The East Brief or Brief East (Playoff Primer 1 of 2)
No, not Spring Flings. No, not another season of owners bitching about the Yanks and Sawks. (Glares at Milwaukee owner Joe Schmoe) It's time for the NBA Playoffs. So while Cleveland puts the screws and everything else to Chicago and Vinny (hey, someone had to give Paxson a break, yah?)...I figured I'd take this time out to give my unique POV on all things playoff related. Now, since the East is all but a forgone conclusion, well...I'll do this as to not totally disrespect the conference.
Cavs over Bulls in 5.
- Has there ever been a team in more disarray than Chicago? Has there ever been a team to have its clinching a playoff berth overshadowed because of a physical tiff between the Executive VP and Head Coach? As if they weren't already facing an uphill climb against Shaq & The LeBrons, now they're wondering if Paxson/Del Negro II will break loose in the parking lot before Games 3 or 4. Either way, I think I was being too nice.
Hawks over Bucks in 6.
- If not for the performance OKC put in this year, I'd nominate Skiles to be COTY this year. If they shared the award or allowed it, I'd give it to him because he coached the ever loving hell out of Buck Shot La Funque minus Michael Redd. Brandon Jennings might just be ROTY and who knew we'd get an Andrew Bogut sighting...ALL SEASON LONG?! This wouldn't shock me if it went the distance, but I still think Atlanta's got too much for Milwaukee to handle. On top of that, Atlanta's in the same boat as Cleveland, albeit for different obvious reasons. This might be the final time you see this cast together before free agency splits things like an atom. Oh, speaking of splitting...
Celts over Heat in...7
- Here's probably the most apprehensive pick I'm making all postseason. Why? Simple.
Boston is Team 50 Cent. Two seasons ago, was their equivalent of "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" and everyone LOVED IT. Last year, they turned in their "We Got Rich & Stopped Tryin'" effort nearly getting toppled by a young and hungry Bulls squad before Orlando made them vanish in 7. There are maybe two teams in the Association right now that have that "switch" which can be flipped at anytime. Both are in the Western Conference, both have multiple titles in the last decade. Note to all Celtic fans, including Bill Simmons, you must win multiple titles in order to have that mentality. Having the "50 Cent" mentality is what makes you a good team and keeps you from being a GREAT ONE.
Having written that, it's totally conceivable that D-Wade could carry Boston home for their longest summer in YEARS. He has one last great run in him in Miami before possibly heading elsewhere this Summer. This series excites me greatly.
Magic over Bobbers in 6.
- This might just be the one series where coaching is the proverbial X-Factor moreso than any other. People dare not sleep on Larry Brown, the man wins. He has won on every level, gotten more out of less than damn near anyone alive. Hell, he might just be one of a handful of coaches with just one ring on his finger that I respect as if he had two or three more. He's that great and the job he did with Charlotte this year was commendable. Conversely, Orlando should be highly motivated to duplicate last year's performance which got them their 2nd conference crown in their existence. Ironically, they'd have to bypass Shaq and LBJ to get #3. This will probably be a stretch for Orlando because they don't have the height from a year ago in the frontcourt, which may have gotten them past Charlotte in a sweep but either way, I can't see Charlotte keeping this close enough to beat Orlando.
As for the West...stay tuned.