NBA Playoff Overview and Bold Predictions: Tim Duncan's Age, or Age of Duncan?

Lake CruiseAnalyst IApril 16, 2011

NBA Playoff Overview and Bold Predictions: Tim Duncan's Age, or Age of Duncan?

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 05:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs against Jason Collins #34 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 5, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The NBA playoffs started at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday April 16, and the fun hasn't stopped since.  The Bulls squeaked by Indiana in the opening salvo and the shots kept coming.

    The Spurs star their postseason with a noon game.  Unlike the regular season, though, they're rested and should be ready against Memphis.

    Will it be enough rest for Tim Duncan?  The answer to this and other questions are a few mouse clicks away.  Roll tape...

Western Conference: The Lakers Have Already Three-Peated over There

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 29:  Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West presents the Western Conference Championship trophy to General Manager Mitch Kupchak of the Los Angeles Lakers after they defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game Five of the Western Conference
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The question in the Western Conference is whether or not any team can knock off the three-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.  The answer is "no."

    There are a few challengers, though, and they'll give it a hard go.  The Spurs, Thunder, Trail Blazers and Mavericks come to mind.

    In the end, though, it could be the Lakers winning their fourth Western Conference Championship in a row.

OKC-Denver: No Melo but Hello

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 30:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder before the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 30, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Thunder defeated the Suns 116-98.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Denver did some damage in the NBA without Carmelo Anthony, but will they have enough against a lot of people’s pick to make it to the Western Conference Finals?  I can’t see Denver beating Oklahoma City but strange things happen.

    No. 4 vs. No. 5 with OKC having the home court advantage—the second best matchup in the first round in the West. 

    Prediction: OKC will win the series 4-3.

Portland-Dallas: Happy Trails to the Mavericks and Their Owner

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 27:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks walks by head coach Rick Carlisle during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 27, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Mavericks defeated the Suns 91-83.  NOTE TO
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Blazers-Mavs is the best matchup in the first round, in my eyes.  It was a series the Mavericks wanted to avoid.  The Lakers also wanted to avoid the Blazers in the first round—and for good reason.

    With the addition of Gerald Wallace, Portland is a very dangerous team in the Western Conference.  This year—Wallace’s first in the Great Northwest—the Blazers will run out of time to gel.

    They will, however, have enough time to run the Mavericks off the court.

    Prediction: Portland will upset Dallas, 4-3.

Lakers-Hornets: L.A. Will be a Buzz Kill for New Orleans

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 12:  Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers and DeJuan Blair #45 of the San Antonio Spurs get tangled at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Now the fun starts for the Los Angeles Lakers.  They’re set to defend their two-time championship titles by facing the upstart New Orleans Hornets.  While head coach Monte Williams will have them prepared, they don’t have enough to hang with the Lakers this year.

    Prediction: Get ‘em next season New Orleans.  Lakers will win 4-1.

Spurs-Grizzlies: The Series Was Tied During the Regular Season

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    PHOENIX - DECEMBER 08:  Rudy Gay #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies high fives teammate Zach Randolph #50 after scoring against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 8, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Grizzlies defeated the Suns 10
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Tony Allen and Zach Randolph are two of the toughest players in the NBA and teams take notice.  The Spurs are one of the softest—and teams take notice. 

    The Spurs finished as the No. 1 three-point shooting team in the NBA, but where’s the beef inside?  Tony Parker is their best scorer in the lane these days.

    Will Timmy have enough to lead the Spurs out of the first round?  Even though the Spurs sputtered after a blazing start and lost the No. 1 overall seed to Chicago, I suspect he will.

    Prediction: The Grizz miss Rudy Gay, and San Antonio will take it in seven.

Eastern Conference: The Celtics Are Going for a Conference Three-Peat

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    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 13: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls awaits the start of play after a time-out against the New Jersey Nets at United Center on April 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Nets 97-92. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ack
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Eastern Conference is loaded with improved teams and recent immigrant star players from the Western Conference.  Carmelo, Amare and Chauncey—to name a few—are all on the same team.

    This should make for improved parity between the two conferences.  The Celtics are the defending conference champions and despite losing Kendrick Perkins in a trade are still tough.

    The Bulls will be out to deliver black roses.

Bulls-Pacers: Black and Red Roses for the Pacers' Heart Ache

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    BOSTON, MA - MARCH 16:  Roy Hibbert #55 and Danny Granger #33 of the Indiana Pacers react after the game against the Boston Celtics on March 16, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers 92-80. NOTE TO USER: U
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Indiana is back in the playoffs for the first time since the Reggie Miller era, but they’ll be making a quick exit.  Chicago snatched the No. 1 overall seed from the shocked Spurs on the last day of the season.

    For this reason, point guard Derrick Rose is likely a lock for the MVP.

    Prediction: The Bulls will win it in six.

Celtics-Knicks: Was Perkins Traded to OKC in the Knick of Time?

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 10:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat drives on Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics during a game  at American Airlines Arena on April 10, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadi
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    New York went on a hot streak down the stretch, but they were lukewarm.  The winning streak came after a losing streak and cancels out.  The Knicks now hope to cancel the Celtics season.

    To answer my own question, yes, Ainge traded Big Perk in time for the Knicks to believe they have a legitimate chance to dethrone the defending Eastern Conference champions from Boston.

    Prediction: Stoudamire will be too much for the Celtics and the Knicks will feed off him and upset the Boston Celtics, 4-3

Miami-Philadelphia: Can the Heat 86 the 76ers?

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 16: Guard Jrue Holiday #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers shouts during a game against the Maim Heat at the American Airlines Arena in game one of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 16, 2011 in Miami, Flori
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    The Miami Heat are focused on making a move up the Eastern Conference and garner their first of not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven…you get the idea…titles.

    LeBron is out to make good on his laughable prediction.  Who is laughing now?  Not the Philadelphia 76ers.   The Bulls are the only team laughing at Miami over there in the conference.

    Prediction:  The Heat are about to make a move, so Philly has to 86.

Magic-Hawks: Abracadabra Says Orlando to Make the Hawks Disappear

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic shoots a free throw shot during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Magic defeated the Suns 111-88. NOTE TO USER: User expres
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Too much Dwight Howard and company will ground the Hawks.  Atlanta’s football and basketball teams have birds of prey mascots, but Dwight “Big Bird” Howard will be the only one preying.

    The Hawks could possibly pray for a center in the upcoming NBA draft, but for now they need to find the closest equivalent to kryptonite they can.  Otherwise, Howard could average a triple-double in this series.

    Prediction: It’ll go quickly and quietly for the Hawks as the Magic will have mercy on them and put them out of their misery.