NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Friday, May 18, 2012

Miami Vice

The Miami Heat right now trail the Indiana Pacers 2-1 in the eastern conference semifinals, and with no Chris Bosh for quite a while, the Heat seem to be in massive trouble. The Miami Heat have already been knocked for not having a middle and for not having any sort of a middle or legitimate post presence even with Chris Bosh on the floor. But now that he's out with an abdominal strain, the Heat's middle seems to have really shrunk to the point that it appears as thought there are midgets playing down in the post. Let's be real here folks: Ronny Turiaf, Joel Anthony, and Juwan Howard can't play a lick of center right now, and LeBron James is struggling to play the power forward position. They have nobody to compete on the glass with Roy Hibbert, David West, and Tyler Hansbrough. The Pacers are mauling the Heat on the glass right now, and that has really made the difference in this series.
     The other big flaw that has come to light is Miami's lack of bench depth. When nobody on the bench can score more than 5 points, you aren't going to win many playoff games. The NBA Playoffs is a war of attrition, and you need guys 1-12 step up at some point to win a series. Right now, only guys 1 and 2 are really stepping up for the Heat. The rest of the guys are stinking up the joint and showing why basketball is a team sport, not an individual sport. If their bench continues to suck, then yes, the Miami Heat will lose this series. They need somebody to step up and do what any solid 6th man should do, which is score the ball and take pressure off the stars. Nobody on the Heat is doing that off the bench, and that is why LeBron and Wade are tired down the stretch. With no Chris Bosh, the Miami Heat have to carry 10 yahoos on their back for all 4 quarters. Of course their shots fall short down the stretch. Great teams have the luxury to allow their bench to come in for their stars for around 10-12 minutes a game. The Heat can't play their bench without Wade and James on the floor because they'll get whopped by any team in the league. The fact of the matter is the Heat bench is beyond weak, and LeBron and Wade are too tired to carry this team for all 4 quarters. But before you start defending James and Wade for this, let's keep in mind that they chose to play on this team.
   Bench play has always been an important staple of any contending team. It's a fact. Guys who don't start need to step up and play their roles. When they do, their team succeeds. When they don't their team struggles. The need for a bench is one of the most fundamental needs for any basketball team to succeed, and the Miami Heat basically gave the finger to bench play and said "we don't need it, because we have 3 superstars". Well guess who's laughing now? They are getting beat by a team who has a vastly superior bench, and has allocated its resources more evenly from top to bottom. So don't try to defend Wade and James because their bench sucks. They chose to have a chicken-shit bench, and it's coming back to bite them in the butt.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lockout Deja Vu?

The NBA Playoffs have finally arrived, and much like the 1998-99 lockout season, we've seen some unusual things thanks to the lockout. Injuries have been the primary fallout of this schedule compressed season, with Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert both tearing ACL's, and Amar'e Stoudemire getting so frustrated at the lockout that he punched a fire extinguisher severing tendons in his hand. But while this lockout has had it's own unique struggles in comparison to the last lockout season in 1998-99, there could also be a certain repeat of events that can't be ignored.
   First off, last time there was a lockout season, the Spurs won the NBA Championship. Back in 1999, David Robinson finally quenched his thirst for a championship, and in the process brought the Spurs their first NBA Championship. Perhaps by pure serendipity, the Spurs are once again playing the best basketball in the NBA and maybe on their way to another championship in a lockout season.
   Secondly, last time there was a lockout, the #8 seeded New York Knicks upset the #1 seeded Miami Heat in the first round. This season, the #8 seeded Philadelphia 76ers have a 2-1 lead on the #1 seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round. We may once again see the #8 seeded team out east upset the #1 seed. Oh, but it gets even more interesting than that. If you remember, the 8 seeded Knicks in 1999 went to the NBA Finals where they eventually lost to the Spurs. Now, to suggest that the #8 seeded 76ers will reach the NBA Finals in 2012 is crazy right? Well, not exactly. You see, provided they eliminate Chicago, they'll be paired with the Boston Celtics, who for much of the season they were out-playing for the division title before sliding back to the 8th spot. Suppose the Sixers get hot and eliminate the Celtics, and then find themselves facing the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Do you not start to think Deja Vu in the Eastern Conference?
    The Chances of the Pacers reaching the East finals isn't at all crazy. Their size and depth is exactly what Miami is trying to avoid. Indiana beating Miami and Philadelphia beating Boston are both legitimate possibilities. From there, take a wild guess who wins a 7 game series between the 76ers and the Pacers. It's a coin toss. So, by flipping a coin, we conclude the 76ers knockout the Pacers and are all the way in the NBA Finals.
    Meanwhile, back in the Western Conference, the Spurs finish their rampage through the West, and voila, we have the Spurs in the NBA Finals facing the 8 seed from the East, who would this time be the Philadelphia 76ers. To complete this all off, the Spurs win the NBA title like it's 1999.
    Does this all sound too crazy and far fetched for you to comprehend? It may at the moment, but mark my words it could all happen, and don't say you didn't hear it from me first. Will the Spurs really win the NBA Championship? In my opinion, I don't see who's gonna stop them. I mean let's be real. If San Antonio plays as well as they've been playing as of late, they'll win the Western Conference title, and likely the NBA Championship. Will the Sixers really win the Eastern Conference title? Well, history says they could, and they have the team to maybe upset Boston or Atlanta in the next round, and there's a solid chance they could avoid Miami altogether. I say why not?
  Regardless of what happens in these playoffs, it's fun to speculate and have fun guessing a what would happen. A Spurs/Sixers Final may seem like a pie in the sky to some, but maybe it's what the basketball gods have in store for us. We shall see.