20th edition – 04/24/2004
It’s been an uninteresting first week of playoff basketball. For the most part, things are moving along accordingly. I didn’t expect the Knicks to crash and burn so abruptly or the Bucks to be the ONLY road team to get a win in the first two games of each series, even though they almost choked, but oh well. As a matter of fact, surprisingly, that’s been my response to the post season so far: Something’s missing. And all this extra time between games isn’t helping. Everything seems stagnate, there’s no rhythm to the games. Last year I didn’t like when the league changed the first round from a Best-of-Five series to a Best-of-Seven series, and my sentiments remain the same today.
Remember when the Nuggets shook up the world by upsetting the Sonics in 1994? Well, we’ll never see the likes of that happening again. In a Best-of-Seven format, the better team ALWAYS emerges victorious, usually after a drawn out battle between top tier teams. That scenario makes for a boring first round. In years past, I enjoyed watching teams like that Denver squad play with nothing to lose or seeing if the higher seeded teams could live up to expectations. I found it amusing when teams folded under pressure after losing one of their first two home games.
In a short series, losses are PARAMOUNT and some teams can’t handle being under the gun. Currently, everything seems a little too comfortable. You’re not supposed to be comfortable in the playoffs. Even if a higher seeded team loses an early home game, they know it’s not that big of an obstacle. Take for instance the Pistons; in a five gamer, they’d be faced with the notion that they could’ve played their final home game. That’s drama! But now, we all know that Detroit will recover and win that series. And if they don’t, well…I guess that torpedoes my argument…but I doubt it’ll happen. Nonetheless, hopefully when all the weaker teams (Nuggets, Rockets, Grizzlies, Hornets, Bucks, Celtics, Knicks, and Mavs) are dismissed, we can get down to the real.
As The League Happens (During the Playoffs)
* Word of the week: Fugazy. That’s what Tim Thomas called Kenyon Martin after Game 2 of the Knicks vs. Nets series. Thomas didn’t just refer to Martin as a fake tough guy, but a “…fugazy tough guy.” Classic!
* I hate that Foot Locker commercial where the dude tries on a pair of Reeboks, and then is allowed to test them out on the streets before he decides whether or not he wants to buy them. What shoe store on this planet would allow such foolishness to take place? And I’m not even going to get into how SURDICULOUS the end of that ad was with all the girls.
* And speaking of LAME commercials, that promo with the different NBA players courting the championship trophy is on the same list.
* That display by the Hornets in Game 2 against the Heat was pathetic! If the Hornets didn’t want to participate in the playoffs, then they should’ve let another team have their spot.
* It’s cool to see Pam Oliver working basketball games, but whose idea was it to allow Rex Chapman the same courtesy? It’s bad enough that I have to watch a Knicks vs. Nets series, but it’s even worse that I have to hear Chapman analyzing the games.
* During the press conference to introduce Jim O’Brien as the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, team general manager Billy King announced that Allen Iverson was not on the trading block. I’m interested to hear what he says at the middle or the end of next season when everything doesn’t work out, and Iverson is a member of the Memphis Grizzlies.
* The voters didn’t take my advice and split the Coach of the Year Award between Hubie Brown and Jerry Sloan. They chose to have a single winner, and congratulations to Hubie Brown for his well-deserved accomplishment. But for Sloan to be a game within making the playoffs in the Western Conference with that NO NAME Utah squad was a borderline miracle.
* Zach Randolph won the Most Improved Player of the Year Award, I concur. Antawn Jamison won the Sixth Man of the Year Award, that’s cool too…I guess.
* And for the record, there is NO DESCREPANCY in who should’ve won the Rookie of the Year award, NONE AT ALL!
* I actually liked Kenny Smith’s little rhyme in the booth on Rap City …it was cute.
* Shaq scored seven points in a playoff game and the Lakers still won. I saw it with my own eyes and I’m still having a difficult time believing it.
* As I was watching the Spurs vs. Grizzlies series, it dawned on me how AMAZING it is that Bo Outlaw has been in the league as long as he has.
* It STILL hurts to see Robert Horry wearing black and silver…but especially at this time of the year.