by Tom Weppel
The Playoffs have given us some competitive games so far in the various series. They have proved to be even that much more interesting, to say the least.
Let’s start with the Eastern Conference, where it seems the Boston Celtics have been hiding all season long, then decided to emerge and unfold here during the playoffs.
The Celts have been banged up and tarnished throughout the entire season. No body expected them to do anything this postseason, especially against the Cavaliers, and then against the Magic.
But lo and behold if this grizzled group of veterans hasn’t put everything together at just the right time to give the basketball fans of Boston something to get excited about. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett all have come thru to work quite cohesively in winning games, and series, for the Celtics. Add in the play of guard Rajon Rondo, and it looks like head coach Doc Rivers has got himself a story to sit on for quite a while.
Meanwhile, the Magic were a team looking fantastic thru their first two series, sweeping both the Charlotte Bobcats and the Atlanta Hawks. Orlando was looking primed to march right back in to the Finals, where they finished last year, even though losing to the Lakers.
But Orlando wasn’t ready for the Celts to come down and play as they did. Boston pulled out to close wins, and now the Celtics are in great position to win the series and get in the Finals, while the Magic are left wondering what the hell hit them.
In the Western Conference, the Lakers and Suns have been squaring off and playing some decent basketball, with the Lakers looking confident and productive in their play, which should be good enough to get them back in to the Finals once again. While you think Phoenix would one day have been able to squeak into the Championship series, it seems the Lakers simply have their number when its all said and done.
Head coach Phil Jackson has done a masterful job keeping things moving along in L.A., with Kobe Bryant and Co. doing their best to take care of business and stay productive. Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher, and even Andrew Bynum have all contributed to making this team effective and successful when they need to be and want to be.
And while there’s always a chance the Suns can slip thru the crack and pull out some wins, for all intents, mind as well pencil the Lakers in for the Championship Finals…
NHL/STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
While the NBA has been quite entertaining, the NHL will NEVER be outdone when it comes to drama and excitement in the postseason!
Already we have seen teams come back from a 3-0 deficit and a 3-1 deficit to win series! That is virtually unheard of in past play! To do what the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers have done in recent weeks is phenomenal. Add to that the play of the Chicago Blackhawks, who have been dominant on the road, and what we’re seeing so far is a case of multiple comebacks…where NO lead is safe at all!
If the Flyers beat the Habs in the Eastern Conference Finals, and it looks like they are, then Montreal needs props for the job they did in defeating both the #1-seed Caps and the defending champion Penguins to get as far as they did! Those two series wins are worthy of discussions for quite a while, easily.
Both Philly and Chicago won the first two games of their series. If they meet for the Stanley Cup Final, it will be a great match up, without question. We’ll see how things play out.