When I think of the NBA Playoffs this season, I can’t get the thought of this terrible commercial out of my head:
This is what the NBA has turned into. I’m sitting here, watching it over and over, and I can’t help but think to myself, “Why did the NBA let this African-American auto-tune dude (I really didn’t say that to myself) Will.I.Am. (Let’s just call him by his real name William Adams for the sake of this point) make a commercial with a terrible song, and then you had these NBA players dancing in it?” The funniest part of that commercial? When Adams dunks at the end of it. Like. What? (See I’m not even talking about the NBA Playoffs! I’m talking about something else that doesn’t even MATTER. Well so you think.) I’m not sure when this was filmed, but if I had to guess, it was during All-Star weekend. I can’t help but laugh when I keep watching it, and then I realize something:
- Why did the NBA put Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard in the commercial, when they struggled in the first half of the season? HMMMMMMMM!!!! Maybe the NBA wanted the Lakers in the playoffs after all!!!!! (I’m just being that type of person who is using a conspiracy theory against Lakers, and every game that they win. See: 85% of people who happen to tweet. Although the Warriors game was very crazy how they went to the line 50 times to GSW’s 18 times. *Puts glasses on.* Okay, we’re good here, NBA Fans!)
- Speaking of the Warriors, they couldn’t get a Golden State Warrior to be in the commercial, but they got Joakim Noah to be in it? I mean, they did have an all-star, and almost had another all-star who just broke Ray Allen’s record for three point makes in a season. Yeah, okay NBA. Just ignore the Bay Area…. once again. (On the real, Stephen Curry had a legit case to be an all-star, but I think he’ll take his team going to the playoffs, him being the best shooter that we’ve seen in the last 10 years, with the exception of Ray Allen, obviously, and that he’ll be either a 2nd team or 3rd team All-NBA. Plus, he makes me look great when I said he’d be this good.)
- But seriously, Will.I.Am. NBA? Seriously? David Stern has TROLLED us NBA fans in his last full season of being the Commish. This song is like the Swizz Beatz song he had for the Knicks in 2011.
Want to know the result of that series for the Knicks? The Knicks blew two games in Boston (Which were actually great games. It didn’t help that Chauncey Billups got hurt in game 2, I believe), Amar’e (Who has an Andrew Bynum type of personality, but more on this when I get to the Knicks) fools around and hurts his back in pre-game warmups (My man, what? lmaaaaao), and then they get swept in a game 4 that was close, but you knew that the Celtics were gonna win. What does Swizz Beatz have to do with Will.I.Am and that terrible song? The NBA playoffs could be wack due to this commercial. And if it is, we all know who to blame. William Adams.
But, alas, the playoffs are finally here. This NBA season has been interesting, but it wasn’t “great” to me. I fell asleep during most of these games this year. Shoot, I’ve dozed off during Laker games this year, and I’m a diehard fan (Dudes make me fall asleep at 8:30 pm PST. Isn’t that a damn shame?). The highlights of the NBA season have been Lebron James doing what we’ve been saying to do for the past 5-6 seasons, and it’s finally happening, Miami winning 27 games in a roll (Which might be better than the Lakers winning 33 in a roll in 71-72. Might be), Russell Westbrook emerging as the most important player on his own team (We’ll get to this), Russell Westbrook having a temper-tantrum on the bench, Tim Duncan looking like he’s back in 2003, and finally, the younger teams in the West finally getting to their potential (I’m looking at you, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, and I guess, Milwaukee).
The Eastern Conference Playoffs. Aka, “Wake me up when the Eastern Conference Finals happens because I don’t want to watch most of these games.” I’m truly convinced that the Eastern Conference Playoffs will be a snoozefest. Well, maybe. Maybe.
1) Miami Heat vs 8) Milwaukee Bucks
This series isn’t about Milwaukee. It’s about how many points will Lebron average, how many rebounds will Lebron average, how many assists he’ll average, and then we’ll be watching one game, and sit back to say, “Well damn, Lebron had 35 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists in the first three quarters of game 1” (Okay, maybe not because Bron isn’t about that, I’m sure of it. Then again, after watching him this season, this could happen).
Listen, Milwaukee fans. Your backcourt is full of volume shooters who are shooting less than 45 percent from the field (Look at Golden State for an example from benefitting without Monta Ellis. Ellis was getting buckets. A lot of them. But most were worthless buckets for a team that wasn’t in contention. They trade him over the summer, insert Klay Thompson in the starting role, and they are a playoff team. And no, I’m not saying Thompson is a better player than Ellis. Ellis simply was a worthless bucket two guard, and their backcourt was undersized heavily with Ellis/Curry). You’re a sub .500 team and you’re gonna get in the playoffs. Congrats for getting in. My team hasn’t even clinched a playoff berth, and might not, so there you go. But then you realize that you have to see Mr. 99 overall, Mr. MVP. The KANG , and his cast of legions. Good luck.
Listen, I normally give teams a chance, but in this case, Miami has the formula to not just beat them, but to wipe them off the floor and give this team NO confidence even when playing two home games. The only matchup where I can say the Bucks win is at point guard, and even that, I feel like I’m reaching a bit (Jennings has the ability to make Almario’s life a living hell for a game. Maybe all series, who knows). Watching Miami’s bench guys lately, I sit and wonder like this: How much of a genius is Pat Riley? I was telling my girlfriend during the Heat/Knicks game this: “If Mike Miller is shooting like this, and he’s deep on the bench, the Miami has the deepest team in the league, and they won’t be beaten. Period.” And it’s true. Put it like this. James Jones won the three point contest in 2011. And he’s stuck at the end of the bench waiting for #AsianCoach (From 2011, but we used to call him #BrainlessAsianWonderSpoelstra) to call his name just to get the corner kickout three from Lebron. Good life to live, James.
Miami in 3 (This can’t happen, but maybe it can. Okay, it can. And it will. Sorry Bucks. Maybe Bane will show up and help you. Oh wait, Lebron is Bane. RIP the 2012-13 Bucks).
2) New York Knicks vs 7) Boston Celtics
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Wait, the New York Knicks are a top two seed in the Eastern Conference? Wait, what? The last time the Knicks were a top two seed in the Eastern Conference, this was the theme song for the NBA:
The NBA on NBC. I was almost 2 years old (OOPS. I gave away my age, now you have permission to not give a damn about me talking basketball from here on out. YOLOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!) when the Knicks were dominating the league with their wannabe Bad Boy Pistons tactics. Wanna know what happened to the Knicks that year? Here’s a history lesson (Knick fans, you can skip this part of the blog, it’s okay).
The Bulls had lost Michael Jordan because he lost a passion for the game of basketball, and couldn’t find anymore challenges (As I’ve gotten older, I don’t believe Michael Jordan one second about this at all. In fact, I discredit Mike for walking away at the apex of his powers). The Knicks couldn’t beat Mike and the Bulls. The previous year, they were up 2-0, and then Mike got upset in game 4, Charles Smith is still being stripped underneath the basket, and the Bulls not only get to the finals again, they win it. Now with Jordan gone, the Knicks seem to be poised to win the title, or at least win the East.
The Knicks cruised to the 2 seed, won 57 games, beat the Nets in 3-1 (When the first round was a best of 5. The NBA should go back to this to be honest. I mean, Miami is gonna beat a team in 3 this year…….. Adam Silver, pls), and then needed Hue Hollins to bail them in out in a game 5 to beat Chicago in 7 games (I guess? My youth is showing here, but bare with me). Once they faced Indiana, they’ve played 11 games. Keep this in mind. Then, they play Indiana in where the legend of Reggie Miller began, somewhat. Game 5. You know.
The Knicks then beat Indiana in an elimination game for them on the road, and win the series in 7. 18 games being played. The Knicks gets to the finals, hold a 3-2 lead, then Starks gets his shot blocked by The Dream in game 6, and well…….. if you’re a basketball fan, you know the rest (Knick fans, come back, please. I beg you). That’s the last time the Knicks have been a top 2 seed in the East. Incredible how long it’s been, Knick fans! Welcome back! Now enough of the history trolling.
This Knicks team is poised to make a deep run in the playoffs. Carmelo Anthony is doing what he does after an Olympic year: He comes back from the Olympics, and usually gives a shit about playing basketball. Except this year, I’ve never seen this type of Carmelo Anthony. When Melo decides to get going, he gets going, and it’s incredible to watch a pure scorer dominate the game like he does at time. I have to admit, I thought the Knicks would be terrible this year. Think about it. This team has a lot of AARP All-Stars on it (Let’s not act like they don’t. Jason
Senior Citizen Kidd. Rasheed Wallace. Kurt Thomas. Marcus Camby. Speaking of Camby, he was my favorite player when he was at UMass. I was 3. WELP! Showing my age again!!!) Even their “rookie,” Pablo Prigioni is 35 years old. Like, what. the. hell. Even Knick fans have to shocked at how this team finished up. If anything, I think Mike Woodson should get consideration for Coach of the Year. He got Earl Smith III to actually not jack up #YOLOJumpers, and actually get to the rim (He didn’t however, get Earl Smith III to lay off the twitter DMs. Yes, Earl. She was trying to get the pipe). Incredible.
The Celtics have had an interesting season filled with ups and downs. It’s more of the fact that Celtics are old, too. Sure, they have young pieces like Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, and Jeff Green, who’s actually having a better year than I thought. I feel like the Celtics are one of those teams who attempt to want to get into the playoffs, then increase their energy in the playoffs. I mean, that’s what the Celtics did in 2010, and even last year. That’s what these old teams do. Doc Rivers is one of the best coaches in the league, and in fact, I feel bad for him a bit that he has an older group to work with. Hopefully, Danny Ainge does Rivers a favor, and attempt to get younger.
If the Celtics had Rajon Rondo, who was BALLING this season before tearing an ACL (There was a picture of him shooting on the floor before a game a couple of weeks ago. Weird), I think this would be an even more interesting series. The Knicks ALWAYS struggle with the Celtics in the playoffs. Always. I referenced this earlier, but the Celtics swept them the last time they played in 2011, and even though Boston isn’t favored, would you be shocked if they won? Would it surprise you?
Boston was gonna be motivated to play their rival in the first round, and in a 7 game series, but with the events that took place at the Boston Marathon (Which is sad, btw. Pray for the families that were involved in this sick tragedy), I can imagine that they’ll be the backbone of the city, giving them a sense of comfort and a place to take their mind off what happened. However, I don’t see how the Knicks will lose this series. The Knicks seem motivated to make a deep playoff run, and when you have an elite scorer in Carmelo Anthony, the 6th man of the year in Earl Smith III and the fact that the Knicks have been playing out of their mind for the past month, why not have faith in them to win this first round series?
Knicks in 6 (I wanted to say 7. I did, but the Knicks aren’t that bad on the road, and even though they haven’t been this high of a seed in 19 years, and they haven’t been out of the first round since 2000….. this team seems good. Tell you what. If the Knicks can’t get out of the first round with this team, well, New York fans…. yeah nevermind.)
Sidenote: You were wondering where I was gonna tie Amar’e (Do I really have to put that stupid apostrophe in the middle of r and e, dude?) right? Well here it is. The Knicks are 100% better without him. Seriously. Which makes me wonder about him long-term with the team and his terrible contract to come with it. I mean, he has to know that this team is better without him right now. Sure, STAT (This has to rank as one of the lamest nicknames ever. We know you’re standing tall, Amar’e. You’re 6’10. And well, you used to be talented… back when Steve Nash made you into that contract you got in New York, but I’m sleep) gave the Knicks some energy off the bench, but to me, they don’t need him. When we see him anyway, he’s hanging out with Rick Ross, DJ Khaled and those dudes (https://shaunhoward.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/dj-khaled-why-bro/). Which brings me to this question: Is Amar’e just a better Andrew Bynum? Does he even give a damn about basketball anymore? Ponder that question, I know you’ve been thinking about it for awhile.
3) Indiana Pacers vs 6) Atlanta Hawks
You know how the NBA has THAT one series that gets sent to NBATV because they know that not a soul will be checking for this series except for the fanbases of the team? This is THAT series. And it’s fitting that Atlanta is in it. From when I can remember, the Atlanta Hawks seem to play a lot of their playoff games on NBATV, and to be for good reason.
The Pacers are a team that plays excellent defense, and they have an emerging star in Paul George (Paul George goes from a guy who was good, but was in the background because of Danny Granger, but since Granger is hurt, George has shown his true potential, and it’s scary to see how good he’ll become. Danny Granger should be sick a bit. Wait no. Maybe he’ll just be moved in the off-season). Do I like this Indiana Pacer team? Yes, yes I do. I like how they defend. I like George. If Roy Hibbert decides to want to want to play like he’s 7’2,, then they can go places. I love how David West plays.
Atlanta is one of those teams who can shoot the ball well with Korver, and DeShaun Stevenson, but when you watch them play, I always ask myself this question, “Does this team really get along with each other?” When I watch Josh Smith shoot #YOLOJumpers, and then hint that he wants a max contract, I really sit at my grandparents house confused. Josh Smith. Max contract. Is this the NBA that we live in now where those two words are in the same sentence of a guy who shoots 47 percent from the field, shoots 30 percent from three (When in reality, shouldn’t be living outside all the time), shoots 51 percent from the line (I can do that left-handed and that’s his dominant hand), turns the ball over, and doesn’t know his role on offense. If you thought I was lying about Josh Smith and his terrible shooting, then well… look at this:
This is a max contract guy? When I look at a max contract guy, I want guys to be the number 1 option on your team at least (With the exception of Miami, where Lebane had to tell us all how he took less money so Chris Bosh could sign. Let’s see if you notice my typo in this sentence. Wait, no, nevermind). Would YOU trust Josh Smith as a number 1 option on your favorite team? Would you? WOULD YOU?
Look, I almost fell asleep writing about Josh Smith and his terrible shooting. The Pacers should dominate this series. I really hope they don’t play down to the level of the Hawks. I like Al Horford. I really do. Korver was the former #PureWhite shooter from behind the arc. But we all know that Josh Smith will attempt to do one too much. One too much. (I just thought about something. Mike Woodson was the coach of the Hawks until they “fired” him. Rumor was that Josh Smith was the problem. Shoot, Josh Smith had a problem with Larry Drew this year. Josh Smith is a coach… killer? LOL WHAT?!?!?!).
Indiana in 5 (By the way, I went and googled the playoff tv schedule for this series. Game two is on NBATV. Seeeeeeeeeeeee. Shaun doesn’t lie).
4) Brooklyn Nets vs 5) Chicago Bulls
Now this series could be a battle of rappers from both of these cities (Even though Brooklyn is a borough of New York City, but I guess it’s really a city. Too confusing), but I think Brooklyn would win that type of matchup with no problems. Why? Biggie and Hov are 500x better than Kanye and Common (I could have of put Lupe in there other than Kanye, or even Twista but for hilarious reasons, I’d rather have Mr. Kardashian himself in that).
On the floor, Brooklyn isn’t 500x better than Chicago. Brooklyn is one of those teams where they somehow got better by firing their coach in Avery Johnson (Which shouldn’t have happened. The Nets OVERREACTED because their All-Star center in Brook Lopez was injured), but they’re playing loose, and confident. Deron Williams has finally found his jumpshot. Or his game. Or both. Joe Johnson is still one of the most overpaid players in the NBA (Blame Atlanta for this, not Joe), but he’s playing well. Lopez is a key factor, and even though he doesn’t rebound, I like him on the low block (Not as much as Shaq, though).
Chicago embodies their coach. Gritty. Tough. Without their franchise player (Who is getting slandered for not playing this season, and I don’t get why. It’s his body, and if he’s not confident in himself in playing right now, then let him be. As I’m editing this, Derrick Rose was sued today from some guy because he missed the whole season. LMAOOOOOO!!!!), they somehow got a top 5 seed in the East. Thibs has done another great job with this team. He somehow got Nate Robinson to actually matter in the NBA without being a 3 time dunk contest winner (He should have two because Iggy out-dunked him in 2006, and the fact that Dwight Howard let Nate dunk over him makes me… cringe a bit. 206 though!). Jimmy Butler has emerged as a defensive stopper. Joakim Noah is still annoying, but he works hard, and I’m with it, I guess.
The key to this series will be who controls the glass between Reggie Evans/Kris
Kardashian Jenner Humphries (I had to get that lame joke out of my system, I’m sorry), and Taj Gibson/Carlos Boozer. Evans and Humphries each average 11 rebounds a game (That’s crazy to me how Humphries rebounds like that even though he comes off the bench now… gotta make that money to pay your lawyer since you know who, and you know what.. WELP. Okay, another unfair shot at Kris Humphries, my bad. My bad), and Gibson/Boozer each average 9 boards a game. It’s more of, “Who will get timely rebounds when Deron Williams, Nate Robinson, Rip Hamilton, Joe Johnson and Kirk Hinrich miss jumpers in the last 6 minutes of a game?” Whoever does that will win the series.
Like I said, I like Chicago. But Brooklyn has better players, and a better team. I expect this series to be low-scoring. I expect Mr. Shawn Carter to show up at his courtside seat to take away some attention from the series. But you know what else I expect? I expect Joe Johnson to hit a game-winner in game 1, and I expect some type of heroics to be shown all series long. Somewhat evenly matched (Brooklyn’s backcourt is better than Chicago’s), and that Chicago keeps it close due to their defense, most people will lean to Chicago winning this series. Me?
Brooklyn in 7. I can’t get past how Brooklyn’s backcourt is better than Chicago’s, and that they have homecourt. However, this will be the best first round series in the Eastern Conference. (No seriously. I won’t fall asleep watching this series like I will if/when they show that Indiana/Atlanta series. Unless Josh Smith is shooting hilarious #YOLOJumpers, then I’ll be watching like all of you, and laughing… at him. I just bashed Josh Smith again. My god, is he that bad?)
Part two is here: https://shaunhoward.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/nba-playoffs-part-2/