Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Playoffs, So far...

Series So Far That Have Surprised Me:

Mavericks vs Thunder: I've never really hated the Mavericks. I've always respected Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd as players. I'm not going to lie, I hate Mark Cuban. Are any of us to expect that Mavericks, the defending champs, would not win a single game in the 2012 playoffs? Maybe. The Thunder were a tough match this year. I'm going to be honest, I though this would be a great series to watch because Dirk Nowitzki knows how to play in tough situations. All the games expect one in this series were close, so it really could have gone either way. Jason (Jet) Terry played at a high level as usual, but it wasn't enough as the Defending Champs were swept by the hopefully soon-to-be defending Champs.

Yesterday, Westbrook wasn't playing his best basketball. Luckily, Harden scored 15/29 points in the 4th quarter to give the Thunder that extra push that they needed to get it done. They were trailing by 11 heading into the fourth quarter. They outscored the mavericks 35-16 in the fourth.

Throughout the series, Durant and Westbrook had off games, but altogether, it didn't matter as they pulled out and became the first victors of the 1st round.

Knicks vs. Heat: It wasn't very obvious that the Heat would be on the verge of sweeping the Knicks at this point. When the Knicks headed into the post-season, Carmelo Anthony was playing at an MVP level. Come game 1 of the playoffs? What happened? Carmelo looked like the one who choked rather than LeBron who scored 32 points. Carmelo Anthony didn't have one of his greatest seasons, but he and the Knicks were playing great basketball under Mike Woodson. 

I actually expected the Knicks to atleast win one game this series, and it is still possible. But many analyzers say that the Heat are bringing their brooms today. Is that true? Or will the Knicks break their 12 game losing streak in the playoffs.

76ers vs Bulls: Of course the loss of Derrick Rose, the reigning MVP, was a huge deal. The Bulls, however, were deadly in the regular season, even without him. Even to be down only 2-1, and in the midst of a very close game 4 surprises me. Of course the loss of Joakim Noah is also a big deal, but the Bulls, along with Gibson should still be doing well.

Who else remembers Carlos Boozer? Remember in the 2007-2008 season, Boozer was an all-star? We all know he is capable of putting up good numbers, and if he delivers the Bulls should be just fine. CJ Watson, the backup PG is also struggling. Luckily, the Bulls have John Lucas III, right? In the regular season, when Rose was injured, Lucas + Watson combinations provided a pretty good replacement for the injured superstar. CJ Watson is in a slump, he isn't playing great basketball.

All-in-all, My playoff choice is the explosive, young Memphis Grizzlies. They are definitely a team to watch, and are playing a very intense series with the Clippers. This is anyone's series, and it'll definitely be the best to watch.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

San Jose Sharks: Avoiding Elimination

Elliott saves a shot
Third straight playoff loss for the Sharks, and the difference has been the brilliance of Blues' goalie Brian Elliott. He has played outstandingly, and proved to everyone that he has the potential to take his team places. So far, the Sharks have played pretty well in the series: they've been active on the puck, Douglas Murray delivered some big hits, and they're doing a great job with getting the puck to the net. The problem is they don't do so well in penalty situations. The Sharks are 29th in the NHL in killing power plays.  Consequently this is an area the Blues really seem to shine in.

Douglas Murray is a key element in game 5. If he can get it going offensively, while still delivering those big hits we all love, the Sharks are bound to do better. He's big and strong, so he should be able to get the puck to the net. He isn't the reason why the Sharks are down 3-1 in this series though.

imgres.jpgThere are small contributing factors that have made the sharks unsuccessful. Of course the main reason being the goal tending of the Blues. There is another thing. The sharks have to remember that the goalies aren't super human. They can't let  fact that Elliott's great playing mess with their heads. They must look at it calmly, watch the game footage, and look at his weaknesses. I've noticed that Elliott, when feeling defenseless, just lies in the goal. This seemed to work really well, as Joe Pavelski had a wide open look, but was blocked. The main thing the sharks have to do, is not to hit the puck low and by the goalie, but hit it up and over the goalie. High-Right corner, high-left corner. Yes I realize it's easier said than done, but I happen to know that we have a very skilled, smart team, who can use their heads and win this next game.