Saturday, May 2, 2009
MASSIVE post, Part 1
So after being sufficiently screwed by my physics final this morning, I'm finally done with exams and now have time to work on this blog.
I was going to start with my thoughts on the draft, but its hard to start off with anything other than the Bulls-Celtics with game seven of one of the best NBA playoff series ever. While the rest of the NBA playoffs have been less than exciting as a whole (as one would expect from the first round), the Chicago-Boston matchup had the potential from the beginning to be something special. Chicago is loaded with young, scrappy talent and Boston is a wounded bear that still wishes to defend their title. Derrick Rose looks nothing like a rookie, Ray Allen and Ben Gordon have put on shooting clinics, and Paul Pierce has hit clutch shots in the final seconds. Combined with the fact that several games have gone to one or more overtimes (culminating in the 3OT epic thursday night).
Another, slightly more underlooked factor that has made this series great is presence of two eminently dislikable players on each side of the court. Joakim Noah has been an easy target for hate ever since his Florida days. From his appearance, which is somewhere between Predator and Sanjaya (I'm really not sure which is more insulting). On the other side, Rajon Rondo has emerged both as one of the best guards in the league and one of the dirtiest players. From his "questionably" flagrant foul against Miller in game 5 to his assault on Kirk Henrich, Rondo has quickly become public enemy #1 for all fanbases but the celtics.
This series has been great for pro basketball as it is starting to make a comeback into the attention of general sports fans. The past ten years have been tough on the NBA with the strike, the Palace Brawl, franchises moving, and players who gave the league a poor image. Now with LeBron rising to Jordan-esque prominance, players getting in less trouble, and this playoffs, the NBA can finally win back the fans it lost over the past ten years.
One quick aside, the moving of franchises has to be one of the worst parts of any sports but the NBA has been a horrible offender. Even worse the teams that move have kept suddenly inappropriate team names. The Lakers name refers to the Great Lakes, Utah is one of the last places you would find jazz, and New Orleans was not the Hornets nest of the south. With regards to the Lakers, they can keep the name due to the tradition. Utah should change its name to something more appropriate (the polygamists?, or maybe the Avalanche as it is known for skiing), New Orleans should get back the Jazz nickname, and for god's sake lets change Charlotte back to the Hornets as opposed to not so slyly naming the team the Bobcats after owner Bob Johnson. While I think it was a horrible decesion to steal the Sonics, at least Oklahoma changed their team name (however they should absolutely be called the bandits, both referring to Oklahoma's part in the wild west and their theivery of Seattle's basketball team).
Anyways, with regards to the game tonight I think Chicago will be less fatigued coming in and will have a real chance to win. That said its hard to bet against a tough, experienced former champion at home. I think the Bulls will jump to the early lead but Pierce and Allen will make clutch shots down the stretch to give the celtics the win. Honestly which ever team win the series is going to be winded against the Magic, and will almost certainly fall to the the Cleveland LeBrons. Speaking of the LeBrons, while I still maintain Jordan's superiority, James is working with a significantly worse cast than Pippen and Co. that accompanied Jordan. What truely amazes me about James is how he can come out before a game completely loose, then turn on the intensity when he hits the court. The potential matchup with Kobe and the Lakers would be great in the finals (though don't be surprised if he runs into Carmello and the Nuggets instead.
NOTE: Due to timing and cohesiveness I'll update the rest of the Massive post tomorrow. Enjoy the basketball tonight.