Western Conference Playoff Preview

The final days of the NBA regular season and a look ahead to potential first round matchups

4/12/13 in NBA   |   droth   |   127 respect

The last of the first-round matchups that I want to see is really the only one that is set. The Clippers and Grizzlies will be going at it for the second year in a row after LA won in seven games last year. That series saw three games decided by one or two points, including the memorable 27-point comeback by the Clippers in the opening game. It looks April 1, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) dunks to score a basket against the Indiana Pacers during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sportslike a nice little rivalry may be brewing between these two quasi-contenders and both teams actually have a shot to make a deep playoff run this year. Assuming that OKC advances to the second round, both of these teams will believe they can beat the reigning Western Conference champs. Memphis won the season series with OKC 2-1 and LA got swept, but had two close games including an overtime loss.

In this series, I'll be looking to see if Blake Griffin can hold his own in a half-court game. Memphis is big and talented and the Clips will need more than Chris Paul dribbling around to win. If they can get consistent play from Griffin and have effective half-court possessions to complement their explosive open-court ability, this series could go to seven games again and show the country that these two teams are legitimate threats to the top teams in the West.

March Madness may be over, but this year's NBA Western Conference playoffs and the days leading up to it may be even more exciting. And who knows, maybe something interesting will happen in the East too.

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