Well, who else is going to get bored waiting for the Hawks and Heat to finish up their business? At least we all have Celtics/Bulls. Holy crap. Well, here are the grades for our first completed series, with a few random grades thrown in there as well:
JJ Hickson, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Pavlovic, Tarence Kinsey: this year’s cuts from the 8-man playoff rotation. Good contributions, guys. Stay loose.
Rasheed Wallace. Don’t accuse of Rasheed only trying in a contract year; when Rasheed decides to stop giving a crap, he goes all-out. There are no mitigating factors. Either he’s going 120% or 0%. This series was the latter.
Tayshaun Prince. How old is Tayshaun? Younger than Bruce Bowen, right? Wasn’t he the younger version of Bruce Bowen?
Laker fans chanting “M-V-P” starting in the first quarter and never really stopping. This is the single most annoying trend in the history of man. Does it stop when LeBron wins the award? At least Miami saves it for actual important moments in the game, or when Wade’s made an impressive and-1, or something. Also, chanting “U-Tah Sucks!” to a clearly overmatched team was classy. You know Jerry Sloan and the people of Salt Lake City-punks to the core.
Kevin Garnett’s borderline tourette’s act, or American Psycho act, or whatever you want to call it. It’s not hustle. It’s being a punk. The league should have cracked down on it after TNT cameras slo-mod KG CLEARLY screaming “f****ng f****ts!” during the Cavaliers series last year, instead of doing absolutely nothing or refusing to acknowledge it. I’m sure they would have reacted the same way had Brian Scalabrine been caught saying the n-word in slow-motion. Hopefully the Ben Gordon picture is enough to get something done. Look, there’s nothing wrong with being passionate. I like it. But kids are watching this guy play and learning that that’s what being a leader is. Middle-school kids are going to start behaving like this on the court because they think that’s what it means to be competitive. If he can’t help himself, than he should get professional help or get off the bench. I’m absolutely serious. What would you do if a guy in your office had to run around the office and scream “F***ING P***IES!” at invisible people for five minutes before making a presentation? And that’s not even televised. This is really not coming from a Cavs fan-believe me when I say I’d be saying the same things about Ben Wallace if he was doing this stuff.
Wally Szczerbiak and Daniel Gibson: Neither broke 33% from the field. Not so good for your shooters off the bench.
Chris Paul. EPIC UNHERALDED MVP-WORTHY SEASON FAIL.
Joe Johnson. Can we please shut up about how underrated he is? He’s a poor man’s Iggy.
Hawthorne and Dark Blue. If you haven’t heard, Jada Pinkett-Smith is a doctor who BREAKS the rules…FOR HER PATIENTS!! Move over, Twin Peaks! And on Dark Blue, we have a cop who DOESN’T PLAY BY THE BOOK!! And you know what? I have no problem watching these ads like 5,000 times over the next month. However, if Meet the Browns and House of Payne commercials start routinely playing during the same commercial breaks, I will probably develop an alternate personality to cope. If recaps start getting written in film noir style by someone who refers to himself as “Barney,” don’t be worried. It just means I’ve lost my mind. This also may happen if Shannon Brown continues to be a difference-maker.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas. 44% is too low for a center-we’re settling for that outside jumper waay too much.
Andy Varejao and Delonte West. Both did their things defense and toughness-wise, but neither made the kind of offensive impact we’re going to need in later rounds in either production or efficiency.
The Spurs. They’re gone. The every-other-year dynasty is over. I feel alone and confused. This is a brave new world the next couple of rounds are going to craft.
Carlos Boozer’s impending free agency. Are you excited? I’m excited. Anything can happen. I said this on SLAM, but right now I can see anything from “signs one-year tender with verbal extension promise with whoever gets the #1 overall pick, gets them to pass on Griffin for Rubio, fires up 25 shots a game and puts up a season 28/14, then bolts before they know what hit them” to “comes in to sign contract, calls in fake bomb threat, changes numbers on contract while everybody flees the building.” How perfect is it that Kari Ferrell is a Jazz Fan? Boozer will probably hire her as his agent.
Mo Williams. Curiously absent in two games, absolutely unstoppable in the other two. Weirdest stat of the ever: he didn’t break 60% from the line this series.
Dwyane Wade: Remember, if he goes nowhere near the basket and tosses 4 airballs in a corner, it’s not a choke. It’s back spasms.
Dwight Howard: I’m not sure what I’d be more concerned with if I was a Magic fan: that Howard’s two biggest games of the series have been in losses, or that everyone’s favorite Christian is 3rd in the league in techs and got suspended from a playoff game for breaking someone’s face. Or is this the mean streak Yao Ming never got?
LeBron James. Shot over 50% from the field. Averaged 32/11/7.5. 80% from the line. Dominant defensively flashed post moves. And you know what? He really didn’t even have it going all that much, as the 17% from outside the arc shows. He just overpowered that team. There’s still a plus past his current level of production. That’s scary.
Cavaliers fans. The home-court is an absolute nightmare. This we knew. But turning THE PALACE into a neutral zone? Absolutely amazing. This crowd is a legitimate sixth man. And they definitely take this team to another level. Someone’s going to have to come through LBJ and this crowd if they want the trophy. Good luck.