The NCAA basketball season is officially over with, and now that the NBA regular season is officially over, the finals are just getting under way. The playoffs will tip off this Saturday with the Philadelphia 76ers hosting the Brooklyn Nets. Surprisingly, the Milwaukee Buks finished with the NBA's best record, but I don't think they'll get too far this year. The key to winning in the NBA playoffs is the experience, and I still feel they are a year or two away from being serious contenders. I think the same is true for the West's #2 seed Denver Nuggets, although I think they will do better in the playoffs than the Bucks.
The Nuggets have had a great season, beating expectations, but how will the pressure of the playoffs affect them? Home court advantage will help Denver in the early rounds as they play lower seeds. In the opening round, they will take on the San Antonio Spurs. This is definitely a new-look Spurs team, who opened the season for the first time since 1997-98 without Duncan, Parker, or Ginoboli. It wasn't as easy as previous seasons, but they managed to squeak in as a 7th seed, and a playoff team for the 22nd consecutive season. While this Spurs team also doesn't have the postseason experience, they have been playing good ball as of late, and have had to play playoff like games down the stretch in order just to make the playoffs, so they didn't just coast on in.
Also, in the Westerns Conference, they have beaten all the best teams at least once, so they have the confidence of winning those games. For the opening game Saturday, Denver is just a 5.5 point favorite, which is the least amount of any of the favorites on Saturday, so if the Spurs can steal a win on the road in games 1 or 2, they may have a chance at a series upset. I don't think they can beat Denver 4 of 7, but it wouldn't surprise me if they took Denver to a game 6 or 7.