Tuck: Bad NBA Playoff Match-ups
Most people hate admitting weakness. We don’t like to think there is anything we can’t do. But despite the rosy, positive view many like to spout, there are things we all need to and should avoid doing based on our limited gifts, intelligence, athleticism, or abilities.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
With that said, the NBA playoff set-up will go a long way in determining the future match-ups we’ll see in May and June. Let’s examine.
First, who teams would want to avoid in the first round.
MIAMI HEAT- Milwaukee: The Bucks beat Miami twice this year by getting to the offensive glass, and forcing turnovers.
CHICAGO BULLS- New York: The Knicks only registered one win against the Bulls, but played them close two other times.
INDIANA PACERS- Orlando: The Magic went 3-1 against the Pacers and present problems at a few positions.
BOSTON CELTICS- Indiana: The Pacers and Celtics split 4 games, and would likely be a long series because the Pacers wing players match-up well against Boston’s, and Indiana has more depth to wear the Celtics down.
ATLANTA- Boston: The Celtics lack of size doesn’t hurt them in this match-up, and the Hawks are at a disadvantage on most spots on the floor.
ORLANDO- Boston: A well chronicled night-mare for the Magic before this season, got worse with an epic blowout followed by an epic collapse.
OKLAHOMA CITY- Houston: The Rockets won nail-biters against OKC this year, with a fiesty backcourt, and rotating shot blockers at center, and plenty of scoring punch to stay with the Thunder.
SAN ANTONIO- Dallas or Houston: Both won a pair off the Spurs. Mavs have the championship moxie and can go shot for shot with the Spurs, while Houston has the athletes to bother them, and both have the depth.
LA LAKERS- Denver or Memphis or Houston: Yikes. The Grizz have the frontcourt size to neutralize LA, and Tony Allen to bother Kobe. Denver has better athletes, and the Rockets outside shooting is an issue.
LA CLIPPERS- LA Lakers: Surprisingly the Clips fair pretty well against everyone, but the Lakers size appears to give them the most trouble, and with Ramon Sessions, the PG advantage isn’t as severe in the Clips favor.
MEMPHIS- Either LA team: The easiest route to the second round would be getting the #3 seed and avoiding either LA team. Although Houston wouldn’t be great shakes for them as a 6 seed if that happened.
Beyond the first round, most everyone tends to be pretty good, but I’d look at it this way for the elite teams:
Miami would prefer avoiding Orlando and their three-point shooting and Dwight Howard. Indiana would also be tougher on them than Boston, who would be their surprising, but prefered choice.
Chicago would probably like Boston to stay in Miami’s draw, even though the Bulls have won 3/4 in grinding fashion. Orlando, Atlanta, and Indiana would all be fine for the Bulls.
Oklahoma City would like Memphis to be gone after needing 7 games to bump the Grizz last year from the playoffs. The Clips have beaten them a couple times too. The Lakers would be their choice as weird as it sounds.
San Antonio- The Spurs don’t seem interested in the top seed, but better hope the Lakers aren’t 3rd, because facing them and their huge front-court in the second round would not be ideal.
Chicago and Oklahoma City are the top two teams at this hour, but both might be underdogs against the #2 seeds in their conferences. The Heat dispatched of the Bulls in last year’s ECF and the Spurs have beaten the Thunder in 6 of the last 7 times they’ve met. Avoiding those teams would definitely be an easier route to the Finals.