Monday, April 18, 2011

Thoughts on the First Rounds of the First Round

Whoa.  One word comes to mind when mulling over what happened in the NBA this weekend.  I'll allow Senator Clay Davis, a character from my favorite show, The Wire, to divulge it for me here.

Some thoughts...
  • Game one between Chicago and Indiana was a microcosm of the season for Derrick Rose and the Bulls.  They win despite obvious flaws in their team construction, owing their success to a stingy defense and an offensively overburdened superstar.  When he had a hand in each of those seven straight points to give the Bulls the lead, I couldn't help but think, "Man, this guy has way too much responsibility for this team to continually succeed this way, but damn is he playing brilliant basketball."  Rose was a basketball hero Saturday afternoon. 

  • I'm going to stand by my prediction that Philly is going to give Miami a hard time in their series.  Thaddeus Young was superb; his ability to occupy one of Miami's forwards defensively needs to be examined as a way for the Sixers to equalize the talent gap.  Lebron James didn't dominate with his scoring, which is what I expected with Andre Iguodala defending him, but he still affected the game in other ways, which is what everybody should expect from the game's best player.  It'll be '08 Boston vs. Atlanta Part II.  

  •  Anybody who blames Dwight for Orlando's loss is a fool.  The man dropped 46 and 19 and trashed any defender he faced.  In my opinion, Dwight's real test will be in games three and four; Orlando will make adjustments for game two and get the victory as Atlanta displays the same defense against Howard.  They'll change things up in game three.  That is when Dwight will be tested as an offensive constant in this series.  

  •  Dallas against Portland does indeed look to be the most confusing matchup of the first round.  Portland had game one in hand before Dirk Nowitzki took over down the stretch, utilizing his "soft" style of play to get to the free throw line at will in the fourth quarter.  Dallas found no answer for the Andre Miller-to-Lamarcus Aldridge connection, however.  We're looking at a tight series.

  • My nutty prediction has legs!  Memphis stole game one from the Spurs after Shane Battier buried a go-ahead 3-point shot.  Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph pounded the Spurs inside, and no Spur could make up for the loss of Manu Ginobili.  I expect Manu to come back, which will alleviate the defensive pressure on Tony Parker, who had a sub-par shooting game.  San Antonio needs to defend much better than they did, lest they lose to an eighth seed, fulfill my prophecy and find themselves at the top of my list of Most Impressive Things I've Said in Life.

  • Chris Paul must have watched Derrick Rose on Saturday.  He definitely sees that Rose is a new shark in the point guard waters, a top-of-the-food-chain apex predator who is claiming more and more votes as Best Point Guard in the League.  He dropped 33 and 14 on the defending champs at Staples and displayed arguably the best ball-handling in the league.  Laker fans probably should not be on tenterhooks just yet considering L.A.'s second best player, Pau Gasol, put up a horrendous performance and the team is infamous for needing extreme motivation before truly playing at its best for an opponent.  Good win by New Orleans. 

  • How many broken hearts are there in New York right now?  I can't wait to pick up the Times/Daily News/Post/whatever you don't ridicule me for reading to see the sports headlines.  Amar'e's slashes looked like prime Michael Jordan as he got into the midpost, exploded past the primary defender and whirled, spun, jumped and dunked with power on big men.  Toney Douglas delivered a ballsy 3 in the fourth.  And the Knicks still couldn't win.  That's tough.  At least they showed they aren't afraid to take it to the bullies of the Eastern Conference.

  • The first game of a playoff series hardly ever proves anything.  However, the way Denver lost game one (aside from the botched goaltending non-call that made myself, a former intramural basketball ref, cringe) may be telling.  When the Thunder needed baskets, they went to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.  Denver doesn't have that caliber of player right now, using more of an ensemble cast.  As fun as it is to watch a team high on chemistry have success, chemistry may not always be enough to overcome top-end talent. 

  •  In my mind, Nene's dunk-fest legitimates my vote for him as an all-star starter this year.  
  • I miss watching Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton play on the Knicks.  
  • I am starting to see that I was wrong to consider Tyler Hansbrough a Leon Powe-type of player.  Or maybe Carlos Boozer's terrible defense made him look good.  Either way, his jumper looked great, and he was surprisingly fluid as he handled the ball.
  • Kobe Bryant looked petrified with all lenses eying him.  He looked like he was being so careful, trying not to mouth the wrong words at any camera, which he assumed were all watching him closely.  Still played well.
  • Watching Westbrook defend J.R. Smith reminded me watching two cobras fighting each other.  Two of the most electrically athletic players in the league matching up was pretty cool.  

I keep wanting to look ahead.  It seems all of the major contenders have checks and balances on each other, so there isn't a clear favorite right now because matchups will dictate who goes on.  For now, I'm just going to enjoy Round One.              


  1. SHEE-EEE-EEET. First time reading this blog and I will now read it religiously after reading this Wire mention.

  2. Welcome man! Glad to talk to a fan of the show. Haha