Saturday, April 26, 2008

NBA Playoff Blowouts Mystery

One might expect the Eastern conference to be a lot less competitive, but the Western Conference has been very enigmatic as the first round of these playoffs have gone on. Only 2 close games, with a classic double-overtime thriller between the Spurs and Suns. The Rockets also pulled out a close win over the Jazz in Utah, by just 2 points and a huge block by Rocket Carl Landry. In the east, we have had just 1 real close game with Philly pulling off an upset at the end, otherwise it's been teams just trading blowouts.

In the Washington vs. Cleveland series, we've seen statements made by both teams. Cleveland blows out Washington in game 2. Washington returns home for Game 3 and blows out the Cavs by even more points. In their past playoff series, they had some great, thrilling close games, with King James or Agent 0 factoring into the win, usually near the buzzer. It isn't anything like that this go round. The Celtics have routed the Hawks several times now, and that's to be expected. Boston is definitely a superior squad to most teams, and in the weaker East they should blowout the upstart Hawks. Philadelphia provides one of the few surprises in the East for some compelling contests against stalwart Detroit. They also may provide the reason we are seeing blowouts. A team like Detroit might underestimate Philly and think they can just get by. Doesn't work that way. Same goes for Cleveland and Washington, are they winning huge, then assuming it comes easily?

But the West is where the question mark really lies. It was one of the most competitive seasons in recent years, with the standings decided in the final week of play. The Lakers captured the 1 spot, with New Orleans second. Teams like Dallas and Denver were lower seeds, but in the East they'd be winning playoff series. The Spurs Suns first game made us all believe "wow this Western Conference playoffs will be spectacular". Now Phoenix finds itself down 0-3. The Spurs as reigning champs are just a great example of how good teams execute. They put on offensive and defensive clinics. The shots almost always fall for San Antonio, and if a team like Phoenix isn't keeping up, they lose. Bye Bye Phoenix, unless you can really pull off a serious gameplan and upset these ferocious world champs.

Expect the action to pick up as we get to the Western final four, Round 2. If it comes down to Spurs vs. New Orleans or Dallas, and Lakers vs. Jazz (or Rockets), we've got the makings of some real classics.

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