Hockey playoffs have been violently distracting over the past few weeks, but they haven’t been too distracting. People leaving the ice on stretchers, people taking out goalies (that has happened a couple of times), people hitting each other with their sticks (doesn’t that happen all the time?)—these things would be valid reasons to turn on the tube…
Unless of course we weren’t coming down the home stretch in the NBA; I’d argue, in fact, that the Gary Allen CD playing right now is about as distracting as the NHL playoffs are. (I can follow those sorts of things on my phone, now that I think about it.)
But the television gave many gifts over the last three days (with even more coming; more on that later), with at least one of the games over the prior three nights being better than playoff hockey.
Carmelo Anthony registered a triple-double—35/12/10 to be exact—foiling the Celtics comeback on Tuesday; Paul Pierce had a career high 14 assists—to go along with a team-leading 29 points—to lift Boston over the Orlando Magic for the third time in as many meetings, the next night, followed by Andrew Bynum’s 31&9—and Pau Gasol’s 22/11/11/3 blocks—to give the Lakers a season sweep of their own by beating the Warriors for a fourth time; and last night the Suns defeated the Clippers—winning the season series 3-1—in an up-and-down, back-and-forth game that had everything. (Even a moment in which Robin Lopez took out Blake Griffin and got himself ejected.)
But enough of the past; let’s look toward the future.
The Lakers Last Few Games
LAL doesn’t have a lot to look forward to in their two contests before the season finale in Sacramento next Thursday, but tomorrow night in San Antonio does have its upside: The return of Kobe Bryant.
The two clubs split the first two contests without the presence of Kobe, both winning in each other’s building, so this rubber match has can’t miss written all over it. Plus, look for Mr. Bryant to be prepping himself for the postseason, while making up for lost time. Translation Laker fans: You better hope he’s on because I got a feeling he’ll be throwing up thirty shots this evening.
Versus Oklahoma City, however, the Lake Show hasn’t had any success this season, dropping each contest to the Thunder—with Kobe Bryant. And although it’s a little thing, I like them in this spot, at home, and their fearless leader having found his footing against the Spurs.
Saying Goodbye to…
Bucks, Warriors, Timberwolves, New Jersey (as a team and in general)
I’ll admit to liking the Milwaukee Bucks entirely too much; it happens; furthermore, I still contend they’ll be decent next season, with those players, that system and their coach. (If, pray heaven, management keeps them all together for next season.)
The Warriors and T-Wolves make this list of exiting things before the second season because, we never really got to see what they had to begin with, so these guys’ exits are even more painful.
Golden State got Andrew Bogut in a trade; then, him never suiting up was bad, but losing David Lee and Stephen Curry to injury made the last month or so of their season unwatchable. Sorry guys—it was.
Minnesota had all their ducks in a row, lost Ricky Rubio, followed by Kevin Love, yet never were far from interesting; the coming out of Jose Barea, Nikola Pekovic and (who knew) Michael Beasley have proved they have great pieces in place, they just need to build upon them and hope everyone stays healthy.
Finally, hello Brooklyn and long overdue goodbye dirty Jersey. I just wanted to say that.
Saying Hello to…
Pacers in the playoffs, more Spurs than my mind can handle and a test of patience (my desire to break down playoff matchups before they become official)
These are the two teams that I can’t stand watching—and both could hypothetically be around for entirely too long for my own mental health—but they’ll be in the NBA playoffs, so I’ll have to get over it.
Not that I want to because the Pacers are beyond boring, and San Antonio just gives me the creeps. Forgive the honesty.
Furthermore, stop breaking down playoff matchups until the season is over; I’ve caught myself several times wondering aloud (at times on this very site) the potential series to be played. But—and I’m talking to TNT, ESPN and all media in general—wait until the season is over and we all get our lovely playoff brackets. Please.
A Loaded TV Weekend
Take a deep breath, and stay with me folks, for this is well worth the time and energy.
The following five games are on ESPN:
Friday is BOS/ATL (a likely first-round matchup) and LAL/SAS (rubber match in Texas); Saturday is DEN/PHX (the Suns need this to get in), DAL/CHI (Dirk in the windy city; wouldn’t miss it) and ORL/UTA (seeding for the Magic is of the utmost importance, and the Jazz are in the same boat the Suns are in).
Sunday looks to have the most fireworks, however, with NYK/ATL on ESPN (Melo’s on fire right now) and OKC/LAL on ABC (potential Kobe v. Durant shootout).
So, find a comfortable chair, stay properly hydrated, and watch the wheel go round…
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