Round 2-NBA Playoffs-Western Conference

NBA-Western-Conference

Two epic matchups in the Western Conference featuring the San Antonio Spurs versus the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

130505004443-ibaka-randolph-single-image-cut

  • Game 1- May 5 Memphis @ Oklahoma City 93-91
  • Game 2-May 7 Memphis @ Oklahoma City 9:30 p.m. (EST) TNT
  • Game 3-May 11 Oklahoma City @ Memphis 5 p.m. (EST) ESPN
  • Game 4-May 13 Oklahoma City @ Memphis 9:30 p.m. (EST) TNT
  • Game 5- May 15 Memphis @ Oklahoma City TBA TNT
  • Game 6- May 17 Oklahoma City @ Memphis TBA ESPN
  • Game 7- May 19 Memphis @ Oklahoma City TBA 

2013 Regular Season Match-up

  • November 14 Memphis @ Oklahoma City 107-97
  • January 3 Memphis @ Oklahoma City 89-106
  • March 20 Oklahoma City @ Memphis 89-90 OT

Memphis Grizzlies’ Locker Room

This Memphis team seemed to have overcome the departure of ex-star Rudy Gay, but with the arrival of Ed Davis and Tayshaun Prince they have improved their defensive mentality. They lost by a mere two points in Oklahoma City where the Thunder have thrived all season.  Kevin Martin is a good sixth man but he doesn’t have the takeover mentality that James Harden has and the Thunder are missing it big time. The Grizzlies are first in points allowed at 89.3 points per game during the regular season and having beat the LA Clippers in six has given them great momentum coming into this series. They ran into a bit of emotion in game one against the Thunder. But look for the Grizzlies to lock in their defense and maybe surprise the Thunder.

Oklahoma City Thunder Locker Room

Take one game at a time, this Thunder team just isn’t dominating as they use to be anymore. Losing James Harden to Houston and now losing Russell Westbrook to injury, they miss a potential 50 points and 15 assists per game. The Thunder ESCAPED Sunday by a mere two points against the Grizzlies. Without Westbrook to pressure Mike Conley, Conley is able to distribute the ball equally and create plays off the ball.  This Thunder team averages 105.7 points per game this season and are 34-7 at home. To make this series in their favor, they need to win all their home games. If the Grizzlies manage to steal one in OKC, Kevin Durant will have an early exit this season.

Final Predictions

I think this Memphis Grizzlies defense is better than people give them credit for. Defense wins playoff games in the NBA

Memphis Grizzlies in 6

———————————

Golden State Warriors Vs San Antonio Spurs

130504165018-san-antonio-spurs-golden-state-warriors-nba-playoffs-2013-preview-single-image-cut

  • Game 1- May 6 Golden State @ San Antonio 129-127 OT
  • Game 2- May 8 Golden State @ San Antonio 9.30PM (ET) TNT
  • Game 3- May 10 San Antonio @ Golden State 10.30PM (ET) ESPN
  • Game 4- May 12 San Antonio @ Golden State 3.30PM (ET) ABC
  • Game 5- May 14 Golden State @ San Antonio 9.30PM (ET) TNT
  • Game 6- May 16 San Antonio @ Golden State TBA ESPN
  • Game 7- May 19 Golden State @ San Antonio TBA

2013 Regular Season Match-up

  • January 18 Golden State @ San Antonio88-95
  • February 22  San Antonio @ Golden State 101-107OT
  • March 20 Golden State @ San Antonio 93-104
  • April 15  San Antonio @ Golden State 106-116

Golden State Warriors’ Locker Room

Epic game in the opener as the Warriors blew a huge lead in the final four minutes when the Spurs went on 18-2 run and took the Spurs to double overtime. Manu Ginobili hit a trey to seal the game with 1.4 seconds left. The Warriors rank third in the NBA with 45 rebounds per game during the regular season and without David Lee they still out-rebounded the front court of Matt Bonner, Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw. But during the final moments in game one, experience showed to be the difference when the Spurs locked down on defense and shut down the Warriors, causing them to turn the ball over. If the Warriors want to have a shot in winning, they need to play defense because the Spurs are not going to come out in game two like they did in game one.

San Antonio Spurs’ Locker Room

GINOBILI!!!!!! The  former sixth man of the year hit a game winning 3 with 1.4 seconds left allowing the Spurs to take game one at home. Averaging 25.1 assists per game ranking, which topped the NBA during the regular season, the Spurs showed why experience and teamwork plays a great part in winning playoff games. The big three in Ginobili, Duncan and Parker all showed up to play. Don’t expect any more game one come-from-behind wins from the Spurs, they were helped by Warriors inexperience.  The Spurs are 35-6 at home this season and so far are undefeated in the playoffs, they are going to have to shut down the dynamic backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson who combined for 63 points. Defense is the key.

Final Predictions

I see the Warriors stealing a game or two in San Antonio but the Spurs are just as good enough to steal a couple on the road.  Look for every game to be exciting, and it’s going to be a great series.

Spurs in 7

__________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Chin Tan
Guest Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
http://www.twitter.com/thecover4

                                                                           

How Westbrook Broke the West

It had been talked about too much amongst  NBA announcers and your friends. Whenever people keep bringing something up, things always seemed to get jinxed. But this streak wouldn’t end. With 394 straight regular season games played, 45 playoff games, and inhuman athleticism, Russell Westbrook’s streak seemed it could go on forever. The guy hasn’t missed a game since high school but will sit out indefinitely, 2 games up on the Rockets, in the first round of the 2013 Playoffs. After losing to the Heat in last year’s Finals, Westbrook will not be lining up against them again this season.  I’d be willing to bet everything that Westbrook would rather have lost his streak months ago then  have it taken away from him now.

The news that Russell Westbrook will undergo surgery to have his meniscus repaired is as bad for the NBA and Thunder as Westbrook’s fashion. Westbrook is a top 10 player in the NBA and arguably the best point guard. Westbrook’s speed, athleticism, and skill set force opposing to teams to focus on him and attempt to contain him. Patrick Beverly hit the superhuman point guard with some kryptonite in Game 2 of the series tearing his lateral meniscus. The injury leaves Thunder fans wishing that Westbrook’s punch on the scorer’s table after the injury had gone into Beverly’s face, and hoping that the Thunder can somehow persevere.

Westbrook averaged 7.4 assists, 23.2 points, 1.8 steals, and 5.2 rebounds per game. The Thunder will miss every single one of those statistics. There’s no James Harden to take over the point anymore, Eric Maynor was traded to save a few dollars, so Reggie Jackson will now be lining up in Westbrook’s slot. And if you’re saying the Thunder are stupid for making those moves months ago- shut up now. Shoulda, woulda, and coulda don’t win championships and the Thunder secured the number 1 seed in the West just fine. Bad luck got them in this situation, not bad management. Let’s not kid ourselves though, the team won’t rely on Reggie Jackson or need him to play at Westbrook’s level. We have no idea how the Thunder will play without Russell Westbrook because it hasn’t happened in 5 seasons. We do know that Kevin Durant will have to raise his game to a new level to keep his team alive. The scariest thing is that he’s entirely capable.

If you doubt that the Thunder can make it back to the NBA Finals, you are seriously underestimating Kevin Durant. While Durant may not be the best player in the NBA, he’s the second best basketball player on the planet. In case you forgot, Durant just became the youngest player to join the 50-40-90 Fraternity. He shot 51% from the field, 41% from three and 90% from the free throw line. I don’t know of a much harder pledge process than needing those numbers. A pregnant Kim Kardashian has a better chance of getting in her old jeans than someone does of getting into the 50-40-90 club. So, if you give Durant 10-12 more shots a game at his scary efficiency, its not unlikely for him to average 40 points a game. Durant’s 4.6 assists per game alongside only 3.5 turnovers per game prove he knows how to handle the ball. The team will miss Westbrook, but Durant and company can still get to the Finals. If the Durant and D-Wade Gatorade commercial is true, Durant’s going to give everything he has to get back into the Finals. It won’t be easy for them, but it’s not impossible. The Thunder may be down right now, but they aren’t out.

While the Thunder took a major hit in the defense of their western conference crown, the rest of the Western teams chances to make it to the Finals greatly improved. The Thunder entered the playoffs as the favorites to come out of the west, but Westbrook’s injury has evened up the race. The San Antonio Spurs are rolling over the Lakers behind a Tim Duncan who’s proving himself as the best power forward of all time. If anyone can be considered the new favorites it has to be them. The Warriors and Nuggets are lighting the scoreboard, despite both teams having suffered massive injuries themselves (Danillo Gallinari and David Lee).  The winner of the Clippers-Grizzlies series (who would play the Thunder if they go on to win next round) suddenly seems like a contender to take the west. Everything is up the air and an argument can be made for every team- besides the Lakers and Rockets. At the beginning of the NBA season it seemed destined to end with the Lakers, Thunder, or Heat as champions. The Lakers are all but done, the Thunder have fallen into the pack, and only the Heat remain the favorites. If Westbrook’s injury has shown us anything, don’t count your chips before their cashed. Everything can change on any given play.

%d bloggers like this: