As you maybe aware we have been searching for folks to add to the staff in what we are calling #TeamDNB so this will be my first and likely last time doing this feature. Someone else will be writing this in a few weeks and every week from that point forward. We have already lined up some people to be part of #TeamDNB and are still looking for people so check out the post and feel free to join our team.
Brooklyn Nets Are HereBefore we get to the playoffs the Brooklyn Nets are here. Brooklyn is in the NBA house as it were. I have to say that I am greatly disappointed once again in the re-design of an NBA Team. I love the OKC Thunder as a basketball team, who we will get to later, but what I have never loved is there logo and uniforms. Once again I am disappointed at how basic and plain the Brooklyn Nets logo and likely uniforms to follow will look. I read that Jay-Z actually had something to do with the design. If I was him I would not want to let that get out there. I get the fact that they went with something plain and obvious as this will be the first professional sports franchise in Brooklyn since the Brooklyn Dodgers left for L.A in 1957. But still since 1957 the world invented colour and this black and white scheme is boring and dull kind of like the Nets will be with no Deron Williams and little hope as they move to Brooklyn in terms of basketball success.
Rose Gone Means Nothing Will Stop The Heat In EastWhen Derrick Rose went down late in game one vs the Sixers it was pretty much the end of Eastern Conference Playoffs having any really interest level in terms of who will win. The Miami Heat now have a clear path to the NBA Finals with little chance of being stopped. In terms of Rose it is just another in a string of injures that have plagued him this season. His future is a bit cloudy now after coming off last season winning the NBA MVP and leading the Bulls back to contention for the first time since Jordan really. Miami has been toying with the Knicks and slapping them around. You have Chris Bosh so worried he is doing cameos in Lebron James post game interviews(See Below). While Stoudamire fought a fire extinguisher and lost much as Chris Jericho was a victim of one in the WWE PPV on the weekend. The difference was CM Punk the WWE Champion was using the fire extinguisher as a weapon. Stoudamire was just frustrated and took it out on one. In reality it was the glass that did the damage as Stoudamire suffered a gash that required stitches and to his none shooting hand. His Status for game 3 is uncertain but seems doubtful. This also is a classic example of why Mike Woodson should not be the coach of the Knicks moving forward. In Atlanta he was terrible in the playoffs and great in the regular season. This is not going to change in New York as this is another example of a Woodson led team that has no discipline and focus when it matters most.
So after the Heat knock off the Knicks in 4 games it would likely appear up next for them should be the Indiana Pacers if they can handle their business with the D-12 less Magic. They did come out and roll in Game 2 and looked impressive but the fact they dropped Game one only shows the lack of playoff experience this team has and should make the easy prey for the Heat. If the Bulls can survive without Rose and get past the Sixers which I expect they will they will face the winner of Atlanta and Boston. That was suppose to be a series that Boston would dominate and take out the always underachieving Hawks in round one. The Hawks surprised Boston in Game One and the fact Rondo got ejected and now has been suspended for Game Two making the Hawks a safe bet to go up 2-0 assuming they don't blow this golden opportunity. The Celtics have screwed me many times in the playoffs in terms of predictions but if they fall behind 2-0 I find it hard to imagine they can win 4 out of 5 games from the Hawks. It is possible but unlikely in my eyes. So at the end of it all the Heat would face a Bulls team without Rose or a Boston team that will be pushed to the limit most likely. I guess you could throw the Hawks in the mix as well but I don't see them being able to knock off the Bulls even without Rose. It is not really a case of if Miami will make the NBA Finals it is a case of do they even lose a game on the road to get there. It is possible that they don't. Which will make the task for whoever comes out of the West a even more daunting challenge to defeat them in the Finals.
OKC Has Experience Despite It's YouthThe OKC Thunder for such a young team have quite the playoff resume already. It all started with perhaps one of the best six game series in recent memory vs the Lakers. They really pushed the Lakers and made it a challenge to get past them despite having next to no playoff experience. This was followed by last season in which the Thunder made an impressive march to the Conference Finals only to lose to their first round opponent this year the Mavericks in 6 games. Despite being pushed to the limit in both the first two games by the Mavericks, the Thunder are still standing up 2-0 to the defending champions. That said things are different this season in comparison to last season. Dallas really misses Tyson Chandler in this series they are getting very little from that position he once patrolled. Also Vince Carter playing a significant roll for the them was not part of the mix either.The days of Carter scoring 50 points in the playoffs as a Raptor are well in the past. All of that and you don't see the same dominant performance we saw from Dirk last season. In addition we do see a much more mature and better version of Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka . Those three guys have made up for a less than MVP like performance from Durant.
Now it will not be the easy March to the finals that the Heat should have. Still I don't think the Thunder will ever walk into a series and feel they can't win it. They would almost welcome a re-match with Lakers especially given the events at the end of the season with Ron Artest whacking Harden in the head with an MMA worthy elbow that sees him still watching the playoffs for 5 more games. If we did end up with the expected one vs two showdown with the Spurs and Mavericks it should be a very entertaining series to watch. Keeping in mind that the Thunder will have gone through the defending Champions and the Lakers most likely to there. If they accomplish that they will be riding quite the high heading into facing the Spurs.
I tweeted last night that OKC vs Miami is your destiny world just accept it. It may take all the drama and fun out of the playoffs for you but think what a potential final that could be. No other match-up has the sizzle that one does.
Shout out To Reggie EvansI missed Reggie Evans this year covering Raptor games. Still I was very happy for him that he landed in a pretty cool place with the L.A Clippers. It was just a week ago that people were giving one of my favourite guys grief about his flop heard round the world.
Now he is getting love for his play down the stretch in a comeback that was not to be believed as the Clippers stormed back to beat the Grizzlies. I am happy for Reggie who off the floor is one of the nicest guys I have met in covering basketball. On the floor he is a bull in a china shop and I kind of dig that about him. I am not sure how many more playoff games that Reggie will be the key to winning, but he is always giving his 100% out there regardless. It is not like he has had many chances at the playoffs in his time in the league. So go get them Reggie and please no one tell him I took the Grizzlies in 6 games to win this series.
I am deeply concerned that my favorite mascot, before The Raptor came along, Hugo is in trouble. Part of the deal the NBA agreed too when selling the Hornets to the Owner of the Saints Tom Benson was to allow a name change. Rumours they rigged the NBA Lottery for the Hornets to win as well...maybe. One of the things I have always respected about the NBA is there stubborn nature in terms of team names.There are no Lakes in L.A, Little Jazz in Utah, Grizzles are not running wild in Memphis streets and so on. It speaks to how desperate the the NBA was to keep the team in New Orleans who already bombed out once in the NBA with the Jazz. Now the the Kings future in Sacramento very uncertain it was a priority to keep the Hornets in New Orleans. If we must allow this to happen and New Orleans gets a new name I have a suggestion. Trade Hugo the mascot back to Charlotte let him own the team and re-name them the Hornets. Honestly can Hugo do any worse than Michael Jordan? Also at least I know Hugo will show up at every game unlike Jordan who was more happy to watch Hockey in Chicago than his pathetic Bobcats in Charlotte. People in Charlotte deserve much better, it was once a great NBA Market and they have got the shaft in terms of ownership not once but twice and maybe even three times. If Hugo is gone a part of me will be sad and die. Just like when the Blue Jays got rid of B.J Birdy for that stupid Ace or the Ti-Cats got rid of T.C for that idiot Stripes. Yes I love my mascots and am not ashamed to admit it.
So that about does it. This feature will be back on a regular basis with someone else guiding you around the NBA and they likely won't be talking about mascots. Which depending on your point of view could be a good thing or a bad thing. I hope that you will enjoy the people I am bringing in to be a part of team DNB. A lot of thought and effort went into the process for bringing them on board and I am sure they would confirm that fact. I am still looking for more people to join the team but in a few weeks you will see the first couple people that I am bringing on board to help take the Dino Nation Blog to an exciting new level. At least that is the plan.