10 May 2011


Can we ask for anything more from these playoffs? We had an overtime Heat win followed by a triple overtime game in Oklahoma City last night, and the Hawks are giving the Bulls everything they can handle while Memphis plays the Thunder tough even in losses.

Even the Boston/Miami series, which the Heat lead 3-1, had an epic game in Boston where Rajon Rondo came back from a dislocated elbow and Garnett and Pierce submitted all-time great-level games in a big win.

Quick looks at all four series:


Unfortunately for the original Big 3, they couldn't sustain the level of play they exhibited in Game 3 and will most likely lose the series now. That Game 3 required Garnett and Pierce to play out of their minds while James, Bosh, and to some extent Wade, all had terrible performances. That wasn't going to happen again.


Derrick Rose continues his campaign of shooting poorly and hoping no one notices. In Game 4 he scored 34 points on 35% shooting. His assist numbers were great, but the dude needs to get others involved even more if he can't be more efficient than that.

Here's what the Bulls offense looked like in the fourth quarter (of Game 4):

Carlos Boozer missed layup; Rose made 10-footer; Rose made 14-footer + 1 free throw; Rose made layup; Rose missed layup (blocked by Teague); offensive rebound; Rose missed 14-footer; offensive rebound; Rose missed 8-footer; Rose missed layup; Kyle Korver made 17-footer (Rose assists); C.J. Watson turnover; Taj Gibson 2-for-2 at the line; shot clock violation; Rose turnover; Luol Deng missed three-pointer; offensive rebound; Rose made 7-footer and the foul; Rose misses free throw; Rose made layup; Rose missed layup; Rose missed 6-footer; Rose turnover; Salvatore’s blown call; Korver missed three-pointer; Deng made layup (Rose assists); Korver turnover; Rose made layup.

In summary: The Bulls' fourth quarter offense consisted of only 2 assists (both by Rose), 4 free throw attempts, 5 turnovers and 17 field goal attempts...12 by Rose.

That's just bad basketball.

Also in this game, referee Bennett Salvatore took some heat for initially calling a foul on the below play then changing his mind.

Salvatore initially blew his whistle and raised his arm as if to call a foul, but then ran to the scorer's table to wave it off.

And despite the complaints I've read, that was the right thing to do. Rose created the contact with Crawford there; if anything it was an offensive foul and I'm sick of players who create contact getting rewarded.

I have no idea who will win this series. The Bulls are the better team when it's actually, you know, a team, but if Rose keeps dominating the ball I like Atlanta's chances. Josh Smith is playing well, and Joe Johnson is tearing it up, averaging 21 ppg on 54% shooting overall and a blistering 66.7% shooting from deep.

Memphis-Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City had three last-second shots last night, and all three were terrible. Luckily this didn't come back to bite them in the end, but I have to wonder about their coaching.

Russell Westbrook is going to the Derrick Rose of Point Guards Who Shoot Too Much, as he took 33 shots last night, 13 more than Durant, and recorded only five assists. To be fair, he shot much better than Rose (45%) but come on, dude. Pass the rock and maybe you don't need three overtimes to beat Memphis.

Marc Gasol is a beast. Last night he had 26 points and 21 rebounds (10 offensive) on 55% shooting. Z-Bo 34 and 16 on 36% shooting, but mostly made up for that by hitting 16 of his 17 free throw attempts. The guards for Memphis aren't nearly as good, but maybe in the playoffs it's all about the bigs.

Another uncertain series. I'd like to give the nod to the Grizzlies, considering their dominance down low, but Game 7 is in Oklahoma, and that's a big deal. I'm just rooting for exciting games the rest of the way.

Los Angeles Lakers-Dallas

And I've saved the best for last. Considering the current state of the Jazz, my enjoyment of this NBA season was tied directly to the odds of L.A. winning their third title in a row. While the Lakers had their bad moments during the regular season, they were still favorites to win it all, and my happiness was in dire jeopardy.

Then the Mavs swept L.A. and absolutely crushed them doing it.

All is well.

I mean, the Lakers even came off as completely classless in the series loss, thanks to Artest, Odom and Bynum all behaving badly at points. I couldn't have asked for more.

So I'm basking in the glow made possible by Jason Terry playing out of his mind for this series and Dirk being Dirk. Sure, the Lakers will probably trade Matt Barnes and a couple draft picks to Orlando for Dwight Howard, but right now, the franchise is in shambles.

I'm sure David Stern is quaking in his boots at the prospect of an Atlanta-Memphis Finals, but it'd be a fun ride to get there.

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