The NBA Playoffs don’t throw you the same kind of crazy upsets that you get in college hoops, but that’s not to say that there haven’t been some crazy ones in the past; or that they couldn’t easily happen this year. Anyone remember the year that the Golden State Warriors upset the Dallas Mavericks as an 8 seed in the first round? Well, I’ll always remember that. Typically though, it’s been tough on the 8 seeds and it’s not normally where you get your upsets from. This season though has been up and down for most teams, even the team on top of the Western Conference (the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers) have had losing streaks of at least 5 games. So I see this as being potentially one of the most exciting NBA Playoffs in years.
What to Look For:
In the first round, there are a few things you look for to find an upset: the overall record during the year of the lower seed against the higher seed, finding a team who’s hot heading into the playoffs, and teams who have a play-maker who can lead the charge and cause issues for the higher seed. This season I’m seeing teams like: the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Portland Trailblazers, and yes- even the Memphis Grizzlies.
2011 NBA Playoffs Potential Upset Teams:
Denver Nuggets– Since their trade, they’ve showed the ability to play with anyone in the league, and seem to have a new game plan (compared to the old one of Carmelo Anthony running the show). This team knows how to play as a team, can shoot the 3, and loves to run with their two speedy point guards.
New York Knicks– The Knicks are an interesting story. Amare Stoudamire said that he plays his best in the playoffs, and he’ll show that again this season I’m sure. And now with Carmelo and Chauncey Billups, I like their chances for a first round KO. I don’t think they have to depth to make a huge playoff push, but I think they can take down a Boston team who’s been struggling since trading away Kendrick Perkins.
Portland Trailblazers– I like the Blazers mainly because they just have no ego’s, they play as team and care about winning before anything. The Mavericks also have a reputation of falling apart a bit during playoff time. On top of all that, this series is tied at 2-2 so Portland has shown they can beat the Mavs.
Memphis Grizzlies– This one may be a bit out there, but the Grizzlies have hung with the Spurs this season (a 2-2 split), and they also have a strong inside game with a good, young group of players who are playing motivated right now. Also, something to note- their 46-35 record, would give them a 5th seed if they were in the Eastern Conference instead of the West.
The first round of match-ups here should have some great ones, and hopefully a few upsets that can be talked about for years to come.
What do you think about the 2011 NBA Playoff match-ups? Let us know your opinion!