While the Eastern Conference featured Philadelphia's shocking win over top seeded Chicago, the Western Conference held serve, for the most part. The Clippers seven game elimination of Memphis could be considered an upset, while expected by others.
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Los Angeles Lakers vs Oklahoma City Thunder- If game one is any indication, the Lakers have some work to do. Oklahoma City served notice in the 2010 playoffs by pushing the Lakers to the limit, while LA was unceremoniously bounced in four straight by Dallas a year ago. The Thunder have a trio of high flying scoring options in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Kendrick Perkins is banged up, which could created problems for the Thunder if the Lakers manage to slow things down to a half court affair. The Lakers have been getting decent production from the twin towers, with both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol getting it done, both in the paint and on the boards. The series is going to come down to the Lakers ability, or inability, to hit the open three. With other options not even willing to take the shot, LA is now relying on the perimeter game of Metta World Peace. As usual, it will all end up on the back of Kobe.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs- San Antonio flexed their collective muscle in game one, arriving well rested after their sweep of the Utah Jazz. The Clippers may have been suffering from hangover, coming right off the stressful seven game series with Memphis. The Spurs did their damage in the middle stages of the game, outscoring the Clippers by 15 points in the "middle half". What does this mean? The Spurs had a deeper bench, that was certainly more rested. Could injuries be playing a factor? Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were beat up by the Grizzlies and may not be at full strength. Tim Duncan continues his revival and the Clippers need to send out an APB to try and find DeAndre Jordan. Much like their LA brethren the Lakers, the Clippers are going to need Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler and Nick Young to deliver from long range to open up the pick, penetration and pop game of Paul and Griffin.
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Could the Staples Center be fully booked in June for a freeway series between the two Los Angeles teams? While the TV networks are happy with a guarantee of either the Boston or Philadelphia market in the Eastern Conference finals, they certainly are pulling against a San Antonio- Oklahoma City Western Conference matchup . Best case scenario for TV ratings wiil certainly be Lakers-Clippers in the West and Celtics-Heat in the East. Star power on the court and major markets on both coasts.
Talking Hoops: The Home Stretch
Talking Hoops: Week 23 Pickups
Talking Hoops: Injury Parade
Talking Hoops: Week 22 Pickups
Talking Hoops: Week 21 Roster Adjustment Options
Talking Hoops: Week 20
Talking Hoops: Week 19 Roster Adjustmemts
Talking Hoops: Post Trade Deadline Waiver Candidates
Talking Hoops: Trade Deadline
Talking Hoops: Southwest Division @ Midseason
Talking Hoops: Pacific Division @ Midseason
Talking Hoops: Northwest Division @ Midseason
Talking Hoops-All Star Weekend
Talking Hoops: Southeast Division @ Midseason
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Grizzlies Finally Trade Rudy Gay
Talking Hoops: Central Division Mid-Season
Projecting All-Star Reserves: Western Conference
Projecting All-Star Reserves: Eastern Conference
Talking Hoops: Atlantic Division Mid Season