With Chicago disposing of Miami with ease in the second half of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals 103-82 and Dirk Nowitski single handily destroying the Thunder 121-112 in the West, Game 1 in these series would imply a possible run to the finals in favor of the host teams. But let's fast forward to last night where the Bulls went cold, and the Heat decided to extend their defensive efforts on Derrick Rose and challenge all other shots on run-outs towards open shooters and weak side challenge rotation on all penetration. The result was a 34% shooting night for Chicago, with Rose shooting only 7-23 against a smothering Heat defense, and a 85-75 victory for the Miami. Now the series moves to South Beach, where the Heat have not surrendered a playoff loss.
In Texas, Dirk's 48 point shooting performance was so fascinating that he has generated national media and analyst discussions over his recognition in the class of "greatest all-time." After only missing 3 shots from the field and setting a new playoff record at the charity stripe (24-24), Dirk and team are now being all but crowned the Western Conference champions. This night for the ages will forever be remembered and that leads to the next thought. Dallas allowed 112 points in a game that was supposed to define the course of this series, but without real defensive success, future games allowing over 100 points could prove to be the downfall for the favored Mavericks, as very few games in the playoffs, and definitely not in one series will go into the 100"s for both teams. The Thunder got there with horrid play from their star point guard, Russell Westbrook, coupled with the fact that the league's leading scorer, Kevin Durant, was overshadowed while scoring a mere 40 points, as well. This series can easily be tied going over to Oklahoma if the Maverick do not improve on the defensive end while enjoying offensive success, primarily on the perimeter. As we often say, "live by the shot, die by the shot."
These series actually have the makings of very entertaining and see-saw scenarios right down to game 7, where anything can happen. The shroud of greatness will only be achieved by Dirk, Derrick, Lebron, Dwyane, Kevin or even Russell and Chris, with victories in the final match of these 2011 Titans that have arrived at the mecca of basketball, the NBA Championships. Don't crown a champion too soon!