Monday, April 22, 2002

NBA PLAYOFFS: I don't know about you, but I enjoyed those eight games this weekend. Of course, the Nets lost, and were the only higher seed to do so. Before the games got started Rapmaster Bobby D posted his picks and I put mine out there on Sportsfilter. (I love how the NBA playoff thread on Sportsfilter has three comments and the NHL playoff thread has almost forty. Apparently Internet dorks and hockey cultists are cut from the same cloth.) So you can call me out later for picking the same Lakers/Sixers final as last year, which does suggest a lack of imagination on my part but I couldn't think of good enough reasons to pick against those guys. Anyway, my thoughts from opening weekend:

--The Nets look like they bit off more than they can chew in Reggie Miller and Jermaine O'Neal. And Keith Van Horn is so not a go-to guy. Are you telling me that beating the Nets is a simple as forcing Jason Kidd to take shots? Cripes.

--The Pistons looked so dominant last night in the fourth quarter. And you can always count on my birthplace to do something classy like booing O, Canada:

The ugly start followed a tasteless display by the sold-out crowd at The Palace before the game when O Canada, the Canadian national anthem, was met with a steady stream of boos. The crowd included a couple thousand Toronto fans, who were decked out in Raptors gear and were waving Canadian flags.

"That was a little distasteful," Stackhouse said. "I don't think anyone enjoyed it. But our fans stuck up for us all season, so I'm going to stick up for them. I'm sure they were booing Toronto the team, not the Canada the country."

When Toronto made a 12-2 run midway through the second quarter to cut its deficit 29-28, the crowd chanted "USA, USA!"

In their defense, maybe the fans were just booing the assembled Raptors fans. But that is sort of a "forget it, Jake, it's Detroit" moment.

--The Blazers are going to have to find some middle ground between Crazy Blazers and Bland Well-Behaved Blazers if they want any shot at beating the half-assing it Lakers.

--The Mavs and Spurs began the eventual demise of the Wolves and Sonics.

--I didn't see a lot of Sixers-Celtics Game One but the Sixers had no snappy comebacks for the Walker-Pierce tandem.

--That Kings-Jazz game was probably the most enjoyable of the weekend. The smug Kings are almost as easy to hate as the Lakers and I hope the Jazz takes the next game. Hopefully Vlade's dumb "they're done" post-game comments will light a fire.

--I change my mind, the Hornets-Magic game was the most enjoyable of the weekend. Well, the fourth quarter was, anyway, when something snapped inside and the Hornets decided to make a game of it. T-Mac is a hurtin' buckaroo, and I still don't think the Magic are going to pull this off.

There you go. Watch the NBA this year, folks, people say it's going to be the most competitive playoff series in recent memory.

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