It seems like the first games of this shortened NBA season on Christmas Day was only a short time ago, but the Playoffs are already here. Similar to last year, the Spurs have secured the top spot and home court throughout the Western Conference Playoffs. But will they be upset in the first round? The Utah Jazz sure hope to have the same spark and result the Memphis Grizzlies had last year in this same daunting position.
How the Spurs can win: Continue to find the “Fountain of Youth.” I don’t think there are too many analysts who could have foreseen the Spurs winning 50 games in this shortened 66 game season, especially with the likes of aging stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli on their roster. However, they have played a surprisingly up-tempo style different from previous years. They should do the same if they plan to beat the Jazz. Utah simply does not have the athletes to match up with Tony Parker, along with rising stars Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard. Tim Duncan and DeJuan Blair, although an undersized front court, will have to maintain down low to secure the series win for San Antonio.
How the Jazz can win: Create an off the court distraction by asking Eva Longoria-Parker to divorce Tony Parker. Oh wait… that already happened? In that case, let’s go to plan B. Utah will have to rely on its work horses, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap to use their size down in the post to give them an advantage. There aren’t many teams in the league that can boast big men who average 19 ppg/9 rpg and 16 ppg/8 rpg the way the Jazz can with Jefferson and Millsap. San Antonio has also shown its vulnerability to teams with size, as shown a few weeks ago in a blow-out loss at home in which the Spurs surrendered a ridiculous 30 rebounds to Lakers center
Andrew Bynum. Utah has to slow the game down and rely on the guys who got them this far if they are to shock the Spurs in the first round.
Our prediction: It’s hard to imagine the Spurs losing to #8 seeds in consecutive seasons, and the Utah Jazz just do not have the athletes that last year’s #8 Memphis Grizzlies had. I would pick San Antonio to break out the brooms and sweep the Jazz this series, but it’s really tough to beat a team four times in a row. Utah finds a way to steal a game at home, but the Spurs ultimately win this series 4-1.