Saturday, April 30, 2011
NBA Playoffs 2nd Round Preview; The Other Guys
I'd say that had to be one of the best first round of NBA Playoffs without a game 7 in history. Even if none of the series went 7, there was a limited number of blowouts (only one sweep), and a level of intensity throughout, as well as one huge upset (at least to everyone outside of Bottle). Will round 2 be as entertaining? Probably not, since two of the 4 matchups seem to be awfully uneven, but I've been wrong most of the time already, so who knows? Let's look at the two boring matchups first and get that out of the way before focusing on the two marquee series in both conferences. Lakers vs Mavs and Heat vs Celtics should have most of the juice and get the attention of the major networks, what about the other guys?:
Bulls vs Hawks:
Figures to be the snoozer of the bunch. The Bulls were pushed to the brink by the overachieving Pacers but, D. Rose's health's willing, this series could be over quick. Kirk Hinrich has basically been useless since his acquisition, but at least he was another body to throw out there, and a decent defender; his injury means more time for second year player Jeff Teague and maybe even Jamal Crawford out of position at the point. Boozer and Noah are always ticking time bombs of ankle, foot and other extremities getting hurt at any time so there's that situation to worry about too. I just think the Bulls are a much better team, and can't see them losing more than twice to the Hawks no matter how well they've been playing lately. Hawks may sneak one in the United Center but that's all they'll get on the road.
Bulls in 6
Thunder vs Grizzlies :
2 years ago, before the 2009-2010 season began, if someone had brought up these two teams as Western Conference juggernauts, you probably would have spit in their food and cursed them out (or at least disagreed politely). The Thunder had their unbelievable break out season last year, giving the Lakers all they could handle in the first round, so it's easy to forget that they were a 23 win team just 24 months ago. And the Grizzlies are the Grizzlies. A team that even Canada didn't want, could not get a playoff win and was seemingly run by a retarded owner. Retarded like a fox, that is! The Pau Gasol trade has unexpectedly led to a pleasant surprise in his slimmed down brother, and the money freed up by moving their one time franchise player was used wisely on Zach Randolph, who's transformed himself from sloppy, unathletic malcontent who hogged the ball yet was a 20,10 machine and was seen as a loser and team cancer to sloppy, unathletic lovable teddy bear who is virtually unstoppable in the post and still a 20, 10 machine. Everything Z-bo throws up around the rim seems to go in, it's unbelievable. It's ironic that the coach who immediately after the Gasol trade was made suggested an investigation into how such a lopsided trade could happen, just saw his own team be dominated by that very team. Poppovich is well aware of the merits of that trade now, I'm sure. However, I'm afraid the young, athletic and hungry Grizzlies have run into a much better, just as young, athletic and hungry team. They've also got the best scorer in the game, Kevin Durant, who proved his clutchness in the Denver series. Memphis shocked me last round, but I think their magical run has come to an end.
Thunder in 5