From the way these guys have been celebrating , you wouldn’t think it was only the first round. This weekend brought us some great action and its hard to believe that we are only in the second round.
Game 7 in Los Angeles was as good as advertised and the two teams played with the intensity of an NBA Finals. Even though I had picked the Clippers to win, deep in my heart I wanted to see a Warriors-Thunder Second round. I think a healthy Andrew Bogut would have swung the series, but am I alone in thinking that Doc Rivers out coached Mark Jackson? For the record I think Mark Jackson is getting a raw deal. He has led the Dubs to two straight 45 plus win seasons and this year he had a patchwork team to put together with a bunch of role players and Steph Curry (No I don’t think Klay Thompson is there yet). If Warriors ownership fired Mark Jackson after winning 50 games this year (in the toughest bracket in NBA playoff history) over some personality conflicts, it would be a HUGE mistake. Can you think of a viable replacement? Neither can I. This would be them doing the old “two steps forward, three steps back routine” that they’ve been on since Mullins, Hardaway, and Webber left the team. Joseph Lacob would be shooting himself in the foot if he didn’t bring back Coach Jackson.
It seems crazy to be talking this much about the Warriors when they were the team that was eliminated, but what else is there to say about the Clippers? Is there any more reason to regurgitate what a tough emotional roller coaster they had last week? Their front line was the major difference and I can’t wait to see them go against the Thunder in what will be an entertaining series.
Blake gets to play in his hometown, as does Russell Westbrook (how about that triple double Saturday night? WOW), so look for big series from both of those cats. I’m interested to see the Matt Barnes vs. “Mr. Unreliable” match up (How stupid is the Oklahoman for that headline? This is exactly why people think Okies don’t deserve a basketball team–they should be thankful that a player of his caliber WANTS to live in a shit hole like Oklahoma City). Speaking of Memphis, I knew this was going to be a tough series. Zack Randolph didn’t help his team any by getting suspended, and neither did the injury to Mike Conley (who is having a better career than I ever gave him credit for being capable of–I was wrong Mike Conley is not a bust). Much props to the Grit N Grind crew though, they made games 2 through 5 unbelievable games.
Whether or not OKC does win will depend on a few factors:
1. Can Serge Ibaka be effective? They will need him to stay out of foul trouble and make Blake Griffin work on defense.
2. Will OKC’s team defense be effective against the Clippers offensive firepower?
3. Will the Clipper’s bench outplay the Thunder’s bench?
4. How efficient will OKC be on offense, and will their turnovers and bad shots result in LOB CITY GIF explosions all over the internet?
It’s hard to bet against KD and Westbrook at this point, but I think this series will be extremely close. I’m going with OKC in 7
Spurs-Portland will be a fun series to watch as well. I’m hoping that we will get to see more Thomas Robinson in this series, since he played so well against Houston in what little playing time Terry Stotts gave him. Every night I got about 3 texts from my boy Sam that involved the words “T-Rob”, “going ham”, and “he hongry.” The shot by Damien Lillard did not surprise me one bit. When I saw they had .9 on the game clock, I just had a suspicion that “Big Game Dame” was going to find a way to get a good look. He was so wide open on the play and as soon as he shouted I yelled out to no one in particular “ball game!”
I’m interested in the point guard match up with Tony Parker and “Illard” guarding each other, but small forwards Nic Batum-Kawhi Leonard facing off is just as intriguing to me as the PG or PF (Tim Duncan vs. Lamarcus Aldridge) match ups.
Portland had a great run this year, and nothing is more magical than having that town abuzz with joy. As someone who saw the Portland-Lakers debacle back in 2000, I can be nothing but happy for Rip City. All sentiment aside, this is where they meet the fate of last year’s feel good story, the Golden State Warriors. San Antonio has a better bench and the best coach in the game. The Spurs will take what a team does best and make them do something different to beat them. San Antonio in SIX.
I’m still quasi-boycotting the Eastern Conference. After seeing so many good games out west, it really pisses me off that the Heat just get to coast their way into the NBA Finals. They would have been a five seed in the Western Conference and it would have been a dogfight. At least if they’d win out west, people would be able to tip their hats to them in good conscience. I just don’t see how the competition committee can’t at least address this. How is fair for a team that plays in a weaker conference get an easier path to the championship? Brooklyn will at least make the Heat earn their victories, which is all you can ask for at this point. I know Brooklyn is undefeated against Miami this year, but that was regular season. Lebron ain’t even answering phone calls right now, so you know he’s focused. I’ll take the Heat in SIX, but I’m still only watching the fourth quarter of these games. The same goes for Indiana-Washington. I’m taking Indiana in SIX. This is a better match up for the Pacers, but its still going to be ugly. Let’s just hope no one has their teeth knocked out.
I’m looking forward to the start of the second round tonight and if my calculations are correct, I have at least two hours to sit on my front porch, drink some cervezas, eat some chips and salsa, and lounge. Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!