Apart from the 1 vs. 8 and 2 vs. 7 series, the first round of the NBA playoffs has been incredibly competitive, just as much so as anyone could have reasonably hoped. The Clippers and Grizzlies are showing everyone how good they are – and how unfair it is that one will lose this series. The Warriors and Nuggets are playing must-see basketball. And just today, Chicago and Brooklyn went to three overtimes.
Last season, the creaky Boston Celtics entered the Eastern Conference playoffs as the fourth seed, having gone 39-27 over the NBA’s lockout truncated season. They ended up just three games better than the 36-30 New York Knicks, who ended up the conference’s seventh seed.
The myth died for good only two years ago, but it seems more distant than that because it was so silly. It’s unlikely that it will return, but then again, people are still looking for Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, mermaids and flying saucers. So who knows? Maybe at some point, some basketball idiot will call Dirk Nowitzki “soft” again. That person would indeed have to be an idiot. But then, that was always true. Those who preached such nonsense
The Denver Nuggets were supposed to prove this season that a superstar is not needed to find great team success in the postseason. They were supposed to do it with chemistry and depth, but both of those things may have taken a huge hit on Thursday, when Danilo Gallinari suffered what appeared to be a devastating knee injury while driving to the basket against the Dallas Mavericks:
NEW YORK — Tyson Chandler, the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, has been conspicuous by his absence, even if the Knicks have won seven games in a row entering play on Sunday. Fortunately for the club, the 2013 NBA All-Star broke his silence Sunday night and revealed that he is eyeing a return to the lineup as soon as Tuesday night when the club travels to Miami to battle LeBron James and the Heat.
Here’s a little something LeBron James may not have wanted Taj Gibson to share with the rest of the world: he tried to recruit the Chicago Bulls power forward during the summer to join forces with the Miami Heat. This was likely nothing but playful chatter between the two players in reality, given the amount of money Gibson was going to command – he was given a four-year, $38 million contract at the start of the season. That’s just too rich
Only two games were on the menu in the NBA last night in a very light night around the league. The Knicks continued their downward spiral with their entire front court on the mend in another uninspiring effort in Portland, while the Spurs clinched a playoff berth for the 16th straight season in their win over Dallas. Here is Thursday night’s version of Five Fast Facts.