Sunday, April 19, 2009

40(-4) Games in 40(-1) Nights

40 Games in 40 Nights is TNT's motto for the NBA playoffs. Well even though no games have come on TNT yet, 4 games are over and 1 night of the NBA playoffs is done. A quick run-down of each game:

Bulls 105, Celtics 103 - OT
Who knew that the first game of the NBA Playoffs in 2009 would be a duel between Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose? And that Tyrus Thomas' jumper would be the reason the Bulls upset the Celtics in overtime? Amazing game, by far the best of the day. Derrick Rose looked like a future superstar, even if the announcers kept pounding the fact that he was a rookie down the views throat, to the point where it became counter-productive. It's great to give his amazing performance the proper perspective (36 points, 10 assists is disgusting), but stop saying the same sentence. He absolutely dominated that game though, and got wherever he wanted to on the court. He's going to have a great series, but he can't stop Rondo either, making for an interesting match-up.

The big news for the Celtics was Ray Allen's seeming annual disappearing act in the playoffs. 1-12? That last shot had no chance, I knew it was off when it left his hands. Pierce missing a FT that would have gave them the lead and likely the game was not a good look. Noah's foul was horrendous, and he got bailed out by PP choking.

Even though the Bulls took this one, I don't think the Celtics are in too much trouble. Ray Allen should hit more than one shot in a game, and Derrick Rose isn't likely to sustain such an amazing level of play. I've always thought the Bulls would make this a series, but the Celtics should win this one in 6.

Cavaliers 102, Pistons 84

The Cavaliers are arguably the best team in the league. The Pistons are arguably the most disappointing team in the league. This really wasn't a game, or a series worth watching. LeBron is going to destroy and bury Detroit. Hell, Mo Williams might destroy and bury Detroit. I'd be surprised if one of these games is even competitive, the Pistons are a shell of their former selves. I love Rasheed going down low and abusing Joe Smith, then hanging out near the perimeter when he apparently got tired of being a big man.

The Cavs already have their brooms ready. This is not a series.

Mavericks 105, Spurs 97
The Mavericks are my upset pick of the first round. After years of woefully underachieving, it's about time they overachieve. With the Spurs' age and lack of Ginobili, I think it ends here. I just don't think they have what it takes anymore. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan still have match-up advantages, but the X-factor of the series is Josh Howard. With no Ginobili, the Spurs have no swingman that can match his output. You get a good series from Josh Howard, I'm confident you will get a Mavericks victory.

I'm taking the Mavs in 6.

Rockets 108, Trailblazers 81
I think playoff "experience" is the most overrated thing that will be pounded into the viewers heads over the next 2 months. But in the case of this series, it may mean something. The Blazers didn't look like they belonged on the floor with the Rockets at any point during this game. Yao just dominated, and even Aaron Brooks was putting in work. The problem the Rockets will run into either in this series or sometime down the line, is their lack of a real closer. You can dump it in to Yao for points down the stretch, but when the D locks down on that, what perimeter player can you rely on to get you points or get to the line? Ron Artest? I don't think so. I still think the best sub-plot for their playoff run is possibly making it out of the 1st round without T-Mac. I think you'd almost have to trade him then.

As for the Blazers, they need to wake up and get into this series. Roy and Aldridge need to have coming out parties, and Rudy needs to provide some key 3 point shooting. They are such a "deep" team, you'd think someone will step up. Travis Outlaw is going to have to play well, since he opens up things for everyone else on the floor when he can hit that 18 foot jumper.

I took the Blazers in 7, but I'm not so sure anymore.

Now, time to watch the Lakers "game".

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