I’ve really been trying to get into the NBA playoffs this year, and have enjoyed some of the games/series. This past round however should be called The NBA, Where Blowouts Happen. There’s been an amazing lack of drama that the NBA thrives on, which has had me hitting the snooze button on lots of games. And by snooze, I mean, change the channel for 10-15 minutes, and check back. Once I check back, and see its still a blowout, I’ll jump back to baseball or golf and not look back. It’s sad the playoffs have been losing out in the channel surfing rotation, because most years it doesn’t. It’s going to be tough, but Im going to try to pull together a few things that are intriguing me in the 2010 Playoffs.
After last nights game five in Cleveland, it left me feeling like there was a Lebron conspiracy. I love conspiracy theories and I’m wondering if Lebron pulled a Kobe style test on his team. Follow me here, he was nonchalant all night, and rarely attacked the basket. He barely touched the ball the first half, and while he didn’t shoot particularly well, he didn’t take a ton of shots either, mostly deferring to his teammates. He was passing the ball to wide open teammates that rarely connected for a bucket except for some Shaq dunks. I know I’ve seen Kobe play like this before, and play a game in the tone of teammates, what do you got? Was this his quick check to see if his teammates were any good when it mattered? It was the most important game in the series, and taking nothing away from Boston, he seemed to test his teammates when he is the only one man wrecking crew on that squad. Isn’t it more important for him to figure out if he has solid teammates before he sees what being a free agent is all about or signs to six years of losing in one city. I’m thinking he did this on purpose to see if his team was only successful because of him, which we already knew, but maybe he wasn’t so sure. Kobe does it in years past, and now has a team he can trust, because they can win without him. If Lebron didn’t already know, now he knows, the Cavs would be an 8 seed without him. My other theory is his elbow hurt, but that’s no fun!
You always know the playoffs have started as soon as you see Nash’s face bloodied up or you see a game decided by officials. The games haven’t been close enough for an official to completely blow a game, so our only indication was Nash’s one eyed show. I loved the Suns series against the Spurs. It had everything you could want out of a team that is playing “together”. Amare has sat out two fourth quarters when he wasn’t in foul trouble, and was the biggest cheerleader on the sideline, literally and figuratively. This is a team that probably hangs out before and after games just for fun. Who saw Goran Dragics’ game coming? If you did, I dont believe you. That was a serious WTF moment of the playoffs. I’ve seen him play well, but never seen him take over a game. It’s the equivalent of Brett Gardner leading the Yankees to the WS. Does that happen? Yes, in baseball, but not so much in basketball. Back to Nash, his Rocky moment in game four was more memorable than his bleeding nose that got the whole team ejected in 2006. His return to the court that night only showed his true Canadian Hockey attitude. I can’t think of many guys that get smacked in the eye, get six stitches, and come back out on the floor with one eye swollen shut, and then starts bombing threes to put the game away. I blame missed threes on the wind playing in an indoor gym! Their story has been Cindarella like, and I could see them beating the Lakers. I’m not overly confident, but I know their bench is better than the Lakers bench. If they can keep the Lakers bigs between the foul lines, and out of the lanes on both sides of the court for big chunks of time, they have a great chance of winning. If Kobe jacks up 30 shots a game and doesn’t force the ball down low, they could take the champs down. Should be a great series, I just hope I’m still this excited about it when next Monday rolls around.
Speaking of waiting for games, what really grinds my gears is all these days off between games. I hope that these three 4-0 series wins pushes the league to shorten the playoffs a little. I love that Stern and Co. probably lost millions of dollars from advertisers by not getting a few extra games last round. I already thought the scheduling was ridiculous with teams getting three days off for traveling, and are already only playing two to three times that week. These guys don’t get that many days off during the regular season more than three or four times a year, so why so much in the playoffs!?! It’s annoying having it drag out until June, it should end around the same time as the NHL, and if a team is banged up and can’t recover, tough. The Western Conference is set to kick off on Monday of next week. WTF! Eight days to wait! Terrible planning, and for the casual fan that follows the Lakers (most likely bandwagoners), they might think the playoffs are over with so much time between games. I hope they do. Why not just start the series this week? They could still give them the ridiculous three games of rest between each game to slow down the series, and have it not lap the Eastern Conference Finals.
I guess I can’t write this playoff rant without talking about the Magic. This team has been unstoppable so far, but is it them or was it their competition not even showing up? I’m not sure, and the sad part is that all of their games they’ve blown out the competition, and thus my snooze style with the remote has made me miss about 85-90% of all their games. I like what they are doing, but are they getting cocky? Have they been THAT dominant? Based on their record performance last round the answer would be yes. I think Boston and Cleveland have enough guys down low to bother Dwight a little, and get him off his game. I’m just wondering when fragile Vince will sprain a hangnail and sit out for a game. As weird as I feel about saying this I think the Celtics would have a better chance against the Magic. Rondo is playing out of his mind, and has shown he is a leader. Another thing he would do, if the Celtics win is give Jameer the kind of harassment he hasn’t seen yet. Rondo is an All-Defensive player, and will cause Jameer some fits compared to being guarded or not guarded (however you want to look at it) by Felton, Bibby, and Crawford. Will that kill the Magics offensive flow enough for them to lose? Doubtful, but I think the Celtics have the tools to do it, but they might need to hope those threes stop going in, because this whole team is on fire.