GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Monday, April 25, 2005

NBA Playoffs - Faaaaaaaaaaantastic!

So, ever since the T-wolves were knocked out of the running for the playoffs, I swore off basketball in order to recharge for the playoffs. I caught at least part of every single game this weekend. Here are my assorted thoughts:

I really think Detroit is the team to beat in the East. They just ground down the 76ers all game and I think they'll be doing that to everyone. Remember that last year they had many close calls in the playoffs and it took a while for them to really heat up and click on all cylanders. This year I feel they're already playing Finals worthy basketball.

Dallas has their work cut out for them but given Yao's timid play, I think they still have a great shot - just wait until their offense clicks (no one was shooting well Saturday). Mutombo has much more left in the tank than anyone realized and this bodes very well for Houston who can boast the second best 1-2 center lineup in the league (more on how 'Zo makes Miami a clear #1).

Indiana has come so far this year since the brawl in Detroit. However, I think that Reggie's career and their season ends here in the first round. Sure, in the playoffs a blowout in the first game isn't the end of the world as so many adjustments are made. However, this Boston team is pretty nasty and is the best one I've seen in quite a while - if they can get some things to go their way, I think it's reasonable for Boston to play in the 'ship. I mean, they blewout the Pacers and Pierce couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Did anyone else notice that Payton has like already surpassed his total production for the Lakers in the playoffs last year?! Oh, and one last thing about the game before moving on: Ra-ef, Ra-ef, Ra-ef is on FIRE!!!!!!!!

When you've got injuries and your cold blooded killer airballs a game tying shot in the final seconds of game 1 in the playoffs, you're done. Sacramento did a good job of playing a solid season and all, but they just looked atrocious - and by 'they' I mean Mike Bibby. I don't think I've seen him tank this hardcore in a playoff game....ever. Okay, okay, so yes, marquee players can have horrible shooting nights and bounce back in a major way in the playoffs. But yeah, I think the Sonics win this series handily. Their in trouble though vs. a nice halfcourt team or the Suns...

The miami game was my favorite game of the weekend. Mainly b/c Dwyane Wade is AMAZING!!!! Sure that Damon Jones guy went for 30....he didn't create any of his own shots - Wade just knew what was going on the entire game and kept shredding New Jersey. Also, there was a 30 second stretch earlyish in the game where 'Zo had a tricky block on an airborne Vince Carter on the defensive end and then got a pretty hard dunk on a putback on the offensive end. I feel sorry for anyone watching who didn't have a big, fat, 'ol smile on their face. Speaking of Vince - he played well, had many points....but he reminded me of the old good Vince and this guy Greg the House and I used to play IM basketball with. Greg was good - sometimes clearly the best player on the floor. He had the ability to take over games but never would when it mattered - only when it didn't. Vince has Kidd to help out in this regard but I really think for the Nets to win this series (doable only b/c Miami has an awful bench) Vince will need to somehow impose his will on the game at a critical juncture....and I'm not sure I've ever seen him actually do this before.

Chicago vs. Washington....this game was very fun to watch for me b/c I followed the Warriors back when they had Jamison, Hughes, and Arenas. This is a game Washington had to have in order to take this series....I can see them stretching it to 7 perhaps, but I think they already blew their best shot to win. Sir Charles in the postgame TNT analysis kept talkin about how you can't let Andres Nocioni go for 25 and 18 and still win. However, I disagree. Even though the Bulls were outplaying the Wizards all over the place in teh 4th quarter, the Wiz were right there the whole time....just one or two key shots or breaks going their way and they would have lucked into the win. Instead, Arenas stayed frustrated, Hughes showed that he can't be the take-over clutch guy while Jamison was active enough to keep them in it but not to win. Forget Ben Gordon or Nocioni.....the Wizards I feel are the better team. However, without home court advantage and after missing this gold opportunity - I think they'll wither from the uphill battle they now face.

So Denver beat the Spurs....meh. Duncan isn't full strength, the Nuggets put forth their best game....Parker was completely disinterested from playing hard and the Spurs went scoreless for 10 minutes in the fourth - AND ONLY LOST BY 6! The Spurs will win this series....and I doubt their worried (or should be). Kudos to 'Melo for not self-destructing yet in the playoffs. Bigger kudos to Andre Miller who single handedly won this game. His post game interview was classic too....anyone remember when he was killin night in and night out on Cleveland?? Yeah, he has game....

The Phoenix game went just about as planned....I expect to see them sweep Memphis. Especially considering that Stoudemire and Nash pretty much had 'off' games. I'm not sure how/why analyst have said Memphis matches up well with Phoenix - I just don't see it. Frankly, the only team I see posing a big problem is the Spurs. They have a defense that will slow them down and force them into half-court sets. Also, the Spurs have the best answer for Stoudemire - Duncan (if healthy at that point). Parker can abuse Nash on the offense and hopefully get him tired while no team really has an 'answer' for Ginobli. Of course, the Spurs have to get by Denver first, ;).