We wanted to be able to bring something about the NBA Playoffs to the site, however, there’s only one of us who regularly gets to (chooses to) watch most games. That’s why I enlisted my good friend Jason Brubaker. He’s a really good writer and you should check him out over at CHN. We’ve been debating sports for over a decade, and now we’re taking our arguments public for you to enjoy. We really hope you enjoy our banter about guys who are bigger, stronger, faster, richer and better at basketball than us. If not, Brubaker made me do it.
Smoothron: Wow, another road game, another road loss for the Celtics. This is getting to be an issue. The Celtics could try and be the first team to win the NBA Championship without winning a road game. One team has won the Championship only winning one road game and it was… of course, the Celtics. LeBron still didn’t have a fabulous game, except for his monster dunk which pretty much ended the game. This series to me is kind of unwatchable, even with all the superstars involved. No one has been dominant, defense plays a major roles in both games and the two coaches may be two of the most inept in the entire game. I think that all of the other Conference Semifinals are better basketball and more entertaining. I fully expect Boston to win game 5, Cleveland to win game 6 and Boston to win game 7. Until something more exciting happens, wake me when it’s over.
More NBA talk, a DJ Mbenga reference and probably some boobies after the jump…
Before we get to tonight’s games, you brought something up yesterday that intrigued me. You said SVP mentioned that Deron Williams is one of the top ten players in the league. Well, who do you think are the top ten players in the league? Here’s my list in no order:
I’m not even really sure how I feel about the last two on that list. They’re pretty interchangeable, I guess. Nash is aging and Wade is battling injuries. But, Nash is a two-time MVP and Wade has won a ring. The others I thought about were Iverson (older), Anthony (never won a playoff series), Nowitzki (lost to Wade in ’06 Finals and lost in first round two years in a row), McGrady (never won a playoff series), Bosh (plays in Toronto, therefore irrelevant) and DJ Mbenga (just couldn’t find a spot for him for some reason). I think it’s ironic that the Suns have two players in my top ten, but still lost in the first round of the playoffs. Also, the Pistons are the only team left in the playoffs without a player in the top ten, but they may be playing the best basketball of any team left. I’d say the top four players on the list are pretty undebatable, but you may feel differently? Thoughts?
Brubaker: I’m at a loss for words to explain the Celtics right now. This is a team that went 31-10 on the road in the regular season….and now has lost five straight on the road in the playoffs. What’s worse is the way they’re losing…playing without the same passion, energy and effort that defined them all season. I never thought a team with KG on it would have to worry about playing with intensity, but there’s a first time for everything.
True, LeBron didn’t shoot well again, but I’d say 13 assists is pretty solid. With the way the Celts are defending him, I think 20-25 points is about the best he can hope for in this series while staying within the offense and not jacking up 35 shots. However, if he can add 8-10 assists to go with those points, the Cavs are still dangerous. Their shooters are getting confidence, and defensively, they’re playing well. A lot of the talk has been about LeBron’s poor shooting percentages, but not many people have talked about the job he has done on Paul Pierce, who hasn’t ever found a consistent rhythm either. Cleveland is playing with confidence, and if they can steal one in Boston, we could be headed for another Pistons-Cavs showdown in the conference finals. Remember, the Cavs nearly won Game 1 in Boston, so it’s not far-fetched.
As for the top 10 – here’s my list, also in no order.
Obivously – very similar, with McGrady taking Nash’s place. If the list were expanded, Nash, Nowitzki, Bosh, Melo, Iverson, and Rasheed would be next in line for me. ( I know Rasheed might seem like a stretch, but how many 6’11” guys can do the things he does? Attitude aside, he is a fantastic talent who plays unselfishly for the good of the team). But I like McGrady on there – I know he’s never won a playoff series, but his talent level is insane. I’d like to see him have more of Kobe or KG’s killer instinct, but he’s still a nightmare to defend when he wants to be. Lost in the fact that he’s has all of these first-round exits are the fact he’s lost to some pretty good teams along the way. He hasn’t played for a team like the 2007 Mavericks, who won 67 games and then were promptly upset by the Warriors in the first round…a series that as far as I’m concerned, showcased Dirk’s lack of heart. McGrady’s team, despite his play, just simply haven’t been as good as the teams they’ve lost to. To me, that doesn’t diminish what he can do on the court.
But I think the best thing about that list is the number of young players on it. King James, CP3, Howard, DWade, Williams…they all still conceivably have their best years ahead of them. The rest of the guys are no graybeards either. Stoudamire, who has seemingly been in the league for about 12 years and is a grizzled veteran compared to those five, is only 25. Duncan is 32, but his game has never been based on athleticism, so age isn’t a huge deal for him. Garnett is 31, but you’re going to have to cut his heart out before he leaves the game. And Kobe is still only 29, and as he showed this year, still improving as a player and teammate. The future of the league definitely looks bright.
Somewhat related to the NBA….how shocked are you, on a scale from 1-10, that OJ Mayo allegedly received extra benefits while at USC? Who would have ever seen this coming?? I couldn’t believe it. What are they going to tell me next – Barry Bonds used steroids? Pac-Man visited a strip club? Smooth got drunk at Keeneland?
Smoothron: I guess the Boston series comes down this, would you be more surprised if Boston won a game in Cleveland? Or would you be more surprised if Cleveland won a game in Boston. At this point, I’d say Boston winning a road game is the harder thing to fathom.
Tonight, I think the Pistons end this with the Magic, whether Chauncey Billups plays or not. As soon as I saw what Jameer Nelson had so foolishly said, I wrote off the Magic having any chance in this game. It has no doubt pissed off the Detroit fans, Piston players and most importantly, Rasheed Wallace. Wallace, who has been known to make a guarantee or two before, has probably been replaying Nelson saying those words over and over in his heads since he found out about it. The Pistons also realize how crucial getting this win could be. They under no circumstances want to go back to Orlando for a game 6. And if they finish this series out tonight, they know that the winner of the Boston/Cleveland series will have to play at least two more games before facing them. Rasheed, Rip and Tayshaun lead the Pistons and Chauncey plays about twenty minutes as the Pistons coast, 89-74.
The other game tonight is fabulously intruiging. Have the Spurs figured out how to beat the Hornets, in letting Paul get his and shutting down the other four? Or can the Hornets rebound after riding such a high going into San Antonio and now on such a low as they come back to New Orleans? Much to your chagrin, I’m going to say the Spurs have figured this thing out. You spoke about the Spurs being able to “turn it on,” whenever they pleased a few days back. I think they truly have done that after watching the last two games. The first two games showed a team that was slow and disinterested. The last two games showed a team full of champions who did not want to lose to a bunch of young guys with no playoff experience. I also think that Gregg Popovich is just a fabulous basketball coach. Not to take anything away from Byron Scott (NBA Coach of the Year), but he’s no Popovich and it has really shown in the last two games. I think the experience of Popovich and the crew gets them a much needed win in New Orleans tonight. Spurs continue their hot shooting and squeak out a 96-94 win over Chris Paul and Those Other Guys.
As for Mayo, I would have been more surprised if someone WASN’T giving him money since he was in middle school. The guy has been a legend since leading Rose Hill to the State Tournament as a 7th grader. Things that shocked me on the same level as hearing this news – EDay wrote a blog on the A’s, TGC watched the Tigers and drank beer on the porch last night and 2SL texted a girl within the last hour.
Also, rumors are flying that our readers are calling for a picture of your date to see if she was worth missing the game on Saturday night? Are you going to oblige the masses?
Brubaker wanted to respond but that whole “real-job” thing got in the way this evening. I guess we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if he’s ready to show the world the female he took out this past weekend. Obviously, if I had a picture of her, I would have just gone ahead and put it on here… I’m sure he’d be fine with that kind of thing. It’s safe to say we both agree that the Pistons are going to win tonight. As stated above, I think the Spurs also get a win tonight. After Brubaker’s “Satan’s Minions” comment yesterday, I’ll assume he would be picking against the Spurs. It should be a fabulous night of basketball. Also, I put a picture up of my last girlfriend, just so you would know how hot the girls are that Bru and I usually date. Yeah, I dated Blake Lively… just don’t ask her about it, she had one of those “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” things done so she probably won’t remember me.