One of the greatest times of the year has arrived if you are a true fan of basketball. This years NBA Playoffs have already gotten off to a crazy start after just one game. After an offseason full of labor negotiations that ultimately truncated the usual 82 game schedule, the 2012 NBA regular season did anything but disappoint. In our preseason preview post , I foreshadowed many players and teams to watch this year. Now it’s time to put up or shut up. Here are a few things to watch for going forward in the playoffs:
1. The matchup everybody wants to see= LAKERS v. HEAT
No disrespect to KD or to any other teams that have played well all season, but the matchup we all want to see is Kobe versus Lebron. Fans have been patiently waiting to see the leagues 2 biggest stars battle in the Finals for years. It would be must-see TV! The Lakers looked shaky early but they have re-emerged as serious threat. Could it happen this year?
2. The matchup nobody wants to see= SPURS v. ANYBODY
The 3 old men and Coach Pop have the Spurs working like a fine tuned machine down in San Antonio. They finished the season tied for the NBA’s best record and would be a tough match for anybody in these playoffs. With that being said, the Basketball deities have got to step in and prevent them from making it to the Finals. Sitting through a series being forced to watch the Spurs will have us all impatiently waiting for football to return.
3. Injury bug is striking hard
With the abnormal offseason and missed training camp, everyone expected that injuries may play a role this season. But if you were like me you thought they would’ve been worked out by now and players would be in good shape. In the past 2 weeks we have witnessed season-ending injuries to some of the leagues best and already 2 blown knees in Game 1. Hopefully, this trend doesn’t continue.
4. No lead is safe
When I turned off the game and hopped on the subway to head home with 6 minutes left in game 1 between the Clippers and Grizzlies I was reminded that no lead is safe in the NBA Playoffs. By the time I got home and opened ESPN Watch I was looking at highlights of the Clippers winning the game. Teams that have made it a habit of blowing huge leads this year will want to lose that bad habit fast if they plan on advancing deep in this years post-season.
5. Coaching for a job next season?
A few teams have more to play for than just themselves. Some coaches could benefit from their team at least competing in a series. The Knicks interim head coach, Mike Woodson, is one of those who is looking to lead the Knicks to their first playoff win since 2001 playoffs. Not many expect the Knicks to upset the strong Miami Heat team, but for a team as talented as the Knicks who had high preseason expectations, a few moral victories could go a long way!
When the Clippers acquired Chris Paul this summer the unrealistic expectations and predictions came in right behind him. Del Negro’s contract expires in June and the team would have an option for next season. Del Negro has already been on the hot seat once this season. They need to at least advance past the first round if you ask me.
Let’s not even discuss Stan Van Gundy and the madness that has surrounded the Magic this season. This may end up being his last season either way.
6. Who will hoist the Larry O’Brien in June?
You can see who I picked, as well as a few of my Rat Pack brethren by clicking on the brackets below. So what, Im bias! Also, keep in mind these picks and games were made prior to the playoffs starting so we had no advantage. It will be interesting to see how things play out. Let us know who you believe will win it in the comment section below.