Words by Phlip
Well, a 3-seed and a second round ouster to a team that WILL be in the top 3 for the championship is a better ending than what I expected. Remember, I initially had the Lakers slated for a 5-seed and a second round ouster. Sure, Andrew Bynum had us believing he had arrived this season and gave good reason to believe that in the first couple games of the first round, only to turn and behave as if he doesn’t even LIKE basketball now.
Many questions abound, but it’s whatever. I came into the season with low expectations, and unless something major happens this summer, my expectations for next season are even lower.
But at least we’re not the Orlando Magic or New York Knicks, who each have their own more immediately pressing issues with which to deal.
Firstly, the Knicks have the issue of the fact that they stupidly waived their best Point Puard in Chauncey Billups last year, and were left with one that was (then) untested and one that was (perpetually) underprepared. Well, both of those remaining Point Guards left the season on medical carts with busted knees. What remained was a dysfunctional and disjointed crew being led by a ballstopper on offense and only one person willing to play defense.
What remains now is an overpriced team ALREADY over the salary cap, and in need of help on the court and on the bench as well as the locker room, where it is apparent that the inmates have too much of a hand in running the asylum. Right now, Jeremy Lin will become a restricted free agent, and the Knicks MIGHT not be able to afford to re-sign him, dependent upon whether or not other teams want to take a gamble on his marketability.
And now, Orlando…
Again, the inmates are running the asylum, but only one inmate. Dwight Howard was said to have wanted Ron Jeremy Stan Van Gundy fired, then sheepishly denied it, and then Van Gundy was fired anyway, along with the General Manager Otis Smith. What this leaves is a situation where the owner and VP are to make all personnel decisions, the first of which should be hiring a competent general manager. I say all this to say that if they moved out their leadership to appease Dwight Howard, they may have already failed, as now there is no one with any proven history to convince HIM to stay. I cooked up a theory, though… They should make a pitch for Steve Nash AND Jeremy Lin if they cannot lock down Deron Williams to run the show with Dwight. Next, they convince Mr. Pringle Mike D’Antoni to forego that year off he recently said he would take and bring him in to coach them. Lin mentors under Nash in his last 2-3 years and moves up to possible elite status, provided his ability to apply what he will SURELY learn is that good. No, they won’t win a championship, but they will win enough games to keep fans and players happy. It worked in Phoenix.
For a minute, it looked like the Pacers/Heat series would be competitive, but it seems that he Heat were simply playing down to the Pacers, who allowed themselves to get a bit overconfident and put on the “tough guy” role. Fed up with being hit in the mouths, the Heat put the Goon Squad out on Indy in game 5 and took the game, as Dwyane Wade and LeBron James decided to stop acting like individuals who are not Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. I have no qualms predicting that Miami will close them out in game 6, then have little problem dispatching Boston or Philly.
Speaking of Boston and Philly, that has been the most competitive series of the whole second round, evidenced by the fact that it is the only one that is really up to question right now. Unfortunately – and much to the apparent chagrin of Kevin Garnett – it has been the one that has flown under the radar as well. I DARE anyone to name all 5 starters on either team without Google or any other search first. Either way, Boston is up 3-2 in the series and Philly is an 8-seed no one realistically expected to even get this far… I got them beating up on one another for the whole of 7 games with Boston taking game 7 at home.
San Antonio is real! I been saying it for weeks, but they’re proving it in earning a week off after every series in which they find themselves involved. I WILL NOT pick a winner between them and OKC, but I will note that San Antonio took 2-3 regular season games and Ginobili didn’t play in any of them. I will note that Gregg Popvich has been here before and I trust his ability to get them through it. Since OKC beat my Lakers, I need San Antonio to take them off, I only ask that OKC win TWO games of the series on the very inside chance that the Spurs go on to sweep the NBA Finals… Why, you ask? The 2001 Lakers made it through the playoffs with only one loss, a record that I would at least like to see stand.
Well, the Western Conference Finals begin on Sunday and the Eastern Conference Finals will begin sometime next week, exact day dependent upon whether the Semifinals series end in 6 or 7 games. One thing I WILL say, though, is that I am going back on my opinion that Miami is finally bringing it home this time. This year’s champion, in my opinion, will be coming from the Western Conference as it has for 12 of the past 20 years.