Archive for the 'NBA Playoffs' Category

21
May
08

The Illusion of Parity

Chris PaulDamn, it’s been awhile people.

Had a lot on the (small, plastic) plate…wedding, honeymoon, the usual.

Well, we are back, and with a vengeance. (Usually pointed in a specific direction.) Tonight (as usual), the NBA is drawing the ire of the Cut.

As I finished watching Kobe wrap up a 2-point first half against the Spurs, one of my biggest complaints about the NBA solidified in a box score right before my eyes – the illusion of parity.

It’s insane to me that this year’s playoffs have garnered some of the NBA’s highest television ratings ever.

Take a look at the last four teams standing: Boston, Detroit, L.A., San Antonio.

Would you have put your money down on any other four teams when the playoffs began? Sure the Hornets, Hawks and Cavs had nice runs that were more than mildly entertaining. But let’s get real – the last 5 years in the NBA have been owned by a select few – San Antonio, Detroit and Los Angeles. All of which are still standing with just one round to go.

With these three exceptions, any one team can be the toast of the town (and media) one season, and completely out of the public eye the next. (See: Phoenix Suns)

The Chicago Bulls are the most recent victim of this roller coaster ride. Two seasons ago, Chicago was the team rising quickly to the top of the Eastern Conference. A collection of young talent that could finally threaten the Piston’s stranglehold.

Yesterday, the Bulls won the rights to the first pick in the 2009 draft after finishing with a 33-49 record and missing the playoffs.

So goes life in the League.

In October, every fan has hope her team can make it rain confetti come June.

Luckily for Stern and Co., a good chunk is still clinging to this false hope right through April. Just ask New Orleans.

02
Apr
08

Stealin’ the Lucky Charms…

Celtic gloryYesterday, on April Fool’s Day, Tooch graced you with his impeccable memory and wove a tale of Crystal Pepsi and inappropriate facial hair.

Today, he’s back. And with a real NBA playoff preview.

Let’s begin with the tricycle race that is the Eastern Conference playoff competition.

Led by the stud-heavy Celtics, the East boasts just a few teams (Boston, Detroit and Orlando) that have any remote chance of winning a championship.

 

Cleveland, Washington, Toronto and Philadelphia have all locked up their spots, but none boast enough star power to compete with those power players – or a single Western Conference playoff team for that matter.

 

One E.C. team to keep an eye out for – besides the Celtics – will be the Wizards. Gilbert Arenas has been medically cleared to play and could return to the team any day now. Let’s just hope he doesn’t commit suicide the minute he’s sent to the bench. The Wizards, when they are completely healthy, are a dangerous team and maybe, just maybe, could slip past the Celtics. (Just don’t count on it though.)

In the end, I – like the rest of the NBA-watching world – will be absolutely shocked if the Celtics don’t cruise to an NBA Finals appearance. Kevin Garnett is at the top of his game right now, Ray Allen is relatively healthy, and even “Big Baby” Glenn Davis is contributing. One of the only things working against Boston is the incredible amount of pressure on the team to return the city to the glory it enjoyed in the 80s. I’m going to go out on a limb here though, and predict that that pressure will send the Celtics the way of their Boston brethren Patriots this year.

 

You read that right. In what I’m sure will be a shocking pick to all of you, I’m going with the San Antonio Spurs to reign as champions yet again this season. The Spurs have won eight straight games now and, as usual, are getting huge contributions from their role players (Jacque Vaughn, anyone?).

New Orleans is having a fantastic season as well and boasts this year’s regular season MVP in Chris Paul, but nobody – and I mean nobody – can compete with the postseason experience of the Spurs. Give credit to the rest of the Western Conference though, which has played an absolutely incredible season. Look no further than the Golden State Warriors, who – with a 45-29 record – have NOT even locked up a playoff spot. That’s just how damn good the West is.

Snoop Dogg, rejoice – the West Coast is undoubtedly on top this year, and it looks like they mean business.