Good breakdown on the Lakers' possible playoff scenarios: http://blog.lakers.com/lakers/2012/04/22/lakers-magic-no-for-3-seed-1/
Also, the overall playoff picture:http://www.nba.com/statistics/playoff_picture.html
I like Denver as our 1st round opponent. Think we can easily beat them.
They are well coached, but have lost some experience and toughness (especially due to that Nene for McGee trade). Dre Miller was a great addition thouhg.
They run a lot of P & R, which is still a problem for us, but Lawson is quite inconsistent, and so are some of their 3pt shooters, like Galinari and Afflalo.
Without Nene, they lack low post presence, McGee is all about dunks and putbacks. We should really hurt them inside and on the glass.
Kobe hasn't played very well against them, but I'll think he'll be ready to play BIG come playoff time.
It comes down to effort and execution. I expect the effort to be there, I mean, it's the freaking playoffs, and with enough preparation and practice IMO our execution will be fine.
If the season ended today, San Antonio would be facing the Jazz. I wouldn't be surprised if SA suffered another upset. The Jazz's strenghts are exactly SA's weaknesses: paint game, rebounding, size.. Nevertheless, if SA beats the Jazz, they'll get either the Clippers or the Grizzlies. If it's Memphis, you know SA will struggle. They'll be better off against the Clipps IMO.
I think the Knicks can make it interesting against Miami. IMO they won't beat them (though I'd LOVE that), but at least they'll put up a good fight, I don't expect the series to last less than 6 games.
IMO Indiana will beat Orlando. No Howard, all sorts of issues revolving around the franchise (yet another "Howard will ask to be traded after the season" report was posted today on IamaGM.com), and a style of play that doesn't fit the playoffs that well: jack up 3s to no end (EDIT: It doesn't really work UNLESS you are the 2011 Dallas Mavericks...)
The Thunder will take care of the Mavs, so it's highly unlikely we'll get our payback. Still, it'll be nice to see the Mavs going on an early vacation.
The Clipps against the Grizz will be a very interesting series. CP3 usually brings it in big games, but then again a lot of the clippers' offense relies on unproven and inexperienced (in the playoffs) players, like Griffin, Foye, Butler, Young.. Meanwhile, Memphis has experience, and their style of play favors them in close games. They grind it out, play with great effort, very good defensive and rebounding team.