End of Season Notes

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Hi folks.  I’ve been delinquent.  But I have been paying attention.  I’ve watched teams show their mettle for the first time this season.  Things are shaping up interestingly.  Here’s some thoughts from the past couple of weeks of NBA action.

Behold my chesthair, Human.

Cleveland has clinched the conference.  More importantly, they are humming.  It’s tough to know how long Mo Williams will remain hot.  However, Jamison fills the role of scorer nicely.  They have Z back.  And Shaq will be rested for his . . . implied convergence with Superman 2 in the Conference Finals.  The best things Cleveland have going are that 1. LeBron James is playing his best basketball ever (two point FG% is 56%).  2. He is playing off the ball more.  It’s hard to imagine them not winning the conference if they play at this level.  I imagine they will smash the number eight seed.

Orlando is still looking for Dwight Howard to do it night in and night out.  Their pieces are clicking.  Carter, Barnes, and Pietrus are hitting shots.  Two of them are playing tough D.  I’ll let you figure out which two.  Still, a stinker is due too often from Howard.  And you can’t have stinkers in the playoffs.  He has to get over the FT% hurdle to be a true go-to player. There’s no doubt that Van Gundy is a great coach.  It doesn’t seem like he has 100% of his players attention though.  The Bobcats would not be a cakewalk for the Magic.  No nights off for Howard.

Atlanta has been playing well (6-4 in their last 10).  However, being dominated in the regular season by Cleveland doesn’t look too good for them.  Cleveland finished the sweep last night, and has owned the fourth quarter in each game.  They’re a lock for the second round though.  They’re clearly the gatekeepers for the upper half of the Eastern Conference.  They should be able to beat the Bucks, but one still gets the feeling that Atlanta still has some bad habits.

Yeah, what he said!

Boston has been struggling.  They’ve lost three in a row.  The problem is clearly that both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are not fully healthy.  It’s a huge deficit for the Celtics when neither of those guys are playing well.  Though Rondo and Allen have both been terrific this year, there is a sense that other players, especially off the bench, are not as determined as they were in 2008.  If the playoffs started today, they would face a Miami team that has won 7 in a row, thanks to the nightmare that is a motivated Dwayne Wade.

The Los Angeles Lakers sputtered a little on their way to the finish.  Kobe is not shooting well, but still taking a lot of shots.  Bynum is hurt again.  They seem to be overcoming this with solid performances for Gasol and Odom and at least one other player.  They appear susceptible to a hot team.  Portland and San Antonio are not teams to be trifled with in the first round . . .

Get to da choppa!!!

Dallas rolls with fundamentally sound defense, and an array of scorers.  Dirk has been very consistent this year.  Scorer number two has been by committee.  Seems to be working well for them.  We’ll see if a team with this many parts find a consistent second scorer, pretty much a must for playoff success.  Portland or San Antonio would probably take at least two games from Dallas

The Phoenix Suns!  Winners of ten in a row.  They are out-running their competition and then clamping it down defensively in the 4th quarter.  But we’ve been down this street before.  We know where it ends.  I’m not even sure if they get odds against Oklahoma City, their match up if the playoffs ended today.  It’s hairy out in the West.

Apply the chinlock, dammit!!!

Utah plays great at home.  But they’re on .500 on the road.  This includes a long list of losses at the Staples Center.  Deron Williams is pretty much unstoppable.  And so is Carlos Boozer.  While Williams rarely if ever fades, Boozer seems to just not be able to play at his highest level every night.  With the rest of the squad still being unproven quantities, the Jazz especially need Boozer to be a workhorse for them.  Their first round match against Denver is looking better than it used to.  But you can’t say it won’t be hell.

Playoffs in a fortnight, roughly.  I’m excited for all the games.

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3 Responses to “End of Season Notes”

  1. jpalumbo Says:

    Watching Cleveland climb back from 22 down to take a 1 point lead and almost steal the game from Boston today was pretty disheartening. LeBron can do basically whatever he wants. If he hit all his free throws or made any of his threes, he would have taken that game forcibly from the Celts.

  2. pmadavi Says:

    I actually turned the game off after the 3rd quarter. The Celtics were so dominant, I figured another 4th quarter collapse wouldn’t happen. They tried their darndest.

    Bron went 0-9 from three. Bunch of missed free throws, plus a questionable three instead of driving to the hoop for a two, maybe an and1. Not good stuff from the Cs. They came really close to blowing another lead against a rival.

  3. Hi Above Courtside Says:

    I believe this was the 10th time this season that the Celt’s had given up a 20 pt lead. Hard luck for Bogut, however, now the Celt’s aren’t fretting as much about finishing 4th

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