We’re 2 games into all 4 semi-Finals series, and it’s time for a quick check-in (quick because TNT insists on starting these Western Conference games so late that they end after 1AM EST, and I don’t get to write about them until almost 2… I got a day job, Ernie!).
Celtics at Heat – Miami seems to be the better team. No excuses need to be made at this point. Both teams play tough defense, and Miami has more guys capable of scoring and playmaking against good D. We’ll see if the Leprechaun (or the Big Shamrock?) can add something to the mix back in Boston, but so far it’s been a tale of two athletes, sadly they both play for the Heat. I’ll keep pulling for the Green, but as Miami continues to improve their team chemistry, and the elderly Celts continue to get dinged up, things aren’t looking so good.
Hawks at Bulls – Atlanta is playing some very good basketball, really mixing it up inside and giving their streaky perimeter scorers a chance to win games. They got the better of an off-their-game Bulls team with an injured Rose in game 1, but it looked like they had an energy letdown in game 2, and Chicago crushed them on the boards. The Hawks have the home court now, and if they can adjust to the traps on Joe J and team rebound, they could drag this series out the same way they did the Boston series in ’08. I think Chicago can play better offense though and should get better. Should.
Grizzlies at Thunder – Brutal match-up so far. One of the most physical matchups I’ve seen since the end of last year’s Finals. Randolph and Gasol owned game 1, but Perk and the Thunder bigs really uglied things up in game 2, and KD has provided the only non-ugly game at the offensive end so far. Griz have stolen the home court, and OKC will have to prove they can play better in Memphis than the Spurs did if they want to take it back. Is this the series when Westbrook and Durant will find the right balance of sharing the ball instead of co-dominating the rock? As GP once said, “Pass the rock, son! You don’t even let the ground touch the ball!”
Mavericks at Lakers – Wasn’t Dallas supposed to get upset by the Blazers in round 1? I don’t believe in counting the defending champs out quite this early. Technically all they have to do is beat the Mavs 4 times before they lose twice. They are capable of getting on a run and doing that. However, they lost two at home, which means they’ll need to win at least twice in Dallas. Only four teams have ever lost the first 2 at home and gone on to win the series (I recall Phoenix doing it against LA in the first round of 1993 when KJ missed the first two games). The good news for LA? They aren’t likely to shoot this poorly from three all series. The bad news? Dallas isn’t likely to shoot this poorly from three either. Dallas won the game at the three point line and by making more free throws. The teams were pretty even in everything else from rebounding to free throw attempts to turnovers. Artest will probably miss game three. That might be good for LA.
If Boston can’t make the Finals, a Miami v. Dallas rematch would be good television. Beat L-A! Beat L-A!