(Please rec this. I actually spent an hour writing this).
This is for the remainder of the first round and the opening games of the second round.
Chicago-Boston (Celtics up 3-2): Perhaps the best first round series ever. Lakers-Suns did have the Kobe factor, but Chicago-Boston has had two game winning shots, three game tying shots to send it to overtime, more overtime games than regulation games, sensational point guard play by Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose, Ben Gordon turning into the next Vinnie 'Microwave' Johnson, Ray Allen delivering, Paul Pierce finally showing up for Game 5, even questionable foul calls on Tuesday with Rondo turning Brad Miller's mouth into a sea of blood and Allen fouling out on some of the weirdest calls you'll ever see in a playoff game. Compelling stuff.
If Chicago has the legs to send this to Game 7 tonight, it'll definitely go down as one of the all-timers.
Houston-Portland (Rockets up 3-2): A close runnerup for this year--every game save the first has been closely contested. Aaron Brooks was on fire the first several games (although he's let it go to his head--point guards of his mold can't take 20 shots). Yao has been on and off (there was one game in this series where he attempted 5 shots. FIVE.). Brandon Roy is like a duller, less reckless version of D-Wade (I'll make a bet he plays more NBA games than Wade, although jury's out if he wins more titles). The officiating has been BAD (Yao and Roy have both been handchecked a lot), but it's evened out--both teams have been about hosed the same.
All the pressure is on Houston tonight. If they lose this game and have to go back to Portland for Game 7, Yao and crew are going to hear all the "can't get out of the first round" talk all over again. It isn't
Oh, and a farewell to Mount Mutombo, one of the greatest defenders in NBA history.
Miami-Atlanta (Hawks up 3-2): This was a series NBA fans were all looking forward to, but geez. One team brings its A game one night, the other team brings no game. Margin of victory: 26, 15, 29, 10, 15.
D-Wade looks totally worn out, like he did two years ago. He carried that team of greens six months to an amazing MVP-caliber season. His style of play really makes it difficult for him to stay healthy, even if he is more in control of his faculties than he was a year ago.
It would drive me crazy to root for Josh Smith on a day-to-day basis. And this Hawks team hasn't progressed at all from last year; they're essentially the same team.
I was originally looking forward toward a LeBron-Wade second round series, but now it looks like both of these teams are ready to be killed off. Looks like the march for the King will continue unabetted to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Orlando-Philly (Magic up 3-2): Orlando should really be put out of its misery. After overachieving most of the year they've picked the perfect time to start sucking. They're like the Lakers, except the leads they blow have come back to bite. Dwight Howard's suspension almost assures a Game 7 in Orlando, and it's safe to say I'm pissed at the way Stan has treated his prized center and they way he runs their offense. If Riley was coaching this team they'd have won in 5.
Mavericks win 4-1: Can't tell much here. San Antonio had two stars and ten stiffs. Dallas just outscored them to death. Although I guess we should all be happy for J-Kidd. Especially YOU yellow fever.
Their real test comes next round against the....
Nuggets win 4-1: Should be a nice throwback series between Dallas-Denver where we have final scores of 124-122. Hornets packed it in awhile ago, and really had no depth. What was really depressing was how not one Hornet stepped up for CP3 when Denver started bodying him up, sending him to the floor. Not one retaliation, not one iota of resistance. If I was Paul I'd be thinking of asking for a trade to get out of this mess of a franchise.
As for Denver, just like Dallas, their aim is to shoot it up. J.R. Smith has happily obliged and should continue to do so (his madness will kill them eventually, but until then...). Birdman continues to scare the hell out of me. Melo has done a little, but it's really Billups's team.
And let's give it up to Sean Marks, who was the second best Hornet on this team for the whole series! (What a depressing thing for a Hornets fan to hear).
Lakers win 4-1: LA continues to squander big leads. This trend has been going on all season, partly due to a bizarrely weak bench. That bench was their cornerstone last year, and now they are throwing up stink bombs night after night. The point guard play might have been solved in the long-term with the emerging Shannon Brown, but what about the short-term? Will Laker favorite Lamar Odom continue to shine?
Cavaliers win 4-0: Yeppppp.
Discuss the final games of Round 1, the playoffs so far, or look forward to Round 2. And if you have time, think about the MVP debate (there isn't much of one this year).