Monday, May 16, 2011

NBA Degrees

In one of the most ignominious games in history, the LA Lakers defeated themselves out of the playoffs.  It was Phil Jackson's likely last game as a coach, and like Michael Jordan's actual last game as a player, it was a game nobody would want to remember. 

But there's this keeper of a portrait of Phil Jackson in 2011 by Bill Simmons that is the entire excuse for this post.  It's one of the best pieces I've read recently on any topic.

As for the NBA, I'm interested enough to watch the scores and highlights, and I might even watch game 7 of the Bulls-Heat series if it comes to that.  Before it started it seemed to me that the only chance the Bulls had was for the series to go 7, and that's still probably their best chance.  But while winning the first game (as the Bulls did, decisively) is usually important this late in the playoffs, and of course winning the seventh is the decider, the crucial games in how a seven game series goes are usually games 2 and 5.   If the first game winner takes game 2 as well, they will be hard to beat, especially because it means the loser's adjustments didn't work, and that could be fatal.  (Usually in a tight series the loser adjusts for the next game--which is why home court is crucial, and the Bulls have it.)  And especially when the series is tied, the team that wins 5 often wins 7.  So there's a long way to go, and the Heat have the m.o. of looking terrible in losses and unbeatable in wins. 

So just to be clear, I'm rooting for Chicago all the way.  If they can beat the Heat, they can beat the Mavs or the Thunder.  (But what if it's Heat v. Thunder?  The All-Climate Championship?)