Saturday, April 19, 2008

One Two and done

I felt pretty damn good entering last year's playoffs, having predicted a Cleveland-San Antonio final before the season began. No, seriously, ask around. That will not happen this season. Nor will last October's revelation that appeared in a haze of magical, purple smoke immediately after my steely gaze into the crystal ball of futurama -- not that I mind because that means the Bulls have imploded. Ha, I say to you, Flying Nunly, ha. Oh sure, the aging Spurs could wake up and win the brutal Western conference, but us? Pshaw. If the meandering Cavs end up stealing a game or two from Boston in the conference semis, eat, drink and be merry, because that'll be the limit of our rapturous joy until The Rapture. Well, unless Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce all end up on the no-fly list and simultaneously get picked up at Logan International for some European gulag-style vacation. Sweet Beelzebub, is the West loaded. The picks, don't use 'em to bet (especially after my Devils laid a colossal, prehistoric egg), yadda yadda yadda:

Boston vs. Atlanta: Well, denizens of Georgia no doubt already sweating in the humid shadows of blossoming peach trees, you got your wish fulfilled through the Mike Bibby trade: you made the playoffs. Enjoy it, because you'll be gone right quick. The unquestioned best defensive team in the league versus a bunch of brash upstarts? This one is going to be ug-lee. Celtics in four.

Detroit vs. Philadelphia: In between stretches of Rasheed and Co. whining about being disrespected and/or complaining about how the better team did not win because of the refs being aliens or a David Stern conspiracy -- and since we're on the subject of The Most Powerful Commish in Sports, can we at least recognize his complicity in this evil? Yeah, I've got a problem with tradition getting it in the ass from corporates while we subsidize their luxury suited stadia and arenas for legions of empty suits who don't even follow the fucking sport. Dave, go fuck yourself and get a job with the Bush administration while you're at it -- the Pistons are actually the deepest they've been in awhile. The hard-nosed play of the 76ers notwithstanding, Motor City shouldn't have much of a problem here. Pistons in five.

Orlando vs. Toronto: What the hell happened to the Raptors? They were within striking distacne of a three seed for awhle. And what the hell happened to Hedo Turkoglu? After Dwight Howard, he's been, by far, their best player. Didn't he used to be mediocre? I can't see the Magic becoming much more than this era's 1980s Atlanta Hawks. Talented, but not talented enough to break through. Dominique, Kevin Willis, Doc Rivers, that was a fun team. Oh yeah, this series. Magic in six, because the Raptors have to wake up at least a little, don't they?

Cleveland vs. Washington: Period of adjustment. The new guys will get with the program. They just need a killer instinct. Blah blah blah diddy blah.


Because we've got home court and the best player in the league -- sorry, Kobe fans, your guy's probable win of a Lifetime Achievement Award, a.k.a. the MVP, doesn't earn that rep in this corner. Shouldn't Memphis be the real winner? -- we'll move on, but barely. Certainly doesn't help that the Wizards big three are healthy, unlike last April. Did I mention ugh? And while we're at it, thanks for putting game one on at 12h30 EST. While I'm at work. Fuckers. Cavs in seven.

L.A. Lakers vs. Denver: O, Los Angeles, how do I hate thee, let me count the ways. On second thought, no, since I'd be here awhile. I don't want to say "if Andrew Bynum was healthy, they'd be the prohibitive favorite" because you can't just plug someone in and assume things will go smoothly, but Pau Gasol was a nice consolation prize. Add in the improvement of players such as Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic and Luke Walton and the free-wheeling Nuggets will have their hands full. Plus, isn't Marcus Camby waaaaay overdue to get injured? Lakers in six.

New Orleans vs. Dallas: This pairing isn't all that odd until one realizes that the vagabond Hornets are the #2 seed. But they are indeed very real. Hey, Atlanta, still think you did right by passing on Chris Paul, the savior of basketball in the Big Easy? Peja Stojakovic's wonky back seems to be in remission, so there's a definite outside threat to match the criminally underrated David West inside, but I imagine the Mavericks would love nothing more than to put last year's spectacularly awful flameout six feet under. With old man Kidd on board, I think they will, at least for one round. Mavericks in seven.

San Antonio vs. Phoenix: The Big Fundamental vs. Shaq Fu and plenty of mouthing and series-changing plays; it's just like the Spurs-Lakers from earlier this decade. Except the former is still All-NBA calibre whereas the Big Aristotle or the Big Decrepit or whatever he's calling himself these days isn't. But hey, if he takes up enough space, grabs double-digit boards and stays off the foulshot buffet, then sure, the Suns can advance. But Manu has returned and I can't back off my prediction of the Spurs busting their unexplainable alternating title tradition. They'll hold off the slow creep of age for one more campaign, and the Suns might end up missing Shawn Marion's defense more than they realized. This is going to be a fun series. There might even be some blood. Spurs in seven.

Utah vs. Houston: Poor Houston. They finally have, on paper at least, the team to challenge for the title and Yao Ming ends up having his season cut short extra early. Oh, and while he's out, the Rockets win a bunch more games, wrapping up at twenty-two straight, the second longest streak in NBA history. So what do they do? Get matched up with the one team that can equal their toughness. And for all the talk about how Utah is a monster at home and a puppy on the road, remember, they won game seven in Houston last year. It won't go that far, and Tracy McGrady will get blamed again when know-nothings should be blaming Yao's foot, which obviously has some extra shadowy curse laid upon it. Point guard Rafer Alton missing at least two games is just icing on the angry sports talk show cake. Jazz in six.


FranIAm said...

As you know sports are lost on me, but after reading you via my reader, I clicked in.

Totally digging your crime does pay photo. Holy crap Randal. You should sell that shit.

Mary Ellen said...

Pfft. You won't see me defending the Bulls! I rarely watch basketball and the Bulls haven't had a good team for years. Baseball's my game and I'm so used to watching the White Sox lose that nothing bothers me anymore.

Although...did ya see that monster home run of Thome's last night in Tampa Bay? Yikes! He was handed one hell of a meatball with that pitch!

b said...

I find myself irritated with the upcoming playoffs and I haven't really been invested in basketball at all this season. But I too loathe the Lakers and I wish the stupid Spurs would just die already. The West is brutal and despite the Blazers' seeming momentum in December, we had no shot up against the multitude of West Giants. I suppose like so often, I will be rooting for most of the underdogs and mildly content with some good games.

Freida Bee said...

Every time you do a sports post I am going to tag you with a meme, as a sort of aversion therapy.

Well, just this once then, otherwise I'll be labeled a terrist. I wouldn't want you to blog in terror of a meme.

Oh, you are tagged (if you didn't get that).

Distributorcap said...

at least they finally fired isiah thomas

i wish they would do that to bush

fairlane said...

I'm taking the Red Wings over the Celtics in the Super Bowl.

The game will come down to penalty kicks with Ronaldo driving home the game winner.

Anita said...

all i know about basketball these days is that the knicks suck. and, yeah, i guess they fired isiah. i personally think they should fire dolan. can they do that?

okjimm said...

//I'm taking the Red Wings over the Celtics in the Super Bowl.

The game will come down to penalty kicks with Ronaldo driving home the game winner.//

yuppers...what fairlane said and all.......!!!

Utah Savage said...

Well, I finally followed you home. The sports post didn't interest me but your profile did. I love Proust too. You are the first man I ever heard of who also lists Proust as a fav.

From your profile and then to your post is a bit of a shock. I know where you listed your interests you listed every sport played, but still.

I have followed you because you read all my favorite bloggers and post such interesting comments. No, I don't stalk all the young guys. Only the smart ones.

Anita said...

watch out Randal, Utah Savage is one serious cougar !!


Anonymous said...

RG - Playoff basketball just isn't the same without the Knicks in the mix. How 'bout those New York Rangers?

pissed off patricia said...

I'll write all I know about basketball right here.

Well, that about does it.

TomCat said...

Of course the Portland Tailblazers fell short of the mark this year.

Is it football season yet? :-(

Freida Bee said...

We are so desperate, we are commenting the sports post....

Randal Graves said...

fran, in this economy?

ME, you really do have a short term memory, dontcha.

b, just remember that Portland has a bright future and you guys will be getting Oden back next season. Not to mention that Rudy Fernandez should be coming to the States soon.

FB, does this mean I have to report you to DHS? Or does the completion of this meme constitute a flag lapel pin, just in electron form?

dcap, funny how Dolan seems to mirror the American people. "Hey, this guy is completely ineffectual. Let's extend his contract for four more years!"

fairlane, you couldn't be more wrong. As soon as Ronaldo is about to take the clincher, Zidane runs onto the field and lays a head butt, knocking him out cold. Thus, the free-throw shooting contest between the drunkest fans on each side.

anita, only if we're allowed to fire all the other horribly evil CEOs around. You know, like Chimpy.

okjimm, go eat some egg rolls!

utah savage, who doesn't love Proust? If I could claim authorship of one book, it'd be that one. As for the sports, I like all kinds things various and sundry. And it's good thing I'm not all that smart then!

spartacus, as much as I disdain the Knicks, I have to agree. What's comical is that Isaiah actually hasn't drafted all that poorly, but he's such an abysmal general manager from a free agency standpoint. The Rangers are tough, and now that Jagr doesn't have all the pressure on him, they're a definite threat to come out of the East.

POP, that's more than the average glitterati sideline at a Lakers game. Oh no, I just engaged in class warfare!

tomcat, but you guys have a good future. And chin up, sir, the draft is this weekend!

FB, and it's much appreciated. Now it's time to see just how evil your tag is.