Sadly, I've not had the free time to follow the NBA as closely this year as I have enjoyed doing in past years. I've probably seen about three games on TV over the season thus far (which is not too below par for me, as I don't watch much TV), but I haven't been following the games, records, storied, and subplots through ESPN.com and other Internet sites as I have been apt to do in past seasons. This year's just been too busy work-wise, and only afforded one sport venue... so I chose the NFL, in large part because it just took up one day a week and because the Chargers had such a talented team and a magical regular season. (Let's not talk about the postseason.)
Anywho, I'm hoping to ramp back into the NBA for its second half of the season. The Lakers are doing respectable, considering the injuries they've faced and being located in the much more formidible Western Conference. Plus the Suns are a blast to watch, as they have been since Nash signed on a few years back. Hopefully he gets healed and can get back on the court.
Usually I do a playoff prediction at the start of the year (which, unsurprisingly, is fairly inaccurate come the end of the season), but I held off this year. I don't have the background to make any sort of intelligent guesses at how this postseason will shape up, but there are two things I know for certain:
- The Finals are going to be disappointing. I don't see how any East team can be considered serious competition against the Mavs, Suns, or Spurs. I think everyone but Detroit would have serious problems with Utah, too.
- I want to see a Mavs-Suns matchup in the WCF, a repeat from last years exciting series. And I want both teams healthy. That series would be the real Finals.
Let me close by saying that I agree 100% with the blog entryby “Bad Referee”, which disses NBA ref Violet Palmer. Although no matter how bad poor Violet is, she'll never eclipse Hue Hollins for his terrible foul call on Scottie Pippen. In fact, that call was rated the 7th worst call in history. From the ESPN article:
Bulls vs. Knicks, Game 5, Eastern Conference finals. No call has ever been nor ever will be more heinous than this travesty of justice.
Hollins calls a phantom foul on Scottie Pippen, who cleanly contested the 3-pointer by Hubert Davis in the waning seconds of the game and the Bulls clinging to a slim lead. Had Hollins done the correct thing, Davis would have missed the shot, and the Bulls would have stolen the pivotal fifth game (without the then-retired Michael Jordan!) in the Garden. Instead, Davis made three free throws to give the Knicks the lead, wresting the game out of the Bulls' clutches.
Chicago would have won the series in Game 6, but instead Hollins gave the Knicks the series in seven.