After doing extremely well with the NHL picks, the NBA picks didn't fare so well. Going 4/8 is great in a batting average but not so much in predicting things. There's no quitting at Case and Point, though, and as such it's time to predict the Conference Semi Finals, or second round, of the NBA Playoffs. Yesterday the East, and now for the West.
#4 Oklahoma City Thunder
#8 Memphis Grizzlies
Regular Season Series- Grizzlies win 3-1
This seasons darling managed to make it past the first round for the first time since they moved to Oklahoma City. The Thunder managed to stop the more complete team in the Nuggets, using the skill of Kevin Durant to over come anything they lacked in other areas. The issue of Russell Westbrook trying to do too much and looking over Durant could be a problem but is likely to be a non-issue.
They tanked to get what they wanted, a match up against the team with the best record in the league: the Spurs. The Grizzlies got what they wanted and they delivered, upsetting top ranked San Antonio in six hard fought games. They get another favorable match up as they head into the second round hoping to bring more upsets to Tennessee.
It's another solid match up for the Grizzlies. The skill of the Thunder will not match up well against the solid bigs of Memphis. With another chance at a big upset the Grizzlies will not go out without a fight. The Thunder have their hands full and as long as Durant gets to carry the load, the Thunder should come out on top in a close one. If Westbrook is still trying to do it all, look for the upset.
Prediction: Thunder 4-3
#2 Los Angeles Lakers
#3 Dallas Mavericks
Regular Season Series- Lakers win 2-1
The Lakers took to New Orleans and the Hornets made a run of it. Behind Chris Paul they only won one game but they were never out of any game. It was hard to cover a one man wrecking crew like Paul and the Lakers did their best to shut him out. Their reward is a trip to the second round after some needed rest on their way to trying for the Three-Peat.
Despite their best efforts, Portland couldn't quite do it. Dallas topped the 'Blazers in six games, but each team had a chance to win or lose every game. It came down to last minute plays to separate the winners from the losers. While the Mavs have reached the second round on a team laden with players aching for their chance to lift Larry, they'll need more than that to go further.
For the first time in their careers Kobe and Dirk meet in the playoffs. Almost a shame it couldn't have been in the Conference Finals. It's a match up David Stern would have hoped for. Instead one of these great franchises will be heading to the Finals and despite the aging and beat up Lakers roster having the grind of two Finals behind them, they advance to another Conference Finals.
Prediction: Lakers 4-2