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NBA Playoffs Preview (2007-2008)

After a scintillating regular season schedule which saw:

* The single greatest W-L turn-around in the history of the NBA
* The 2nd Longest Winning Streak in the history of the NBA
* The fiercest battle to make the Western Conference Playoffs in the history of the NBA
* 3 seismic shifting in-season trades involving marquee players
* The Resurgence of the NBA’s two most notable franchises

What could possibly lie ahead in the post-season?

1st Round match-ups begin later today … Where Amazing Happens!

 

Eastern Conference

(1) BOSTON CELTICS (H)

(8) ATLANTA HAWKS

By the Numbers

QIR - #1 (6)

Points Differential Rank - #1

Points Allowed Rank - #2

Rebounding Differential Rank - #3

QIR – #13 (43)

Points Differential Rank- #19

Points Allowed Rank - #15

Rebounding Differential Rank - #9

Basketball Acumen

The best Defense in the NBA. Committed to Rebounding. Share the ball on Offense as well as any team in the league. 3 All-Star players (i.e. Garnett, Pierce & Allen-R) and a plethora of effective ‘role guys’ off the bench. Have everything it takes to win the NBA championship this year. The clear-cut favourite.

Return to the post-season after a 9-year absence. Solid ‘Starting 5’ (i.e. Bibby, Johnson, Smith, Williams & Horford) and a commitment to Rebounding. Bench players are not strong enough to compete successfully at this level. Will be fortunate to win a game. A major underdog.

Who will win

Boston in 4 … although the Hawks will put up a solid fight in their home games (25-16).

 

(4) CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (H)

(5) WASHINGTON WIZARDS

By the Numbers

QIR - #8 (26)

Points Differential Rank - #16

Points Allowed Rank - #9

Rebounding Differential Rank - #1

QIR – #12 (41)

Points Differential Rank- #15

Points Allowed Rank - #12

Rebounding Differential Rank - #14

Basketball Acumen

Despite the presence of Lebron James, have regressed as a group from last season, especially on Defense. Verajao & Pavlovic still not fully recovered from early-season holdouts. Rebounding is still first rate. Excellent depth in the front-court. Lack cohesiveness overall and are stagnant on Offense (i.e. dependent on LBJ). Not as quick or as hungry as last year’s team.

Under-rated as group. Roster filled with athletic, talented and hard-working players with good length. Versatile. Can create match-up advantages at each of the 5 positions, depending on need. 3 top notch Scorers (i.e. Butler, Jamison & Arenas), several good Defenders (i.e. Daniels, Steveson & Haywood) and a willingness to Rebound, as a team.

Who will win

Washington in 6 … if Butler, Jamison & Arenas are all healthy (i.e. 25+ MPG).

 

(2) DETROIT PISTONS (H)

(7) PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

By the Numbers

QIR - #2 (10)

Points Differential Rank - #2

Points Allowed Rank - #1

Rebounding Differential Rank - #7

QIR – #9 (27)

Points Differential Rank- #14

Points Allowed Rank - #12

Rebounding Differential Rank - #6

Basketball Acumen

Deep, athletic, talented roster. Solid blend of vets & kids. Control the tempo as well as any squad in the league. Team Defense and Rebounding are first rate. High efficiency Offense. Will make the extra pass, repeatedly. Will go as far as, Billups & Wallace will take them. Clear-cut 2nd choice in the East to reach the Finals.

Under-rated as a group. Athletic & physical with a solid commitment to Rebounding and Team Defense. 2nd half surge keyed by solid contributions from youngsters Young-T, Williams-L, Carney-R and Smith-J. Bench is strong enough to compete successfully at this level. Unfortunate to be match-up against the Pistons.

Who will win

Detroit in 5 … although the Sixers might be talented enough to force a Game 6.

 

(3) ORLANDO MAGIC (H)

(6) TORONTO RAPTORS

By the Numbers

QIR - #11 (32)

Points Differential Rank - #5

Points Allowed Rank - #11

Rebounding Differential Rank - #16

QIR – #14 (44)

Points Differential Rank- #12

Points Allowed Rank - #10

Rebounding Differential Rank - #22

Basketball Acumen

Points Differential Rank is keyed by 3pt shooting & number of trips to the FT line. Team Defense and Rebounding are solid; not spectacular. Offense is inside out, with D12 & a host of capable ‘Marksmen’. Will go as far as Turkoglu, Lewis, Bogans, Evans & Dooling will take them. Must minimize TO’s by Nelson & Arroyo.

3 solid players (i.e. Bosh, Calderon & Nesterovic) plus an erratic ‘Group of Seven’ (erstwhile individual artists known as TJ, AP, ‘the Mad Argentine’, ‘the Shootist’, Apollo33, Hump & Il Mago). At ‘the top’ of the league in 3pt shooting %; at ‘the bottom’ in FTA/game. Rebounding & Team Defense are weaknesses. Capable of winning this series ... if Orlando mis-fires.

Who will win

Orlando in 7 … although Stan Van Gundy might be good enough to wrap it up in fewer.

 

Western Conference

(1) L.A. LAKERS (H)

(8) DENVER NUGGETS

By the Numbers

QIR - #10 (30)

Points Differential Rank - #3

Points Allowed Rank - #19

Rebounding Differential Rank - #8

QIR – #19 (61)

Points Differential Rank- #11

Points Allowed Rank - #29

Rebounding Differential Rank - #21

Basketball Acumen

When healthy: (i) the deepest, most talented team in the NBA; and, (ii) the best Offense in the league. Rebounding is solid. Team Defense depends on the availability of Bynum. With AB, it is first rate; without him, it is not good enough to win the title this year. Will be a force for years to come, if found wanting this go round. Fisher’s stability is the key.

Offensive pyrotechnics from Iverson, Melo, J.R. & Kleiza. Defense & Rebounding are strictly second rate, despite the individual work of Camby, Najera & K-Mart. The ‘little boys in blue’ of the NBA. When good, they’re good; when bad they’re really bad ... frequently within the same game. Enough talent to lose 4 single-digit games.

Who will win

L.A. in 5 … although without Bynum the Nuggets might win 2 home games.

 

(5) HOUSTON ROCKETS (H)

(4) UTAH JAZZ

By the Numbers

QIR - #3 (15)

Points Differential Rank - #9

Points Allowed Rank - #4

Rebounding Differential Rank - #2

QIR – #4 (21)

Points Differential Rank- #4

Points Allowed Rank - #13

Rebounding Differential Rank - #4

Basketball Acumen

The best Defense in the NBA. Committed to Rebounding. Share the ball on Offense as well as any team in the league. 3 All-Star players (i.e. Garnett, Pierce & Allen-R) and a plethora of effective ‘role guys’ off the bench. Have everything it takes to win the NBA championship this year. Clear-cut favourites.

The best home record in the NBA (37-4). PG (Williams-D) is first rate. Deep & physical team. Committed to Rebounding. Bench players are first rate. Struggle on the road this year, without the leadership of Fisher-D, with the 2nd unit. High % Offense must get solid 3pt shooting from Okor & Korver. Team Defense can be erratic away from home.

Who will win

Utah in 6 … although the Rockets are ‘tough enough’ to win a game 7 this year.

 

(2) NEW ORLEANS HORNETS (H)

(7) DALLAS MAVERICKS

By the Numbers

QIR – #4 (21)

Points Differential Rank - #6

Points Allowed Rank - #5

Rebounding Differential Rank - #10

QIR – #4 (21)

Points Differential Rank- #10

Points Allowed Rank - #6

Rebounding Differential Rank - #5

Basketball Acumen

PG, Chris Paul, is first rate. Team Defense is solid. Committed to Rebounding. Share the ball on Offense, led by the mastery of CP3. Must get high % outside shooting from Peja S, to spread the floor. Lacking playoff experience. Will go as far as David West (their 2nd all-star caliber player) & Byron Scott (matching wits vs Avery Johnson), will take them. Can win the series … if it gets to game 7.

Get the best possible match-up for their team, in the 1st round. Bitterly remember last year’s embarrassing loss to G-State. Ready for bear this go round. Rebounding is solid. Team Defense is solid. Must control the Offensive tempo. Bench is solid. Can beat anyone in the Western Conference … except L.A. & San Antonio (when those two squads are healthy).

Who will win

Dallas in 6 … as the Hornets have to learn how to lose first before they can win.

 

(3) SAN ANTONIO SPURS (H)

(6) PHOENIX SUNS

By the Numbers

QIR - #7 (23)

Points Differential Rank - #8

Points Allowed Rank - #3

Rebounding Differential Rank - #12

QIR – #16 (57)

Points Differential Rank- #7

Points Allowed Rank - #25

Rebounding Differential Rank - #25

Basketball Acumen

Key injuries to Duncan, Parker & Ginobili have affected their customary regular season efficiency. When healthy, still as good Defensively & Rebounding as any squad in the NBA. Always make the extra pass on Offense. A bevy of effective ‘role guys’ off the bench. Have everything it takes to win the NBA championship again this year, if healthy.

A better chance of winning the title than prior editions, with a stronger commitment to Team Defense & Rebounding than before. Unfortunately, for the Suns, each of the other top teams in the West has improved more than Phoenix, whose high efficiency Offense remains the strength of the team. The Suns are finally moving in the right direction but their window of opportunity is closing quickly.

Who will win

San Antonio in 7 … although it could be fewer, pending Grant Hill’s injury status.

Courtesy of Khandors Sports Blog

 

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