Tuesday, May 11, 2010

So I'm back talking to myself about sports, which tells me that I have been watching the playoffs, the Lakers, after all. I didn't see much of the first round, where Oklahoma tested them as I expected, but they rose to the occasion. I saw more of the four game sweep of the Jazz, and enough of one game won by the Phoenix Suns--their next opponent--to think this is going to be a tougher series.

In some ways the Jazz series prepared them--they have taller guys inside than the Suns as they did the Jazz, and the Suns also run the pick and roll a lot. The difference could be the bench, because the Suns' bench was really strong in their series, and the Lakers' not so much. But Phil Jackson did hit on something of a winning formula by mixing bench players with starters when he wanted to rest other starters. But the Lakers are playing with intensity and without much of the lackadaisical approach that left a sour taste to the season, and Kobe is quietly coming back to his usual form. They're more entertaining than I'd feared.

While the Lakers can't look past the Suns to the East(ern teams), I can. The big surprise is how vulnerable Cleveland is in their series with Boston. Right now they're down 3-2 with a very bad loss at home--the New York Times reported there was a lot of booing of the team and specifically of King James. If that was his last game in Cleveland this season, it's probably his last game in Cleveland as a member of that city's team. But depending on his elbow and general health, he could have a big enough game tomorrow to even the series, and then it's back to Cleveland, so you can't quite count them out yet. Still...even if they win, they look pretty vulnerable to Orlando, which is dominating. It could well be a Lakers-Orlando rematch for the Finals.