NBA Playoff Thoughts 2009
on 5/24/2009 (0)
It's late May and once again the NBA playoffs are in full swing. There have been some interesting matchups thus far (Chicago verses Boston may be the best first round series ever) and I've found it rather entertaining, despite the fact that my perennial Eastern Conference runners up, the Detroit Pistons, were bounced rather quickly (I'm still searching for a loophole to get them back in, or even better, a way to redo the Darko draft where they passed up Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh).
The NBA in general is a hard sport to like, which I believe to be for two main reasons. First off, many of the star players are unlikable. I know several people who dismiss the entire league as thugs (unjustly) and swear it off for that reason. But there is no denying that there are several high profile NBA stars that are less than likeable. For instance, it's hard to market a sport when the second best player is a villain in many people's eyes (Kobe Bryant). I honestly find myself more often rooting for a team to lose because there are players on it I don't like rather than rooting for a team I like.
The second reason is the officiating, which varies from terrible to blatantly terrible to holy crap that was terrible. I get that it's a fast paced game but overall the officiating is bar none the worst of any of the major sports. Games should not be decided by officiating, but all too often NBA games are, with either a blow call changing the outcome of a game or those occasional instances were refs pile fouls on one team while calling none on the other, leading to often insurmountable odds for one team. Consider that the NBA had a legitimate point shaving scandal and no one noticed or even batted an eye during the games were it occurred. That's how bad the officiating is, people expect it to be bad. Worse yet than the bad reffing is the fact that you don't know which kind of bad reffing you'll get nor can you be assured of the same level of bad reffing throughout the entire game. There is nothing more frustrating in sports than seeing your team fall because of the guys with the whistles. The NBA is king of such occurrences.
Now that I've ranted a little on the NBA as a whole, back to the current year's playoffs. We've got two interesting matchups, which took the many who expected LA and Cleveland to cakewalk to the Finals.
In the East, we have Orlando taking on Cleveland (check out BetUS.com for the latest odds and to place your bets) in a series that is one amazing Lebron James last second three-pointer away from being a 3-0 series in favor of the Magic. Despite being only down one game, this series looks bad for Cleveland. Lebron James has done wonders for the Cavs, but their roster is average at best (as is their coaching). The Magic are a much more rounded team that should probably win this series barring a couple "out of his mind" performances by James, which could certainly happen. I suspect this crushes the spirits of fellow Smooth Operator writer and Cleveland native Mark Motz, though not so much that he won't take every opportunity to remind me that Cleveland swept Detroit only two short series ago.
In the West, we have LA (evil) taking on Denver (neutral) (basketball betting fans click here). No one expected Denver to compete in this series so it's rather surprising that they've outplayed LA for most of the series. Unfortunately for them, Denver laid an egg in the fourth quarters of game one and three and now find themselves in a 1-2 series hole when they really should be up 3-0. When you're competing for a championship, you can't blow opportunities like that. For that reason, I think LA is probably going to pull out this series. That will also make me sad for Chauncey Billups, who was nothing short of a class<
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