The NBA playoffs are right around the corner and one team that will be aiming for redemption is none other than the Los Angeles Lakers. After getting swept in the playoffs last season by the eventual NBA champion Dallas Mavericks (4-0), the Lakers were embarrassed and had completely fallen apart with players losing their cool (Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom) and the team seemingly having given up altogether.
This time around the Lakers will be sporting a new look and different attitude come playoff time. Los Angeles has struggled on the road this season (10-15 away record), which might be their Achilles heel, but they have been rock solid at home (20-4) and will look to capitalize at the Staples Center during the playoffs.
If the NBA playoffs were to start today, the Los Angeles Lakers would be going head-to-head against the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. This would be a tough test right out of the gate for the Lakers with the Grizzlies giving them a run for their money in each meeting this season.
ESPN.com and the TrueHoop Network made some predictions with the current playoff-seeding in the NBA Playoff Predictor piece on Tuesday. The current predictions for a first round showdown between the Lakers and the Grizzlies have Los Angeles winning the series with a percentage 55% to 45%.
With 17 more games on the schedule the seeding in the Western Conference could and most likely will change before the last game of the 66-game regular season is played. With that being said, the Lakers could ultimately face off against the Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers or even a rematch with the Dallas Mavericks, but taking on the Memphis Grizzlies seems like the most likely scenario from here on out.
In my opinion, the Lakers match up fairly well with the Grizzlies. The Lakers have more size and length, and the Kobe Bryant factor that will be tough to stop come playoff time. The Grizzlies do have quick guards in Mike Conley Jr. and O.J. Mayo, and now have Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph back in the mix, but in the end I believe the Lakers come out on top with a better all-around squad and the playoff experience to advance to the second round.