by Tom Weppel
At the beginning of the week, almost every single NBA fan thought it was a lock for the Celtics and Lakers to be heading for the NBA Finals. The chances for the Magic and Suns to win even one game was almost minimal.
But that changed in the first part of this week, when the Magic won Game 4 in Boston, and Phoenix won Games 3 AND 4 to tie up their series with the Lakers. It makes for some rather interesting discussion, in some respects. The main conclusion is that Boston and Los Angeles were easily the more favored teams to get together and go after it once again in the finals, while the Magic and Suns carried a very minimal following, which is almost a shame.
For the Celtics, their run in these playoffs has come virtually out of nowhere! Their play during the regular season was so very inconsistent, mainly due to injuries limiting the play of the talent on their roster. From starter Kevin Garnett on down, it seemed no one was at 100% during this season.
But then the team was able to get everything together and upgrade their style of play, and it has certainly come out in these last two series, against the Cavaliers and Magic. On the other side, L.A. has given us a great style of play throughout the regular season, only to be slightly tripped up a little here in this series with Phoenix. They are obviously not very happy with their play in Arizona. The Suns’ zone defense and outside shooting have made the difference.
The winners of each Conference series should give us a competitive match up, for sure. It will be interesting to see how things play out…
Meanwhile, the discussion over Lebron James and his potential free agency continue to dominate the headlines. Already, there have been all sorts of discussions as to where James might go, and why he SHOULD go to any certain team! The coverage has gotten to be a matter of slight overkill, easily. By the time the free agency period starts in July, most of us will be tired of hearing about the subject!
NHL/STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
After a wild, unconventional postseason, filled with unbelievable upsets and whatnot, we are finally down to two teams left ready to play for the Stanley Cup in the NHL.
The Chicago Blackhawks ere the winners of the Western Conference, having played as the #2 seed, showing their dominant style of play, especially on the road. They will face the Philadelphia Flyers, a very mediocre team during the regular season that barely made it IN to the playoffs, playing as the #7 seed and winning the Eastern Conference.
These two teams should give us a scrappy, rough, physical series to determine the champion of the NHL. And whoever wins will break a long drought of being crowned THE NHL Champ. The Flyers haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1975, while the Blackhawks haven’t won since 1961!
Each team has their leaders. For the ‘Hawks, its C Jonathan Toews, RW’s Dustin Byfuglien and Tomas Kopecky, and G Antti Niemi. For Philly, its C Mike Richards, D Chris Pronger, and G Michael Leighton. The success in this series rides on the play of any one of the aforementioned guys. Should be a great series to follow. Too bad there’s gonna be a loser…
SUPER BOWL IN NYC
There are plenty of ways to perceive the awarding of the Super Bowl in 2014 to New Jersey, New York, and the Meadowlands.
If you are someone going to the game, either as a player, stadium worker, or simple fan, then you might not be so happy when the temperatures are in the 30’s and there is possible snow, sleet, or freezing rain in the forecast. That flies in the face of what the Super Bowl for so long has been connected with…warm temps, sunshine, etc.
And even though the game will be played in the #1 market in the USA, offering that much more interest and exposure, it also means traffic will be a nightmare on oh so many occasions.
On the other hand, if snow were to start falling when this game will be played, most of us watching from our living rooms or local sports bars might think it’s the coolest thing in the world!
And so there are plenty of opinions and impressions that came out when the NFL owners approved the 2014 Super Bowl to be played at the new Meadowlands stadium. Its still three plus years away from happening, but I’m sure we’ll here tons of stories on what might, can, and will happen…
SPORTS w/The Jock 5-27
by Tom Weppel