Trevor Freeman
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May 9 - NBA Conference Semifinals Preview

With the second round of the NBA Playoffs one game old, it is time to breakdown the NBA’s “Elite
Eight”.  At this juncture it looks like cars are going to be overturned and lit on fire once again in the
bustling metropolis known as Detroit.  The Eastern Conference playoffs are just a mere formality on
the road to destiny.  Out West there is a little bit more intrigue.  Dallas and San Antonio seem
destined for seven games and the Phoenix Suns look to have risen from the ashes.  Without further
ado let’s begin where the sun sets………….

Western Conference

Los Angeles Clippers

Why They Can Win The NBA Title:  

As solid a starting five as there is in the game.  Elton Brand deserved
more MVP consideration as he was all over the court this year.  “Sam I
Am” gives the Clippers an established postseason gamer.  Off the bench,
Corey Maggette, Shaun Livingston, and Vladimir Radmanovic can all put
the ball in the bucket and give the Clips good minutes.

Why They Will Lose to the Phoenix Suns:

The Clippers problem in the opener was that they decided to engage Phoenix in their game.  The
Clippers cannot win a track meet with the Suns.  Unfortunately, I see the Clippers taking the bait and
trying to go up and down the floor with Phoenix.  Billy Crystal and his #1 Yankee fan status also
provides bad karma.

Phoenix Suns

Why They Can Win the NBA Title:

What’s that sound………….I think it’s vindication. There’s a lot of reasons why Steve Nash deserved
the MVP award over Kobe and LeBron, but in a week and a half the best one will come out.  After
Phoenix disposes of the Clippers and makes the Western Conference Finals without Amare
Stoudamire, Steve Nasty will be the only one of the three MVP candidates still at the party.  

I like the Suns right now.  Since Game 5 of the Laker series, Phoenix has looked like a team on a
mission.  Boris Diaw has been a revelation.  People snickered when the Suns only got back Diaw
and a first rounder for Joe Johnson.  Now…..would anybody do a Diaw for Johnson trade straight-
up?  Shawn Marion and the ugliest looking shot in basketball history have been money.  Leandro
Barbosa has been killing people.  Even “Tiny” Tim Thomas has looked like an NBA All-Star.  All of this
is a tribute to Jerry Colangelo and Steve Nash and if you don’t think I’m picking them to win the title
next year when Amare Stoudamire joins the fray then you haven’t been paying attention.

Why They Will Lose in the Western Conference Finals:

It’ll be the matchup.  I see the Spurs beating Dallas and then punishing the smaller Suns.

Dallas Mavericks

Why They Can Win the NBA Title:

A newfound commitment to defense.  The defensive numbers for the Mavericks are startling.  Who
would have thought they’d ever hold the Spurs to 89 points?  Dirk Nowitzki has become one of the
best five players in all of basketball.  Josh Howard is without a doubt the best “glue” guy in the NBA.  
Avery Johnson seems to be blossoming as a coach.  

Why They Will Lose to the San Antonio Spurs:

The hurdle is just too high.  This series will go seven games, however there is no way you can pick
against San Antonio at home in Game 7.  In the “Things just aren’t going their way category” owner
Mark Cuban
couldn’t buy his way into a New York Club.  

(How great would it be if sometime in June we read “Erick Dampier and DJ Mbenga assault
bouncers outside Bungalow Eight”?)

San Antonio Spurs

Why They Can Win the NBA Title and Why They Will Win The Western Conference:

The consummate team.  While a series between the Spurs and Pistons will kill the ratings of the NBA
Finals, there’s a 95.7% chance of this happening.  There are just too many gamers in San Antonio.  
The starting five is the second best in the business.  The Spurs may be even better than last year due
to the additions of Michael Finley and Nick Van Exel.  Most of all, the Spurs still have the “big dog in
the park” feel when compared to the rest of the Western Conference.  Maybe if Phoenix had Amare
Stoudamire, but they don’t.  So the Spurs are the pick.

Eastern Conference

New Jersey Nets

Why They Can Win the NBA Title:

A dynamic perimeter.  Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Richard Jefferson are still terrifying when they
get out on the break.  Nenad Krstic has quietly become an extremely effective player.  When Jay-Z
brings Beyonce to the games, it distracts opposing players.

Why They Will Lose To the Miami Heat:

Don’t be fooled by Game 1.  Over a seven game series, the Nets will get abused down low.  Toss in
Richard Jefferson spraining his ankle last night and New Jersey’s bench being paper-thin and you
still have a recipe for disaster.

Miami Heat

Why They Can Win the NBA Title:

If Dwyane Wade doesn’t get hurt last year, Miami wins Game 7 and advances to the NBA Finals.  
Shaq has looked much better in the playoffs than he did in the regular season.  

Why They Will Lose in the Eastern Conference Finals:

The supporting cast while on paper looks better isn’t as productive as last year’s.  There will be more
pressure on D-Wade and Shaq to dominate the Pistons and I don’t see it happening.  Jason
Williams is too inconsistent from three-point range and this guy who kinda looks like Antoine Walker
has done absolutely nothing in the playoffs.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Why They Can Win the NBA Title:

That LeBron James guy isn’t bad.

Why They Will Lose to the Detroit Pistons:

LeBron’s good……….he ain’t that good.  If the Cavaliers win one game in
this series, it will be because LeBron scored 58 points AND the Pistons
came out with their C+ game.  

Detroit Pistons

Why They Can Win the NBA Title and Why They Will Win the Eastern Conference:

The best starting five in basketball.  This team loved walking around with their title belts and has
played this season like a team pissed off about being dethroned.  Now that the Pistons have
homecourt advantage throughout the postseason, I think they win it all.  Hopefully Larry Brown’s
doctor forbids him from watching the rest of the playoffs, as I’m not sure that his health can absorb
the kick in the gonads that the Pistons are about to deliver.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at