Monday, April 12th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  20 responses

The Post Up: Home Stretch

Where a girl just wants to make the Playoffs.

by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

And it hurts so bad.

I guess that’s what the Raptors or Bulls will be saying when they figure out who is in and who is out for the Eastern Conference playoffs. Remember such a depressing race for eighth before? I don’t know if I do. The West when everyone had 50+ games a few seasons ago was pretty nuts, but this, this Raptors/Bulls race is just a lot of everything. Not a lot of good.

There were all of the injuries that the Raps had, then losing to the Hawks only to watch two overtime periods as the Nets –The Nets, people. In double-overtime– defeated the Bulls to keep them tied with the Raptors for eighth as they came into Toronto for the showdown last night. Only problem, it wasn’t a showdown at all as the Bulls rolled all over Toronto, 104-88.

Derrick Rose had 26, but it was Joakim Noah that was the story finishing with 18 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists. He was awesome. Fired up, focused, emotional. I love watching the guy. I know a lot of you don’t, but can you really say you wouldn’t want him on your team? I’d take him in a second. For the Raptors, Andrea Bargnani had 18 points, on 16 shots to go with five boards. What’s even more strange, Hedo Turkoglu came out of nowhere to finish with just six points, but nine assists and a career-high 19 rebounds. Yes, 19 rebounds.

Crazy. Too bad he did it in game 80 and not some of the other games so it didn’t come down to this one Too bad none of them mattered. Now, the Bulls are in if they win their final two games. Raps are in if they can win out and the Bulls will lose one of their final two. I’m so beyond sick of “magic number” talk and the like. Just give me the playoffs.

In the West, teams 6-8 are tied with identical records. That’s just insane. The 3-5 seeds are also tied record wise and there is just seven games separating the eighth seed from the first seeded Lakers. In the East, there’s 21.5 games separating Chicago and Cleveland. Little different, right? Just a touch.

So, I’m feeling a little scattered right now. It’s far too late, the night flew by and I just didn’t leave the arena with a good feeling after that Raptors loss. Having the home team booed off the court as the game ends is never the way to go. Leaves everyone feeling gross afterward.

Didn’t see the end of the Lakers game live, but I did see the replay and really? Pau from deep is where you want your last shot to go? As a friend said when I critiqued the call, “You haven’t won 10 rings, have you?”. Fair point, but I just didn’t get that, even if it was a good look. The entire final two minutes of that game looked insane with guys fouling and missing free throws. Lakers just don’t look like they have it, do they?

Even though I say that, I feel like they can flip the switch when they want, kinda like how the Spurs have approached the regular season in year’s past. Of course, the playoffs are a different animal and the Spurs may end up facing LA in the first round because of that approach, but I think you know what I mean.

The Spurs looked pretty damn good against the Nuggets on Saturday night in Denver. With Kenyon Martin back, the Nuggets struggled and San Antonio went to work. They’ve got Tony Parker back, but I’m waiting on George Hill. It’s been fun watching his game this season.

Fun watching Oklahoma City, too, even when they scored 42 points in the first quarter and still find a way to lose against the Warriors like they did last night, spoiling a 40-point effort from KD. Steph Curry had 25 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. Can we hear it again for this weak rookie class? They’re doing alright, if you ask me.

Oh yeah, Dirk went off for 40 and 39 on consecutive nights. Pretty quietly, right? He isn’t too bad either.

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  • Ken

    Noah means so much to the Bulls. He’s easily their MVP. I still expect 1st round sweep though/

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    The Raptors’ last few weeks have been nothing short of heartbreaking. The playoffs are a long shot, but I think the entire organization (and fanbase?) has really got to be wondering – what now?

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    Wrote a piece a week ago that was picked up by the Raptor’s True Hoop in which I said the Bulls would make the playoffs. I still stand by that but I had no idea how this thing would play out. Losing Bosh means that he is likely done as a resident of Toronto forever. Raps have an easier last two games but they arent playing well so anything could happen. Bulls play Celtics and Bobcats. Those two teams will likely rest their stars so the Bulls should hold onto the last playoff spot.

  • http://slamonline Bryan Crawford

    The Bulls need one more W and one more Raps loss. Sorry Holly, but I’d like for your summer to start a lot earlier than mine.

  • T-Money

    I think the Raps are still in relatively good shape considering their remaining sked vs Chicago’s. / Winnign 10 rings makes you one of the best coaches ever but does not make you immune to bone-headed playcalling. Phil tried to get cute using Kobe as a decoy on a pin down. End of story. People would be losing their minds if Mike Brown had called the same play for Big Z or Spoelstra for say Haslem.

  • Taisen

    Noah is built for the postseason

  • vtrobot

    The last days of Bosh have definitely been a depressing time for Raps fans. Sorry Holly, and TOR. Please let there be a SAS/LAL 1st round series.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2010/04/the-post-up-home-stretch/ Mike

    I think the Bulls will beat the Cavs in game 3

  • Jeff Henderson

    Being in chicago and watching Noah night in and night out is fun. I didn’t like the guy when he came out of Florida, but the way he plays it’s hard not to root for him. He is always hustling and outworking everyone else on the court. He surprisingly enough is a pretty decent passer as well. He threw an alley-oop to Rose a few games ago that was pretty sick. Although Rose is a beast the Bulls will go as far as Joakim takes them.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    It all started with Bosh getting hurt over AS weekend. They came out after that weak. Never recovered. Feel bad for HMac, not Raps.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    I love Noah. Love, love, love him. There was this woman cheering bulls all damn game sitting directly behind me. I found out after the game it was Noah’s mom who had flown in. Made me happy for him.

  • Joey E

    i love Noah too. Always have. Never understood why he got so much hate. Dude plays like he really cares, and he’s a winner. love that about him

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Every time the Lakers lose, James the balla cuts himself.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    I couldn’t decide which pun to use, so here’s all 5:
    1. You haters are just sleeping on Sheed
    2. Need4Sleep.com
    3. Sheed taking sleeping on the defensive end to a new level
    4. Veteran’s minimum now includes mandatory nap time
    5. Sheed practicing for his back-up career as a security guard

  • Rob

    The Bulls lost to the Nets because the refs are blind

  • jdn41

    i dont think either team wants to make the playoffs its like that southpark episode where they just want to lose so hedo can enjoy his summer and get drunk as much as he wants

  • LA Huey

    I now realize why the Raps and Bulls seem intent on backing into the playoffs. With what’s going to happen to the 8th seed, they figure it’d less painful if they arrive assuming the position.

  • doyouwantmore

    Anton: I laughed so damn hard at that, but I got a couple more for you.- – - 1. Sheed tries to use the force and fails miserably. 2. Somewhere Red is doing 360s in his grave. 3. Rasheed catches up on sleep to get ready for a game that actually matters.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    Anton, Slam needs to hook you up with a weekly ‘thoughts’ column or something. BTW, Simmons summed up Sheeds season so far rather nicely: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/100407&sportCat=nba

    And yeah, Noah is that classic ‘hate him as your opponent, love him as your teammate guy’. I’d have him on my side any time.

  • Jeff

    Holly I have seen Noah and his father, please tell me for her sake she is more attractive than either one of them..haha