Posts about Playoffs

Getting ready for the 2013 NBA Playoffs

4-19

Watching the NBA playoffs this season is going to be interesting for me. I don’t have a rooting interest but given an honesty pill, i’d would admit that watching the Spurs or the Heat win games doesn’t make me particularly joyful. As an outsider looking in, all i’m hoping for is great basketball and big moments. There are plenty of story lines heading into the playoffs but I must admit that the western conference is going to be much more entertaining than the eastern side of the bracket. Yes, the western conference as a whole is much better but it’s also because of the way things fell into place with the teams. I just don’t know how much of the Pacers-Hawks series i’ll be watching. Whereas every game of the Spurs-Lakers series and Thunder-Rockets series is much watch television. Here’s what i’m wondering before things get going tomorrow:

What is the most interesting series of the first round? With respects to the Knicks-Celtics series and the Thunder-Rockets series, the must watch series of the first round is between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers. Even without Kobe, the mere fact that the Lakers jumped to the 7th seed on the final game of the season was interesting enough. But to face the Spurs? That’s just the basketball gods throwing us a bone. If Black Mamba were playing I could see some real upset potential here but without the Lakers leader, I can’t pick them. The games will still be great. Tim Duncan doesn’t play as many minutes anymore but when he’s turn it on lately, there are shades of mid-2000s Duncan so that’ll be great to watch against the Gasol-Howard combo. The biggest factor will be Tony Parker’s health and whether or not the Lakers can stop him.

Can anyone beat the Heat in the eastern conference? It’s a bit early to be giving Miami a seat in the Finals but that’s the norm for the crew in South Beach. Remember, LeBron said “not 2, not 3 etc” so we’re all just going by his words. Realistically, I think the Knicks are the only team that can give Miami any trouble. The Knicks have the firepower, the leadership and key defensive players to stop Miami. It’s just a matter of how tough their own road will be on the way to the east finals. The Knicks have a tough task in the first round, playing a Celtics team that normally makes it very though for New York. I still see the Knicks winning the series but I think it goes to 6 or maybe even 7 games. Boston will be an inspired team no doubt and their fans will be behind them even more due to recent events. I also think the Nets have potential, they have a great PG and a center. That’s the formula for beating Miami when it comes to match ups but it’ll be interesting how the Nets do against the Bulls in their first playoffs series as a team from Brooklyn.

Things get going tomorrow in New York at 3:00 ET on ABC and the games continue on through the night on ESPN. Here’s the compete schedule by series and here is a chronological one for the next week. Adjust accordingly. I can’t wait to argue with my girlfriend about watching basketball all weekend, especially because she knows the Mavs aren’t participating in any of the games.

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NFL division/playoff races in tight battle with two weeks left

12-19

It’s getting to the time of the NFL season where the experts begin to use phrases like “crunch time” or that every single game is a “MUST win” even though technically it’s not a must win unless your team will be mathematically out of the postseason. So for many teams (yes, including my Cowboys) what they do these last two weeks will significantly alter their position or lack of position in January. You know, the playoffs in the NFL or when “the real season” begins. First things are first, let’s take a look at the teams that have either clinched their divisions or have a good enough record to clinch a definite spot.

The AFC is a little more simple because the top 3 seeds have clinched the division (Texans, Broncos and Patriots in order) and I don’t see the seeding changing because even though Houston has the toughest schedule, I don’t see them slipping up knowing that both Denver and New England are hot on their heels with two very easy games for each team. Now, the Colts aren’t going to win the AFC South but they have clinched a spot and it’s pretty incredible that this team can go from 1st pick in the entire draft to participating in the postseason in the same year. Something else that’s incredible is that the Ravens, in a complete tailspin, actually clinched a playoff even thought they’ve lost 3 straight games. So it’s up to the Bengals whether they would like to take the division, which could come down to the final game this season but first they’d have to defeat the Steelers this weekend. The Steelers have been up and down since the Big Ben injury but they’ve proven that they can get it done when it matters most and they have the easiest remaining schedule of the three AFC North contenders.

The NFC gets a little more complicated because there are only 2 teams that have clinched their division (Falcons and Packers) and one team that has a spot (49ers) but there are still 6 teams in contention with the NFC East still completely wide open. Teams not named the Eagles in the NFC East are all tied at 8-6 and conventional thinking would have most people leaning toward the Redskins. The Giants do have the easier schedule (at Ravens, Eagles) but they don’t control their own destiny and for that reason alone, they’re the least likely to win the division. My gut feeling is that the NFC East is going to come down to the Redskins-Cowboys games in the final week but it’s also going to depend what happens with Seattle/Minnesota/Chicago for the wildcard. The Bears are in completely disarray and if ever they needed two easy games to save their season, it’s now. Despite a grueling final two games, i’m not going to pick against the Vikings because Adrian Peterson is their RB, enough said.

Let’s all take a minute to thank whatever higher powers you believe in and say thank you that Thursday night games are finally over. I love the NFL but the every single Thursday game was mediocre at best because it was painfully (for the players, literally) obvious that it’s impossible to play at full capacity with only 3 days rest. Thanksgiving is a tradition but every single week, no. Just toss in a random Friday or Saturday games. Speaking of Saturday, this week the Falcons try to move closer to the best record in the NFC as they take on the Lions who are only playing for Megatron’s record breaking performance (only 182 yards being Rice) so keep an eye out for that if you watch the game.

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