May 25, 2009

Where underdogs happen

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

If you wanted some good playoff basketball, you certainly got your share over the weekend. And thanks to the underdogs actually showing up, that Kobe-LeBron final isn’t looking so certain. Actually, it wouldn’t be too unrealistic to picture them both sitting home and watching the Magic and Nuggets see who can launch the most threes for seven straight games. There certainly is a lot at stake in these two series and it’s great that we’re finally getting to see some great games, since round 2 was very storyline rich, yet outcome poor.

In the West, there’s a ton on the line for the Lakers and the Nuggets really have nothing left to lose – they’re playing with house money right now. Really, Denver was so sure that they wouldn’t be playing right now that they booked their arena for tonight’s WWE Raw, that has been moved to L.A. of all places. They’ve finally shown they can make it out of the first round and have gone well beyond now.

After winning Game 1, the Lakers were outplayed in Game 2 but then came back with a solid Game 3 – which was largely due to the Nuggets getting in foul trouble across the board. But one has to notice that, even with several Denver players playing through foul trouble, the calls have been largely in their favour thus far. Kobe’s not getting the calls that superstars usually get and the refs seem to be gunning for the Lakers whenever possible. The Derek Fisher technical on Saturday night was a good example – it clearly should have been either a double technical or a normal foul. Throw in Chauncey’s clutch three with his foot out of bounds (with the ref clearly staring at it) and there’s cause to think that the zebras could sway this series to Denver. And the most amazing thing about that would be the fact that this would be Phil Jackson’s first ever series loss after taking Game 1. But after 44 wins a row, you could say that he’s due.

Looking at the East final, the supposed favourite hasn’t been playing like they’re supposed to run away with this series. After three games, you could say the Magic should have won them all. If it wasn’t for LeBron’s Jordan-esque buzzer-beating three, the Cavs would be in a 3-0 hole now and LeBron’s legacy would have taken a beating. It really looks like Cleveland has devolved back into a team that’s just LeBron plus four scrubs instead of the solid unit that put together the best record in the NBA this season.

Seriously, look at the King’s numbers – he’s averaging a ridiculous 42 points per game and it’s still not enough to prevail over a team that was supposed to roll over.

Well, the moral of these stories is that underdogs don’t roll over and die, they’ll fight until they’re put down. And because of the fight they’re putting up, we’re getting to see some of the best basketball I’ve seen in a long while.

1 Comment

  1. KIng James and the Cavs have to wake up! Too many off days after the clean sweeps of the previous series

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