One of my readers took me to task here: “Thanks for the history lesson on Northwestern Basketball but WHAT ABOUT THE NBA PLAYOFFS?” OK, so I’ve become a sort of NBA Playoff snob: I don’t really get into it until things get tense in the quarter-finals … like right now, seeing as how the powerful San Antonio Spurs lost at home last night to the Oklahoma City Thunder and are down, 3-2, in the quarters (OK, the NBA calls them the conference semi-finals), and must win at OKC in Game 6 or they are out. That’s a bit of an upset.
In the Eastern Bracket, in one quarter-final, the Cleveland Cavaliers are already into the semi-finals (OK, the NBA calls it the Conference Final). They were 4-0 vs. the Detroit Pistons in the first round and just took out the Atlanta Hawks, 4-0, in the quarters. They were in the Final last year and I can’t see much standing in their way of making the final again this year. They have LeBron James, one of the two best players in the game today … if not the best. They survived a coaching change and they have been together another year. A force.
The other Eastern quarter-final has the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors even, at 2-2. Game 5 is coming up in Toronto. The Raptors won their first playoff series ever, 4-3, vs. the Indiana Pacers (Heart Attack City there, folks) and are trying for more … and they are playing with confidence. The Miami Heat have struggled this year and suffered beyond all reason in eliminating the Charlotte Hornets in the first round, 4-3. The Heat still remember how to win, still have Dwyane Wade and still have Chris Bosh. This should go 7 games.
This brings me to the other Western Conference quarter-final, the Golden State Warriors vs. the Portland Trail Blazers. Which brings me to Steph Curry, the other best player in the game today. The 6’3″ Curry is changing the geometry of the game with his long 3-point shots and … his ability to fake that shot and get inside the defense for pickup jumpers, drives, assists. No one can guard the guy. He’s fast and quick on his feet, even faster and even quicker with his hands and shot.