With two days off inbetween games for the Lakrs, it’s again time to take a look around the rest of the league.
*Fear the Deer. And if you don’t, at this point the Hawks probably should. Kurt penned a very good piece on the Hawks (and their coach’s lack of innovation in the closing minutes), but at this point I just want to give all the credit in the world to the Bucks. They’re playing hard (what Scott Skiles teams do) and are executing down the stretch of games. And, again, how about that Brandon Jennings. He’s getting into the lane and running his team, but have you seen the ice water in his veins FT’s that he’s made in the last couple of wins? Sure I named Curry my ROY, and Tyreke is a beast, but only Jennings is still playing. This kid can play.
*Speaking of the Hawks, they’re the only top seed from the east that is still trying to win a series. Orlando swept, Boston handled the Heat, and Cleveland took care of Chicago. This is in stark contrast from the Western playoffs where the higher seeded Lakers and Suns both lead 3-2, but Dallas and Denver look like they may not advance as they trail 3-2 in their series. So you know, if the series hold their form and every team that leads their series advances, the Lakers would face Utah in the next round and either San Antonio or Phoenix in the conference finals (should the Lakers beat Utah). This getting way ahead of things, but if there was a poll taken on what teams the Lakers would like to face on their way to a Finals berth, I would bet that Utah and Phoenix were near the top of that list. Again, I don’t want to put the cart before the horse (game 6 vs. OKC is a very important game for the Lakers), but things may yet break well for LA on their path to advance in these western playoffs.
*I love Ron Artest just for quotes like “My defense is so unbelievable, I don’t really care about offense right now.” I know the timing seems a bit awkward for some healthy patting oneself on the back, but I don’t care. This is classic Artest. Plus, it’s true. His defense is unbelievable right now. One more game against the league’s best scorer though, Ron. One more game. (linked by Phillip this morning.)
*What is next for Dwyane Wade? Will he stay in South Beach? If he does stay who will join him? Amare? Bosh? Boozer? Do you realize that even if Miami singns Wade and another max guy, that they’d still have (an estimated) $10 million to fill out their roster? How does a Wade, Bosh, Haywood, Felton nucleus sound? What if Wade decides to leave? Can you imagine him in a backcourt with Rose with Noah and Deng flanking them? Lets just say I’ll be watching what happens with Wade this summer with keen interest. Lebron may be the big fish, but Wade can change the balance of power in the East depending on how his situation plays out.
*I know that the Lakers have been guilty of complaining after referees calls go against them. We’ve all seen Kobe, Bynum and Pau do their fair share of staring, yelling, and gesticulating after fouls. And while I always thought that Duncan (as much as I love him) was one of the worst complainers, I think Dwight Howard had him beat in Orlando’s series against the Bobcats. Go check out the Dwight Howard “foulumentary” that Eddy Rivera put together over at MagicBasketball.net. Honestly, if I were Howard, I’d be frustrated at some of those calls too. But, he was complaining after a lot of those – even the obvious ones. I really dont’ think it helps your cause with the refs when you never just raise your hand and say “that one was on me”. I’m just saying.
*Interesting stat that commenter jodial mentioned in the comments yesterday: After the Lakers win over the Thunder on Tuesday, they’ve improved their record to 8-0 in the last three years in game 5’s. Sure, it helps to have a lot of those games 5’s at home, but I also think that it’s pretty impressive that the Lakers have been able to win all of those games. I mean, the Lakers closed out Orlando on the road in the Finals of their last game 5. I don’t think it’s a fluke that in a very important game (either a series clincher or a chance to go up 3-2) that the Lakers have really played well.
*Lastly, and this has nothing to do with hoops, there any boxing fans out there? Who do you have in the Mosely/Mayweather fight on Saturday? Personally, until Mayweather loses, I’ve got a hard time seeing him go down. But, I think Shane has enough speed and more than enough power to make things hard on Floyd. Let me know what you think on this one.