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Playoff Seeding: Best and Worst Case Scenarios


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21 replies to this topic

#1 Drew in Abilene

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:54 PM

As of Saturday, February 9th, the Hollinger Playoff Odds have us at a 94.2% of making the postseason. While that in and of itself would be a wonderful change of pace from the previous years of languishing in the 9th seed, many fans have even higher hopes for our boys in red. With that as the backdrop, I'm interested in others' ideas of which first round match-up you would be most excited to watch.

I know it's a bit of a long shot, but a 4 or 5 seed would really make me happy. I would imagine that would pit the Rockets against either the Nuggets, the Grizzlies, or the Warriors. While none of them are exactly slouches, none are anywhere near as formidable as the top three in the West. I'd love to avoid a first round date with the Spurs, Thunder, or Clippers.

Also, as much as I would love to see the Lakers miss the playoffs entirely, if they backed into the 8 seed and upset one of the western juggernauts, I'd be quite happy to watch Houston avenge our previous second round loss to them. I'm still bitter from watching Yao go down in the series a few years back, and still hold a place in my heart for Ron Artest for valiantly willing us to seven games with Yao and T-Mac out of commission.

I don't know where the Thunder will eventually fall in the seedings, but they're the team I would most want to avoid. I just don't think it would be fun to get torched by Durant and company.

Anyway, which teams would you most like to be up against or most like to avoid?
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#2 Cooper

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:14 AM

I wouldn't mind facing the clips actually, Memphis isn't very scary right now. We match up well with the warriors. We'd be swept by okc the spurs and Denver though. Avoiding a first round with either of them would be great.
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#3 thejohnnygold

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:45 AM

Agreed. I think we could definitely give the clips a run for their money and have a legit shot at winning the series. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think they are more style than substance (excluding chris paul, of course). Memphis would be a great series...not sure we'd win...but great series.
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#4 feelingsupersonic

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:31 AM

I have to disagree on challenging the Clippers. Chris Paul might be the greatest basketball mind in the NBA right now, come playoffs he doesn't manage his team but rather controls what happens on the court. I hold him in high regard and I think he has the greatest on the court mind since Larry Bird. I think Paul could get his team to expose the Rockets in a series.
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Not all isolation plays are equal.


#5 datruth

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:05 AM

I agree CP3 is the real deal. I think the rockets have a shot against anyone, but OKC, Spurs and the Lob City. Harden is on fire and this team is playing fast. Right now every game counts. No need to start experimenting things. I think we can catch the Grizzlies for the # 5 seed.
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#6 Rahat Huq

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 12:39 PM

I think the Clippers would destroy us. CP3 doesn't play around in the playoffs.
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#7 feelingsupersonic

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:06 PM

I have been thinking on this topic and I decided against the premise that I should pick which of the top teams the Rockets match up best against. I think if we were to start thinking who the Rockets could upset in a first round playoff series you are just playing with fools gold. The Rockets, barring some miraculous shooting streak, will be eliminated 4 to 1 (or 2). The learning will come in making the playoffs when the race tightens late in the season and in losing to a team like OKC or San Antonio. I would have to believe that the lessons the staff would learn and the defeats the Rockets players would face would be very valueable experiences going into future seasons.
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Not all isolation plays are equal.


#8 thejohnnygold

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:27 PM

I have been thinking on this topic and I decided against the premise that I should pick which of the top teams the Rockets match up best against. I think if we were to start thinking who the Rockets could upset in a first round playoff series you are just playing with fools gold. The Rockets, barring some miraculous shooting streak, will be eliminated 4 to 1 (or 2). The learning will come in making the playoffs when the race tightens late in the season and in losing to a team like OKC or San Antonio. I would have to believe that the lessons the staff would learn and the defeats the Rockets players would face would be very valueable experiences going into future seasons.


A very mature and wise assessment, FS. Ah, but where's the fun in that?!?!?

So, I will play a little devil's advocate regarding the Clippers (since I fully agree we have no chance against OKC or SA--at this point).

With a cursory glance at the stats, the Clips only show advantages in three places: steals, blocks, and turnovers. They have roughly a +2 advantage per game in all 3 categories over the Rox. We have a slight edge in some shooting stats--mainly in free throw shooting.

Now, over the past month, or so, the Rockets have taken better care of the ball. This has resulted in more shot attempts and higher percentages as our rhythm seems to be better. Presuming this becomes the norm, it might indicate that the turnover/steal advantage is negated. We will have to live with some blocked shots.

I also believe that Asik will limit some of the easy offensive rebound put-backs they thrive on. Not entirely, but if he takes a few away that is huge.

Free throw shooting is a bonus for us and I think we will continue to exploit it.

Now, we appear woefully inept on defense (on paper) but I still believe that in the playoffs we will see much better effort from the team. Of course, the clips will dial it up as well so we'll have to call that a draw.

I think at the end of games LA will find themselves in a familiar position--two of their starters are terrible free throw shooters. In close games this will be crucial as I don't think we will hesitate to use those fouls. Why let CP3 operate when D'Andre Jordan can shoot free throws? Same for Griffin. The only way to prevent it is to take them off the floor. Their back-ups? Out-of-shape and out-of-sorts Lamar Odom and Ronny Turiaf. Advantage ROX.

Now it is star vs. star. Paul vs. Harden. Paul is a virtuoso who has enough experience under his belt to carry a team. Harden has the very bad taste in his mouth from last year's finals and is looking to silence the critics. Hopefully, he harnesses that energy into passion and focus rather than into reckless abandon and forcing the issue. To me, that will be the most important factor. That, and not hitting a 3 pt. shooting slump. It happens from time to time....

After that, we will have to dodge allowing Crawford to go off more than once--because he will.

OK, that is my reasoning for believing we can give the Cilps a serious run--and even best them. Again, I recognize that this is a daunting task and the Clips are for real. Still, I give us a puncher's chance because Paul makes people forget that they do have some achilles' heels to exploit. Besides, they've gotta stop us from scoring somehow...if the refs swallow their whistles I think we're in trouble, but Harden is getting credit for being in the Lebron, Kobe, Wade stratosphere...which means benefit of the doubt calls. Yay!
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#9 blakecouey

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:51 PM

Id most like to face the Warriors, because i believe they're the team we have the greatest chance of winning a series against. Also because Steph Curry is one of my favorite players, since his time at Davidson.

I agree with everyone that the Spurs and Thunder would demolish us. I don't necessarily believe any teams would sweep us(even if they should), as it's likely that in 4 games our team will have at least one hot shooting night, and when that happens we're damn near unstoppable.

The Jazz, Nuggets and Grizzlies would be a better match up than the previously mentioned Spurs and Thunder, but I still don't see us winning a series against them. I give us an above average chance if Portland found their way into the playoffs against us(might be the one team I could see us sweeping). The Lakers also have a shot at making the post-season, and if they do I'd be incredibly worried about facing them. With the talent on their team, if they EVER figure it out and get rolling they could be an upset machine.
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#10 feelingsupersonic

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:56 PM

I thought the same thing about what I wrote above, I took all the fun out of it but I like to think I am just being realistic. The big question is what Harden does in the post season up against defenses and defenders focused on him, how he handles the referees and how they handle him and can he elevate his game to another level (is that possible?)? Does he crash land and learn hard lessons in the post season? Or does he become unstoppable, get all the calls and carry the Rockets? He is the biggest X factor along with McHale and his learning curve on not only making adjustments and finding mismatches that arise during a series but implementing it all. All in all pretty exciting to be talking playoffs realistically in February.
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Not all isolation plays are equal.


#11 thejohnnygold

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:58 PM

Indeed, it is nice to talk playoffs. I forgot about coaching...McHale vs. Del Negro. Not exactly a clash of the titans.

Not sure I can really critique del negro one way or the other. As for McHale, I was looking at his coaching history. He does own a winning record in 3 out of 4 seasons. I looked at the roster for his losing season. That year they boasted a starting five of Al Jefferson (on a new team), K. Love (rookie), Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes, and Craig Smith. The bench was mike miller, rashad mccants, corey brewer, and sub-par role players. Jefferson gave them 23 and 11 that year, but no one else provided much. Remember, the Garnet trade was as much about Jefferson as it was draft picks. They were rebuilding. McHale took control of a bad team and rode out the season. So, I will cut him some slack because I doubt any coach could do much with that group in the tough western conference.

The Lakers were dominant, Portland had aldridge and roy going, Denver had melo and nene, etc., New Orleans had paul and west, utah had boozer and williams, san antonio was san antonio, Houston was actually the 5th seed that year, and the mavs were strong as well. No way Jefferson carries a team above any of those.

Getting to the point (finally), I am intrigued and excited to see McHale in a playoff series where coaching is crucial. If he can coach the way he played, which is to say with intelligence and guile, then I like our advantage there as well. Hopefully, we will find out.

I'd also like to see Marcus Morris increase his defensive prowess as his shot seems to be inconsistent.
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#12 Drew in Abilene

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:22 PM

Blake, you really think we'd lose to the Jazz in a series? Personally, that would be the match-up I'd be most positive about our chances of winning. My ranking for most likely to beat us in a series to least likely would probably go something like this:

Thunder
Spurs
Clippers
Nuggets
Grizzlies
Lakers
Warriors
Jazz

I'd probably put our chances of winning a series at 50% or better against Memphis through Utah, expect to lose a close series against Denver and L.A., and hope for a win or two against San Antonio or OKC.
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#13 Stephen

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:51 PM

I'm not sold on the Clips wings.
Their coach doesn't trust Jordan at all so their interior D is very suspect in late game situations.
Blake's FTs are still shaky,which doesn't bode well in close games.
That's a lot for Paul to overcome,which he can,but of the top 3 teams,the Clips are the one the Rockets would have the best chance against.

OTOH,there's prep time,scouting and after a couple of games on road the Rockets might start to figure out another team.

We do know an OKC-Hou clash in the First Rd would be on the major networks,not relegated to NBATV :)
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#14 blakecouey

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:32 PM

Blake, you really think we'd lose to the Jazz in a series? Personally, that would be the match-up I'd be most positive about our chances of winning. My ranking for most likely to beat us in a series to least likely would probably go something like this:

Thunder
Spurs
Clippers
Nuggets
Grizzlies
Lakers
Warriors
Jazz

I'd probably put our chances of winning a series at 50% or better against Memphis through Utah, expect to lose a close series against Denver and L.A., and hope for a win or two against San Antonio or OKC.

Yes I think Utah would be a very tough match for us. In the past they've just about always been a hard team to beat for us. Our recent 45 point win(in their house) gives me some hope, but in a 7 game series I think we get beaten.
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#15 timetodienow1234567

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:47 PM

I think the Rockets can beat anybody in a 7 game series if our shots are falling and Lin stays aggressive. The playoffs are different though, so our shots won't be as open. So I think we get swept by the Spurs/Thunder. We know Harden is going to be awesome. My only concern is how Mchale handles Lin. If Lin is being aggressive, he will make some mistakes and have a few turnovers(as will Harden/Parsons). I just wonder if say Lin has a few turnovers in the first half, will Mchale bench him and not put him back in? I think the coach needs to let the starters play through their mistakes and learn playoff basketball together. I just don't think it'll happen. But I might be wrong. I cringe when thinking of Douglas or Beverley playing in the playoffs.
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Why so Serious? :D


#16 Drew in Abilene

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:26 PM

Fair enough, Blake. I'll agree that they've played us tough in the past, and our recent beatdown on them doesn't necessarily correlate with us dominating them in the postseason. I think our recent hot streak and seeing some of our previous good runs has made me feel like our best is better than their best. I also think that we've done a pretty good job this season of imposing our pace on other teams, and a frenetic paced game is not what the Jazz want. By no means would I call a series against them easy, but I think we'd fare better against them than just about any of the alternatives.

Which team do you think would make for the most favorable match-up?
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#17 feelingsupersonic

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:50 PM

I think maybe the Warriors are the best chance but no way we see them. The Rockets are too young and too green as a unit to pose a threat to anyone in a playoff series in the West. Youth never comes through in the post season but I guess everyone has forgotten that. Come on guys, get real.

Am I the crazy one?
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Not all isolation plays are equal.


#18 timetodienow1234567

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:55 PM

I agree, but remember the warriors are new, the clips got swept by the spurs. And the grizzlies are worse without Gay. So anything can happen.
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Why so Serious? :D


#19 thejohnnygold

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:02 PM

I think maybe the Warriors are the best chance but no way we see them. The Rockets are too young and too green as a unit to pose a threat to anyone in a playoff series in the West. Youth never comes through in the post season but I guess everyone has forgotten that. Come on guys, get real.

Am I the crazy one?


No, you're not crazy. And we are turning a blind eye to the fact that the rox are young. I mean, what's the last young team to upset a juggernaut? The GP sonics? The Motumbo nuggets? I'm probably forgetting someone recent...but I can't think of one.
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#20 feelingsupersonic

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:18 PM

Agreed, you have to play the games but do you remember that first round series between LA and OKC in 2010? Even very good to great teams that are young have to lose multiple years, those teams learn at the hands of superior opponents and the next post season they go further. What really concerns me is if this team can perform in the playoffs that start before the playoffs? Can they keep their composure in the last few weeks of the season? I agree that the Grizz are not as good without Gay but they didn't have him a couple years ago and Gasol, Randolph, Conley and Allen got hot and were pretty tough. The Clippers are not the same team they were last year, this year they are easily the deepest team in the league with loads of post season experience to spare and y'all really underestimate Chris Paul, there is no way he loses to this Rockets team in the post season, no way.
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Not all isolation plays are equal.





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