Friday, April 27, 2007

60 Point Halves, Parity, and More

Didn't get to watch the Bulls or the Nets roll tonite (my housemates outvoted me in favor of watching Redsox/Yankees), and its a shame. I am now officially in awe of Jason Kidd, despite multiple knee surgeries and despite me losing faith in his durability, he is showing that he deserves to be mentioned as one of the best clutch players of all time (in addition to being among the top 10 point guards of all time and the top 2 transition point guards of all time). The Nets are playing out of their minds right now, and if they can close out the Raptors, I think they stand a good chance of 'upsetting' the overrated (and overseeded) Cavs.

I now regret claiming that the Heat would take the Bulls to seven games, its as if I bought into the Heat hype as much as everyone else. Still, I reiterate, this Heat team is just not very good.

Meanwhile, we are about to enter the fourth quarter of a Golden State route. A few observations:
-Rarely have I seen a good, right handed, seven footer look as lost in low post as Dirk does right now. He's not doing too badly (7/15 shooting right now), but Stephen Jackson and the rest of the Warriors have done a terrific job keeping out of the middle of the floor where he is most deadly, forcing him to either low post where it is more difficult to get off a shot. I wonder why more teams haven't utilized such a tactic over the course of the season.

-After every made basket in the first half (where they scored 60) the Warriors, if undetered by full court pressure, throw a long pass to around midcourt. They break on plays were they don't even have numbers. For every moment of every game, all five players on the court are thinking three things: 'run, run, and run some more.'

-The Warriors are not a good defensive team personell wise, but they are a smart team defensivly, defending Nowitzki effectivly and taking the Mavs out of their desired offensive schemes.

-I, like the good folks at ESPN, am starting to think upset, and what that would mean for this Mavs team. I'm pretty sure the only thing more dissapointing than losing a 2-0 finals lead is to be the best team in the regular season, only to have it all unravel in the first round. Furthermore, think about what would happen if both the Heat and Mavs lose in the first round. I can't remember the last time both confrences were without their champions in round two (the last champion to keep its team intact and lose in round one were the 99-00 Spurs who were without Tim Duncan). This speaks volumes about the level of parity attained by the NBA in the past decade. Between 1989 and 2002, only five teams won titles, with the Bulls taking six, the Lakers taking three, the Pistons and Rockets taking two each, and the Spurs taking one. Yet, in the years from 2003 to today, we have already seen three teams win titles, with only the Spurs taking more than one. I think that this is great. If the Mavs get eliminated, that leaves, I think, five teams with realistic shots at winning the title (Spurs, Pistons, Bulls, Suns, Rockets). I love it, I love that you can't pick a champion for sure, you really get the sense that anyone can win.

-Finally, Jason Richardson does more than jump high, his shot is deadly, keeping defenses honest. And with his athleticism and explosivness, he is capable of getting to the rim on drives. Baron Davis is the best player on this Warriors team, but Richardson has gone from being a mindless scorers to a perfect fit for a well oiled Warriors machine.

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