Saturday, April 30, 2011
Thoughts on the NBA Playoffs
I was admittedly sad when my team, the Jazz, didn't make it to the playoffs this year, but after what has happened in the first round I'm not that sad anymore. The 2011 Playoffs have been wildly entertaining, dramatic and surprising to watch. Even though no series went all seven games, the quality of play has been high and most of the games have come down to the wire. Let's recap a few of the highlights, shall we?
In the series I most hoped for an upset, Chris Paul reemerged as a true star, willing the seventh seeded Hornets to the brink of defeating the defending champs. Alas, for me and other Laker haters, it was not to be. However, there were great moments in this series like when Paul and his boys stole game one in L.A., or when my least favorite player, Pau Gasol all but vanished and Phil Jackson called the team 'punks.' I also loved the moment when Chris Paul took a shot to the eye, and kept playing despite looking like Rocky Balboa. This series was almost perfect, I say almost because Kobe and Co. are still alive, but after tangling with New Orleans they might not have enough juice to make it back to the Finals. Let's hope.
Derrick Rose is the MVP. That is what we can take away from this series. If he plays poorly, the Bulls don't look very good. Luckily, he played well enough to take out Indiana in 5 games. Four of the five were too close for comfort, and probably left everyone wondering if the league's new darlings have enough to get to the Finals. I don't think they do, especially since Carlos Boozer is doing his usual playoff disappearing act, and Tom Thibadou seems reluctant to use the best bench in the league. Perhaps this series was just a hiccup and the Bulls will right the ship. They better, because what I think is the hottest team in the playoffs, the Hawks, won't miss an opportunity in a close game like the Pacers did.
The oldest team that needed the most rest got it by sweeping the most overrated team in the playoffs. New York stunk and got roundly throttled by a team that looks hungry, complete and dangerous. Boston, despite their advanced age, is my pick out of the East because they play together and know the territory well. They will need every bit of the rest they earned against the Heat, led by those three guys.
We saw an era end when Memphis upset the number one seeded Spurs in six games. The series wasn't even that close as the younger, quicker, bigger and hungrier Grizzlies mauled the crap out of the aging former champs. It was kind of sad to see, but all things come to an end. Who knows what lies ahead for San Antonio? I know what lies ahead for Memphis, a date with Kevin Durant and the Thunder, who are my pick to come out of the West.
Here now are my picks for the rest of the way-
LAKERS over MAVERICKS in 6
THUNDER over GRIZZLIES in 5
CELTICS over HEAT in 6
BULLS over HAWKS in 6
CELTICS over BULLS in 6
THUNDER over LAKERS in 7
CELTICS over THUNDER in 6