OKLAHOMA, April 28, 2012 – The sprint that was this year’s NBA regular season is over, now comes the marathon of the playoffs. In a season that started on Christmas day and crammed 66 games in four months, we’ve seen new teams emerge and some more of the same.
Regular season awards:
MVP: LeBron James
James had one of the most efficient seasons of all time. Even when Dwyane Wade was hurt, James kept the Heat going. He had a short span of games where the team underachieved, but overall he was the best player. Now can he do it in the playoffs?
Coach of the Year: Gregg Popovich
Popovich brilliantly strategized his aging team’s minutes by sitting Tim Duncan some games, had injuries to Manu Ginobli, and still got the number one seed in the West.
Sixth Man: James Harden
Harden would start on 90% of the teams in the NBA, but on the Thunder he comes off the bench to spark the team. Harden’s beard and getting nearly decapitated by Ron Artest helps his cause.
Defensive Player of the Year: Tyson Chandler
Chandler anchored the defense of the champion Mavericks last year, and has been a force this year for the Knicks. Even under Mike D’Antoni he played defense. That’s impressive.
The prediction before the season was Heat over Thunder. Both teams played great and each have an MVP candidate in James and Kevin Durant. Both have had injuries throughout the season and both are the two seeds in their respected conferences.
The Spurs have emerged as the hottest team and the Bulls have the over-all number one seed in the post season.
If the Thunder is to make the finals, the team most likely will have to go through Dallas, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio. Those three teams just so happen to be the only representatives of the Western Conference in the finals for the past decade. Could theirs be a tougher road?
In the end, you have to go with the original prediction. Can’t change it now.
Heat over Thunder.
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