The Post Up: Home Stretch

by April 12, 2010

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.