San Antonio Spurs vs. Phoenix Suns
It is a shame that one of these teams is going home after the first round because these are two really good basketball teams that could both get to the finals this season, but unfortunately they are meeting in the first round instead of later in the playoffs like they did last season.
The Spurs, as always, have the edge here. Everyone has been saying all season long that the Spurs are finally getting old and on the downside of their dynasty, but I beg to differ. First of all, the Western Conference is more competitive than it has ever been, every team in the playoffs in the West could possibly make it to the finals and all season long the difference between the #1 team in the West and the #8 team was only a hand full of Games. With this being said the Spurs have are still playing like they have any other season, so they have adapted and stayed a dominant force in the incredibly competitive West.
Much like the Lakers with Kobe Bryant, any team with a player like Tim Duncan immediately has an edge over their opponent. Not only is Duncan a big advantage, but Manu Ginobili can also hurt you because when he is on his Game, he is damn near unguardable and very dangerous.
Dont count the Suns out just yet though as they have two key components that they havent had against the Spurs the last couple of seasons and they are Shaq and Grant Hill. More Shaq than Hill obviously, but Hill brings a veteran edge that Phoenix hasnt had besides Steve Nash. Shaq on the other hand gives the Suns someone to throw at Duncan and keep him somewhat contained like he did back in the day with the Lakers. Not only can Shaq daddy help put some much needed D on Duncan, but he can wear out that ex-MVP in the paint on the other end of the floor.
I think this will probably be the most entertaining match up in the first round that will most likely go 7 Games, but the Spurs are too experience and too cool under pressure to get beat down by a team still trying to find its identity.
The Suns will put up a fight and could beat the Spurs if they get some wins in San Antonio early, but you got to go with experience and the defending champs in this one.
The odds :