The 2013 NBA Playoffs are right around the corner, and the King James Gospel writers sat down to discuss three interesting topics to watch for in this year’s postseason campaign. Without further ado, here we go.
One bold prediction for the playoffs is…
Vytis Lasaitis: Los Angeles Lakers will advance to the conference semi-finals. Lakers went from being demoralized following Kobe Bryant’s injury, to stealing the seventh seed, in turn avoiding the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Spurs are limping into the playoffs, while Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol have seemingly established a previously lacking synergy. If Steve Nash is ready to go for game 1, L.A. could definitely make a series out of this.
David Walker: I think that the Knicks won’t make it to the Eastern Conference finals. Just a few weeks ago this prediction would be anything but bold, however an end-of-season streak seems to have shifted perspective on this team dramatically. If you look at New York’s season as a whole you’ll see two short stints of insanely high three point shooting that correlated with their longest winning streaks and a much larger slump towards the middle. Their defense remains spotty and they rely so much on their shooting to sustain their offense. As easy as it is to get hot in a series, it is just as easy to go cold, and just a couple of those games could be the end of the Knicks.
Connor Cook: The Thunder won’t win the Western Conference – despite their excellence without James Harden this season on the way to the top seed in the conference, I think the Thunder are considerably more vulnerable without him. I see big potential problems for them in the Grizzlies, who won the season series against the Thunder and have the framework to stifle them defensively; and the Nuggets, who also won their season series with the Thunder and could literally be unstoppable at home.
The Boston Celtics will defeat the New York Knicks in six games. This series ultimately comes down to how well the Knicks are shooting from beyond the arc. In Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee and Jeff Green, the Celtics have the necessary athleticism and perimeter defense to protect the three-point line. If New York is missing its shots, Boston can generate transition opportunities, where the team can score in bunches. Furthermore, the Knicks are tied for surrendering the eleventh-highest opponent field goal percentage, at 45.8 percent. The Celtics score 24.6 percent of their points from mid-range, the second-highest mark in the league. As the saying goes, you live by the three, you die by the three; don’t be surprised to see the Knicks season expire sooner than most expect.
The Celtics take the Knicks to 7 games in the first round. Hey, look, I know. The Knicks have been on fire the last month and the Celtics have been only so-so all season But something about this series just screams 7 games. I think Jeff Green will do an admirable job on Melo and Garnett can play the Knicks pick and roll well enough to cause some problems.
One player that will shine in the playoffs is…