The eastern conference wasn’t going to produce the type of basketball that would have NBA fans glued to their screens, but in all honesty, it’s been just as entertaining and drama-filled as the western conference. Aside from the inevitable quick series that will likely happen between the Heat and Bobcats, the east has taken some turns that make for really enjoyable basketball. But I still would take most of the western conference teams over any non-Miami team in the east. The level of basketball isn’t as high but it’s certainly been great to watch. It begins with Indiana who have shaken out of their miserable stretch, if only for just one night as they head down to Atlanta for games 3 and 4 with the series knotted at 1 game for each team. Paul George was the hero for Indiana (27 pts, 10 reb, 6 ast, 4 stl) as, surprising as it seems, the Pacers were in desperation mode last night against the Hawks. It was the second game of the first round and the top seed in the conference was in desperation mode? Well, that’s just the kind of year it’s been in the east. Despite Indiana’s win, they didn’t impress me until the 3rd quarter. The Hawks led for most of the first half and up until the end of the 3rd, it looked gloomy for the Pacers. Hey Indiana, just because you had a strong finish to the 3rd quarter against the 8th seed in the conference (a sub-.500 team) doesn’t mean you should start celebrating like you just clinched the series.
Let’s head up to Canada, where the Raptors were trying to even the series against a Nets team that was all of a sudden oozing with confidence. This time around the Nets weren’t able to capitalize as the Raptors were led by a strong DeMar DeRozan 4th quarter and their raucous crowd. At this rate, Toronto might be in the upper echelon of NBA crowds. Oh yeah, this time Drake stepped it up with his sideline antics and they seemed to be crucial as a part of the Raptors’ success. Aside from DeRozan, the Raptor that impressed me most was probably Jonas Valanciunas (or as Sir Charles likes to call him) as he dominated the paints, notching 14 points and 15 rebounds on the box score. But while Valanciunas hit the glass the most, the Raptors did a nice job as a team on the boards and kept the chances for the Nets limited. Paul Pierce wasn’t able to do his thing in his 4th quarter as much as he wanted to but things should improve for the Nets as they head a bit more east to Brooklyn. I like this series so far and can only hope that my prediction of a 7th game is right.
Without a doubt, the most surprising series of the conference (and probably the entire playoffs) is the surprising Washington Wizards and their 2-0 series lead over the Bulls right now. Let’s not forget that both of the Wizards victories came in Chicago and the country’s capital is waiting for them to return. Washington took a big 2-0 series lead after a tough overtime victory last night and has officially put the Bulls on the ropes. It’s not a position that I ever pictured the Bulls would be in. Did anyone? One Bill Simmons (a personal hero) did just so. What’s working so well for the Wizards? John Wall continues to be John Wall in most cases but it’s a couple of x-factors that have made the difference for Washington. Enter: Bradley Beal and Nene. Beal took over for most of the game but more specifically in the 4th as he led the way to force overtime. Nene, usually coming out of the gates like Hulk, didn’t impose his will until OT but did it very effectively. What’s going on with the Bulls? The most glaring problem that they have is that Chicago has no go-to offensive weapon. It’s been a problem all season for the Bulls but they’ve relied on their superior defense to push them through. As much as it’s the logical route to take, I can’t cross the Bulls off just yet. They always seems to do their best and prove people wrong when they’re on the brink of failure.
Another three headed monster tonight. To start things off, I fully expect the Heat to take control of their series against the Bobcats but maybe we’ll see another Josh McRoberts poster. On down to the great state of Texas where the Spurs also try to take control of their own series. Did the Mavericks miss their best opportunity to steal a game from San Antonio? Elsewhere in Texas, the Blazers are in Houston to take on the Rockets in what should be another crazy game. Can the Rockets even up the series before heading to Portland? Should be another great night of basketball.
Do I even need to explain this video and why it should be viewed?
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