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WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS PREVIEW: CAN ANYONE ACTUALLY BEAT THE LAKERS OR CLIPPERS?

@Kheron_Alston

When the NBA season re-starts it will be a race to the 8-seed with six teams within six games of each other.

The Memphis Grizzlies hold the 8-seed currently thanks to rookie Ja Morant carrying the load despite some injuries that the team had to endure. 

The Phoenix Suns are the furthest team back that qualified for the re-start but with eight games to narrow down a six-game deficit seems quite unlikely considering they would have to surpass the five teams in front of them. In the Western Conference there will most likely be a situation where the ninth seed will be within four games and they would face-off against the eighth seed in a potential two game play-in.

The NBA seems to complicate things further than any other league.

Why can’t they just have whoever is the 8-seed (no matter by how many games ahead), make the playoffs? To me that seems easiest but maybe that’s why they’re a growing league unlike some other sports with commissioners who aren’t open to change. 

Adam Silver seems like the type of commissioner to log in to a reddit stream or twitter thread and look at ideas from casual fans and brings them to the NBA. His ideas seem to be so different and better than every other commissioner in professional sports.

Now to the meat and potatoes of why I am writing this article, who will represent the Western Conference in the NBA finals against my eastern conference pick the 76ers?

According to Vegas odds, the Los Angeles Lakers are the favorite to represent the West but that was before Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley said they weren’t going to play for the remainder of the season due to health concerns. With two pivotal pieces to the Lakers championship run deciding not to play, I have to assume that the odds could change. 

Realistically speaking, do you actually think anyone can beat the Lakers or Clippers?

The Denver Nuggets are the three seed but with Nikola Jokic testing positive for COVID-19, who knows where they stand if he doesn’t play. Houston is coming into the playoffs with a new definition of small ball with PJ Tucker, who is six foot five, averaging 34 minutes at center and that doesn’t seem like a matchup I would want against a team with AD, Javale McGee and LeBron James in the front court.

At this point what do the Rockets have to lose, they have to change something up in hopes to make a run at the title. The West is only getting stronger.

The Trailblazers could get hot and make a run, but Damian Lillard seems focused on everything but winning a championship. 

No disrespect to the other teams who qualify for the playoffs when that time comes but it doesn’t seem like they have the star power to keep up with LeBron and AD or Kawhi and Paul George, especially when it comes to situations down the stretch. Having that type of talent and skill between two players is seemingly unmatched this season.

Obviously if you have read this article at all, I do think the Clippers and the Lakers will meet in the WCF and I do think the Lakers will win. Some of you are probably confused because in my Eastern Conference article I said I wouldn’t want to bore you with the favorite, but this seems like the most logical pick.

I can’t pick another team other than the Lakers or Clippers and believe it. 

The Clippers were 2-1 against the Lakers in the regular season but in the last matchup Avery Bradley had a game where he made six three-pointers. If the Lakers want to represent the west, then players other than AD or LeBron will have to have games similar to that, especially now that Bradley has decided not to play for the remainder of the season. But they have the depth for playoffs, when teams usually transition to a shorter bench because games are more important. 

The Lakers have what I think is the best duo in the league with LeBron and AD.

July 31 when the NBA starts back up, none of the regular season matters, the only thing that matters is what is ahead. Players tap into a different mindset when the playoffs roll around and with four months of rest and recovery not only physically but mentally as well, this could end up being the best, physical, most aggressive playoffs we have ever seen. 

Checkout our other NBA Re-Start Coverage Here:

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS PREVIEW: CAN ANYONE ACTUALLY BEAT THE LAKERS OR CLIPPERS?

Let’s be honest, does anyone really have a chance against the teams from Los Angeles?

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