop these guys from going all the way is to somehow find a way to get in their heads again. Those are the times when things look the worst for the Big Three. Make them the enemies, doubt them or start rumors.
But, in reality, it seems like they are finally starting to overlook the doubts, the hate and the constant criticism. People are actually starting to root for them. Shocking.
It's about time.
An effective big man could also help beat them. Miami seems to lack one even with Chris Bosh on the court. Kevin Garnett is the best hope any team has at this point.
Idiot's Guide to Beating the 76ers:
1. Take Away the Confidence
2. Pretty Much Contain Everybody
The 76ers are one of those rare teams with numerous options on the offensive end. Whether it be Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes or Louis Williams, the 76ers don't have a shortage of weapons.
A team must contain the majority of them if they hope to be successful. Slow them down, take away their shots and play defense.
No one believed this team should even be where they are now. The 76ers believed it, their fans believed it and they have proven that they belong. Letting the team gain confidence and poise was the undoing for the top-seeded Chicago Bulls.
The 76ers aren't afraid of anybody. Not the Bulls. Not the Celtics. Not the Heat. If you give them a little room, they will make you pay.
But they are still one game away from elimination.
Can the 76ers come back and steal the series away from the Celtics? We'll just have to wait and see.