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With the regular season finished, the NBA Playoffs are set to get under way on Saturday. The seeds are set, and we'll go through each first round matchup in both conferences. Outside of Golden State, does any team seem to have an easy matchup in its opening series? With how loaded the Western Conference is, it seems like anything is possible outside of the Warriors advancing.
In the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks may have the top spot, but the Cleveland Cavaliers have been the better team overall since the All Star break. Do the LeBron-led Cavs have a sweep in front of them in the Boston Celtics? Outside of Atlanta and Cleveland in the first round, like the West, anything seems possible.
The NBA regular season is roughly 50 games in and many of the juggernauts have positioned themselves to make the playoffs, which is all any team truly cares about in the West. Which teams have surprised most fans? Can the Phoenix Suns hold onto the final, eight-spot? They are currently ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans by one-and-a-half games and the Oklahoma City Thunder by three games.
Before answering who should win the West, who has a legitimate shot of winning it? Do any of the three teams pushing for the eighth spot have a chance to beat whoever takes the No. 1 seed?
The 2014-15 NBA season a just over a week old today, so we'll take a look at the conference from top to bottom, seeing how teams have performed to this point. Are there any surprises? Will Houston keep up its dominance? Will the Lakers win a game? Maybe a better question is how many games will they lose before they win a game.
Golden State and Memphis are still undefeated as well at 3-0 and 4-0 respectively - are they both primed for top-four spots come playoff time?
The 2014-15 NBA season is two weeks in to this point and three teams have gotten off to hot starts in Memphis, Houston and Golden State. Outside of those teams and Sacramento at 5-2, each team in the West has at least three losses. Can we expect Memphis, Houston and Golden State to hold the top three seeds, or at least be in the playoffs by season's end?
In Sacramento, the DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings have done special things to this point. Can they keep it up and potentially make the playoffs?
Steve and Bryan catch up on the NBA Playoffs in the middle of the Eastern and Western Conference Championships where both series are being dominated by the favorites. Recorded on Memorial Day, the 1-seed Golden State leads 2-seed Houston 3-0 in the Western Conference while 2-seed Cleveland leads 1-seed Atlanta 3-0 in the Eastern Conference.
Outside of the final four matchups in the playoffs, the All-NBA teams were announced and the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery took place. There's plenty to review, discuss and debate as the NBA Finals draws followed by the 2015 NBA Draft.
Share your thoughts with the guys via Twitter and/or Facebook . Enjoy the show
Yesterday I talked more about the Eastern Conference and who I thought would make the 2014-15 NBA playoffs. To me, there is a three-tier system, with Cleveland, Chicago and Toronto at the top, Indiana, Washington and Charlotte in the middle, then the rest of the East will be... well, irrelevant. Today, I'll go over the West, which also has a three-team tier at the top, with the rest of the teams looking up at them. The Dallas Mavericks are the team to look for when it comes to sneaking into that upper-echilon of teams.
Breaking down the teams and divisions of the Western Conference in the NBA for 2014 - 2015
Are the San Antonio Spurs still the team to beat?
Are the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder ready to take the next step?
Who will make the playoffs?
Will the Lakers rebound from a disappointing 2013 - 2014?
Which teams improved, which teams got worse?
On episode 2 of The Instant Offense NBA podcast, I'm joined by former All Star Kenny Anderson (@chibbs_1 on Twitter). From starring at Archbishop Malloy to excelling at Georgia Tech to dazzling under the bright lights in NBA, he's has seen it all, and he hops on to talk 90s basketball, the modern point guards and today's league, and how the incoming rookie point guards stack up. You won't want to miss this one!
Impossible to go into the conference finals without talking about the team that should have made it but didn't -- the Los Angeles Clippers. My take: They are not cursed. They were merely too thin, and they didn't have the fortitude to finish the job.
And if the Houston Rockets taught us all one thing during their series against Doc Rivers' team, it was this: Never give up, no matter how bleak things seem.
But that series is behind us, and we now move into the conference finals wondering exactly what we are going to see. Hack-a-Howard? Hack-a-Bogut? Corey Brewer defending Stephen Curry. Or maybe Trevor Ariza taking on that task. Or even pesky old man Pablo Prigioni. That series is going to be a chess match for sure, and we may end up seeing Klay Thompson being the most important player in the series. As mentioned yesterday in our staff predictions column, Thompson is the leading 3-point shooter, accuracy-wise, of all the players still playing.
And that allows us to turn our attention to Kyle Korver (35 percent from downtown in the postseason) and the Atlanta Hawks, who went 3-1 against the Cavs during the regular season while using DeMarre Carroll as the primary defender on LeBron James. This site has already devoted considerable attention to the amount of money Carroll is earning during these playoffs, and whether it behooves him to sign a one-year contract so that he can reap the rewards of being a max player when the salary cap jumps to $90 million 13 months from now. If the Hawks are able to win this series (they are a 1 1/2 point favorite in Game 1, it will postpone Northeast Ohio's dream of ending its 51-year championship drought.)
All these plots and subplots were up for discussion in this podcast with Jody Oehler and Mike Jurecki on FOX Sports 910 in Phoenix. Enjoy.
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