Playoff Pondering: April 25, 2011

 PHI over MIA, 86-82 (MIA up 3-1)

Miami, you'll see more of Jrue
(image by Rob Carr of Getty Images)
How do you lose a 6-point lead in 95 seconds and 3 super stars on your team? Ask the Miami Heat, this season’s poster boys for endgame mess-ups. By all indications, the Heat should’ve won, despite shooting under 40% from the field, and trailing by double-digits yet again. This is why they got LBJ and CB4 (now 1) in the first place. But both teams played the way they did all season long: the Sixers coming back from the grave, and the Heat needlessly burying themselves. The silver lining for Miami fans is their team will end the series in South Beach. They’ll send the Sixers packing, but Philly should be content with the fact they didn’t give Miami the satisfaction of a sweep. But a Game 6 in Philly? I wish.

What went wrong here?
(image by Nick Laham of Getty Images)
BOS over NYK, 101-89 (BOS wins 4-0)

The first team to bite the postseason dust was a team that made the biggest midseason noise. Now all that’s left in the Garden is stunned silence and could-have-beens. All year long Melo wanted New York, and vice versa. And after prancing and dancing with New Jersey, Melo got his way. NY found poster boy #2 to complement Amar’e Stoudemire’s resurgence. The result? Poof. Pundits pegged this series to be upset-worthy, but all that’s left after the smoke has cleared is an upset New York fan base. Are you looking forward to next year Big Apple? Try to look at your record post-trade first (that’s 14-18, including the playoffs).

ATL over ORL, 88-85 (ATL up 3-1)

Jamal over everyone. EVERYONE.
(image by the AP)
Jamal means handsome, and that fits Jamal Crawford’s play quite nicely. He put up superstar numbers with 25 points, 3 rebounds and 6 assists to lead the Hawks to a resounding Game 4 win. The series is by no means finished, but the Magic sure have their backs against the wall. On a night when both Florida teams lost, it’s Stan Van Gundy’s crew who’s in line for early elimination, and unless Dwight Howard gets some help, Game 5 will point to the exits. One bright spot was the-artist-formerly-known-as-Agent-Zero scoring 20 points, but everyone else was, shall we say, less than magical. Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson, Ryan Anderson and JJ Reddick combined for 6-36 shooting. Yes, that’s not a typo. And that 3-1 Atlanta series lead? Not a typo too.

NOH over LAL, 93-88 (Series tied 2-2)

This is not how it's supposed to be Kobe
(image by Jeff Zelevansky of Getty Images)
When Chris Paul is on, and he imposes his will, the New Orleans Hornets can be pretty scary. Even without their best big man. Even when Jarrett Jack goes cold for 47 minutes.  Even when they’re facing the defending champions. The Big Easy just made things extra difficult for the Lakers by ensuring a Game 6. And LA might not even enter that game with the series lead, not with the way Kobe Bryant twisted his ankle with 93 ticks to go. KB24 was visibly frustrated at missed catches and botched defensive assignments that ultimately led to the Hornets’ sound thumping of the West’s #2 seed. New Orleans started the year really well, and then they plateaued, and then they floated to the 7th seed. But what do they say about things that float? Like a butterfly, sting like a what? A Hornet.

Sweet Lou buries a Sweet Three:

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