Posts Tagged ‘NBA Playoffs’

Part I

Part II

Part III

FIN

FIN

As you may or may not know, Russell Westbrook (*Author’s note: or as I like to call him, The Russell West-B in Apt. 23) tore his meniscus in the Thunder’s first round matchup against the Houston Rockets.  As you also may or may not know, The Russell West-B in Apt. 23 also likes to dress like an insane cocktail of Lady Gaga and LMFAO.  We here at Burnpoetry were able to obtain an exclusive look at his one of a kind hospital gown he was rocking during the aforementioned surgery.  Enjoy.

Russell West-B

And by “fresh” I mean “stupid.”

FIN

While gorging myself on the NBA finals I’ve gotten accustomed to the advertising overload.  Since I normally DVR anything and everything, opting to watch literally anything that we have on on-demand over any live television shows (*Author’s note: here’s looking at you, My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding) I can’t handle much in the way of advertising.  I’ll look for obscure reasons to pause the T.V. (*Author’s note: “I’d better pick up the cat so I can compare his weight to this 2-liter of pop.”), just so I can fast forward through a T-Mobile Ad and a McBerry McSmoothie commercial featuring people inexplicably dancing because their food tastes so good.

Sporting events are different.  They have to be enjoyed live.  It’s not because we now live in an information-gorging age where, within two touch-screen pushes I can confirm the Mayan Apocalypse by finding out the sex of Snooki’s baby and discovering exactly what a dude from Nashville thinks about the whole scenario in 140 characters.  That’s a piece but not the entirety of the equation.

There’s something about sports that lives in the moment.  It can pull you in, yanking you right from your gravitational core, like a benign blackhole.  You find yourself on the edge of the couch, standing in your living room like you’re courtside at Madison Square Garden, or gripping your Wife’s hand like you’re about to offer yourself as a hostage to a group of criminals in an act of cinematic selflessness.  When I watch sports with any more than the two second uh-oh-did-Kobe-really-just-F-bomb-the-cotton-candy-guy-we-better-dump-out delay, I don’t feel that connection.  That electrical current that somehow passes from arena’s to HD cameras to my TV in a jolting, wild ride seems to be missing. 

For that reason, I have to watch sports live.  For that reason, I have to endure commercials during the NBA finals.

Which puts me in a strange position.  Here I am, watching the commercials designed for a set audience over and over.  And over.  There’s a unique demographic that allegedly tunes in for these kinds of things and when you’re stuck powering through the fourth Coors Light ad in 20 minutes you find yourself asking weird questions.  Here was my latest of these odd lines of thinking.

If you put together a starting 5 based on the fictional, hyper-repetitive commercial characters that we see, who would be on the roster?  I’ve given this (too much) thought.  Here we go.

At the starting PG:  Uncle Drew

If you’ve been watching the NBA finals, I’m sure you saw this one coming.  Here’s what it looks like:

He’s sneaky good for an old geezer, has a nasty crossover, and can shoot from deep downtown.  In short, Uncle Drew is a true baller.  In his own words, he gets buckets.  His only downfall is that no one actually drinks Pepsi Max.  I think I speak for the masses when I say, quit f-ing around with Pepsi Max and bring back Pepsi Blue!  What’s that?  You don’t remember Pepsi Blue?  Neither does anyone else but me.  (*Author’s note: Uncle Drew is actually NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.  This ad also has doubled as my favorite commercial of the NBA finals.

At the 2-Guard: Phil Shifley

He’s a master of disguise, an expert at blending into the crowd and emerging at exactly the right moment, and he’s clearly okay with not hogging the spotlight (since the Mob is clearly trying to murder him).  His eyebrows and Mark-Twain’s-illicit-love-affair–with-Colonel-Sanders hairstyle make him a white-man’s James Harden (at least in the looks department, if not on the actual court.)

The question remains: can Shifley hoop?  Will he be able to knock down the open looks created by Uncle Drew’s slashing style?  We can only hope.

At the Small Forward: Ice Cube

In “It Was a Good Day” Cube definitely raps about messin’ around and getting a triple double.  If he’s capable of doing that on the mean streets of Compton, CA, with Jheri Curl juice staining his shooting hand and his Raiders snap-back slipping down over his eyes, what could he do in the league?  (*Author’s note: I know, rap purists, he wasn’t rockin’ the Jheri when this song came out.)  Sure, he’s gotten old, soft, and cornier than a bowl full of Berry Berry Kix, but can Cube still hoop?  I think the best way to ask this question is, “Is he there yet?”

He can ball.  He’s got that tough-guy mentality that this team needs.  But is he completely insane?  He’s prone to making terrible TV shows and arguing with inanimate objects.  Hey, it worked for Rodman.

At Power Forward: Lieutenant Ripley

The Ads for Prometheus have been in full effect for the NBA finals this year.  Here’s just a taste of what Ripley’s made of:

Wait, what’s that you say?  Ripley’s not even in the newest installment of the Alien movies?  F-ing A.  I guess we can just start this guy from the new Batman movie:

He’s big, burly, and clearly angry as a mofo.  Just the kind of post presence that most teams are looking for.  The biggest question?  Can he lay off the ‘roids long enough so that he can avoid a substance abuse suspension from David Stern?

At Center: Shaquille O’Neal

I know, I know.  He’s washed up and porking out.  Towards the end his body seemed to be held together by toothpicks, tissue paper, and pipe cleaners.  But he’s still one of the best of all-time.  Here’s his Buick commercial.  Check out the exceedingly creepy/awkward bugeyed-and-point manuver that he pulls at the end of the commercial.  I can just see the director on the set of that commercial taking a long, deeply depressed pull on a bottle of some kind of dark liquor and saying, “You know what!?!  Just free-style it SHawqk.  Just fressstyleit.”  And the end result is right here:

In the scheme of things, this is actually only Shaq’s 3rd worst acting performance behind Kazaam and his sex tape.

FIN

(*Author’s note: I know.  Nothing more cliché than a steaming pile of memes.  However, I can’t resist.  If you know me, you know that I love corny-ass jokes mixed with strange photos.  And, in a blatant and weird homage to 1999, I’ve decided to glitch the Matrix and repeat the picture with slightly different captions.  I took this photo, much to my Wife’s disgust who finds my love of photographing the T.V. to be utterly absurd, during game one of the NBA Finals.  Here we go. . .)

FIN

The NBA finals are finally upon.  This gloriously inglorious, cluttered to the point of brutality, NBA season has finally reached a head.

On one side we have the Miami Heat.

On the other the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The self-glossed, self-inflated pomposity of a team with the audacity to promise 7 NBA titles before they had played a game and the skill-set to make some immediately nod their heads in agreement when they heard the bold proclamation.

The young, hungry, terrifyingly athletic group lead by a modest wunderkind, a supremely confident point guard and a beard that would make Rick Ross say, “Wait. . .what?”

Oklahoma City has Kevin Durant, the best scorer in the world.  Miami has LeBron James, the best player in the world.  Durant is relatively new to the spotlight, or as much as any 3-time scoring champ who was the 2nd overall draft pick can be, while LeBron’s chef’s third cousin is completely and thoroughly accustomed to being a topic of heated media discussion.  (*Author’s note: Skip Bayless would verbally attempt to impale him and Stephen A. Smith would slam down the race card like he just hit Blackjack at a million dollar table.)

Both have elite level talent at the top-end of their rosters.  Both have coaches that are, at the very minimum, serviceable in most situations and have been proven to be very good at times.  In short, the NBA finals this year should be fascinating, dramatic, and a great watch for sports fans of all makes and models.

Here are a few key storylines that I’m interested in watching during this year’s NBA Finals:

The Big 3²

(*Author’s note: please excuse me.  I’ve just discovered how to make the “squared” sign on a PC.  ².  Sorry.  Last time.)

At this point we’re all pretty tired of hearing about the “Big 3″ on each of these teams, but their impact on their teams cannot be overstated.  On Miami it’s James, Dwyane Wade, and velociraptor mongoliensis Bosh.  With the Thunder it’s Durant, James Harden and The Russell West-B in Apt. 23.

We know Durant and James will be gigantic in this series.  But what about the other parts of the equation for each team?

Will the VeBoshiraptor be healthy?  Or will he play like he just got capped by Robert Muldoon?  Will anyone put up with me continually yelling, “Shoot heeer!” everytime Bosh makes a play?  The key to the Heat’s resurgence in the Boston series was Bosh’s return and, eventually, his return to form.

Will Harden continue to wreak havoc off the bench, or will the Heat’s athletic, swarming perimeter defense slow him down?  Will his beard trump LeBron’s moving beard-tribute to the 16th President of the United States.  (*Author’s note: I’m still 94% convinced that LeBron’s beard is somehow an elaborate cross-promotion for the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer movie.)

 

(*Secondary Author’s note: that’s still the second best tribute to Abe in the NBA.  Here’s the first.)

The Russell West-B in Apt. 23 and Dwyane Wade will play crucial second-fiddles in this series.  While I have no doubt that Westbrook can score with Wade, it will be interesting to watch his matchup with Mario Chalmers and see if he’s able to be his usual explosive self.

The Coaching Matchup

It’s been well-documented that Heat coach Eric Spoesltra could be on the hot-seat.  He’s found himself in the wholly unenviable position of being damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t, and totally f-ed if the Heat don’t deliver this time around.

Scoliam Neebrooks is facing his own kind of pressure.  While not nearly to the submarine-hull-at-Marianas-trench-bottom PSI that Spoelstra’s facing, this dead ringer for Liam Neeson needs to conjure his inner Col. Hannibal and come up with a plan that comes together.  How do you slow down LeBron, his go-to-gyu (*Author’s note: intentional typo alert) Dwyane Wade, and the VeBoshiraptor?  Seeing how he utilizes the young talent off the bench and his bigs will be something to keep an eye on.

The Refs

I’m not normally one to harp on the referees.  I’m not one of those people who think the league is rigged (*Author’s note: *cough* *cough* New Orleans wins the lottery *cough*) and I’m one of those people who thinks that as long as we keep trying to seamlessly incorporate technological advancement into the refereeing of sports we can cut these guys a little slack.

However the free throws could play a huge role in this series.  Will LeBron be at the line longer than a virgin waiting on The Hunger Games to come out?  Or will Durant get more freebies than a college football player attending USC?  Hopefully the refs stay the hell out of the way, like good refs should and can keep the flopping to a minimum.

2-3-2

It’s not a defensive formation that will automatically elicit a technical foul, nor is it some weird lingo for a new reality show that features a group of two bros, three frenemies and two hipsters who are all piled into a shack in the wilderness, a handgun, and a potential alien that is hidden among them.  (*Author’s note: but I’m sure that Fox has that one in the works)

What that refers to is the NBA’s championship format.  It’s different from the other rounds and lends itself to big trouble for the Thunder should they lose either game one or game two.  The team that wins game one wins the series 72% of the time.  OKC has a great home crowd.  Miami has a crowd.  The Thunder have a significant homecourt advantage and it will be interesting to see if this format helps or hinders them in their quest.

I’ll have more coverage of this, hopefully, amazing series.  Keep tuning in and I’ll keep gushing.

FIN

Do you hear that?  That deep, timpani roll just off the horizon that’s  cascading our way?  Reverberating, humming deep into your solar plexus like you’re standing too close to a didgeridoo?  That’s the sound of the Thunder.  That’s the sound of youth morphing into experience and a building, tempestuous roar that, like a stormy sea slamming into eroding rock cliffs, signals the passing of time.

The torch was passed last night.

Not willingly.  It was ripped from the aging, championship-ring-wearing hands of the San Antonio Spurs who, mere games earlier, had looked to be unbeatable; an unstoppable, silver and black clad tide that was rolling in and nothing and no one could stop them on their way to the title.

Successions to the throne are rarely clean.  There’s poison, vitriol, and if you watch Game of Thrones, incest (*Author’s note: a whole lot of incest).  The Spurs are a far classier bunch than the Lannisters, but they still gave the Thunder their all.  And somehow the kids from OKC prevailed.

I’m torn on the Thunder.  They bring all kinds of positives to the court, but I still am not entirely on the Thunder bandwagon.  It’s an enigma to me, because I can’t fully jock the Thunder without coming up with a list of why I shouldn’t.  There’s this whole Yin and Yang thing going on, with an occasional Ying Yang Twins thing sprinkled in.  Just trust me, it’s complex. 

So I decided to present you, my 4 readers, with a list of 5 reasons to root for the Oklahoma City Thunder and 5 reasons to root against them. 

5 Reasons to Root for the Oklahoma City Thunder:

1.  Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant may be the best basketball player on earth.  You could argue that LeBron James has that title, and his MVP performance and more-multi-faceted game certainly would back that up if you wanted to present the case.  But make no mistake about it, Kevin Durant is the real deal.

He’s 23-years-old.  When I was that age I was jamming on wrinkly jeans from the floor of my bedroom and brushing my teeth with Diet Mountain Dew on my way to an already-5-minutes-in class lecture.  He’s led the league in scoring 3 times. 

He’s humble.  He’s well-spoken.  He’s 6’10″ and can handle the ball like a guard, shoot 3′s like he’s playing NBA Jam TE on easy mode, and attacks the rim with a ferocity that seems suicidal given that he looks to weigh about 108 pounds.

If he hadn’t gone to Texas I might like him even more.

2.  James Harden

Even though my wife claims that his beard makes her “want to punch him in the face”, a claim which I find to be particularly amazing (*Author’s note: I’m a lucky man) I still like Harden.  He does everything.  Scores, distributes, comes off the bench without complaining and plays good defense.

Guys like Harden are what make championships possible.  Guys like Harden are what make teams great.  His progression this year may be exactly what has helped to get the Thunder over the Western Conference Finals hump.  Even if he looks like a mutant-spawn of an illicit Rick Ross/lumberjack mountain-shack affair, the guy can flat-out play and you can’t help but root for him.

3.  Substance Meets Style

The Thunder are just a damn fun team to watch play.  They can score.  They can defend.  They have 3 guys who could literally jump up take a quarter off the backboard, make change for it, then play a now-suddenly-overpriced $.50 game of Pac-Man before they hit the ground.  They do all of this while winning, which is the most impressive part of the equation.

When the Thunder are in the open court on a fast break even the whiter-than-Wonderbread crowd in OKC suddenly finds itself standing and preparing to get funky.

4.  Scott Brooks. . .Looks Exactly Like Liam Neeson

Here’s a quick side-by-side:

 

If you think you’re going to kidnap Liott Neebrooks’ chance for a title you’re sorely mistaken.  He’s a man with a definite set of skills.  And he’ll use all of those considerable skills to hunt you down and find you.

5.  They’re Not the Heat/Celtics

5 Reasons to Root Against the Oklahoma City Thunder

1.  Don’t Trust The Russell West-B in Apt. 23

Russell Westbrook.  He’s definitely one of the top 10 players in the league.  In his own mind he’s a top 1 player in the league.  When the line between reality and whatever’s floating around in his Chris-Brown-looking head. 

While I’m completely in awe of his ability I generally get the feeling that somehow he believes himself to be every bit the equal to Kevin Durant, who is a once-in-a-generation talent.  Where Harden and most of OKC knows their roles, The West-B in Apt. 23 often times appears to be the Thunder’s version of Joe Pesci.  Phenomenal as a #2 but at his best when offsetting Bob DeNiro.

2.  Kendrick Perkins

Perkins stumps around on court looking with the grace and the general demeanor of the title character Blackenstein. 

   

He’s borrowed every scowl, dirty move, and faux-anger-that-gets-very-un-faux-technical-fouls manuver in the Kevin Garnett: Anything is Possiiiiiblllleeeee Guide to Overblown, Theatrical Intensity handbook.

3.  This :

 

4.  This:

5.  And this: 

These guys can shoot pretty good, considering they clearly have a team-wide vision problem.

I’m not a fashion expert.  In fact, I don’t understand anything that’s trendy or cool anymore.  I feel like we’ve fallen through a portal to some kind of alternate dimension where it’s cool to dress like Willy Wonka; a terrifying land where Superman wants to be Clark Kent. 

The Thunder are at the front of this brutal assault on our 1080-p’s.  They step to the podium with glasses that would even cause a hipster to stop sipping his Latvian-imported micro-brew, that he can’t pronounce but knows deep in the soul-less chasm of his heart that it just has to be better than anything made in America, and spit it out onto his carefully wrinkled pants.

This atrocity cannot go un-recognized, but compared with the Miami Heat, who’re equally stylistically inclined?  This final piece of the un-rooting puzzle might just not be enough.  Go Thunder!

FIN

Chris Bosh is the 3rd wheel.  He’s the single friend that somehow gets dragged along to The Lucky One and ends up sitting two seats over munching balefully on his popcorn while trying not to hear his companions making out.  LeBron and Dwyane Wade are the ones making out in this scenario.  Figuratively, of course.

Bosh is the guy who’s least debated, least celebrated, and would definitely be the Ringo Starr of the self-proclaimed “Heatles.”  But there is one place that Chris Bosh is the belle of the ball, however: the internet.  Bosh moves from the peripheries of sight, working as a very accomplished bit player, to stage center right up in the front with a glaring spotlight shining on him.

Could it be his strange on-court demeanor?  Seemingly laid back despite his various attempts to hood himself up, opening his mouth into strange Edvard Munch-ian screams.  (*Author’s note: Munch’s most famous piece recently sold for $119.9 Million.  Or, roughly how much LeBron lost in advertisement deals by doing “The Decision.) 

    

Could it be the fact that he has reportedly been spotted, GASP!, reading books before the Heat’s games?  (*Author’s note: I’m a little hazy on the actual details of these reports but I recall hearing tales of Bosh’s indulgence in the Twilight series.  This detail, if actually true, seems like it would be far more damaging to a team’s collective psyche than finding out that — and this instance is purely a figment of my overactive imagination — say, one player was having an affair with another player’s mother.)

After all, arguably the most intimidating players in the league can barely read.  Kevin Garnett messed up his own shoe deals’ slogan and Derrick Rose just paid some other kid to take his SAT for him so he could get into the prestigious institute of learning that is. . .wait for it. . . Memphis.

It could be the fact that Bosh himself looks so much like a Raptor that when he played in Toronto (*Author’s note: where the team name is, ironically, The Raptors) people could be heard murmuring in the stands, “Damn, that mascot can really hoop!”  This final theory, which just so happens to be my personal favorite is what has elevated Bosh’s internet stardom to nearly that of his purse-carrying, male-model-wanna-be-ing counterparts.

Every time I watch the Heat play, and I’m completely out of variations on the F-word to scream at LeBron I find myself watching Bosh Jurassic Park his way up and down the court.  When he gets the ball at the top of the key, with no one guarding him I find I usually end up screaming this:

When explaining Bosh’s career, which is a very strange one, albeit far from over, I will more than likely do so to my young by printing off this monologue and reciting it line for line:

All of these things have propelled Bosh into the public forum, but where he has really come into his own recently has been in the GIF world.  Which is really just a nerdy alternate universe for internet obsessed types who spend hours dicking around online in an effort to get a laugh.  Bosh may be an NBA All-Star, but he’s a GIF HOF’er.

Here’s the best of the best of the Chris Bosh GIFs, feel free to submit your own.

In this one, which we will tentatively award the Bronze medal, Bosh decides that he’s been compared to a Velociraptor enough and throws his hat into the ring in the “Geico Impersonating World Championships.”  He does look like he is about to snatch a fly out the air like a reptilian version of Mr. Miyagi.

In this GIF, Bosh pops out of nowhere to invade a LeBron James interview.  Stealthily sneaking into the bottom of the frame the sneak-thieving Bosh appears with sudden, raptor-like viciousness to try to steal away the camera from LeBron.  LeBron, who in recent years has shied away from the spotlight like a criminal making a break for the fence at a maximum security prison, was heard saying after Bosh’s guest appearance that, “They should all be destroyed.”  It was unconfirmed as to whether he was talking about the people of Cleveland or a pack of dinosaurs brought back from the Cretaceous period.

And here would have to be my number one Chris Bosh GIF of all time.  This is the gold medal winner, the piece de resistance of Bosh somehow managing to make a fool of himself despite being a world-class athlete and, from all accounts, a pretty good dude.  I know I called him a Velociraptor for about 550 words of this post, but in this GIF Bosh makes sure we all know that, if we’re going to be accurate with our species designation, he’s actually more of a Dilophosaurus, or “Spitter.”

(*Author’s note: After shattering box office records around the world, the movie The Avengers has continued to garner millions of dollars and rave reviews.  **SPOILER ALERT** Bosh has a scene-stealing cameo.)

FIN

I’m not normally a bandwagon rider.  I’m really not.  In fact, I usually shy away from things that become extremely popular to a fault.  When everyone was raving about the Patriots I was stubbornly hoping that Bill Belichik’s sleeveless hoody would be banned turn up in a murder investigation.  As skinny jeans have swept that nation in a wave of eye-bleeding man-package displays, I’ve had to fight my instincts to break back out the M.C. Hammer pants just out of spite. 

When the Eastern Conference finals arrived 3 things have happened to cause a man who once spitefully refused to go see “The Hangover,” because it was talked about too much (*Author’s note: I claimed that it looked like a bigger budget “Dude, Where’s my car?”  I was wrong.”), to leap with both feet onto a Chicago Bulls bandwagon that has been picking up steam, and riders, since mid-season.

1.  The Lakers slept-walked their way through an embarrassing series, in which they lethargically wandered around looking like they’d made a team promise to smoke as much of Phil Jackson’s private ganja-stash as they possibly could.  Normally the Lakers are my favorite NBA team but with them out of the playoffs, and faced with the prospect of having no dog in the fight — a most Mike Vickian problem to say the least — I needed a squad to throw my full and undying support behind.

2.  The Bulls are our only hope of getting a Yoko Ono style break up of “The Heatles.”  And I simply cannot stand LeBron James.  While I realize that this hardly makes me unique, it does lend a certain sense of urgency to my rooting for the Chicago Bulls.  After LeBron’s hit-and-run style manslaughter of an entire fan base last summer he seemed to be attempting to give Tiger Woods a run for his money in the “Fastest 180 Degree Turn to Douchedom of the New Millennium” category.  I’ve covered my disdain for “The King” ad nauseum on Burnpoetry so I’ll leave it at this: if Benedict Arnold held a highly publicized news conference about selling out his country, then claimed he was going to win “Not 5. . .not 6. . .not 7, but 8 more wars for England,” you wouldn’t cheer him on either, would you?

3.  I realized that the Bulls are just damn fun to watch.  Despite the fact that I dislike Joakim Noah, in particular his pubic-looking facial hair and the fact that he’s so ugly he makes me angry at TNT for broadcasting in such high definition, I’ve grown to like the hustle and team-first approach of the Bulls.

Let’s face it, the NBA is better when the Bulls are good. They have rabid fans; always hungering for the next Jordan in a way that Husker fans always find ourselves hungering for the next Osborne/Frazier and they take pride in clinging to fandom even through the lean years.

Derrick Rose is unbelieveable. While I feel that the Rose love-fest that has blossomed in the second half of the season is a bit overblown by the media (*Author’s Note: For those of you keeping track, that’s the five billionth Rose/horticulture reference this year.) I also feel that when you’re watching him anything is possible.  Kevin Garnett would agree.

So, Burnpoetry readers, come join me for a ride on the Chicago Bulls’ bandwagon.  There’s plenty of room for everyone, and there’s beer and brats for everyone.  If you’ve already been on the bandwagon, let me be the first to say “good for you, now move the hell over as all of America piles on.”

Even though Noah looks enough like a really ugly chick to prompt my fiancee to ask, “Wait, why are you watching women’s basketball?” when I was watching the team’s 1st round matchup. And even if every major news publication has been ready to canonize Derrick Rose you should still cheer for “Da Bulls.” What the hell else are ‘ya gonna do? Cheer for LeBenedict James? Watch baseball?

That’s what I thought. Welcome aboard.

FIN

Bulls V.S. Pacers

Somehow the Pacers have managed to keep these games close despite trotting out a lineup with less athleticism and more whiteness than the cast of “The Outsiders.” 

However, in the end, they’ve been unable to escape the inevitable beatdown that comes with playing a red-hot Bulls team playing with confidence.

Derrick Rose has singlehandedly elevated his game to the stratosphere, scoring 39 and 36 points in the last two games, respectively.  He’s diced his way through the pale lineup like a Slap Chop through hardboiled eggs. 

Watching 7’2″ Roy Hibbert shuffle after Rose is like watching Frankenstein try to catch a mongoose.  On one drive to the hoop, Rose shook up more unathletic white guys then the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. 

The Pacers, to their credit haven’t given up and have continued fighting despite coming up against the most electric player to don Bulls black and Red since #23.  Regardless of how close they can keep the games, it appears that they’re headed home early this year after going down 0-2. 

This isn’t the last you’ve heard of the Indiana Pacers, however.  They’ll once again make the news when they draft BYU guard Jimmer Fredette to add to their lightning quick lineup of honky-power.

Celtics V.S. Knicks

The Knicks and Celtics both made season-altering trades this winter.  The Knicks traded 2 Boroughs-worth of people for Carmelo Anthony and the Celts sent Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City in an effort to — well, an effort to. . .alright, I admit it: I have no idea what they were thinking trading Kendrick Perkins.

The simple fact of the matter is that neither trade went particularly well.  While the Carmelo deal certainly brough some buzz to the Knicks it certainly didn’t bring any more wins and the Celts were rolling some 38-year-old 340 lb. dice, that Shaq would slather on some icy hot, shout “Kazaam” and be back to a dominant force.  He hasn’t played since January.

The Celtics won the first game of the series after a late, clutch, three-point bucket by Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen).  TNT, in their infinite wisdom, decided to shatter the previous record for in-game cutaway shots of someone completely un-important to the game by showing Ray Allen’s mom going completely insane each time her son hit a shot. 

(*Author’s note: this camera shot, commonly referred to by experts as “The Longoria”, named after Spurs guard Tony Parker’s ex-wife, Eva Longoria who  previously held the record at 12 billion.)

Allen, whose mom goes Gloria-James-after-a-bottle-of-Hennessy crazy each time her son hits a shot, had better hope that his Mom doesn’t get too much air time.  We know how his teammate Delonte West rolls.

The second game in this series begins tonight and the pressure is squarely on Carmelo Anthony who blundered his way down the stretch against the Celts in game 1, culminating in a bad shot from well beyond three-point range as time expired for the win.  Look for Amar’e Stoudemire to continue running wild on the Perkins-less, and suddenly soft, interior of the Celts.

Hawks V.S. Magic

The Hawks, who last year were trounced so thoroughly in the playoffs that their management promptly gave shooting guard Joe Johnson $120 million dollars for his non-efforts, have come out looking focused and ready to play. 

Despite giving up an astounding 46 points to Dwight Howard in the paint, the Hawks were able to pull out a victory in game 1. 

Normally the Hawks play like a Jerry Bruckheimer movie: a whole lot of flash, a high budget, but no real substance to speak of.  However, if they can continue to stay focused and concentrate on shutting down Orlando’s other weapons, (*Author’s note: I’m looking at you, Gilbert Arenas.  For multiple reasons.) they have a legitimate shot of hanging in with the Magic.

Heat V.S. 76ers

The Heat have given us something that we all love: a dyed in the wool villain.  I’m talking Darth James and Sith Lord Wade.  Hell, Chris Bosh certainly looks like a character from “Star Wars” and has apparently allied himself with “the dark side.”

The Heat have become the Yankees on steroids.  (*Author’s note: Wait, that already happened.  It was called 2003.)  They’re Ivan Drago from “Rocky IV.”  They’re a cockier, more athletic, version of the Celtics’ “Big 3″ and have had no remorse declaring themselves the soon-to-be best team of all time.

And they drew the 76ers.  A team that is too young.  Too out of control, as illustrated by their botching of a game earlier in the year after attending a wild Lil Wayne concert.  Simply put, they’re tatted up versions of the Ewoks and don’t stand a chance against the evil empire of Miami.

The 76ers kept the first game close, got blown out in game 2, and it’s only fitting that a team with the 2011 version of Benedict Arnold will attempt to shut down a squad named after the American Revolution.

More to Come. . .

I’ll check back in soon with my breakdown of the Western Conference playoffs.  Keep tuning in.

FIN