Inside the Western Conference playoffs

April, 16, 2011
4/16/11
4:00
AM ET
By ESPN Stats & Info
ESPN.com
Archive
With the NBA playoffs beginning Saturday, here are some nuggets to get you ready for the playoffs in the West:

1 San Antonio Spurs vs 8 Memphis Grizzlies
(Split season series 2-2)

• This is the 14th straight season the Spurs are in the playoffs, the longest active streak in the NBA.

• Game tape shows us this could be a battle of strength vs strength. San Antonio is one of three teams that held opponents under 13 transition points per game this season. Memphis is 24-12 in its last 36 games largely due to their outstanding play in transition where they have outscored opponents by 150 points.

• The Grizzlies franchise not only has never won a playoff series, it has never won a playoff game. In three playoff trips, the Grizzlies were swept each time. According to Elias, the Grizzlies’ 12 losses before its first win are an NBA postseason record. The previous record was six held by the Nets.

2 Los Angeles Lakers vs 7 New Orleans Hornets
(Lakers won season series 4-0)

• One and done? Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher are 27-0 in the postseason when winning game one.

• Elias tells us since the NBA playoffs expanded to 16 teams during the 1983-84 season, four teams that were swept by their opponent during the regular season were able to pull off the victory in the postseason.

• Chris Paul is the only player in NBA history with career averages of 20 points per game and 10 assists per game in postseason play (21.9 PPG, 11.0 APG in 17 games)

3 Dallas Mavericks vs 6 Portland Trail Blazers
(Split season series 2-2)

• The Mavericks are in the postseason for the 11th straight season, joining the Spurs as the only active teams with double-digit streaks. In three of their last four trips to the postseason, Dallas has lost in the first round, including twice as the higher seed (2007, 2010).

• Game footage shows the combination of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry has scored the second-most points (1,385) in the fourth quarter/overtime of games this season.

• The Trail Blazers have lost six consecutive postseason series, the longest active losing streak in the NBA. Their last series victory was the 2000 Conference Semifinals against the Utah Jazz.

4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs 5 Denver Nuggets
(OKC won season series 3-1)

• Oklahoma City was tied for the third-youngest team in the NBA this season according to average age (25.4 years). However the Thunder has 208 combined games of playoff experience thanks to the addition of Kendrick Perkins (68 playoff games).

• Since the Carmelo Anthony trade, the Nuggets have picked up the pace on offense. In its last 24 games, Denver is averaging over 20 transition points per game, and outscoring opponents by 8.3 transition points per game.

• How important is Game 1 of this series? George Karl is 0-10 in any best-of-seven series in which his team loses Game 1.

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