2011 NBA Playoffs – Conference Semis Report 2

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We are four games into the conference semi-finals for the Dallas / LA series and the Chicago / Atlanta series and three games in for the Miami / Boston and the OKC / Memphis series.

What a great weekend!!!

First Memphis, starring my favorite ex-Celtic, Tony Allen (no offense to Perkins, Nate Robinson, Posey, or any of our other exes), made an incredible comeback to defeat the Thunder in game three and maintain their hold on the home court advantage.  The Grizzlies are up 2-1 in what has been a very fun series.  If they can win again at home tomorrow, they will go up 3-1 and have 3 games to try to get one more win to advance.  It’s not easy to beat a team that plays defense and rebounds as well as Memphis three times in a row, so game 4 is crucial for OKC.  That’s a big deal because the Thunder are the heir-apparent to the Western Conference dynasty position long held by the Lakers, which leads us to the best part of the weekend…

Dallas swept the Lakers.  On paper the third team defeating the second team (in the conference standings that is) is not that big of an upset.  But when the oft-maligned Mavericks, whom many picked to be upset themselves in the first round, come out and dominate the two time defending champs, whom many picked to complete the Phil Jackson special three-peat or at the absolute worst fall to the Thunder in 7 games in the conference finals, and take them down in four straight games, that is a big deal.  I’ve heard a lot of questions about what’s next for Jackson and whether the Lakers will trade Pau and / or Bynum to try to pick up Dwight Howard and / or Chris Paul.  I’ve not heard too much about what’s next for the Mavericks.  They have to be the favorites to make the Finals, right?  Of course part of the reason they destroyed the Lakers was because LA refused to defend the pick and pop, and the Mavs shot better from the three point line than any team ever.  If that doesn’t happen in the next round, will Dallas lose their mojo?  Who gives a $#!%?  They Beat L-A!  They Beat L-A!

As my colleague Paul predicted, Boston came home and made their jumpers and took out the Heat.  Props to my boy Kevin Garnett, who not only had his best scoring game, inside and out, since 2008, but also played truly inspired defense.  His ability to jump out on Wade and LeBron on the pick and roll and recover to Bosh was crucial to holding the Miami Thrice below their usually amazing averages, and as we all know, if you can neutralize those three, the rest of the Heat lack the firepower to make up the difference.  Miami can and probably will adjust to the great pick and roll play by Paul Pierce, and it’s unlikely that Garnett will shoot so well in the next game, AND we’ll see if Rondo can go after that awful elbow dislocation.  Still if Paul’s prediction continues to hold true, the Boston bench will step up and even the series.  We’ll find out tomorrow night.

The Hawks and Bulls split two games this weekend.  In game 3 the regular season MVP, Derrick Rose, went OFF and scored 44 points, becoming the only Bull other than Michael Jordan ever to do so in the playoffs.  In game 4, Derrick Rose attempted to score 44 again but instead went 11 of 32 from the field and wound up on the wrong end of a 16-2 run in the fourth quarter after the two teams were tied at 88 to 88.  After the game Charles Barkley called out Rose for dominating the ball a la Russell Westbrook, while Kenny Smith and Chris Webber defended Rose on the grounds that he has to dominate the ball since no other Bull is capable of taking over a game.  I actually agree with both sides.  Rose needs to find a way to get more out of his teammates.  Nash and Stockton have shown an ability to turn non-scorers into threats.  Chicago needs that to happen in order to diversify their offense.  On the other hand there’s no Durant, no Amare, and no Malone on this Bulls team to help Rose, so there are times when he has to try to score big (like game 3) in order to win.  For Atlanta, Josh Smith played the best game I’ve ever seen from him.  His passing, particularly to Horford in the open court and in the paint, was fantastic.  He stayed away from the three point line.  He absolutely attacked the boards.  And he played great defense.  The Hawks have actually become fun to watch.

Whatever happens the rest of the playoffs, we’re going to have a new champion.  I’m not one to get antsy to see new blood in the Finals.  The Bulls dynasties were the glory years of my NBA-fandom.  But I AM one to get antsy to not see Lakers in the Finals.  Thank you Jason Terry (9-10 from three point line for 32 points).  I take back all the negative things I said about you being a conscienceless gunner whose suspect touch will always eventually doom the team that relies on him.  Even if it’s still true.

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5 Responses to “2011 NBA Playoffs – Conference Semis Report 2”

  1. High Above Courtside Says:

    Oh Yes and not only did the fakers lose —-but the fell apart like a house of cards. What a great way to remember Phil’s last game—having lost complete and total control of his team. What a wonderful thing to see the fakers quit. No championship 17 this year. They’ll be back—when Dwight Howard jumps ship and heads to LA LA land when his contract is up.

    Say one thing in their defense—although too little too late—-the Fakers reverted back to “old school” NBA Basketball. Only usually it was done during a game, not after it was decided. This is the type of basketball I grew up watching. Long before there was any “flagrant foul rules” when guys like LeBron started charging to the basket —–after a while when the other team had had enough—those players would end up’ hitting the floor like a bag of rocks.

    Jim Luskotoff’s jersey hangs in the Boston Garden—-but it was league wide. “Roughhouse” Rudy LaRussa. Wayne “the wall” Embry, Walt “Bells” Belemy, Steve Kuberski, Bob Kaufmann, Luke Jackson. Bill Lambeer–Ricky Mahorn. These guys would put you in the hospital if you took too many liberties inside the paint. Now the “flagrant foulf rule” negates a alot of that.

    Rondo’s comeback was amazing. The closest thisg I can rmeber to it was Cousy’s last game against the fakers. Cooz had sprained his ankle badly and was forced to sit much of the game–the lakers got close in the fourth—Red brought Cooz back in—-and bing bam boom—three minutes later Cooz limping around had sealed the deal. That was his last game. (ps I dont count the games he played with the Royal in 69-70)

    • jpalumbo Says:

      In my day the names were Oakley, Thorpe, Carr, Rollins, Klein, Cartwright, etc. but the principle is the same.

      Jason Palumbo

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. High Above Courtside Says:

    yeah well I saw those days too, but they were in the Jordan era and that is when the fundamental change began—which lead us to current state

  3. High Above Courtside Says:

    Can you tell me how a 6 ft 7 inch 300 lb man can disapperar on a basketball floor–Big Baby.

    Kg where were you when we needed you–1 for 10

    Note to rick Carlisle—former Celtic and Maine Black Bear—you dont smoke peyote—-it is too hard to keep lit.

    • jpalumbo Says:

      Hate to say it, but the Heat wanted it more. KG could have blocked LeBron’s game tying finger roll at the end of regulation. I’m not sure he even needed to jump.

      We’ll take your word on the peyote.

      Jason Palumbo

      Sent from my iPhone

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