Random thoughts on the NBA Playoffs so far… and a look ahead

After watching the Clippers outscore the Spurs by 22 points in the first quarter of Game Three of their playoff series, it appeared, if ever so briefly, that San Antonio was not as invincible as everyone thought.  Then we saw them retaliate with a 50-17 run of their own and realized, perhaps they are.

At only 23 years old each, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are disturbingly good.  The Los Angeles Lakers had to play their very best just to be able to stay on the same floor as them.  The future of the league is in good hands.

In Game Three of the Lakers-Thunder series, the two teams combined to shoot 67-70 from the free throw line, with the Lakers going 41-42 and Kobe going 18-18.  I’ve never gone 18-for-18 at anything.

If Oklahoma City makes the Finals, they’ll have bested four of the last five, and ten of the last thirteen, NBA championship franchises, in doing so.

Why does Gregg Popovich have to be such a sourpuss during mid-game interviews or did Lisa Salters have it coming for asking such stupid questions?

If we had a Philadelphia 76ers-Indianapolis Pacers Eastern Conference Finals, would anyone watch?

Was there ever really a need for Miami to panic if, even down two games to one, Las Vegas still listed them as favorites to win the Pacers series?  Probably not after watching LeBron James go for 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in Game Four and Wade land 41 points and 10 rebounds in Game Six.  As usual, Las Vegas knew just what they were talking about.

How hurt is Chris Bosh really and does it even matter?

Was the Udonis Haslem suspension and Tyler Hansbrough lack thereof fair and how long before some pundit plays the race card?

Did the Knicks even consider contacting Phil Jackson about their head coaching position and if so, which player on that roster would he find most expendable?

How serious were the Orlando Magic about hiring Shaquille O’Neal as their next general manager and why the hell is Dwight Howard talking to TMZ.com?

Would coaching the Bobcats drive Jerry Sloan to drink, particularly considering he lived in Utah for so long?

If you think the Miami Heat have done well with three of the top five drafted players in 2003 on their roster (James, Bosh, Wade), keep in mind, the Oklahoma City Thunder also have three top-five draft picks, all of whom they drafted themselves (Durant, 2nd, 2007; Westbrook, 4th, 2008; Harden, 3rd, 2009).

Which duo this post-season has been more dynamic: Wade/James or Durant/Westbrook?  Let’s hope we find out in the Finals.

Is any lead safe in these playoffs?

If there’s one thing more enjoyable than a Blake Griffin dunk, it was watching Tim Duncan, twelve years his senior, negate those dunks at the rim.

Does anyone else find it ironic that it’s the biggest guys (Bynum, Gasol, Howard) who act like babies while the smaller guys (Westbrook, Parker, Rondo) are among the toughest in the league?

Do you honestly, have any earthly idea who will be this year’s NBA champion?  If so, you know more than everyone else.



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23 Replies to “Random thoughts on the NBA Playoffs so far… and a look ahead”

  1. Pingback: Random thoughts on the NBA Playoffs so far… and a look ahead - BallHyped, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. It’s true that the big guys are acting like the biggest babies while the point guards are the toughest players. Bynum used to be my favorite player, but now I would be all for trading him for Dwight. Even though Howard is also a baby, I think there is a better chance of getting him to straighten up, and even though Bynum has a better post-game, Howard can handle the double-teams better and be a more dominant player. Gasol is a girl sometimes, but I like him and want there to be some way that he can stay on the Lakers. If the Lakers can get Deron Williams and Dwight Howard somehow, then everything will be good in Lakerland. I don’t see the Thunder being able to beat the Spurs without the NBA’s help though. The Lakers aren’t championship worthy and they were two possessions away from being up 3-1 on them.

    I hope the Spurs win this year, but them in the Finals would be boring for the majority of NBA fans. Though I find the Spurs entertaining to watch since they have such good shooters, move the ball well, and don’t make stupid mistakes, unlike the Lakers.

  3. I think Lebron James is the best player in the NBA and he will lead the Heat to the championship.

    He is a once-in-a-generation player.


  4. JM…

    There’s been SO much talk about a Bynum-Howard trade that it’s bound NOT to happen.

    I’m hoping the Magic land a shrewd GM who can build the team back into what it once was, whether it’s with or without Howard.

  5. Jimbo…

    I chose the Heat at the beginning of this thing and I’m not budging.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the whole thing plays out.

  6. SG…

    It’s why a 6’4″ guy like Barkley could rebound so well.


    Griffin appears to fly through the air with insane force so to see Timmy say no thank you to him at the point of impact was quite enjoyable, particularly for us old school guys.

    Your time will come, Mr. Griffin, but Timmy’s reign is not over yet.

  7. To be honest, road traveler, that comment was actually inspired by a commentator who mentioned something might be brought up about it.

    I guess we should celebrate the fact that nothing was, huh?

    That’s called progress.

  8. Neither the Thunder nor the Spurs played up to snuff in game 1. However, the Thunder didn’t play as well in large part because of some great Spurs defence. The Spurs, on the other hand, missed a handful of open shots and definitely could have been better but it was more them than their opponents that caused that. Bad sign for the Thunder I think.

  9. Agreed, CR.

    I didn’t get to watch as much of the game as I wanted to as I was bartending a private party but I plan on gluing myself to the TV tonight for Boston-Miami Game One and tomorrow for Western Conference Game Two.

    I would think the keys to this series for OKC are Westbrook shooting a high percentage and being able to defend San Anton’s pick and roll.

    But you’re right, you can’t give away games at this point of the season and that might just be what OKC did last night.

  10. All you need to know about the series between the Spurs and Thunder can be clearly defined with these words ………… Spurs bench has depth the Thunders’ does not . Here endeth today’s lesson . It’s the reason why Brooks’ team lost the regular season series and will lose this playoff series also . Beyond Harden there is no one on the bench (Thunder) that can contribute in the way that Ginobli , Leonard or Whacko Stephen Jackson can .

    tophatal …………..

  11. Not sure what to make of the Thunder-Spurs series after Game 1. Seeing OKC’s fourth-quarter lead evaporate in seconds was not a good sign for the Thunder. The Celts should have dispatched the Sixers much earlier but I’m not sure that would have made much of a difference against the Heat the way they are rolling right now and their Game 1 confirmed that concern. I do think the Spurs look to be the favorites right now to win it all even if James and Wade continue to play well.

  12. It’s amazing, Al, how a team like the Celtics, or the Thunder can look like world-beaters in one series, only to advance to the next round and get beaten downs in Games One by teams that are superior to them.

    I like the Spurs. What they’ve done so far is impressive. I mean 19 straight, come on.

    But they have no answer for LeBron and Wade should it come to that.

  13. I agree with you on two of three of those counts, SA.

    The Thunder should make it a series but still have a few kinks that a team like the Spurs and a coach like Pop will be happy to expose.

    The Celtics definitely needed more rest and should have dispatched the Sixers in shorter time, although I’m not entirely sure that would have mattered.

    But I’m not so sure I see the Spurs as being the favorite in a Finals against the Heat, even if they do have home court advantage.

  14. World beaters is merely acronym for good ……….not great , or invincible much less being outstanding . The Thunder in their series have played teams that were past their “sell by dates” .

    Keep on buying into that notion about the Spurs not being able to handle either LBJ or D-Wade . Granted , the teams met only once in the regular season and both teams didn’t play their full complement of players due to injuries . But what’s clear Pop can out-coach any of his peers left in the playoffs. And what everyone seems to be completely discounting is the depth of the Spurs’ roster and the fact that their bench players can produce unlike those of the Heat . So you tell me what other ways the Heat will be able to subdue the Spurs if their bench can continue to produce in the way that they have been ? I mean who’s stepping up to assist LBJ and Wade in the scoring ? C’mon Chris ……… at least come up with something more tangible than being in awe of the duo ? .

    tophatal ……….

  15. No one’s questioning how good the Durant Westbrook combo just happens to be . But who else beyond Harden on the bench can truly contribute ? And it’s the same thing with the Heat beyond D-Wade and LBJ ! So who on the Heat beyond that duo can step up to the plate ? All I’ve read is about a duo of stars and guys simply fawning over them as if they’re viewing the center spread of Playboy . Come strong with something tangible or not at all ! No one has done that as of yet , not even the odious analysts on tv .

  16. Al…

    Bench and role players need to score at specific moments and specific times.

    The Heat go plenty deep.

    I’m still confident the Miami bench is enough to get them through. It’s gotten them this far.

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