Playoff Pondering: April 28, 2011

2 of the best in the world are set to collide with Boston
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIA over PHI, 97-91 (MIA wins 4-1)

The Miami Heat are done with breakfast and can’t wait to start lunch. Props to LeBron James for unleashing such an eloquent analogy. I wish I were your English teacher, your Highness. Good thing you have a saving grace – you are going to the second round of the NBA Playoffs. As for the Philadelphia 76ers, well, you fought as well as anybody would’ve expected of you guys. The youth and the talent will still be there next year, but the Heat were always really just too hot for you guys. Now Miami will face their first prime acid test of the postseason: the big bad Boston Celtics. It’s easy to be appalled at LeBron for his misused analogy, in fact it’s easy to be appalled at him for a host of other things, but Philly really was meant to be good old bacon ‘n eggs while the Celts are the protein-loaded t-bone steak.

Too much Durant = No chance
(image by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
 OKC over DEN, 100-97 (OKC wins 4-1)

There is such a thing as too much Kevin Durant. It happened in Game 1, and once again in Game 5. For the first time since being called the Oklahoma Thunder, this franchise is moving past the initial round of the playoffs. And they’ll have some time to savor this moment as their prospective opponents are still in a dogfight in the Midwest. Durant will get some ample time to rest, after averaging more than 32 points against the Nuggets, while Russell Westbrook will contemplate what’s worse: attempting 30 field goals in a Game 4 loss, or scoring a series low of 14 in a Game 5 win. The Nuggets, on the other hand, aren’t in too shabby a shape. At least they lasted longer than the guy who wanted out of Colorado for much of the season. Hello Carmelo, you’ll never see the last of this.

 SAS over MEM, 110-103 (MEM up 3-2)

Neal nailed it
(image by the AP)
The Spurs were headlong into a premature vacation, until mid-20s rookie Gary Neal lobbed a prayer and sent the game into extra minutes. Tim Duncan did his part too, if only in the first quarter. Manu Ginobili hit his own buzzer-beating long tom in the clutch. Tony Parker, for his part, sealed the deal in OT. The Spurs knew what was at stake and they played their hearts out, and still nearly lost. Even with this emphatic comeback win, it’s still a little bit of a stretch to imagine these Spurs can continue to slog it with the Grizzlies. Especially since Game 6 is in Memphis, where the Spurs have not won in four tries this season and the playoffs. All signs point to the old Dynasty meeting their grim destiny, and if that fate should be avoided, then Greg Popovich will need an even bigger miracle than the one Neal delivered here.

Watch Neal's shot that resurrected the Spurs:

Next Post »
0 Comment