The NBA Playoffs

The NBA Playoffs

It’s that time of the year again in the NBA when the men (Spurs, Pistons) are seperated from the boys (Bucks, Grizzlies, etc.), the time when the drudges of a long and tedious regular season finally cumulate into an excting, albeit predictable NBA playoffs. Not much has changed since last years’ playoffs, there are two clear cut favorites as title contenders: the San Antonio Spurs and the Detroit Pistons. There is also the Miami Heat, which has not proven nearly enough to me yet this season for me to classify them as title contenders. You also have the Dallas Mavericks, who have seem to become the trendy upstart pick to win the entire thing. They haven’t proven enough to me over the past few years for me to classify them in the same class as Detroit and San Antonio, although I do think they have the potential and experience to make an NBA title run. The New Jersey Nets are a nice story, especially after the debacle of a season last year. Vince Carter will NEVER, mark my prophetic words, NEVER lead a team to an NBA title, although that shouldn’t be news to anyone that knows anything about basketball and has followed Vince’s career. By the way, anyone else find themselves real annoyed by the fact that Vince Carter has to celebrate, flex, and pose after nearly every single basket? Hasn’t this guy been in the league for a while now? Shouldn’t he be used to scoring? He celebrates so often that he oftens finds himself behind in transition defense, and he isn’t the overall player that the underrated Richard Jefferson is, yet the Nets seem to have put their hopes and expectactions on his back to lead them to the promised land. Big Mistake. Anyways, as far as the Miami Heat are concerned, I agree that the starters and new acquisitions that they have made have played very well so far in the playoffs, with one exception: They have only played well OFFENSIVELY.

Their defense has been horrendous, and I don’t know how that can be overlooked. They have made Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich into the modern day Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, with Hinrich being the sidekick to Gordon. On a side note, Is anyone else impressed by Andres Nocioni? The forward from Argentina who is playing out of his mind right now, averaging 24 ppg through the first two games. I mean, the guy is everywhere, he shoots from the outside, drives to the hole, blocks shots, gets rebounds, gives hard fouls. He’s definitely the type of player that every championship team needs. He is that guy that does every litte thing needed to win, it’s just that he’s scoring more right now. But all the other things he’s been doing the entire year, but the scoring? Didn’t see that coming. Right now, he’s giving Manu Ginobili a run as the best Argentinian player right now in the playoffs. Think they’re not excited back home in Argentina right now? They have two Argentinian players leading their team in the playoffs and they have their highly touted national soccer team getting ready to play in the world cup in the summer. They have to be doing the tango right now in the streets of Buenos Aires right now. Now, back to the Miami Heat. I cannot see any conceivable way that they can overthrow the Pistons as the Eastern Conference Champs, I just don’t see it, but who knows, maybe they can surprise me in the rest of the series. For right now though, the Miami Heat are looking suspect, real suspect. If only they played as well as South Beach looks. The Spurs are looking strong, but without a healthy Tim Duncan, they are vunerable and very beatable, especially to a Dallas team that is trying to get the monkey off their backs. Dallas has to be absolutely salivating at the fact that this may be the best time for them to draw the Spurs, after a tough, drawn out, physical series with the Kings. The time is now for Deutschland Dirk Nowitzki to lead that team to a championship, he cannot wither in the face of pressure. He has to be their go-to guy and he has to deliver for this team to even consider having a chance at dethroning the Spurs. As far as the Detroit Pistons go, they should be on cruise control into the finals, although they may run into a minor speed bump in the Miami Heat, but that shouldn’t be too much to overcome. The Pistons seem hungry, like a bear awaken from hibernation, there is no way that they have forgotten the bitter taste in their mouth from last year’s Game 7 of the NBA finals…

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