Yesterday marked the conclusion of the 2010/11 NBA Regular Season, with the playoffs commencing in a couple of days. It's been an interesting and turbulent season, with a number of surprising teams emerging in both the Eastern and the Western conference.
The Miami Heat, who picked up Lebron James and Chris Bosh in the offseason, didn't quite make their speculated target of 70 wins, with the Bulls locking down the number 1 spot (62-20). The Boston Celtics overhauled their roster in the latter half of the season, sending away their defensive enforcer Kendrick Perkins, for former Thunder forward Jeff Green. They wavered in the second half of the season and dropped to third in the East. The Magic remained solid all season in fourth, despite a mid season overhaul also. The Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers round out the eight in the East. Both Philadelphia and New York were amongst the most improved teams, and the 76ers (whom I support) rose from a 3-13 start to be above .500 for a while. They ended the season 41-41.
In the West, the Spurs were the best team for the entirety of the regular season, ending on 61-21. The Lakers had their ups and downs all season, and after a strong run immediately following the All-Star Break managed to lock down 2nd spot, over the dangerous Dallas Mavericks, who were injury-riddled all season. They are arguably the most talented side in the West, and it will be interesting to see which of these three will emerge out of the West. One can't right off the Oklahoma City Thunder either. They have the league's top scorer in Kevin Durant, and also Russell Westbrook. They have improved since that trade with Boston too. The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trailblazers are also very dangerous first round match-ups. Following their trade of Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks, the Nuggets have been one of the best sides in the NBA, becoming a strong defensive force. The Trailblazers, always hampered by injuries, have a great rotation when healthy. They can beat anybody. The New Orleans Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies round out seven and eight. Surprising a lot of fans this year, they both had great seasons, but face tough first round match-ups.
The First Round Match-ups: East
(1) Chicago Bulls - (8) Indiana Pacers
(2) Miami Heat - (7) Philadelphia 76ers
(3) Boston Celtics - (6) New York Knicks
(4) Orlando Magic - (5) Atlanta Hawks
The First Round Match-ups: West
(1) San Antonio Spurs - (8) Memphis Grizzlies
(2) Los Angeles Lakers - (7) New Orleans Hornets
(3) Dallas Mavericaks - (6) Portland TrailBlazers
(4) Oklahoma City Thunder - (5) Denver Nuggets
How do you think the 2010/11 playoffs will fare? Which team are you supporting?