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The NBA Conference Semi-Finals; Meltdowns & Beat Downs.Posted by JR the Writer on 05/18/12 | Filed under Features, Sports, NBA
If someone told me at the beginning of these playoffs that Dwayne Wade would have 5 points in a game 3 of a conference semi or that Kobe would be the reason the Lakers lose with a 7 point lead with less than 2 minutes, I wouldn’t of believed any of the blasphemy, but I guess that is why you play the game. (In my best Herm Edwards voice)
Sixers vs. Celtics
Rekindling a classic rivalry, the first 2 games looked as if this series was going to be a 1-point down to the wire finish every game, but then Wednesday happened. The Celtics embarrassed Philly in their own arena and have fans all over asking if that was the swinging point of the whole series. The Sixers had a higher 3-point percentage, more offensive rebounds, and at one point were up by 7 late into the 2nd quarter, so what happened? Well, when Thadeous Young is your leading scorer and your team is shooting 40% from the field, which simply won’t cut it against Boston. This is the playoffs Philly! You can’t give up 21 fast point breaks to a team that is late to the arena every night because they have to watch the end of “Murder She Wrote” or “Golden Girls!” While Rondo is indeed one of the fastest players to get down the court, it is the missed shots and the rebounds that are allowing him to get a running start to blow past the transition D. With great ball movement, the shots are there for the Sixers and have been for most of the playoffs, but Old man Elton and the rookie Allen have somehow lost their touch to hit the 15-foot open jumpers. Brand shooting 1-6 with 5 of them being non-contested shots and Hawes doing the same with 2-8, the Sixers simply need to make shots! The misses aren’t just regular misses either, the bad bounces they’re getting off the rim has Rondo already at the top of the perimeter with Peirce and Planet of the Apes Pietrus following closely behind.
Impact Player: Kevin Garnett knows the urgency of winning this title for an older team and is playing like this is the year he wants it. Unlike the Sixers, Garnett has hit almost every 18 footer that he has set up off a high pick and roll or off ball screen to take. If he continues to be consistent with his shooting, the Sixers are in a hurting of trouble. Elton is not athletic to cover him on the outside perimeter off screens, while Thadeous is not physical or strong enough to post up against him in the lane. Pick you poison Philly, or maybe you can get this fan to post up against him.
Prediction: I do think Philly will bounce back for Game 4, but then that’s it.
Boston in 6
Pacers vs. Heat
It may not be true for the whole season, but it’s obvious that Bosh is the most important Heat player for this series. You don’t have to believe me, but Hibbert sure did and exploded for 19 points, 18 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots with him out. The Heat are clueless what to do down low, and starting Pittman for a grand total of 3 minutes probably isn’t the best solution. While I’m not sure how Anthony went from a pretty good postseason last year, to a 1 rebound in 27 minutes player this year, nothing is strange anymore when it comes to Miami. Chalmers is your leading scorer, Wade has the 2nd least amount of points than ANYONE from the team including the bench, and Lebron only got the foul line 3 times last night. Actually, Lebron and Wade got to the line a combined total of 5 times last night, FIVE TIMES PEOPLE! These two are arguably two of the best drivers in the league and they somehow could only manage to get to the line 5 times?! However, I think the blame for that is the lack of coaching and heart. Did you see D Wade last night? He wasn’t even apart of the huddles, and why should he be? I saw no plays drawn up from out of a timeout, there’s no sense of urgency or leadership, and no one is demanding him to get into the huddle. Lebron is the MVP of the league, he needs to rally these troops and get their heads straight. While it may not be his prime duty, that’s what happens when your coach rats you out for crying in the locker room.
Impact Player: Roy Hibbert is not an impact player because of the complete domination in the lane, but also because of the timing. Down 17, Chalmers went off and had Miami down to a 9 point deficit within 2-3 minutes. The answer? Indian slowed the ball down and fed the beast who made 2 baskets and encored with a and 1.
Prediction: It’s really hard to pick the Pacers knowing that Lebron and Wade are capable of going for 60-70 any night. However, if Battier, Miller, and the other role players don’t play their role, Indiana can win Game 4 and end up winning the series in 6.
Spurs vs Clippers
While the old heads in Boston are dominating their series, the old heads in San Antonio are doing it better. Ball movement, hitting open shots, and Tim Duncan showing his playoff etiquette, has the Spurs on a winning streak that doesn’t seem will ever end. While Chris Paul is out there distributing the balls in ways that I have to watch 80 times to understand, when Borris Diaw is scoring more points than arguably the best point guard in the league, the Clippers have problems. Blake Griffin continuously is getting tried and the Clippers lack that attitude and physicality they need in the playoffs. While the Clippers are a good team, they’ll be an even better one next year and have a better chance as well.
Impact Player You can pick and choose any player from the Spurs and call them an impact player. Tony Parker went out there on his 30th birthday and controlled the game better than Paul. Tim Duncan somehow is always getting to his sweet spot on the left side and is banking or swishing the fade away. Also, somebody should think about putting a hand in Danny Green’s face at the 3-point line.
Prediction: No one likes to see a sweep, so I’m hoping L.A. can get at least 1 game in and we’ll see San Antonio in 5.
Thunder vs. Lakers
Leave that boy Blake alone! You Lakers weren’t complaining about him when he went off on Game 7 against Denver! If you really want to blame somebody for Wednesday’s lost, blame Kobe! I know I know, some people in their wildest dreams would NEVER blame Kobe, but feel free to send your hate mail to Jrthewriter@gmail.com, because I’m going on the record to say Kobe lost that game for L.A. You know who didn’t score in the last 6 and half minutes? You know who gave the ball up 3 times in those last 4 minutes? I’m not going to sit here and pretend that Kobe doesn’t make more players in the NBA say “Nothing I can do about that” than anyone else in the league, but if you can’t admit that Kobe chocked than you’re a Kobe Stan not a Lakers fan. OKC had no business winning a game where they ran up the court and just shot three pointers, the majority of them being misses. Westbrook was 5-17, James Harden was only getting points from the foul line, and Iblocka had less rebounds than everyone except Derick Fisher. However, Durant who was 7/12 going into the middle of the 4th had something for L.A. that you kind of saw coming. Leading the Thunder to a 9-0 run to end the last 2 minutes of the game, sometimes these games come down to which team’s best player performed better. While I want to believe the Lakers can win both at home and turn this back into a close series, the immaturity and inconsistency of the Lakers big men and role players have me worried.
Impact Player: Kevin Durant is unstoppable! He can drive, shoot, float, whatever he needs to do to put the ball in the 4th. However, the impact player is Gasol. Gasol has to step up and show aggression if the Lakers want to have any chance of winning. Simple as that!
Prediction: I think L.A. can bounce back, just not all the way. Look for OKC to put this out in 6 and give us an exciting Western Conference final against the Spurs.
See Also: Remembering the Worst Night in NBA History: The Malice at the Palace