NBA Playoffs Preview (2007-2008)

After a scintilating 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.

Enjoy what should be absolutely terrific basketball!

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15 Responses to “NBA Playoffs Preview (2007-2008)”

  1. john Says:

    Great stuff mate. I’ve got my preview out. Please check it out…

    http://mundoalbiceleste.blogspot.com/2008/04/2008-play-offs-real-deal-starts-now.html

  2. Linkage - April 19 — The AltRaps Blog Says:

    […] – Khandors Sports Blog […]

  3. coach Says:

    the raps beating the magic is like hillary getting the nomination over obama !

  4. Raps Fan Says:

    i think you are bang on dude. i had the same winners, except for the raptors. i don’t know why i took them, but i did, and i stand by it.

  5. Nba » NBA Playoffs Preview (2007-2008) Says:

    […] khandor wrote an interesting post today on NBA Playoffs Preview (2007-2008)Here’s a quick excerptThe 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 (ie Garnett, Pierce & Allen-R) and a plethora of effective ‘role guys’ off the bench. … […]

  6. khandor Says:

    Coach,

    Which means what, exactly?

    (do you think:

    A) Clinton is going to beat Obama
    B) Obama is going to beat Clinton
    C) Toronto is going to beat Orlando
    D) Orlando is going to beat Toronto
    E) It doesn’t matter one bit … because McCain is going to beat either Clinton or Obama, AND the Pistons are going to beat either Toronto or Orlando
    F) Something else altogether?)

  7. khandor Says:

    Raps Fan,

    Your pick is perfectly understandable … (i) since you are an unabashed Raptors’ fan, and (ii) the Raptors actually do have a solid chance (say, 40-49%) at winning this series against the Magic.

  8. LA Ball Talk Says:

    I must agree with your vision of the Los Angels Lakers and Denver Nuggets series. I’m hoping for a Lakers sweep but I suppose giving away one game to Denver is somewhat realistic.

    Daniel – http://www.laballtalk.com

  9. khandor Says:

    LABT,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I am so looking forward to the return of Andrew Bynum AND Trevor Ariza to the Lakers’ line-up … not because I’m a huge LA fan per se but … because I’m tremendously appreciative and respectful of greatness, in whatever form it’s found … which is exactly what this Lakers team is going to be when/if they return to full strength, either during this post-season or for next year.

    Ariza (as an athletic Wing defender/rebounder/slash & finisher) is the perfect complimentary part to the other mainstays LA has at present, and when you’re speaking of a still and rapidly developing Bynum … blocking shots, rebounding and finishing with an assortment of dunks around the basket … to go with Kobe, Lamar, Pau & Fish, plus Vujacic, Farmar, Radman, Turiaf, Walton, Mihm, etc. … Phil Jackson & Co, once again, will have the type of multi-dimensional ‘Band of Warriors’ that’s capable of winning 70+ games during the regular season and marching through the playoffs to an historic championship (or two) for the ZenMaster.

    If Bynum can come back healthy … My, Oh, My … what a time it will be for the Lakers faithful! … and NBA aficionados everywhere.

  10. FeetinthePaint Says:

    I definitely agree with Ariza. Last year, Maurice Evans gave them a lot in limited minutes. Ariza is essentially Evans with a little more “umph.”

    Not sure if Bynum’s return will be good for the Lakers. I feel like it may interfere with the rotation and the chemistry. Plus, it’s not like he’s a veteran that knows his role and what he needs to do to win in the playoffs. That still remains to be seen. What do you think?

  11. khandor Says:

    Right now, Gil Arenas coming back has hurt the Wizards … because Gil thinks in his own mind that he’s still ‘The Man’ for Washington.

    The thing about Bynum, though, is that he has never been ‘The Man’ in L.A. … and, therefore, should he make it back to full health, he should be able to fill a niche gradually until he assumes his original role, as pivotal ‘complimentary’ part – who needs to focus on shot-blocking, rebounding and finishing an assortment of dunks/putbacks around the offensive basket – in conjunction with the team’s mainstays, i.e. Kobe, Gasol, Lamar & D-Fish.

    The Lakers should be able to get to the WC Finals without a major contribution from Bynum … and then if he can work his way back into the swing of things, say, by Game 4-5 vs San Antonio, then he should be able to make a meaningful contribution again by the end of that series and then potentially in the NBA Finals vs the Boston/Detroit winner.

  12. JM Says:

    What an idiot! Half your picks are toast already.

  13. khandor Says:

    JM,

    Thanks so much for your comment.

    Would ‘the half’ you’re referring to specifically be these 5 teams

    Boston (2-0, going on the road)
    Orlando (2-0, going on the road)
    LA (2-0, going on the road)
    San Antonio (2-0, going on the road)
    Utah (2-0, going home)

    who are leading in their series at the moment,

    or these 3 teams:

    Detroit (0-1, at home)
    Washington (0-2, going home)
    Dallas (0-2, going home)

    who are trailing in their series right now?

    Intelligent comments are always welcome here. 🙂

  14. FeetinthePaint Says:

    Hahaha, you are such an idiot, Khandor. Obviously, every series is decided within the first 2 games. (I’m sure you’re no stranger to my sarcasm.)

    Actually, I’ve gotta disagree about Gil and the Wizards. The wide margin between the scores of the second game can’t be totally blamed on him. I thought it was a lot more due to how Eddie Jordan decided to play LeBron.

    The Wizard’s big 3 were horrendous in Game 2. Toughjuice and Jamison both shot 30.7% for the game. In fact, I’m convinced the Game 1 loss was due to the Wiz’s inability to get to the line. Wiz went to the stripe only 17 times while the Cavs went 37 times. It essentially allowed the Cav’s overrated D to sit on its heels all night.

  15. khandor Says:

    Feet,

    * Think JM might re-think his initial position on my ‘picks’ once the score of tonight’s Det/Philly is final?

    I highly doubt it.

    * re: Gil & the Wiz

    In Game 1, Washington had a great shot at the W, down 4 late in the 4th Q, with the ball … when they’re offense went kaput.

    In Game 2, it looked to me as though the ball movement, tough D and Rebounding they got from positions 1-5 in the regular season was completely dis-jointed.

    While Gil has always been a good ‘solo artist’ playing ‘off the bounce’ … I don’t think he fits into the make-up of this team any more, compared to how it functions as a group with lesser lights like Daniels and Stevenson on the court beside solid scorers like Caron & Jamison who are multi-dimensional basketball players in a way that ‘Agent 0’ just is not.

    * Personally, I don’t think Gil is yet 100% … in which case, my ‘pick’ of Washington in 6 no longer applies. As I said, in my Preview, if the Wiz don’t have all three of their big guns firing on all cylinders in this series THEN the Cavaliers are most definitely THE pick with LBJ riding shot-gun on their coach.

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