NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Matchups

Jazz-Spurs

Utah has a front line that can give San Antonio trouble. The guards have to be aggressive defensively, and Al Jefferson has to protect the paint. They have length and are a physical team that knows their roles. Devin Harris needs to take his scoring to another level while having to guard Tony Parker, easier said than done.

San Antonio could use some Tim Duncan points from the block. They can score along the perimeter and dissect the lane, and will need to get to the charity stripe. Tony Parker makes this team go and they need him to score. They are active and get a lot of steals, and will wear you down with the half court game offensively.

Mavericks-Thunder

The reigning champions need vintage Dirk Nowitzki from here on out. Delonte West and Jason Terry provide offensive spark and have to score consistently. Vince Carter and Jason Kidd must play well on both ends and Shawn Marion should deny Kevin Durant the ball. Expect zone defense to force everyone but Durant to shoot.

Kevin Durant will get his, but the supporting cast has to score when he distributes the rock because he will face double teams. Russell Westbrook has to play like he has all season long, hitting his outside shots and getting to the foul line. OKC should speed the game up because it’s difficult to win playoff series with 1 on 1 offense.

Nuggets-Lakers

Denver has a team full of two-way players. Ty Lawson has to be the floor general and take advantage of the Lakers point guards, and that includes pressuring them defensively. This team scores from all over and will need to make a collective effort on the glass. Al Harrington and Danilo Gallinari have to bring their A-games.

The Lake Show needs the good Andrew Bynum to win a championship. Between him and Pau Gasol they are superior on the interior. Kobe Bryant is hardly containable, so the supporting cast only has to play marginal. Without Metta World Peace, Ramon Sessions might need to score more, and perhaps Troy Murphy.

Clippers-Grizzlies

Lob City needs to do just that, play their fast pace. Chris Paul is the floor general, but he will have to score in this series. Randy Foye and Moe Williams need to play well defensively to stay on the floor for their offense. Blake Griffin should live at the free throw line, but you do that by going inside not settling on the perimeter.

Memphis has a talented front line and has the advantage inside because Marc Gasol and Zack Randolph are two-way players. They should go at DeAndre Jordan because the Clippers struggle when he’s in foul trouble. O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay should attack and run the lanes, and Mike Conley will have open looks.

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