Let’s take a look at how the first round is shaping up after Saturday’s games!
(Cleveland up 3-0)
Do you give the Pistions a 10% of winning even a game in this series?
(Boston up 2-1)
Do you think that the Cavs intentionally tried to lose against Philly, with the goal in mind of having Chicago play the Celtics in round one? Coming into the playoffs, the Bulls were as hot as any team (other than the Cavs), so I could see it as a possibility (not a good one, but a possibility!).
(Philadelphia up 2-1)
Orlando has outscored Philadelphia by five points this series, but trail two games to one. I’d think that over the course of the series, Orlando will likely have a bit of a correction, so I think they still are in good shape.
(Miami up 2-1)
Can you think of a less imposing #4 seed than the Atlanta Hawks? They wouldn’t make the Western Conference Top Eight teams with their record!
In their win Joe Johnson didn’t shoot 50% from the field. Overall, he’s shooting about 36% from the field. You gotta step it up, Joe!
(Los Angeles up 3-1)
Poor Utah, they win 48 games and get to play the Lakers in the first round. Who’s the best non-starter in the NBA? Lamar Odom has to be high on that list, no?
(Denver up 2-1)
Chris Paul practically willed New Orleans to the win in Game 3, but boy, they certainly look undermanned a lot during this series. And I sorta admire how George Karl is taking the game physical. If the refs aren’t going to call it, then you might as well use it.
(Dallas up 3-1)
What an interesting series in the sense that it is almost like getting ready for Lakers/Jazz while figuring that the Jazz have no chance at winning and right before Game 1 hearing that Pau Gasol is out for the season. Suddenly an easy win for the Lakers turns into advantage for the Jazz.
That’s what happened here, obviously, with Manu’s injury, and now the Mavericks are shockingly not only likely to be playing in the second round, but they don’t even have to play the Lakers! It’s amazing how the fortunes have changed for both conferences just in the last few days of the season (as Dallas climbed all the way to #6 in the West).
I wouldn’t say that either Denver or New Orleans should feel all that confident playing Dallas in the second round.
(Houston up 2-1)
I’ll admit, I thought Portland getting home court was going to be a huge factor, but I guess I was wrong, as they didn’t seem to get any benefit out of playing at home. The defensive show that Ron Artest and Shane Battier put on in Game 3 was nothing short of inspired.