I wanted to start a column where we could discuss some current happenings in the NBA on a more regular basis. Please let me know your feedback whether you enjoy or not. Also, if you have any suggestions or interests, please let me know those as well! Now, on to the news.
The number 1 seed in the East, the Indiana Pacers, lost at home to the 8th seed and under .500 Atlanta Hawks. As I said in my preview last week, the Hawks present a terrible matchup for Indiana. This is a team that can rain 3’s, are gritty and can play in low scoring games. Indiana continued to look like an absolute mess on offense and what else can be said about Roy Hibbert? He doesn’t look like he’s engaged or has any energy out there. If I were Frank Vogel, I would have to seriously consider benching him and running out Luis Scola. Scola has a better chance to defend Pero Antic on the perimeter and would at least give the impression of a player who is engaged. The Pacers continue to struggle with the Hawks and my series prediction of the Pacers winning in 5 will be wrong.
The Portland Trail Blazers, led by LaMarcus Aldridge, beat the Houston Rockets in a fantastic game late Sunday night. Aldridge is finally breaking in to the main stream national spotlight and he stole the show with a 46 point, 18 rebound performance. My concern if I’m a Houston fan is they will not be able to get the defensive stops when they need them, especially if Patrick Beverly is hurt for an extended period of time. I would also be concerned that Houston will not be able to hold a lead, especially in front of the raucous Portland crowd. I still believe this series will go the distance as Houston is just too talented to lose in a short series.
The Spurs and Thunder both look fantastic. The Spurs were trailing most of the game and then suddenly the Mavericks went ice cold and the Spurs blew by them while making it look easier than the wind blowing weed seeds around your yard (personal problem). The Thunder looked utterly dominant in their opening game versus the Grizzlies and will look to strike fear into the heart of San Antonio. From the initial eyeball test, I don’t think there will be anyone other than San Antonio and Oklahoma City competing for a trip to the finals.
Mike Woodson was fired as coach of the New York Knicks on Monday. Now that Phil Jackson has taken over as president of the team, let the speculation begin that he will take over as the head coach too. I don’t think that Phil Jackson has any interest in that job because they are not close to winning the title. Carmelo Anthony is a great scorer but really doesn’t provide much in any other area and his career is only going to decline from here. Besides him, the Knicks really don’t have any superstars in waiting to speak of and their best young player is probably Tim Hardaway Jr. Jackson will find a coach who can play defense and will look to attract free agents to New York. My guess: they will make an offer to Carmelo this summer because they are inclined to do so but they secretly hope he gets a better one elsewhere. Jackson will work on revamping the roster to entice LeBron to leave Miami or make a run at Kevin Love in 2015.
Rick Adalmen retires from coaching after a disappointing season in Minnesota. There were high hopes for the Timberwolves this season with the addition of Kevin Martin and the healthy duo of Rubio and Love. They were a better team than last year but really have no defensive presence to speak of (until they decided to play Gorgui Dieng when the season no longer mattered). Their bench was awful and they lost an absurd amount of games in the last minute. I’ve always thought Adelmen is a good offensive mind but is overrated as a head coach. Early in his career, he had playoff success with Portland but in the last 19 years of coaching, he didn’t make the NBA finals. He will always be a guy that won a lot of games and made some average players much better but never was able to get over the hump. As for the Timberwolves going forward, they need to do everything they can to appeal to Kevin Love. He is their franchise and if he leaves, they are going to have to be back to a 20 win team within a couple years.
Thanks so much for reading! Your place to talk hockey and basketball this spring is right here @TJRsports. Follow me @weigel_a