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Thread: Is the West suddenly wide open?

  1. #1
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    Default Is the West suddenly wide open?

    Well, maybe not WIDE open, but I'm starting to think that, for the first time in years, any number of teams might actually win the West. When it was announced that Shaq was being traded to the Heat, I went ahead and filled in the portion of the WC brackets showing the Spurs on top. And the collapse of the Timberwolves on really solified that opinion. They seemed to me to be the only top level team in the West that was really built for the playoffs. But things is a-changin.

    The last time (if I remember correctly) that the Spurs were out in the first round was the last time that Duncan had a serious injury. It was the 2000 season, and the Spurs were fresh off their first Championship. But Timmy went down with an ankle problem, and the Spurs couldn't handle the Suns (led by Jason Kidd). I've heard everything from Duncan could be back before the playoffs to he might miss the first round. Well, the Spurs have shown pretty definitively that they need Duncan to win. They can pick off lotto teams without him, but right now they are set to play Denver, the team that blew them out of the water last night. Even if Duncan comes back for the playoffs, there's no guarantee that he or the team is going to be able to pick up where they left off.

    Who else could win the thing?
    I've mostly discounted Phoenix, Seattle, and Dallas becuase I never thought that they could win a playoff series against the Spurs. But if the Spurs falter?

    Phoenix. Why not? Well, they're young and untested in the playoffs. They have the best record in the league, but the last few years have seen team after younger team rack up the best record only to be layed low by the veteran team who had been saving a little something for the playoffs. Even so, it wouldn't be a surprise to find them in the WCF if Nash stays healthy (ah, NOW I remember why Dallas give him max bucks...he's always on his last legs nearing the playoffs).

    Seattle? I doubt it. Their strong start has mostly faded. And at the end of the day, they just don't have the juice for the playoffs.

    Dallas. Weird as it sounds, if the Spurs implode, they're my pick. They've got star power, experience, and an improved defense. Granted, they're still a score-first kind of team, but if without the Spurs, isn't everyone in the West these days?

    But even Houston has to have a shot. They're improving day by day, and the way things are shaping up out West, it could be anyone's conference.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is the West suddenly wide open?

    Right now I'd say PHO will win it if they can force their tempo in the playoffs, but if they can't, then Dallas, followed by Houston.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is the West suddenly wide open?

    I may be biased, but I think a Texas squad will almost certainly represent the west.


    San Antonio if Duncan is at least 85%.

    Dallas if Avery can get there defense up to par (He already has the players at least talking about/stressing defense in interviews)

    I like Houston more than I like Dallas, but the Rockets nor T-Mac have been out of the first round yet, meaning lack of playoff experience for this unit.

    Same goes for PHO and SEA. I wouldn't be surprised if either or both are gone in the first round, especially if the matchups are Suns/Nuggets and Sonics/Rockets (or maybe Sonics/Kings).

  4. #4
    sweabs
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    Default Re: Is the West suddenly wide open?

    And now Robert Horry goes down - and it looks pretty serious/bad (watching their game against the Lakers).

    Also, I don't know what NBA TV is doing tonight, but I hate it. They got guys like Fred Carter inside the studio calling the game - it's so stupid.

    Anyway - if Horry is seriously hurt as well now (and it looked pretty serious)...things become very, VERY bad for the Spurs.

  5. #5
    canyoufeelit
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    Default Re: Is the West suddenly wide open?

    I see no reason why Phoenix can't force their style in the playoffs. People say the game slows down and defense wins, but that isn't exactly 100% true.

    Why does the game slow down? Because teams rely more on their stars to score and walk it up the court. Isn't that what teams are doing to Phoenix now? And I'm pretty sure Phoenix's 4th quarter defense statistics are excellent.

    If Amare/Q can provide consistent scoring in the post they can win it all.

  6. #6
    sweabs
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    Default Re: Is the West suddenly wide open?

    Well - Horry seems to be fine now...I guess he was just acting

  7. #7
    Member skyfire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the West suddenly wide open?

    Rashard Lewis is out indefinately, I think we can definately stick a fork in Seattle now, they're done. The 6th spot in the West is probbly more appealing than the 6th spot in the East right now, who'da thunkit...

    I think Phoenix has a good chance to go deep, but I agree that it will probbly be a Texas team in the finals. I like the Rockets and I think the Mavs have also got a good shot.

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