The 2011 edition of the NBA Playoffs have been phenomenal. This year has offered us some high volume entertainment that continues to make me tune in on a nightly basis. After last night’s triple OT Thunder win, I felt compelled to break down the NBA Playoffs, the remaining teams and all its madness…
–How bout dem Lakers???: Suck it LA. It makes me so happy knowing that LA will not win a major sports championship in 2011 (read–>Dodgers aren’t going anywhere). Not only did the Lakers lose in a sweep, but the way it all happened made it that much sweeter. The defending chumps got dominated by an aging Mavericks team that did not matchup well with the Lakers on paper.
LA’s bigs (Bynum, Gasol) got pushed around by Dirk, who showed his inner Larry Bird, and outworked by Tyson Chandler in the paint. Bynum then took out his frustration on the smallest guy on the court, JJ Barea, in the fourth quarter of a game four blowout. Gasol is soft. Bynum still doesn’t get that he’s a 7 footer. The Lakers were pathetic and classless in taking their loss…Lakers’ fans response: Dwight Howard is coming. We’re still the best team in the league. Blah, blah, blah.
Newsflash, Kobe isn’t Jordan. Kobe isn’t even Kobe anymore.
They sent a living legend, Phil Jackson, into retirement the worst way possible. No class. No respect. Simply, pathetic.
–The Mavericks: Weren’t they supposed to be upset by the Blazers? These guys smoked the Lakers and have plenty of time to rest up before the Western Conference Finals. Jason Kidd? JJ Barea? Peja Stojakovic? These guys are not supposed to performing like this on the big stage, but they continue to get the job done. At this point, I almost feel like rooting for Dirk. He has completely won me over with his effort, big-time performances and ability to hit difficult shots when they matter most.
Nowitzki had this to say about his team’s upcoming break…
“I was about to say, if your point guard is obviously 38 years old, you’ll take your rest any time. We got him a week off before the playoffs and you saw how rested and how he played well in the first two games. “
–The Grizzlies: Are they really doing this? The Western Conference 8-seed snuck into the playoffs and are now two wins away from taking on the Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. They could have been up 3-1 if they didn’t blow an 18-point lead in last night’s triple OT loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
All this being said, the Grizzlies have been simply amazing. They are doing all of this without one of (if not the) their best players, Rudy Gay who is sidelined with an injury. Zach (Z-Bo) Randolph has turned into the best player in the league all of a sudden and cannot be stopped in the lowpost. His frontcourt partner, Marc Gasol, is outdoing his All-Star brother while his backcourt continues to get it done.
And while we’re on the Grizzlies, how bout last night’s game??? The triple OT affair had a little bit of everything. The Grizz had an 18-point lead, then trailed by 10 before playing 3 OT periods and losing to Kevin Durant and his sidekicks. To get this far, the Grizzlies relied on the heroics of Mike Conley and rarely used reserve guard, Greivis Vasquez. The two guards hit buzzer beaters to keep the game going before Durant took over in the third OT period and tied the series for his heavily favored Thunder.
–Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder have a best of 3 with the Grizzlies that I expect them to win and move on from. If they do, they will take on the Mavericks. This is going to be a great series if/when it happens. The Dirk-Durant matchup will be intriguing, but the real key to the series lies within the Thunder’s own team.
Can Westbrook and Durant coexist on the big stage? Both players have that itch to take over down the stretch and I think it is negatively affecting the team’s chemistry. Westbrook needs to realize that this Durant’s team, and if he doesn’t it could spell the end to their hopes of reaching and winning the NBA Finals.
–ATL Hawks: I wrote them off in the first round to a sweep by the Orlando Magic. Instead, they beat the Magic and have the Bulls freaking out with a 2-2 series. The Hawks do not have a true superstar, but continue to get it done with tough defense and balanced scoring. Jamal Crawford has turned back the clocks and is scoring relentlessly, while Joe Johnson and Josh Smith have the determination to take the next step for this organization. I am extremely impressed with their effort.
Could you imagine the look on David Stern’s face at the tipoff of Game 1 of a Grizzlies-Hawks NBA Finals?
–Chicago Bulls: The Bulls won over 60 games in the regular season and at this point of the season, it does not matter at all. To be honest, I don’t know how the Bulls did it. Derrick Rose is truly deserving of the MVP award for leading his team to the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls need to help Rose out if they want to move forward and push for an NBA Championship. Rose continues to get it done, but his teammates are not providing him with enough support and they are being pushed to the brink by the Hawks. Without a supporting cast, D Rose can kiss his shot at a championship goodbye.
–Miami Heat: Everybody hates em, but they continue to prove that money can buy you love, or at least wins. The Heatles are up 3-1 on an aging, struggling Celtics squad. Lebron and D Wade are both on top of their games, while Bosh rebounded from his pressure breakdown and performed well in their Game 4 OT win over Boston.
The Heat are proving everything that is wrong with the NBA. Big money markets with big money owners can open up their wallets and pay their way to a championship. Meanwhile, smaller teams have to take years to mold a cohesive unit that can win games just to make it to the playoffs. I really hope that I am wrong, but as of now, I do not see anyone stopping the Heat from getting where they want to be…
especially when they can travel there…
–Boston Celtics: Down 3-1 to the Heat, the Celtics are on the verge of seeing this team’s championship window close. It is time for the Celtics to rebuild around Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green. Big ups to Rondo for his courageous play in his team’s Game 3 victory after this…
So far, so good for the 2011 NBA Playoffs. If the rest of it can live up to what we have seen so far, we should be in store for a great NBA Finals series.