NBA Playoffs Preview

Playoff time is here in the NBA. Each team plays 82 regular season games with the ultimate goal of winning a NBA Championship.

Out of the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers are the defending champions.

This season, the king of the Western Conference has been the San Antonio Spurs. Before an injury to star power forward Tim Duncan, the Spurs had a chance of breaking the 70 game win mark. With home court advantage throughout the playoffs, the Spurs are looking to win their fifth championship since the 1999 season.

The Dallas Mavericks have had some trouble getting over the championship hump. The last time Dallas reached the NBA Finals was in the 2006-2007 season. With an aging team, the Mavericks’ time to win may be now. 

Battling for the fourth seed the entire season, the young Oklahoma City Thunders have one of the most well-rounded offenses in basketball, led by MVP candidate Kevin Durant. Guard Russell Westbrook and forward Serge Ibaka compliment Durant well, and Oklahoma City is highly capable of making a deep playoff run.

Denver, Portland, New Orleans and Memphis round out the bottom half of the playoff bracket. The Denver Nuggets, since trading Carmelo Anthony, have the second-best home record in the Western Conference, but have struggled heavily during their away games. 

Unlike last season, the NBA Finals champion may come out of the Eastern Conference. On the top of the Conference, the Chicago Bulls are having their best season since Hall of Fame guard Michael Jordan left the team in 1999. Derrick Rose has been trouble for defenses every time he has touched a basketball. Behind Rose, the Bulls are looking to bring the NBA Finals trophy back to Chicago, where the organization won six of eight NBA Championships during the 1990s. Having the best record in the Eastern Conference will help Chicago tremendously as the Bulls have the best home record in the NBA this season.

Right behind the Bulls are the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. The Celtics, who reached the NBA Finals last season, are trying to prove they still have some gas in the tank to win another championship. Led by Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Peirce, Boston presents a massive threat when the game is on the line. All three players are able to hit the big shot late in games.

The Miami Heat, after acquiring the All Stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh, struggled mightily in the beginning. Now the team looks to have put it all together as they have one of the best road records in the NBA. James, an MVP candidate, is averaging 26 points a game. Dwyane Wade is right behind him with 25 points a contest. Bosh can’t be overlooked with his 18 points and eight rebounds a game. The bottom line is that if the Heat catches fire in the playoffs, there might be no stopping them.

The Orlando Magic has been flying under the radar. The team made a blockbuster trade in the beginning of the season, and seems to have found some chemistry on the court during this past month. One of the hottest teams in the NBA late in the season, Orlando looks to ride a hot hand into the playoffs. In the middle, Dwight Howard brings his 23 points a game average into the playoffs. Howard also grabs 14 rebounds and blocks two shots a game. 

The NBA playoffs may be where amazing things happen, but one thing is for sure: You never know what can happen any given night.

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