Thursday, May 29, 2008
WHO’LL BE LEFT STANDING?
Thoughts about the remaining 2008 NBA Playoffs
May 29, 2008
At this moment, the Detroit Pistons are wondering how they can pull out two straight wins to get passed the Boston Celtics. Somewhere, out west, the San Antonio Spurs are wondering why they are going home for the summer having lost 4-to-1 against the L.A. Lakers who now advance to the 2008 NBA finals.
In looking at the three remaining teams, and the potential scenarios involved, several thoughts occur to me.
First, the downward spiral of the Spurs was rooted in fatigue. No player in San Antonio will admit this because they are champions and champs don’t put the blame on such things. Still, I believe that the tough series against the New Orleans Hornets --- and the Game One loss against L.A. --- really took it out of the Spurs. They came back against the Hornets like true winners, but the effort took a toll. San Antonio remains a fundamentally great team with world class personnel, but I’m afraid that they are tired out. Sometimes the hearts of warriors can overcome tired, aging legs. This time not.
As for the Celtics and Pistons, I actually feel that Detroit has a slight edge. Will it be enough to translate into an Eastern Conference victory? It may or may not -- especially with the elbow injury to Hamilton --- but here’s why I feel the way I do. Both teams benefit from depth and veteran talent. The difference is that Detroit is experienced without being old --- and the Pistons feature a squad that has considerably more time playing together as a unit. Although Boston is capable of playing outstanding defense, the Pistons are very physical --- and playoffs are the time for tough players to make themselves felt!
For those reasons, I also believe that Detroit would have an upper hand against the Lakers. In such a match-up Detroit should have enough depth and athleticism to contain Kobe just enough to make a difference. Although L.A. has certainly improved from the trade for Gasol, I’m not sure that the Lakers, as a team, function as efficiently as Detroit because of how long the respective players have all been together with each other.
In any event --- what happens will be entertaining and, I hope, memorable. Many deserving players will be involved in the final series and it will be enjoyable to see who most wants the ultimate victory.
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Posted by STILL HERE at 10:51 AM