Curtain Call: First Round Breakdown
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by Thomas “Pooh” Jones
The NBA Playoffs started over the weekend and, for the most part, everything played out as we expected. All home teams, except for the Suns, won to protect home court advantage. Injuries have taken away some of the parity that I thought the playoffs would have—but all is fair when its post season basketball.
Bulls/Cavs: I know right now they are playing neck and neck, but there is no reason why the Cavs should not sweep this series. I’m talking bout break out the muthafuckin’ broomsticks! The Bulls are clearly overmatched after trading away John Salmons and allowing Ben Gordon to leave via free agency over the summer. Now, there is really no one else you have to respect on the Bulls squad offensively except for Derrick Rose—unless Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng decide to come play ball.
Hawks/Bucks: This should also be a sweep situation, although I doubt it will actually happen that way. The Hawks showed us on Saturday that they still don’t know how to kick the competition when they are down by almost allowing Brandon Jennings by himself to come back after being down by 20 something points. I don’t think that is going to hurt the Hawks this round, but it will definitely affect them later on in the playoffs.
Jazz/Nuggets: No Okur. No Kirilenko. No advancing for the Jazz. Plain and simple, the Jazz are outmatched now. The Nuggets will give them a game just because, hey, they are the Nuggets, but the Jazz are missing their best defensive presence and the dude who can guard bigs and then pull bigs away from the paint because of his ability to shoot 3′s.
Mavs/Spurs: I don’t know about you, but to me, the Spurs looked old as shit on Saturday. The Mavs are built to compete with the Lakers for the Western Conference title and I believe that’s what they will be doing. Spurs will win a game or two, but I think their window has closed.
Lakers/Thunder: Not going to be a sweep, but Lakers should win in 5 games. They are clearly too big and too experienced for Kevin Durant and the rest of the Thunder.
Suns/Blazers: The Suns should be ashamed of themselves. You are playing at home, against a team that is missing it’s best player, and you come out and lose game one?! I’m wondering what happened to the Suns team that was crushing opponents the last week of the season? The Blazers already felt they could play with the Suns, and Phoenix just gave them more reason to think that by coming out and nutting up on Saturday night. I do know the Blazers are thanking Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Jehovah and a whole host of other Gods for not trading Andre Miller at the trade deadline. He came through big time yesterday and will continue to do so as the steady veteran who is a matchup nightmare for the Suns.
Celtics/Heat: Heat should be ashamed of themselves for blowing that lead in Game One. Miami better get Wade a point guard he can depend on this summer if they plan on him staying around, because when he had to run the team as the primary ball handler, the lead vanished. I also want to take this moment to talk about the Celtics. Specifically KG and Paul Pierce. KG reminds me of the old man who is mad at the world because he can’t do shit like he used to when he was younger. The older you get, the more your skills diminish and that is just a part of basketball life. Guess no one ever told KG that because now he is just an angry ass shell of the player he used to be. I have watched him substitute supreme skill for just doing unnecessary shit—like throwing elbows. He deserved to get a game suspension and I’m glad the League did it. Paul Pierce needs to cut the acting out. You fooled us once with the dramatic wheelchair/carry off the court scene already, Paul. Stop crying and play ball. In the words of Q. Richardson, “KG and Paul Pierce are 2 actresses.”
Magic/Charlotte: I had a back and forth with a few of my Twitter friends about this series. Plenty people told me I was crazy for saying that Charlotte could surprise the Magic so I will keep this one short. Vince Carter was 4-19 yesterday. Sounds like the Vince we all know and love during big-game time. Dwight Howard was effective on the defensive end for a little while, but the three centers the Bobcats have kept Howard at the foul line and the rest of the team kept him in foul trouble. Jameer Nelson coming out and having that monster first half coupled with Pietrus going 3-3 after taking his first three 3-point shots, then we might be talking about a Magic loss. Larry Brown played it ultra safe with Stephen Jackson and his knee, believing that this would be a long series and it may come back to be a very important move later on. After all, the Bobcats have no expectations outside of their locker room. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain in this series. Can’t say the same for the Magic, who have championship aspirations.
We should be in for some more great games the rest of this round.
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