PISTONS VS CELTICS
OK OK OK. I’m done snoozing on the Pistons. Similar to last years Cavs, I’ve watched the Pistons prove me foolish every round. I figured their ‘we’re good enough to turn it on and off like the 01 Lakers’ mentality would eventually bite them in the a*s, ala last year. And when Mr. Billups went down with the hamstring, I figured that was the NBA Gods granting the Magic an E-Z pass to take that series. At least take it in 7. Nope. Stan Van Gundy & the Magic took a field trip to Epcot Center instead. And we all manage to forget about the criminally underrated Tayshaun Prince (a crime he wasn’t first All-Defensive team) and the fact that the Pistons made Ben Wallace appear to be a star (when he’s really Warren Coolidge without the jump hook). Being that I expected the Pistons to be out in the first round (foolishly) and I had picked the Celtics to win it all, you would think this would be a lock for Beantown. Well, judging by their play in the first two rounds, the Celts better put that little green clover to use. The fact that the loaded lock to win it all by popular opinion went the distance with two far lesser teams means trouble in the 617. Case in point, they suck on the road and they scored 69 points in a playoff game. 69? 69. Misprint? Nope, and they have 2 gunners and one post that would average that per game collectively.
The Hawks have a bright future. The Cavs have 2 players, one being a streaky superstar that refers to himself in the third person and the other being one of four players on any given day in alternating duties, one of which (West) looks like my long lost brother. But either team would’ve been working the hook n reel by tax time in the West. Bottom line, the Celtics couldn’t carry their regular season dominance to the playoffs and made guys like Josh Childress and Wally Szerbiak look like Olympians in the process. It’s odd that the Celtics are in the East Finals, but everybody is talking about them in the past tense, as in ‘what went wrong?’ Watching the Celtics is like…watching somebody play Super Mario with no mushrooms. You know that yes, its humanly possible for little Mario to go the distance, but as the boards get tougher you know if he gets hit once he’s gonna croak. Well, you can’t warp boards around the Pistons. There will be no KG or Paul Pierce “willing” the team to victory. When the Pistons show up to play, there isn’t much you can do. KG is KG. Pierce is Pierce. But Rondo is gonna have to somehow get the best of Billups (he got off to a good start last night) and Ray Allen (who at one point was my favorite NBA player) has to leave Rosario Dawson alone and actually show up to games. He’s still the man, but Ray has pulled a “Where’s Waldo?” and his disappearing act is a major factor in these skin of the teeth survival tests. He pulls that this time and its certain they’re done, especially on the road. The fact that Doc Rivers plays Sam Cassell and he only knows four plays tells me that he may be the non-coachinest coach in the NBA. The fact that he was even in consideration for Coach Of The Year tells me that if Isiah had returned to the Knicks in 2009 and they reeled in 2 All-Stars and took over the weak Atlantic Conference, he’d get Coach Of The Year based on turnaround. F**kouttahere. Doc Rivers stunk coaching Orlando and he stinks now. He couldn’t out coach Rhea Pearlman, he’s just got a loaded team. Flip Saunders stinks too, so the piss poor coaching is the one thing leveling the playing field. Then of course there’s the talent and depth factors which are actually with Celtics, but we all know talent only gets you so far at this stage.
Outcome: Pistons in 7.
LAKERS VS SPURS
As Florida Evans would say…Damn Damn Damn!!! I really had my hopes up for this being a Spur-free deep post season, but I admit this will make for a much more interesting Western Conference Final. The Spurs are kinda like old girlfriends. Or herpes. They make life difficult, lay dormant, and come back when you don’t want to see them. Let Duncan do what he does, there’s no stopping it. But checking Parker and Ginobili and keeping them out of the paint are mandatory to get past them. Nobody has managed to get that memo, while being able to put points on the board and pull the game out of reach over seven games. But as easy as they are to hate, Tony Parker is a flat out killer and they’ve mastered strategic playoff play through experience. Case in point, Horry’s foul on West. I heard people screaming “dirty!” all around. C’mon. You know they’ve mastered rough play while appearing completely pedestrian. Hell, I like their “dirty” play, I just can’t stand when the refs don’t call it both ways and Ginobili starts actin like Fred Sanford ‘havin a big one’ and gettin calls. Let’s not forget, David Stern’s favorite team must have the edge. Got that refs? OK. But anyway, that hard pick on David West was straight outta the 80’s and the turning point in that series if you ask me. That’s what you call sending a message. As much as I wanted the Hornets to take that series and as much as Chris Paul is still the MVP in my eyes, a Spurs-Lakers series will be a better one. I’d like to see how the Spurs solve the Kobe-Gasol-Odom (The real “Big 3”) issue. D Fisher is the man but he’s not stoppin Parker, so the Lakers big 3 and their bench are the key. Had Bynum been healthy, we wouldn’t even be discussing this, but he’s not, so now we have a series. Lakeshow still takes this one, but it’s going to 7.