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Begin (Parkway Drive shout-out) May 12, 2008

Posted by Jordan in NBA.
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here’s my problem: i’m at work and have no one to sound off about the NBA with, so, a few thoughts on the playoffs…

Seriously, people, what’s Boston’s deal on the road? That Atlanta series *should* have been incredibly lopsided, but during those games in the ATL, Boston looked more confused than Paris and Nicole watching a Good Charlotte music video – I just don’t get it, and I’m not sure how much blame should go to Doc Rivers for his inability, at times, to find a rotation that he likes and stick with it, but tonight’s Game 4 should be very interesting.

Also, FYI, that Garnett/Russell vignette on ESPN.com is just fantastic – it was amazing to me, seeing Garnett’s face while Russell was speaking – he was frozen. Completely unprepared to hear things like what Bill was telling him. After Russell offered to share one of his championships with him, did you notice how KG tried to answer, but all he could really do was get out the same couple of syllables like three times? He was totally incoherent – I mean, who wouldn’t be?? Russell is one of the two or three greatest big men to ever play, and one of the best examples of an absolute winner in the history of professional sports, and when he was talking about how much he enjoys watching KG play, you could see his eyes light up like a 12-year old kid at his first game – just a pleasure to watch.

Assuming that nothing insane goes down in the next few games, Boston and Detroit in the Eatern Conference Finals should be nothing less than awesome – that’s the series I’ve been wanting to see for the past few months, and that’s what *should* happen, because those are easily the two best teams out East, despite Bron-Bron’s magic act and Dwight Howard’s ongoing Superman impersonation. I mean, just Sheed and KG going at it and trying to see who can look more homicidal should be more than enough to declare each game a fire hazard. And call me crazy, because I might be giving Ray Allen’s ankles a bit too much credit here, but I think his matchup with Rip Hamilton at the 2 spot will be lots of fun to watch – Rip’s one of the best at moving without the ball and creating opportunities for himself, and Allen has, arguably, the most pure shot in the league. Ray is also part of a dying breed – he’s one of the last guys who can consistently take and make the long jump shot and do it naturally, out around 25-28 feet. At this point, it’s him, Micheal Redd, Peja, and Jason Kapono in Tier One, and some combination of Kobe, Arenas, Ben Gordon, Micheal Finley, and J.R. Smith in Tier Two.

I don’t even know what to think about New Orleans vs. San Antonio at this point – Games 3 & 4 looked like they were between two completely different teams from the teams that played Games 1 & 2. I think you can justify that several different ways, chief amongst them being that the Spurs decided to actually have a pulse in the 3rd quarter. You could also throw in¬†the series shifting to San Antonio, the younger Hornets maybe getting rattled a little bit on the road, Ginobili and Parker going nuclear in Game 3, Tyson Chandler being in foul trouble in Game 4, etc. Regardless, Game 5 should be an absolute beast, because the Hornets don’t have to win on the road to win the series, and the Spurs do.

As far as the Western Conference Finals go, let me shift into Hubie Brown mode for a second:

“OK, you’re Gregg Popovich. If you can get by New Orleans, you really don’t like the idea of either potential matchup in the next round. If you play the Lakers, you first have to resist telling Bruce Bowen to go out and chop-block Kobe at tipoff of Game 1. Assuming you can accomplish that, you then have to decide whether or not to actually try and make Kobe work a bit for his points. If you decide to do that, you then¬†essentially have to tell Bowen to never leave his side, EVER, which would be fine if that didn’t mean, by proxy, that you have to play him 30-35 minutes a game and accept the handicap that Bowen brings you on the offensive end. If that doesn’t sound too great, and you decide to let Kobe go to work and to try to stop the other guys, you then have to accept that you can pencil in 30-35 a night for Kobe, easily. You then have to weigh how much you want to put Tim Duncan on Pau Gasol, because that’s your best hope for stopping him and for stopping the easy second-chance points that he thrives off of, but that’s also the Lakers’ best hope for getting Duncan into foul trouble.

Now, if you get by New Orleans and then have to play Utah, first and foremost, you’re thanking all that is holy that you have home-court advantage over them, because you can pretty much forget about stealing a game in Salt Lake City. Your matchup for Utah would be more similar to your gameplan against New Orleans, in that you have the extremely tall order of neutralizing, or, at the very least, hindering Deron Williams’ and Carlos Boozer’s ability to play the two-man game, while also having to be very crisp in your defensive rotations and adjustments, so that their shooters don’t eat you alive from the perimeter.”

ok, enough Hubie Brown for now…one can only take so much second-person perspective at once