2009 NBA Western Conference First Round Playoff Match Ups
#1 Los Angeles vs #8 Utah
Jerry Sloan has done a wonderful job getting this bunch to the playoffs considering injuries and deserves some votes for Coach of the Year. He just didn’t do a good enough job keeping them out of the dreaded eighth spot and a date with destiny.
The Lakers are too healthy, too hungry and too strong for the Jazz. The Jazz could possibly win a game at home if Kobe gets into foul trouble or something along those lines but realistically, I see nothing more.
Coaches Prediction: Lakers win 4-1
#2 Denver vs #7 New Orleans
The Denver Nuggets are playing their best basketball of the season at the right time. George Karl will push Mike Brown for Coach of the Year honors and JR Smith’s end of the year surge make the Nuggets one of the surprise teams of the year, even though they do have two All Stars.
New Orleans has been somewhat of a disappointment this year, which makes them dangerous. Chris Paul and David West will be looking to put the Big Easy back on the map and this series should go down to the wire. As a matter of fact, I am picking an upset in this one.
Coaches Prediction: Hornets win 4-3
#3 San Antonio vs #6 Dallas
Manu Ginobili’s injury put a serious damper on San Antonio’s hopes for competing for a title this year. Roger Mason, Michael Finley and Matt Bonner should be able to make up for the lost points but the fire and leadership of Ginobili will be sorely missed. This may be Tony Parker and Tim Duncan’s last chance at a title with the Spurs so they will definitely leave it all on the floor.
Dallas received a much needed shot in the arm with the return of Josh Howard. This battle of the Lone Star State should be very intense and in the end, homecourt will prove to be the difference.
Coaches Prediction: Spurs win 4-3
#4 Portland vs Houston
Just like the Eastern Conference, the four verses five match up in the West should prove to be the most competitive and exciting matchup of the first round. The Portland Trail Blazers have been up and coming for the past two seasons. Now they have officially arrived. This team is loaded, athletic and well coached. They split this year’s series with the mighty Lakers and are completely healthy going into their first playoff series of the Brandon Roy era. Travis Outlaw makes a good case for Sixth Man of the Year and Greg Oden is finally comfortable. Don’t be surprised to see this team in a second round showdown with Kobe and the Lakers and don’t be surprised if they beat them.
Houston made a strong run this year despite the loss of Tracy McGrady. Ron Artest and Yao Ming provide a one-two punch that must be reckoned with, but ultimately the Blazers will be too strong and will keep their season alive.
Coaches Prediction: Blazers win 4-2