Yesterday I brought you my picks for the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs, where I picked Chicago to advance to the finals. Today, I bring you my Western Conference predictions and my finals pick.
Western Conference First Round
Call me crazy, but I’m picking Memphis to take this series. I was leaning that way before Manu Ginobili got hurt, now I feel a little better about the pick. There’s just something about Memphis that scares me a little. Throw in the fact that Memphis is not that far removed from being a five or six seed, and my memories of Golden State unseating the No. 1-seeded Mavericks a few years ago, and I’m sold.
Pick: Grizzlies in 7
Without David West, things do not look good for the Hornets against the two-time defending champs.
Pick: Lakers in 5
Portland, like Memphis, is a frisky team to me. Seems like they have a good amount of weapons with Gerald Wallace on board, and Lamarcus Aldridge may actually force Dirk to have to guard, which could take the German out of his offensive flow.
Pick: Trail Blazers in 7
Oklahoma City may be the hottest team in the league at the moment, and Denver trash talking and forcing the likes of Durant and Perkins to play angry is probably not a good idea.
Pick: Thunder in 5
Western Conference Semis
Although the Thunder struggled against Memphis to an extent in the regular season, the Grizzlies won’t be able to handle OKC’s revamped, full-strength lineup and home-court advantage.
Pick: Thunder in 6
Portland isn’t quite big enough, or tough enough, to handle the Lakers, who benefit from a fully healed-up Andrew Bynum.
Pick: Lakers in 6
Western Conference Finals
Pick: Lakers in 7
Speaking of not quite ready, the Bulls lack the savvy and championship experience of their finals counterparts, and an aging Lakers team makes one last run at glory as they secure Phil Jackson his fourth three-peat.
Pick: Lakers in 6