Cliff Gardner

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Playoff thoughts

We lost, bummer. Still, good showing by LaMarcus. There are four teams that should get into the playoffs without much effort--the Lakers, Hornets, Rockets and Spurs. Since it will take 50+ wins to get in again this year, I think there are five team that will be fighting for those last four spots--Dallas, Utah, Denver, Phoenix and Portland. BTW, if any of those teams didn't get in, I would lean back in my chair and go, "WOW, holy crap, ____ didn't get in? We really need to re-work the seeding system in the NBA!" 

Anyway, I think Denver gets in because they've been playing really well since they got Chauncey Billups, a tough, experienced, pass-first PG who makes everyone, and more importantly Carmelo Anthony, better. Utah probably gets in, too, because when healthy, Williams is one of the best point guards alive, the Delta Center is really tough to win in, and Jerry Sloan is a HOF coach. Phoenix probably guts out 50 wins, too, since they're playing really well now that they've got another scorer in Richardson. 

That leaves us and Dallas. Now, the Mavs are good. They can go to Dirk when the offense stalls and Terry can attack the rim and shoot with the best in the league. Plus, Rick Carlisle is an underrated coach who knows how to match up against the other team better than anyone in the league, which makes them a tough team to beat, as they showed in the Rose Garden last week. Still, they've got no depth beyond Dirk and Terry, and Jason Kidd got slower while I was typing this. 

The Blazers have a pretty good schedule for the rest of the way--slightly more games at home, and slightly more games against bad teams than everyone else in the West. We played a really tough opening schedule to start the year and we'll be rewarded for it down the stretch. We're a playoff team right now, especially once we get Roy back, and we've just got to excecute down the stretch.


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