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NBA Playoffs: Who Will We Be Seeing in April Of 2011? Western Conference Edition

Trevor BarberContributor IIINovember 10, 2010

NBA Playoffs: Who Will We Be Seeing in April Of 2011? Western Conference Edition

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    Last year we got to see an excellent NBA finals from the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. After one of the biggest off-seasons in NBA history, we look for NBA Finals 2011 to be even greater.

    As we look at what our predictions were coming into the season and observe what has been happening along these first few games, I am going to show you guys what my predictions for the upcoming playoffs.

    Enjoy!

Western Conference: Round 1

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    This is probably the biggest and toughest challenge in predicting what might occur in late April: Who will make the Western Conference Playoffs?

    The Western Conference is easily the toughest because we have probably 11 teams that could go over 40 wins this year. I think it will be a long road for these teams, but here is what we have.

    1. Los Angeles Lakers: I have picked the Lakers to place first in the regular season and I'm sure many others have also. They seem to be the most all-around team in the NBA and arguably have the best player in the NBA.

    2. Denver Nuggets: I know a lot of people don't have Denver in the second spot, but I think that they've had an excellent team the past couple of years and have only got better in the off-season. They didn't even have their Hall of Fame coach last year in the playoffs!

    Another thing I think what most people forgot was that when Kobe demanded a trade and didn't get traded, he took his team to the NBA Finals that year. I believe the same thing will happen with Melo: I think that he can take this team deep into the playoffs (maybe not the finals), but deep in the playoffs. 

    3. Dallas Mavericks: I don't think that the Mavs will go far in the playoffs, but they will end up being the third best team in the Western Conference. They have a great leader in Dirk and a solid supporting cast. They have the veteran experience to lead the team into the playoffs, but I don't know if it'll be enough to get them past the Lakers.

    4. Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder are an excellent team and in the next 3 years I believe that they will have championship rings. My only issue with them is the bench depth. James Hardin and Serge Ibaka are great off then bench, but to be a great playoff team you need to have your 8th and 9th men step up and be great in the playoffs. I don' t think the Thunder quite have that sort of talent yet.

    5. Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers are another great team with a lot of potential. They have a superstar in Brandon Roy and an excellent supporting cast. They even have a couple of underrated guys like Pat Mills and Rudy Fernandez.

    6. San Antonio Spurs: I think that this is the last year the Spurs can really contend in the Western Conference. They're not getting worse: everyone other team is getting better. I like the Spurs here because of experience and the consistency they bring from October to April.

    7. Utah Jazz: They have a good team and the starting line-up is very solid. Beyond their first 5, I don't think they have what it takes. Deron Williams is the 2nd best PG in the league, and he is even better in the playoffs. The question is: Can he really lead this team?

    8. Golden State Warriors: The Warriors would have made the playoffs last year in my book, if all the injuries didn't happen. Now with David Lee, Monta Ellis, and Stephan Curry leading the way, the Warriors look to fight off teams into the playoffs.

    I think that the towards the end of the Western Conference, it will be a dog fight. You can't count out teams like the New Orleans Hornets, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings. I think they all have a shot at the 7 or 8 seed. I think any of these five teams could get the 7 seed, 8 seed,  or no seed at all. It will be a fight, but these teams are what I think we'll be seeing in April.

Who Advances To The Western Conference Semifinals?

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    1. Los Angeles Lakers                          

    8. Golden State Warriors

    I like the Lakers here for obvious reasons. They are the defending champs and they are one of the best, if not the best,  playoff teams out there. Los Angeles Lakers in 5

    4. Oklahoma City Thunder                    

    5. Portland Trail Blazers

    As a whole overall team, the Trail Blazers have a great team. They have defense, 3's, bench, and scoring going for them which will help out in a series that will probably take 7 games versus the tough Thunder. Portland Trail Blazers in 7


    3. Dallas Mavericks      

                            

    6. San Antonio Spurs

    I'm taking San Antonio because the Mavericks seem to be a team that always choke in the playoffs while the Spurs have tons of experience. I think this will probably be the last run for San Antonio, but I think that they will make it far. San Antonio Spurs in 6

     

    2. Denver Nuggets        

                            

    7. Utah Jazz

    I think that Denver will sweep the Jazz because of the playoff inexperience on the Jazz's side. Deron Williams has been here many times before, but Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap (as a starter), and Ronnie Price have not. Plus Denver was my team to win the championship until a loss to Hall of Fame coach George Karl. Denver Nuggets in 4

     

Western Conference Finals

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    1. Los Angeles Lakers                                  

    5. Portland Trail Blazers

    I think that this match-up will go as far as Game 6. The Blazers are a good solid team, but the Lakers just have way too much bench depth. The Lakers also have way more experience. Be prepared to see the Blazers do well in the playoffs, but don't expect an upset. Los Angeles Lakers in 6

     

     

     

     

    2. Denver Nuggets                                        

    6. San Antonio Spurs

     

    This match-up will go into 7 games. Period. These teams are very evenly matched when it comes down to the playoffs. Two great coaches. Two great stars. Two great teams. I think that the Spurs have a little more playoff experience coming into this whereas the Nuggets have more talent deep into the line-up. In an amazing match-up the Nuggets are my team to win it because of how Carmelo can take over a game. Denver Nuggets in 7

Western Conference Finalist

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    1. Los Angeles Lakers vs. 2. Denver Nuggets

     

    I think that this will be another intriguing match-up between two great teams that could both be the eventual champions. I am going to have to stick with the Lakers this season because of how no other team seems to be able to match up to these guys.  I think it will go into six games, but the Los Angeles Lakers will take the Denver Nuggets and win based upon depth, playoff experience, and the overall ability that Kobe has to take over a basketball game. Los Angeles Lakers in 6.

Stay Tuned...

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    Thank you for reading this article and paying attention to what I've had to say. Please leave your comments or questions below and be ready for my Eastern Conference predictions coming soon!

    Thank you!

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