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govinda

NBA Playoffs

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Last year the NBA Playoffs gave us Golden State upsetting Dallas, and then Utah v Houston, the best playoff series I'd ever seen. Unfortunately it ended with San Antonio walking all over Cleveland. This year? That won't happen, and the playoffs are even better. As a basketball fan who suffered through years of bad playoffs, from the ugly Pistons days to the ugly Shaquille-Lakers days, the new rules to reduce physical play have been brilliant. Because this is the lounge, and because I'm downloading a 2gb render from a remote farrm, heeeere's a watching guy's writeup. If I can't write this in 15 minutes I'm deleting it.

 

EAST

 

Toronto v Orlando

It's a huge pity one of these teams has to lose. Both play great, attractive ball. Jose Calderon is an absolute dream as a point guard, probably a future NBA coach. There isn't a team in the league who wouldn't want him right now, even some with so-called name PGs. Orlando's turnovers are the only reason they wouldn't win this series. Who would have thought that right now, the play of Hedo Turkoglu would be looked to as the bellweather for Orlando. Hedo Turkoglu? Trust me, he's a ton of fun to watch, a 6'10" slasher / shooter who's smart as they come, the exact opposite of Rashard Lewis. In fact, I'd take Turkoglu ten times before I'd take Lewis, and if you know the salary difference make that twenty times.

 

Philadelpha v Detroit

Best of the so-called blowouts. Iguodala has yet to show up however. Late in the season, as Thaddeus Young, Dalembert and Andre Miller got going, Philly was one of the best teams to watch. Their length and the way they defend the rim is amazing. If there was a god, Rasheed Wallace and company would go home, though I'd miss Chauncey, Rip and Tayshaun. No matter, Wallace's negatives alone more than make up for those three guys' positives.

 

Boston v Atlanta

Blowout in the making, though

is at least showing why Rick Kamla of NBATV calls him the most unique player in NBA history (though I challenge any writer to tell me what that means exactly--most unique??). Atlanta won their one game, now they'll go back and figure out how to get rid of Marvin Williams, get some better defense, and save up to re-sign the amazing Horford. No guarantee they'll be back next year unless they get smarter on both ends of the court, though they clearly have the talent. I'm waiting on the Hack-a-Rondo to start. :D

 

Cleveland v Washington

This is the only series about which I say, 'Who cares?' and in most years I say that about half the first-round series. Okay, Caron Butler is one of my top-five favorite players, so I wish him well. Washington is horrific when Arenas plays, and Lebron is on a truly ugly team to watch, with the exception of

, who at least makes you think of some of the better Carrot Top humor as you watch him play.

 

 

WEST

Here's where the action is, no surprise. Other than Toronto v Orlando, all the good series are here.

 

Lakers v Nuggets

I've always hated the Lakers. Irrational, yes. Now I'm starting to crack the ice, because is there a more attractive team to watch out there (actuall yes there is, see below)? Kobe is dominating under these new hand-check rules, and his defense is astounding. He's broken up all of Denver's patented Camby-to-KMart lob passes by simply leaping out of the gym. First guy I've seen who's smart enough to read that play, and I've seen a lot of Denver. Farmar / Vujacic / Walton are all the Lemmers of their age, and I hope someone knows what a Lemmer is. Odom is a freak who's trying desperately to make up for a lack of brains and shooting ability. But now to Denver. Less said the better. Suffice it to say that if Denver was a motion guy, he'd be stuck on roto for life. They're useless, absolutely pathetic, and they break down into technicals and tantrums at the end of every game. I blame Carmelo and Iverson. It hurts to watch Camby play on this horrible team.

 

Utah v Houston

If you're not watching this series, you don't like basketball. Utah plays the best ball in the league, and I say this from a dispassionate standpoint. You may hate them. You may hate their crowd. You may hate their city. But just watch Deron Williams' dunk from yesterday when it goes up on YouTube, frame through it. If he was 6'6", he'd be at Jordan / VC heights. And then there's the Sloan factor. This team is gorgeous to watch, exhibit A for how to play the game, the platonic ideal of basketball. Everyone shares, everyone passes, and they shoot every shot from two feet closer on average than any team in NBA history simply because they execute. Special mention to Ronnie Brewer, a kid whom I root for shamelessly, whose cuts through the lane are the stuff that a soccer striker should watch and emulate. Obviously I favor Utah here, but Houston, wow. Carl Landry and Scola are astounding as role players, and I love these kinds of role players. Carl Landry's block / save to win Game 3 will go down in legend. It's a shame that they're probably going to lose this series, but maybe TMac will come back next year with better legs to play out the 4th quarter.

 

San Antonio v Phoenix

This hasn't lived up to billing, but it's still some great ball. Erase all previous predictions that had Utah meeting New Orleans in the finals, because the Spurs have woken up. When Duncan hit that 3 to force OT in game 1, it was like a nerd who gets laid for the first time and goes on to become class romeo. The big story here is that we're witnessing the End of Steve Nash. Parker is just abusing him, and Nash is looking old and worn out. I loved Nash when he was at Santa Clara, so this hits me even harder than most, but analytically speaking it's really down to the lack of Shawn Marion more than anything else. This team needs Marion, but it was never to be. The Shaq trade had to happen. Marion was too stupid to realize that things were never going to be better than playing with Nash, and Phoenix was too stupid to realize how important Marion was to their floor balance. Ginobili and Parker, those two amazing foreign imports, are just going to rip through the playoffs now, I fear, with only Utah able to provide resistance...and nobody on that team can guard Duncan.

 

New Orleans v Dallas

I'm flat-out rooting for New Orleans, and I was always a Dallas fan. Avery Johnson turned what had been a fun team into a drearily boring team. Nonetheless I love Dirk, and if you think that being a dead-eye 7-footer with athletic ability means that life is easy, just look at Andrea Bargnani, the anti-Dirk, Dirk's perfectly awful foil. Obviously Dirk has worked his ass off to maximize his native ability and become one of the best players in NBA history. But the rest of this team is ugly, and I'm looking at you Dampier. I'm looking at you, Stackhouse. Ugly. And then there's Cuban in the stands, shouting instructions to the coaches or berating the refs. You just know that some high-ticket hooker on his Gulfstream flight home is going to get one look at his back hair and realize that she's going to have to earn her two thou like she's never had to earn it before.

 

Now for New Orleans...they can be good, they can be boring. Seventy percent of the time it's pick and roll, pass it to West, he hits the 17-footer. And no team that starts Mo Pete will ever really win my heart. But still...there's Chris Paul, who single-handedly provides entertainment value on the order of the Marques Haynes of the old Globetrotters. I've never seen anyone like him. He's Hall of Fame right now, with little in his path barring horrific injury to stop him. He should go down as the best non-Magic point guard ever. If you watch, you know that point guard play has changed lately, and I put it off to the effect of Nash. Nowadays, PGs get into the lane and create havoc not by going to the rim, but by getting there and hanging out keeping their peripheral vision alive, and making the pass to a wide-open cutter or shooter. Nash started this about five years ago, and now Parker, Williams and Paul are making a living on it, nobody as successfully as Paul. Just watch how he gets past the first line of defense using a pick, and then gets into the key and sits down, spreads out a picnic blanket, and pours himself a glass of Fume Blanc. Once he's there, he's camping. He's not looking for his shot necessarily, but darts around as a double-threat to either send in a teardrop or make a pass. Really, you never saw this kind of play before on a consistent basis, not even out of Stockton, Isaiah or Magic, and it's created nightmares for the soft underbelly of defenses. JKidd, Billups, Iverson and Andre Miller are in the previous generation who don't use this Nashian technique.

 

As for the next round, if we're lucky we'll get Lakers v Jazz, and my advice is to just turn off the rest of the playoffs to watch, as basketball doesn't get any better than these two tough, attacking teams. As a fan of exciting basketball, this is the series I'd want as the finals, and it's a crime that it's most likely going to happen next week rather than in June.

 

Okay that was 22 minutes. I'm leaving the misspellings and balky grammar in. Have fun watching this amazing round of playoffs because before long all we'll have left is that clownish bore known as baseball for the rest of the summer. Thank god Euro2008 is coming up so that we'll see some actual moving athletes again before fall. :D

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Suns won! May make a series of it after all! ...Nah.

 

Any time Raja Bell scores 27, the Suns are gonna win. He and Diaw can't be relied upon for performances like today very often.

 

Thanks Sao, I watch because I care.

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I wish there was a sport that was something like basketball, but with easier rules, so that Boris Diaw could be the best at it. He's so close to being a really great player, but he's just too soft, too lacking in killer instinct, too lacking in consistent shooting. But you can't hurt for the guy too much, as he was best man at Tony Parker's wedding to Eva Longoria and surely scored a bridesmaid. :D

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Yeah LA/ Boston would be sweet, but can you believe Tony Parker?! - Hard to believe that San Antonio almost considered

trading him...

 

I think my dollars are on SA to make it all the way...

 

although it would be nice to see Kobe get to one without Shaq.

 

Yes, Yes an great season ending for the NBA especially in the West!

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That was a damn impressive post.

 

Yeah. I don't know shite about B-Ball, but that looked impressive. When I did my first spot with The Spurs, the A.D. had to tell me who each one of them was :unsure:

 

 

Now can you do a write-up on F1 :)

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And hey, it's almost the second round! The first sign that the first round is coming to a close is that Charles Bazarkley is on my teevee telling Kenny Smith that he doesn't wipe his ass. I'm not joking. They have to fill time on nights when there's only one game, Philly getting killed by Detroit, so god knows what's going to crawl out of Charles' mouth.

 

For anyone without a Friday night life, or without a DVR/Tivo, tomorrow is game 6 of Utah / Houston at Utah, and that means Utah is favored. Altitude. Screaming Mormons. Insanely physical game that Utah plays. Utah's been doing without Boozer, while McGrady and Battier are playing on one good leg between them. That'd be Battier's left leg, for the record, and they're playing either no center, or a center named Dikembe who's so old he may even have a year on me. If Boozer finally shows up, Utah will walk, but so far Houston has made his life miserable by hedging in on him with a weak-side guy every time he gets the ball at his favorite spot right at the corner of the free-throw line (aka the little titty, according to Reggie Miller :D ).

 

What a series this has been. Next up for the winner would be LA, and whoever gets them, it's gonna be a war.

 

Second Round Series Quickies:

 

San Antonio v New Orleans

puts the NBA's two best small guys against each other. For all that Chris Paul is the anointed one, Parker is the more effective player in the conext of his team right now. It's like Parker's a different guy in the playoffs, hitting every shot and getting to the rim at will. In last year's finals, it was like he was playing on 45 while everyone else was on 33. How this possible Hall of Famer lasted until the last pick of the first round is a mystery nobody will ever solve. Chandler goes up against Duncan, and this will be the deciding matchup. Behind Chandler, after he starts to get into foul trouble, is who? Hilton Armstrong? Melvin Ely? This is the difference between a good regular season team and a good playoff team--do they have the depth at the center position. Two weeks ago I thought New Orleans would roll through this series, but unless there's a rain of 3s from Peja or Parker goes back to his pre-2007 erratic self, San Antonio should roll.

 

Orlando v Detroit

 

This could be a blowout. Detroit looked so good against Philadelphia tonight that it gave you the feeling that they're rounding into form. Nobody, not even San Antonio, is so cold-hearted as Detroit on a roll. I wouldn't want to be Jameer Nelson right now, the weak link on an otherwise good Orlando team. He's going to be exposed, I really fear. Sure, Dwight Howard will beat up on Rasheed, but he also misses his free throws and turns the ball over 4 times a game. Then when the second teams come in, you get this guy Maxiell, the latest in a long line of University of Cincinnati bruisers (Fortson, Patterson). He makes Detroit a different team in those second quarters / third quarter spells when Rasheed is daydreaming about bud on the bench.

 

Last comment on that awful LA v Denver series, but really about Kobe. Kobe did it again, all those things that are making him into a historically great player. He pressured Kenyon Martin into those two last fouls to foul him out, which killed Denver's momentum. He's like a man possessed right now, not only doing the normal Kobe things, which are superhuman enough in themselves, but putting intense pressure on the refs by playing such grill defense. So far they're letting him get away with everything he does. How he lasts 48 minutes playing so hard on both sides of the ball, no idea. I'd be thinking EPO if he was a bike racer.

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Govinda, you should be an analyst for ESPN, BTW what did you think about game 1 SA v. NO? or LA v. Utah? not too surprised about the Lakers - the Kobe Factor. (24 comes after 23...)

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Wow, what a surprise this weekend was. Okay, I think everyone thought that LA would beat Utah in LA. The difference in rest was pretty sharp--LA had almost a week off before the game (which showed in how slowly they got started) but Utah had 38 hours off, which showed in how poorly they finished. LA's defense doesn't let Utah get anything--anything. Korver comes off a pick for what would normally be an uncontested shot, but instead there's a hand in his face and he misses. Boozer is completely shackled as both Houston and LA concentrate on him, leaving Okur more lightly defended and having to do things he normally doesn't do--head-fake and drive to the bucket. Then when Utah looks like it's making a run, there's Gasol to do things that only a 7-footer can do, like tip in a miss on a fast break or post up and hit a hook shot. I like Utah better, but watch when they go to SLC for games later in the week. The entire crowd will be white. Not a single brown face in the entire place. Ahh, Utah...

 

But really, the surprise was New Orleans. Chandler, better than anyone thought. David West, better and more importantly smarter than anyone thought. Chandler more than held his own against Duncan, getting rebounds and tip-outs like a madman. I remember in 2001 when he, Kwame and Eddy Curry were drafted. Two of them are historic busts, and there was a thought that Chandler would likewise, but wow, no chance. There isn't a team in the league who wouldn't jump to have this guy on their roster. But David West is something even more special. He sees the floor like a point guard, catching the mismatches (Peja being guarded by Parker) and making the right pass. One time he was ready to back his man down, but another Hornet had fallen in the lane. He waited until the guy got up, then made his move. I felt like I was watching a master at work. The guy is so aware he's like the best poker player at the table. Plus he's long as hell and has that deadly 17-footer.

 

Boston should walk over Cleveland now because Cleveland doesn't defend as well as Atlanta did in that last series, when Ray Allen and Paul Pierce didn't have an inch of space to get off a shot. Atlanta was no fluke--they really played well enough to win that series up until the last game. The price of Joe Johnson just went up.

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I think my dollars are on SA to make it all the way...

 

 

OHH-EMM-GEE! CHris Paul has just seem to come out of no where - I mean, I always heard he was a great

player but this is unbelievable to me.

 

is it too late to re-nig?

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This link says it all about the best of the series we have going right now. It's Chris Paul vs. Tony Parker, with their centers doing the dirty work.

20080513-rj22mi5mnmbuej3xhgch3qc3u2.jpg

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Haha, me too. But also I've been setting the DVR like a frickin efficiency expert. Set to start on time, but end 30 minutes late, in case of overtime. Then I don't hit 'play' until 45 minutes past the star time, and I fast-forward through all commercials and free throws and sometimes even the out-of-bounds plays. If I'm pressed I don't watch the first half at all, then watch halftime to see the highlights, then only watch the second half or fourth quarter.

 

I loved Lebron's mom standing up and shoving her way into that fracas with Lebron and Paul Pierce. I laughed my ass off. I think I only spent 25 minutes watching that game, but holy shit! That was like 80s basketbrawl. There was no space to breathe. Cleveland just took all the Boston guys out of the game. Especially Garnett--I had no idea Varejao could defend like that.

 

What a dunk by Lebron with a buck-fifty left in the game. One of the best all-time. That's two all-time plays he's made in two games, the first being that block on Rondo's layup where he pinned the ball against the backboard. In five years we'll look at his highlight reel from the last two years of playoffs and we'll think we were looking at an alien.

 

20080513-cdk8rt7cefy5pi4smxm5u9tf2m.jpg

 

But the pregame show with Kenny, Charles and Magic completely told the story on how Lebron has to change his game to play in the playoffs. Post up, post up, post up.

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man oh man im so behind the TIVO curve! whats wrong with me?! I turned the SA/ NO game off after halftime thinking that SA had it goin their way!

and I totally missed the mama drama w/ Lebron... I'm so busy at night - I just miss a lot of the goodies and bliss.

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20080514-8ipw2c9bi9chrshhwskqeq3iad.jpg

 

YouTube Link

 

Prince blocks a game-tying dunk by Hedo Turkoglu (who next year probably won't be the guy taking all the shots in the fourth quarter). Stuff like this is happening every game. But they wouldn't have been in this situation if not for Howard being too young still...like everyone I love the kid but he commits way too many turnovers, he can't hit foul shots, and he became a spectator in the fourth quarter, completely checked out of the game.

 

Mama Drama, lol!

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Tayshaun is somethin Special! I like the comparisons between him and Scottie Pippen.

 

I dont have a favorite team any more...

 

I was a border line detroit fan which is almost like taboo - beacuse I always like the bulls and MJ when i was younger

After he retired the second time, I was a displaced fan looking for a team... at one time it was Sacremento and they would choke in the playoffs, Detroit tho...

I just love the way they play together and their defense is just what an east team needs if they think they're gonna beat a west team

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Nah it was hard bangin' Leon Powe, drawing fouls. Give him a couple of extra L's in his name and he'd be a real playa. :D

 

This was my dream matchup once the conference finals got underway. Can anyone imagine Detroit v San Antonio? Eyugh, I don't think I could've watched! It'd be like watching a drill press for two solid hours. I've had enough Bruce Bowen and his trick of sliding his feet under jump shooters, so that while the shooter's in the air he's worried that he's going to land on Bowen's feet and destroy an ankle and lose his career. The guy clearly did it last year, then quit, then during the playoffs he started it again. I can't watch the guy without thinking of all the ankle ligaments he's torn.

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Hey parallax! Vienna, I can dream. :D The Euros would be a different thread. I'm holding back on opening that can of Christian Wurms.

 

Nayderlinds plays Italy tomorrow, and hey hasn't that been a fun match in past years. Trying to remember the last Dutch victory. History is 7-2 in favor of Italy in 15 matchs.

 

I'm also trying to figure out what makes two of the best Dutch players, Robben and Van Persie, run like girls when they're on the ball. I mean seriously, left arm goes up, wrist goes limp, only thing missing is blouse on the chest and little ribbon in the hair. It must be something they both picked up at the same time in some Dutchie youth program, because nobody else in the entire world of football does it but those two. :D

 

Dutch have a chance though! Boulahrouz isn't starting anymore.

 

Rooting for the Dutch as usual. Sneijder with a 20-yarder to win and back up his smack-talk this week, a shot he gets off because Cannavaro isn't around to block it.

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Wrong thread ;)

 

Hey parallax! Vienna, I can dream. :D The Euros would be a different thread. I'm holding back on opening that can of Christian Wurms.

 

Nayderlinds plays Italy tomorrow, and hey hasn't that been a fun match in past years. Trying to remember the last Dutch victory. History is 7-2 in favor of Italy in 15 matchs.

 

I'm also trying to figure out what makes two of the best Dutch players, Robben and Van Persie, run like girls when they're on the ball. I mean seriously, left arm goes up, wrist goes limp, only thing missing is blouse on the chest and little ribbon in the hair. It must be something they both picked up at the same time in some Dutchie youth program, because nobody else in the entire world of football does it but those two. :D

 

Dutch have a chance though! Boulahrouz isn't starting anymore.

 

Rooting for the Dutch as usual. Sneijder with a 20-yarder to win and back up his smack-talk this week, a shot he gets off because Cannavaro isn't around to block it.

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