LA is taking on San Antonio in the conference finals for the 4th time. So far the Lakers have had the upper hand 3 times, most recently in 2004. The possibility of the classic LA vs Boston final matchup has to have the NBA salivating over the potential revenue and ratings. LA has the home advantage and is playing lights-out right now, so SA will have another huge task ahead of them if they are to advance. The Spurs won at New Orleans last night marking only the 5th time this post season that a road team has won and becoming the first team to advance as a lower seed without home advantage. Their playoff experience was huge!
Detroit will face Boston on the road in the East final. The game features a superstar stacked Boston Celtics team that was thrown together this year to make a run at the championship vs the veteran defense-oriented Detroit team that has gone to battle together numerous times in the playoffs. They always tend to play to the level of their competition so this should be a hard fought series. Detroit has won on the road and Boston has not. I believe Detroit can take Boston out, but it’s going to be nasty. I don’t think they have a legit chance at winning without Billups. I’m sure the rest was beneficial, so Detroit is probably thanking Cleveland for stretching the series to 7 against the Celtics.
I am going to equivocate here but my head tells me LA will take out SA in 7 and Boston will advance in 7 as well. These are two evenly matched series though. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see SA or Detroit steal one on the road and take their series. I’m pulling for SA in the long run.
Well, unfortunately Lebron James didn’t quite have enough juice to pull Cleveland through on his own. He put together an incredible offensive and defensive performance but came up short. Boston will now have to face a well rested Detroit team in the conference finals. Billups’ sore hamstring needed the break. Now Boston who has faced two 7 game series (Atlanta and Cleveland) still has not won a single road game. If they don’t at least advance to the finals, you have to wonder what happened. This was a 66 win team with three super stud ballers. Anything less than an NBA championship will be the city’s second heartbreak. This obviously won’t be as monumental as the Patriots Superbowl Choke, but this is still bad. This is one of the NBA’s best regular season records in its history.
On the Western front, Tim Duncan is trying to pull off a big win in New Orleans. LA has been waiting for the winner of this series since they finished off the Jazz in 6 games. Do Tim, Tony, and Manu have what it takes? Yes they do! Unfortunately, the homecooking has been in full effect this year. Ref’s are making it extremely hard to win on the road. The freethrow disparity is sick in almost all the series. All teams with home court advantage have advanced in every series. I have not ever seen that happen before. To sum it up, it will take a lot more than an average performance from SA’s big 3 to win tonight, but I’ll be pulling for them.
Last night, the Sixers shocked us all and beat Detroit on the road. Honestly, nobody really saw that coming. The 76ers finished with a losing record this year. Detroit is viewed by some as a legitimate threat against the Celtics. With 59 wins, Detroit has the second best record in the NBA this year, only behind the superstar-packed Celtics. Is this win significant? I’m not sure, but I would guess that it isn’t. I have a hard time contemplating any team taking a healthy Boston Celtics team down this year, though. That’s regardless of the first game loss to the Sixers. Part 1 of the Dime gives a different opinion.