So What’s Up With That ………… It’s News Isn’t It ?
The NBA — conference semi finals are upon us and it looks as many of those series won’t be as clear cut as we either hoped or believe them to be. In light of that , first off, congratulations to Derrick Rose on becoming the league’s youngest MVP . At the same further congratulations are in order with the Chicago Bulls’ —- Tom Thibodeau becoming the NBA Coach of the Year . Had there been another recipient of the award then I for one would’ve questioned the integrity of the adjudicators of the award . Simply put , what Thibodeau was able to do with this team in constructing a twenty one game turnaround from last season in making the organization the top seed in the East Conference as well as having the best record in the league deserves such an award . That being said the most important award to be had is that of the NBA title and that remains the ultimate goal of an organization whose sucess has been measured by what they achieved during the Jordan era with the Bulls .
Slide show for your perusal .
This postseason may well be like any other in recent memory as many are of the belief that the league hierarchy are expecting the anointing and coronation of the Miami Heat as they’re expected to stroll their way to this season’s NBA title . And granted , Pat Riley has done as much as is humanly possible in working his magic by recruiting Chris Bosh and LeBron James to add alongside Dwyane Wade and an assorted bunch of role players on the Heat roster . That being said a championship isn’t awarded merely because of how good your roster looks but what that team does in its effort to win.
The Heat in their semi finals match-up against the Boston Celtics took game one with consummate ease winning 99-90 . That being said I do believe that there’s still a long way to go in this series before its final chapter is actually written . With the Heat now holding a 1-0 lead , look for the Celtics to try and rebound from that game one loss.
The Bulls for their part face a stern test in a series matchup against the Atlanta Hawks who literally “bitch slapped” the Orlando Magic back into an era before basketball had actually been invented . I’m just saying that in light of what I saw as an effort from this Magic team I wouldn’t want any member of that team other than Dwight Howard on a basketball court at this juncture ! How best to describe the Magic ……………… rhymes with fecal matter and it , the term is colloquially used as a four letter noun …….. sh#t ! . Need I say anymore on the matter ? Game one of the series between the Bulls and Hawks at the United Center in front of a raucous sold out crowd gave you every reason to believe that the Bulls’ fans were in for another exemplary display from their team of heroes . But someone flipped the script and forgot to make sure that this Atlanta Hawks team were reminded that this wasn’t a scripted series as they came away with a surprsingly easy 103-95 win. And though Rose was injured , having hurt his left ankle , no excuses can be made for this defeat as the Bulls were simply outplayed on their home-court. Game two of if anything promises to hold something different as I don’t expect the Bulls to go down 0-2 in this series . And low and behold that’s twice now we’ve all actually seen a physical sighting of Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks . Too much more of this and I’m liable to get all giddy and start to lament how it is that SNL’s — Tracy Morgan actually gets aroused by listening and watching Sarah Palin . So you so understand my dilemma then ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!! Actually watching Johnson play like an NBA All Star is something akin to that because I for one never once thought of him as a player of that caliber to begin with !
The Western Conference semi finals bring in the upstarts who didn’t as such spoil the party but none the less the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder are most certainly a breath of fresh air in an otherwise somewhat lousy conference in terms of the play there this season amongst the teams. Those two teams now meet one of a duo of series where a berth stands as the prize in the Western Conference Finals . Grizzlies’ veteran Zach Randolph looks to add to his heroics this postseason in light of he single handedly bringing the Memphis Grizzlies to where they are at present. Anyone who witnessed his one man onslaught of the San Antonio Spurs knows he’d been playing like a man possessed .
That 4-2 series win was enough to send the San Antonio Spurs home with their tails hanging between their legs as it was so clinical and embarrassing in its surgical precision. It’s not often that you’ll see a Spurs’ teams literally beaten and placed on life support but that in essence was what had taken place in their loss the Grizzlies.
The Oklahoma City Thunder led by the league’s champion — Kevin Durant , ably abetted by Russell Westbrook , James Harden and Serge Ibaka made light work of the Denver Nuggets in their series matchup . And for the individual who felt that the Nuggets could hang with the Thunder because of their athleticism , please check yourself before your wreck yourself !
This series between the two could tell us a great deal not only about the temperament of the two teams but also which of them actually has the desire and will to win. Game one if anything was very much an indicator of that with the Grizzlies man-handling the Thunder on their way to a 114-101 victory . Get the feeling the Memphis Grizzlies could very well be destined for something special this postseason ? Think about it ?
It’s amazing to think that between them Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki have made multiple All Star appearances and between them have appeared in a combined seven NBA Finals . But their meeting between Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers will be their first in a playoff series and that if anything is something of a real surprise considering the longevity the duos’ careers in the league. Accolades asides , and the fact Bryan stands sixth and Nowitzki stands twenty third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list only adds to the script about to be written in this series matchup. The Lakers as defending champions are simply looking to add to their legacy and at the same time give Phil Jackson a great send off in what is meant to be his last season as the team’s coach. On the opposing end of this scenario is the very fact that Nowitzki still seeks his first NBA title as a player. The embarrassment suffered by the Mavericks in their lone appearance in the finals where they lost a lopsided series ( 4-2) to the Miami Heat was enough to suggest at the time that it might well have been Nowitzki’s one and only chance . Now come full circle and he and the team are in with a better than even chance against a Lakers’ team that simply hasn’t lived up to its full potential this season , which has seen them play somewhat inconsistently .
The Mavericks under their coach Rick Carlisle know that if they’re to win this series then they will have to dictate the pace and flow of the series . And what better way than to rock the Lakers back on their heels than to take game one decisively with an emphatic 96-94 win . Though the two point margin of victory would suggest that the game was much closer on appearance it was essentially sewn up by midway through the fourth quarter as the Lakers made a last ditch attempt to erase the 12 point deficit that they’d dug for themselves during the the game played at the Staples Center , Los Angeles in front of a raucous and vocal crowd cheering on the home team. Dirk Nowitzki was at his very best leading his team scoring 28 points in the game . Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 36 points but he got little by way of much assistance from the rest of his teammates on the offensive end of the ball . And the Lakers simply struggled to try and even shackle Nowitzki , defensively .
If there’s one thing which I’ve maintained all along concerning the Los Angeles Lakers it is that they’re far too reliant on Bryant for his offensive contributions . And if no one is actually prepared to step up to the plate then more often than not they simply struggle to compete as a team offensively. It’s hard to believe that the rest of the Lakers’ starting five other than Bryant actually combined for 33 points collectively . The bench contributed for twenty five points and that much vaunted defensive prowess of Ron Artest was simply nowhere to be seen during this game. Realistically though , it would be naive to think that the Lakers under Phil Jackson’s coaching prowess would simply not remedy the flaws that were exposed on his team by the Mavericks . I fully expect game two to be one where that encounter will turn out with an entirely different result ! If not then this series could very well end up being beyond the reach of the Los Angeles Lakers . An 0-2 deficit would be far too much to expect them to recover from , with a Mavericks’ team that’s finally showing that it actually has a backbone .
Picture gallery for your perusal .
As the conference semi finals have started what one result thus far has been of a complete surprise to you ? By all means leave a comment as to your your thoughts on this and anything else pertinent to the NBA postseason .
Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………..
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) CHICAGO, IL – MAY 02: of the Chicago Bulls of the Atlanta Hawks in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 2, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Hawks defeated the Bulls 103-95 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ………..
(2) Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls is helped off of the court by trainer Fred Tedeschi and Carlos Boozer (5) after a loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 2, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Hawks defeated the Bulls 103-95. Getty Images / Johnathan Daniel …..
(3) Joe Johnson (2) of the Atlanta Hawks puts up a shot on his way to a game-high 34 points against the Chicago Bulls in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 2, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Hawks defeated the Bulls 103-95. Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ……
(4) Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks dunks the ball over Kyle Korver (26) and Loul Deng (9) of the Chicago Bulls in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 2, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Hawks defeated the Bulls 103-95. Getty Images /Johnathan Daniel …….
(5) Zaza Puchulia (27) of the Atlanta Hawks hits the floor in front of teammate Al Horford (15) after being fouled by Kurt Thomas (40) of the Chicago Bulls as Derrick Rose (1) and Carlos Boozer (5) watch the play in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 2, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Hawks defeated the Bulls 103-95. Getty Images / Johnathan Daniel …….
(6) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat shoots over Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics during Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann …….
(7) Paul Pierce (34) of the Boston Celtics passes around LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat during game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images …….
(8) Marc Gasol (33) and Zach Randolph (50) of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrate defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game one of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2011 at Oklahoma City Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images ……..
(9) Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant(notes), top, goes up for a shot as Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol(notes), of Spain, defends, in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oklahoma City, Sunday, May 1, 2011. Memphis won 114-101 . Joe Murphy /Getty Images ……………..
(10) Forward Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder walks off the court during a 114-101 loss against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2011 at Oklahoma City Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Getty Images /Ronald Martinez …..
(11) : Matt Barnes (9) of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot under the basket against Brendan Haywood (33) of the Dallas Mavericks in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/ Getty Images …….
(12) Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki of Germany, right, takes a shot over Los Angeles Lakers’ Lamar Odom during the second half in Game 1 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series Monday, May 2, 2011, in Los Angeles. Nowitzki had 28 points and the Mavericks won 96-94. Getty Images/ Harry How …….
(13) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers moves the ball as he is guarded by Jason Terry (32) of the Dallas Mavericks in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty Images …….
(14) Pau Gasol (16) of the Los Angeles Lakers fouls Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks late in the fourth quarter in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ………
(15) Andrew Bynum (17) of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images …….