February 19, 2008

The playoff push begins!

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

After quite the all-star weekend that more than lived up to its expectations, the NBA season’s “second half.” Of course it’s not the real second half of the season literally because all teams have already played more than half of their 82-game schedule, but who’s complaining? What can we expect from rest of the 2007-08 schedule? There’s plenty of storylines and questions abound.

With Jason Kidd-to-Dallas finally going through, how much will he help the Mavs? Kidd may be aging but he still has game and only makes the players around him look that much better. He’s less flashy than Steve Nash but can also rebound and knows how to play at least some defence. It would be interesting if the two matched up in a playoff series.

How much will Kobe Bryant’s injured pinky affect the Lakers? With Pau Gasol in town and Andrew Bynum still on the mend, Bryant is pretty much forced to play through the pain of his torn ligament. If Bynum were healthy and the Western race wasn’t so tight, I don’t think that Kobe would forgo surgery. How effective he’s going to be while playing hurt is the big question mark though, he hasn’t looked awful so far.

Will Shaq produce in Phoenix? As long as he doesn’t have a heart attack from all the running he’s going to be doing, Shaq should be fine. He’s still a better than average defender but I wouldn’t be counting on him for 30 minutes a game in the Suns track-meet style of play.

Will Denver get Ron Artest? They want him and can use a tenacious defender like the insane Ron-Ron. Will they be willing to give up enough picks/prospects to get him off of the seemingly rebuilding Kings, who knows? Allen Iverson and Carmelo can score all the points in the world and having a guy like Artest would help them out on the back-end.

In the East, how will Kidd’s trade affect the Nets? They may not be toast since Devin Harris is a good, young point guard and apparently a .500 record might get you the sixth seed in the East.

Toronto better learn how to defend LeBron, who makes a nice habit of slicing them apart whenever they meet. Unless a big slump by the Magic or either the Raptors or Cavaliers, those two teams are meeting in the first round. It won’t even be a close match up unless the Raps take a nine-iron to King James’ knee.

Will Detroit be able to catch Boston? They might not want to. As it stands now, the top seeds won’t have any problems with the low-seeds in the East, meaning Detroit would be facing Orlando in the second round while Boston would draw LeBron. Who would you rather face?

All this and we still haven’t reached the trade deadline…

Leave a Reply