Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NBA Update

The Mavericks and the Thunder kicked off their series with an old-school, no-defense sort of game last night. The Mavs won 121-112, and we will hope that the rest of that series features similar scores. The two conference semi-finals now stand as follows:

Bulls 1 - 0 Heat

Mavericks 1 - 0 Thunder

OK, now I told you when this whole thing started -- about a month ago -- that I would let you know when to tune in. That time is now. To coin a phrase: this is it. To win the title, the Heat have to get past the Bulls. And this is not just a one-time thing. Unlike the Spurs, Lakers, and Celtics, the Bulls are not an old team. In fact, Derrick Rose is younger than any of the Heat's big three. So the Heat can't wait for the Bulls to get old -- they need to beat them now. And that means that the Heat have to win a game in Chicago.

Now Chicago gets to host Games 1, 2, 5, and 7. The Heat decided not to really contest Game 1 in the second half, and lost by 21. That's no big deal; they didn't need that game anyway. But the Heat do not want this thing to go seven games -- it's very hard to win Game 7 on the road (as Memphis learned on Sunday). So, realistically, they have to win Game 2 or Game 5 to win the series. They will not want to go home down 0-2, so I expect the Heat to go all-out tonight. On the other hand, the Bulls can't afford to lose Game 2 -- they don't want to be forced to pick up a win in Miami. So they will also go all-out.

In short, this is the game we've been waiting for. Two teams, both of whom have very good chances to win the title, in a zero-sum game that could effectively decide the NBA championship. I don't think you need to watch the whole game -- it would probably be enough to watch the second half. But if you only watch one NBA game all year, this is probably the one to watch.

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