The least debated of the post season awards was handed out, and no surprise Dwight Howard wins the Defensive MVP for a 3rd straight year. No one has ever accomplished that feat. But the harder feat for Dwight will be to take his Magic anywhere in the playoffs. The group around him is anything but defensive minded. The Hawks who took game 1 of their opening round series against the Magic. They last season took the worst beating in the history of the NBA Playoffs. That humiliation might have just motivated the Hawks to show up this year. It motivated them to send Mike Woodson packing. He was the coach in Atlanta for 6 years and improved his win total every season. But his team and their lack of performance in the playoffs was the reason he was let go. Stan Van Gundy has to worry about his future if the Magic go out in first round. Not that he will lose his job, but he very well could lose Dwight and that would make his job a lot tougher to keep in the future.
I had told you that the Boston and Knicks series would be closer than people thought. That Amare Stoudamire if he plays big in this series could help the Knicks upset Boston. In Game 1 both of those were true. It was a pretty exciting game and if the Knicks can come up with a similar effort they might just be able to head back to New York tied at 1. Boston just has not been the same since Kendrick Perkins was dealt at the deadline. Despite Jermaine O'Neal being able to turn back the clock in game 1, he is no Kendrick Perkins. Rajon Rondo has not exactly played to his All-Star level of late. Maybe he should watch Russell Westbrook for some inspiration. Boston also might have noticed that the Miami Heat trashed the Sixers last night and that Chris Bosh guy is looking pretty good. But Boston has to get there in the first place to face the Heat and that will not be an easy task.
Speaking of turning back the clock how about Jason Kidd? He was pretty amazing in game one for the Mavs. He hit six shots from beyond the arc and had one of the best playoff performances of his long career. Dirk also got a bit dirty getting in the paint and taking the ball to the hoop. The Blazers on the other hand could say they didn't get the full bang for their buck. Gerald Wallace who I said would be key in the Blazers upsetting the Mavs was not exactly the factor he needs to be in game 1. Also the Blazers have a huge advantage with Lamarcus Aldridge and the need to take advantage of it. Tyson Chandler is a good to great defender in the post. But Aldridge is quicker and can make jumpers from the mid-range. You wish that the old Brandon Roy was still around. But injuries have taken away the brilliance that once was Brandon Roy. I still don't trust the Mavs and will see how they respond once they face some adversity in this series. If they can get out of Dallas up 2-0 that would be well advised. The Rose Garden is one of the better environments in the NBA.
Many have raved about what a great weekend of basketball it was. This is true it was some of the best first round basketball we have seen in the playoffs in quite some time. Both number one seeds were pushed to the brink. The Bulls survived and won a similar type game last night coming out on top in a tight affair. The Spurs were not as lucky going in the history books as the first team to lose a playoff game to the Grizzlies Franchise. I can't help but still feel sad as no matter how good these playoffs can or will be it is not going to change one fact. That fact is that when it all is over and a champion is crowned that might be it for a very long time. The Lockout is looming and it is like a dark cloud that has hung over my head all season. Part of me says just enjoy the moment and not think about it. But that is very hard to do for me seeing as I try to eek out a living covering this sport. But I will try my best. No question the product on court right now has been pretty fantastic.