No Hype Needed (NBA First Round Wrap-Up)
Atlanta/Miami- In the end, I guess D-Wade wasnt enough to overcome a collective team effort from the Hawks. Oh and Im ready to give this team its props now. They sent D-Wade packing, something I dont think wouldve happened if they kept Marion instead of sending him to Toronto for the corpse of Jermaine ONeal. Marion couldve kept tabs on Joe Johnson, who just went ballistic on the Heat. Johnson will be checked next series by LeBron. Do NOT rule out a possible upset if the Hawks can take one in Cleveland.
Orlando/Philly- If not for the fact that Orlando forgot the time tested concept of if it aint broke, dont fix it, this series wouldve ended in 4. Instead, we got 6 and Courtney Lee may be done for the postseason. Pity, since Chicago didnt knock out Boston and the Cs appear to be jacked up on Dew. Take note Orlando, giving up double digit leads against the Cs will send ye home for the Summer.
Chicago/Boston- Best. 1st Round. Series. EVER. In the end though, Chicago simply didnt have enough to knock out the champs. Remember kids, you cannot draw the champ in a title fight. You MUST knock em out. Bostons now got a series win under their belt and the confidence that even without KG, they can win in the playoffs. Oh and to all you Suns fans, I know it must hurt everytime Rondo does his thing like he did in this series. Averaging a TRIPLE DOUBLE?! Wow. Couldve been a great understudy to Big Stevie Cool, but oh well.
LA/Utah- Utah was simply outgunned here by a hungrier, more powerful team. The Lakers however, need to figure out how to keep their foot on someones throat. This will cost them games as they go deeper into the playoffs, possibly even their hopes of winning title #4 this decade, first without The Big Aristotle.
Houston/Portland- Well, good news, bad news for Houston. Good news, you get the monkey off your back without T-Crap in uniform. (Perhaps a sign, but I wont go all Oliver Stone and liken him to A-Rod or nothing.) The bad news for Houston, they will most likely get crushed by that gorilla sporting the Purple and Gold uniform thats heading their way fast. Good news for Portland, they learned what playoff basketball looks like and will improve for next season. The pieces are in place for this team to make a legitimate run next season, ESPECIALLY if they can get an upgrade at point guard so this offense can flow during the playoffs. The bad news for the Association, if that point guard I alluded to is Steve Nash, the Trail Blazers will win the 2009-10 NBA Championship. I guarantee that. Kevin Pritchard is the best GM in the league, he will work the GMs, I mean phones manned by GMs to get the Blazers better next year.
San Antonio/Dallas- Wow. Just wow. I think this was probably the biggest shocker of the first round to me personally. Turns out the weakest team in the West, wasnt as weak as I thought. Carlisle is a very good coach and he outcoached Basketball Belichick (thats my new name for Pops) in 5 games. Kidd is fortunate that the last real PG that can make him look his age is gone, but unfortunately for the Mavs, theyre facing a legitimate offensive powerhouse in Carmelo that will expose their lack of a defensive stopper. (Face facts, they still havent got a defensive stopper.) As for San Antonio, its their first real setback in about nine years. They arent done, in spite of everyones desire for them to just go away. They still have Parker, they still have Ginobili and Duncans still breathing. The Spurs need a big man down low that can take over and complement Timmy, which either Drew is or is not. I dont know if half a season plus the postseason is enough to go on ya know? Windows starting to close on the Spurs and they need to get a crew ready to push on with Parker once Duncan retires. If the Spurs manage to pick up Sheed (who has made no bones about wanting to play alongside his one time nemesis while he was at Chapel Hill), the Spurs will make noise next season. Big noise.
New Orleans/Denver- Just unbelievable how the Hornets rolled over in this series. I really thought the Hornets could push the Nugs, but who wouldve thought they would just roll over and die the way they did? Management needs to take a serious look at this team, the coach and make some decisions. Because this city has been through far too much to have a basketball team playing this way going into next year. Im not sure what the deal was, but this team clearly didnt give two shits and it definitely showed in this series. Or perhaps the piss poor management decisions finally slowed this team to a grinding halt. As for the Nuggets, I think Billups was a GREAT acquisition for them. The return home for Big Shot Billups has and will pay big dividends for the Rich & Creamys.
Coming very shortly...a look at the second round.