2011 NBA Playoffs – the Start of the Changing of the Guards

Up to this time, only the Aging Champs from LA, the Matured Mavericks from Dallas and the Battle-tested Boston Celtics survived the continuing onslaught of the Young NBA Teams this Post Season.

LA and the Mavs will even knock each other out so only one of them will move on to the Third Round.

2011 NBA First Round Surprises

Imagine in the East, the Magic’s Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu didn’t make it through the First Round. And they were with Gilbert Arenas at that.

In the West, perennial contenders, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker and the Spurs, like the Orlando Magic were surprisingly out early. Yes and they were with a great supporting cast who made the Spur’s Team almost invincible in the Regular Season. This includes lots of great games for George Hill, Richard Jefferson, Matt Bonner and Tiago Splitter.

Now, even the Lakers, the Defending NBA Champions had their hands full with the smaller New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza and Carl Landry. Imagine if the Hornets had the injured David West in the Post Season?

Now at the start of the Playoffs, if you were expecting certain teams to easily win their respective First Round assignments, four games into the post season, you were probably as surprised as many other NBA fans.

But with each team having 82 grueling games played in the Regular Season, the fresher legs of the young upstarts are finally showing the old veterans that they might not have the experience, but they might have everything else and this might be all that they need to go all the way to the finals.

In the Eastern Conference

In the Magic-Hawks Series, Howard and company will not be moving on but will shockingly be watching at the sidelines very early. The Hawks made sure of that by avenging their embarrassing loss to the same team last season.

How they did it? The Hawks were led by mostly below 30 year olds, Joe Johnson is 29 years old. In fact, Al Horford and Marvin Williams were born in 1986, while Josh Smith is even younger, born in 1987.

In the Heat – 76ers Series, both teams were young. In Philadelphia, we have Andre Igoudala born in 1984, Louis Williams in 1986,Thaddeus Young in 1988 and Jrue Holiday in 1990. Yes, they keep on getting younger now.

The Heat just a little bit “older” won this match-up with Mario Chalmers born in 1986, Lebron James and Chris Bosh were both born in 1984. Dwyane Wade, still a young player himself was born in1982.

The Bulls- Pacers Series is no different. The Pacers have Danny Granger, born 1983, Tyler Handbrough, 1985, Toy Hibbert, 1986 and Darren Collison, 1987.

The Bulls being the Number One Seed in the entire season have Derrick Rose born in 1988 and Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, all born in the year 1985.

In the Western Conference

The Thunder – Nuggets Series was also a battle of the young guns. The Nuggets have Danilo Gallinari born in 1988, Ty Lawson, in 1987, Arron Afflalo1985, Raymond Felton 1984 and Nene Hilario, 1982.

The Oklahoma Thunder advance to the next round relying with their even comparatively younger superstars. Serge Ibaka was born in 1989, their one-two punch Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook born in 1988 and even newly acquired veteran, Kendrick Perkins was born only in 1984.

In the Spurs- Grizzlies Series, the aging legs of the San Antonio Spurs will not forget the Memphis Grizzlies anytime soon. As the young legs of Mike Conley and O.J. Mayro both born in 1987, Rudy Gay in 1986, Marc Gasol in 1985 and Zach Randolph, 1984 eliminated the Top seed in the West in six games.

In the Lakers-Hornets Series, even the Hornets played great and that even without David West. If he played and either Kobe Bryant or Andrew Bynum were more hurt than they have been, who knows what could have happened in their series.

The Hornets’ Marco Belinelli was born in 1986, Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza in 1985 and Jarret Jack and Carl Landry were born in 1983.

So I don’t know about you, but with all these fresh legs and all this post-season experience, who knows who will come out on top this season and in the next.

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