It felt like I was forgetting something; but what? Couldn’t figure it out looking at my notes, and I looked. “Harden wins sixth man—if you had anyone else, it’s time to find an asylum and a straight waistcoat…5th eighth seed to defeat a one seed…That Philly game was entirely too close, but that’s what happens when effort gets matched, and both teams are chock-full of it…Block Party in Boston!...MJ had better D, but Kobe got more range than his Royal Airness…” Nothing.
Then it hit me like a stroke: Ron Artest, Metta World Peace, whatever you’d like to call him, is returning tonight for the Lakers. How on earth did I forget that? He’s not the easiest person to forget; think about it…
The guy that made the Sacramento Kings competitive again by himself; the guy that got injured falling down the stairs in his house over the holidays one year; the guy that admitted to drinking Hennessy during half time of games when he was in a Chicago Bulls uniform; the guy that went into the stands in Detroit—Detroit!—yeah, I forgot about that guy. Better check my notebook again.
“Denver really is hot from deep man, not an easy nut to crack for a comeback…4:31 left in the 3rd down 23, 24 digging way too big a hole…6 ½ to play LAL throws in the towel to prepare for a seventh game…It’s only castles burning—Neil Young…” It should’ve been right there, but Young Neil distracted me. Not the first nor the last time that’ll happen.
Game Seven Time
Two Game Sevens are happening, in fact, and they both involve teams from Los Angeles. Tonight the Lakers (keep your fingers crossed) take care of the Denver Nuggets once and for all. It worries me this series going on for this long only because the duration hurts more than it helps—and the Thunder get to see one more way a night how to beat LAL.
The other team in the city of angels is doomed. You heard me tease this in my last column “The End of Round One”, but allow me to elaborate. Memphis has needed a little shot in the arm to get over the hump against the Clips, and the threat of going home did just that. The Spurs need watch out because this team is hungry again.
LAL 101 DEN 90 (Kobe nets 34)
MEM 97 LAC 91 (in a real war inside the paint)
The Picks for Round Two
These Eastern Conference matchups do nothing for me, for I can see the conference final (as I’m sure you all can), and that’s all I want right now. No more teams without superstars, no more terminal boredom, no more coaching people up—a heavyweight fight on the horizon entices me entirely too much.
But thems the ropes, so on with the forecast…
Boston over Philly in five games; Miami over Indiana in five also.
For all the drama of the Celtics’ last series, this should be a walk in the park. The 76ers are deep and a heck of a lot younger than Boston, but they’ve got nothing to stop Rajon Rondo—who does?—or Paul Pierce—for if he wants to score, he just does—plus the fact that Boston gets home court, and if you saw the reactions of each of these teams when they won their respective series, who looked like a professional team and not a collegiate one?
Boston’s been around the block, through the ringer, fill in the blank, but call them experienced and not old, because they’ve been here before, and in all likelihood, they’re going the NBA Finals.
The Heat on the other hand had about as easy of a time one could have in Round One minus a sweep. The Knicks were everything from shorthanded to taking turns shooting themselves in the foot. Indiana struggled at times with the hapless Magic that even though they looked half-way out the door mentally, Orlando made most of the contests competitive.
So now the Pacers get the Heat, and they’ll get burned badly. Expect a ton of alley-oops—both Wade to LeBron and vice versa—and even a triple-double from Super Bron Bron in one of the contests in the Sunshine State.
Tonight’s Philly/Boston Game One, and Denver/LAL for all the marbles on TNT.
Tomorrow ABC grants us afternoon delight with Game Seven of Clips & Grizzlies in Memphis, right before the Pacers & Heat start their series.
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