I haven’t seen discussed anywhere yet.
1. The East. Could Miami be more concerned to avoid the Bulls in the second round than with snagging the #1 seed? That is, the Heat may well be more interested in being #2 if the Bulls are #4—and #1 if the Bulls are #3—than in going for the #1 seed outright. That doesn’t mean they’re “scared” of Chicago, just smart to prefer facing Toronto in Round 2. Seed-finagling is easier said than done, of course, and Spoelstra says all the right things about focusing on playing well going into the playoffs and getting guys enough rest ahead of time, but it’s hard not to wonder. I suppose Indiana could be thinking along these lines, as well, but they’ve given every indication, publicly, that they want home-court advantage throughout, if they can get it. Miami is harder to read.
2. The West. Will any of the teams that emerge from what’s shaping up to be a bewilderingly awesome middle-of-the-seeding-tier make it to the Conference Finals or the NBA Finals? I wish there was some way the Rockets, Clippers, Blazers, and Warriors could have a separate playoffs just to themselves, round-robin-style.
As things stand right now, if the upper seeds all win (which is unlikely), Houston would face OKC, and the Clips would face the Spurs. Those match-ups are bad news for the lower-seeded teams, but with a few seeding switches over the last 20 regular-season games, or a minor upset in Round 1, the Spurs and Thunder could face much nastier battles in Round 2. The Spurs have played well against LA but struggled against Portland and Houston—and they barely pulled out two victories against Golden State (not to mention a 2013 playoff series). The Thunder, meanwhile, have had no trouble with Houston but have had a much tougher time with Portland, Golden State, and the Clippers.
In sum: let’s hope the Spurs don’t get lucky and land the Clippers and that the Thunder don’t get lucky and land the Rockets.
EDIT: I’d completely forgotten that a frigid Thunder squad was set to play the scorching hot Rockets tonight. OKC won again—despite the teams’ divergent trajectories of late—putting them at 3-0 against Houston this season: 117-86, 104-92, 106-98. (These two teams have their last regular-season head-to-head on April 4.) While the Rockets looked better in tonight’s game and made two real runs to nearly take the lead in the fourth quarter, OKC was ultimately in control throughout the game. Which is to say: what I wrote this morning was dead-on and brilliant.
Only thing I fear is bees…. I don’t fuck with bees.
I’ll tell him the main thing is to make sure the main thing remains the main thing. And the main thing is to win the championship.
You have to guard him close, you have to play him tough and we did that… But, I mean, we’re just human. He’s not.
So… this is about late capitalism?
Suns forward Michael Beasley, after missing two of his first free-throw attempts off the side of the rim, walked down the lane, stared up at the iron and shook his head. “I had to scare the gremlins away,” he said. “Those gremlins are always messing with me.”
How can we know the Kansas dancer from the Kansas dance?
Usually, when we win we jump up once or twice in the locker room. Tonight we let them jump up and down three or four times. We let them have their fill…
We got a new universe coming and he’s going to control all our universes. We’re going to put our universes together.
It’s a grand day in the wider Chicagoland area: Taj Gibson has signed on for 4 more years at between $34 and $39 million total.
But there’s nothing awkward about this extension, which was reached just minutes before the October 31st midnight deadline. According to Nick Friedell at ESPN Chitown4eva, the Mahal’s teammates couldn’t be happier.
The news of Gibson’s agreement spread quickly in the locker room. Carlos Boozer screamed that Gibson was buying the whole team steaks. As Gibson entered the doorway into the shower area, Joakim Noah exclaimed, “WUUUUUU!” given that Gibson is affectionately known by his teammates as Tajy Wu. The joy over the news Gibson finally had gotten paid was palpable.
"I’m happy, man," Noah said. "That’s my young boy. Taj is my young boy. … I’m really happy. It’s very well deserved. I see Taj’s grind every day. And I know how much he fights every night to represent for the Bulls. That’s just the icing on the cake. I’ve been through it so I know it’s an unbelievable feeling. It’s a very stressful situation, too, because a lot of people are telling you what you should do, what you shouldn’t do."
Tajy-wu? Tajy WUUUUUU?? Now that’s affection incarnate.
Which begs the question, does this make the Bulls the anti-Thunder? They convinced Taj to sign for slightly less than he’d get elsewhere, they still have their locker-room camaraderie, they apparently like red meat as much as your average Oklahoman, and… they’ll probably end up amnestitizing Carlos Boozer sometime during the next 2-3 years, which is what OKC should’ve already done to Kendrick Perkins.
Then again, maybe this extension will allow Taj to relax and play better which will put pressure on Carlos to work hard to retain the starting PF spot. Oh wait, that’s just the booze talking.
Also of note: Joakim Noah is exactly 4 months older than Taj, his “young boy.” Way to be, old man Yokeem.