The NBA Playoffs were to be about the Lakers and Spurs in the West and Chicago and Miami in the East. The Pacers were supposed to be lacking talent, while the Thunder has talent but are said to be just a little shy on the experience. Atlanta presents questions about their post capabilities and offensive schemes, as New Orleans could not match up with the defending champions. The 76'ers have nobody and Memphis is young and coming but no match for the Spurs. Portland, while dangerous, lacked the skills and synergy of the Mavericks and of course the Boston is just too old.
Well, somebody forgot to tell Boston, who swept the Knicks, Atlanta who leads Dwight Howard's Magic 3-1, Portland has the Mavericks tied at 2-2, Memphis leads the Spurs 2-1, Indiana has played Derrick Rose and the Bulls to four single digit games leading late in three of the four to hang around 3-1 and Oklahoma leads a "red hot" Denver Nugget team 3-0. New Orleans has displayed tremendous poise in scrapping with the Defending Champions, knotting the series at 2-2, when Chris Paul outplayed a late game injured Kobe Bryant. A Philadelphia last minute comeback allowed the 76'ers to avoid being swept by the South Beach "Big Three" forcing a game five in an improbable come-from-behind attempt.
The first round was to move quickly for most series with many blowouts expected, but with 30 games played through Sunday, the winning teams have won by double figures only 7 times, with 15 of the remaining 23 games ending in a spread of five points or less. Only the aged Boston Celtics have won two games by double digits, 17 and 12 in games three and four, both played in New York. The other teams winning by double digits were Atalanta, Miami, Dallas Oklahoma and Los Angeles. The Celtics failed to sweep a series in over three years until now.
The Spurs will be trying to even the series on the road in Memphis on Monday, while Denver will try to avoid being the only other potential sweep victim later in the evening. A trend already set by this years NCAA basketball tournament is begging to surface and the favorites might want to take a look at history and trends, as the league known for its' Super Stars and Marquee Players is finding role players, little known reserves, supposedly washed up veterans and new coaches creating the unexpected schemes leading to victories and nail bitting finishes.
The finals may not be what was expected but, this year's NBA playoffs and road to the finals appears to be heading towards one of the most exciting and possibly unpredictable championship finals in years. At this stage one, of an obvious long road, almost every team can make a statement as a legitimate contender for this year's NBA title.