May 3, 2010

NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Semifinals #2

After a mildly surprising result of the Dallas v. San Antonio match-up we have our second round bout set between the veteran savvy Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs. I know I picked Dallas to be in the match-up but so did 99% of the NBA writers in the league so I don't feel so bad about my pick.

Matchup #2: #3 Phoenix Suns v. #7 San Antonio Spurs

Both of these teams are full of veteran and playoff experienced players and that will be the factor in making this series not only long lasting but memorable.  The Suns were beaten by Spurs in the semifinals in 2007 and lost in the opening round in 2008 and this will be the ninth overall meeting between the two franchises. San Antonio does have the advantage winning the last four post season matchups between the two clubs but this years Phoenix team is quite different and much more balancaed then their squad in the last two years.

As much as we talk about the Steve Nash empire that is the Phoenix Suns the two time league MVP will not be the deciding factor if the Suns are going to make it to the Western Conference finals. We all know that Nash will get his 15 assists and knock down nearly everything from the line and the Spurs know this. The key to their seasons hopes will be Amare Stoudamire. The mildly bi-polar power forward will be put to his ultimate test as he will be put in one-on-one situations against "The Big Fundamental" Tim Duncan. San Antonio has owned the Suns because of Amare inability to get anything productive done against Duncan. Amare has the size and ability to get into the lane and make plays but Duncan has mastered all of his tricks and will do so again in this series.

Now I know I said Steve Nash wont be the biggest factor because he will be schooling the young Spurs point guard George Hill for most the of series. Hill has been affective since taking over the starting role from Tony Parker but his talent is going to be tested against a veteran like Nash.

With Duncan getting the nod when it comes to low post and Nash getting the pick when it comes to the offensive side there will be many intangialbe that will make this series very interesting. Jason Richardson has been on fire as of late averaging a double-double in their opening round series against the Blazers but it has to be noted that Portland was playing depleated in the opening round and his totals will be less when he will be one-on-one against Manu Ginobili.

I also think that the Suns have a distinct advantage when it comes to the reserve situation. The Suns "second team" as they like to be called is a highly productive and sound group of young players and guys like Goran Dragic and Lou Amundson are just years from being the next class of players set to run this team. They are efficient and give their starters ample time for rest which will be key. The Spurs are thin off the bench with Tony Parker and DeJuan Blair touting the prime minutes of the bench. So like I said in the opening round, if San Antonio makes it past this round it will be on the back of Tim Duncan and only Tim Duncan.  

Prediction: If Tim Duncan controls the tempo, Spurs in 6.


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