In this week in review, I’ll cover the two big injuries coming out of the first batch of playoff games, fallout from each game one of the NBA playoffs and predictions for the rest of the first round, notes on the NFL Draft, Megatron verses the Madden Curse, and as always, my highlight and lowlight of the week.
Rose and Bulls Are Done
Well there goes any hope of the Bulls making it to NBA Finals. With 1:21 left in the game, Derrick Rose, who nearly pulled off a triple double putting up 23 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists, came down awkwardly on his left knee after doing what he does best, cutting and penetrating through defenses. Rose has been plagued by nagging injuries throughout the season, missing 27 of the 66 regular season games. The story of Rose current NBA season came to a unfortunate climax with his torn ACL, taking him out of the Playoffs, and at least the first half of next season. Many people question Tom Thibodeau’s decision to keep Rose when the Bulls were up 12 with just 1:21 left in the game and I can see it from both sides. Thibodeau wanted to put his foot on the 76ers’ throat and destroy any hope of Philly winning that game, but with the Bull’s tenacious defense and Rose’s persistent injuries, I would have err on the side of caution and kept him out. But it’s easy for me to say that now and look at what happen in the Clippers Grizzlies game. Like I said before, Rose is one of the best players in the NBA because of his cutting ability, but in a condense season where teams are playing back to back to back games, it’s wasn’t surprising that Rose came down with this injury. The same injury happened to Knick guard Iman Shumpert, also from a non-contact play. The NBA and Players’ Union agreed on this 66 game season schedule, but in retrospect, it would of been better if they either shorten the season by another ten games or increased the length of the regular season, so players don’t have to play up to 5 games in a week. With either of those scenarios, the offense would’ve been more consistent, the number of injuries would’ve dropped significantly, and Rose still might be playing in the playoffs.
Forecast for the First Round
Chicago Bulls (1) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (8)
Even though the Bulls lost their best player, I still have the Bulls winning their first round match up with the Philadelphia 76ers. Going into the playoffs I had the Bull sweeping the 76ers, but with Rose’s injury I could see the 76ers stretch it out to 6 games at the most. If this season has told us anything about the Bulls, it’s that they can win without Rose, having a record of 18-9 without their star.
Miami Heat (2) vs. New York Knicks (7)
Going into this playoff match up I had the Heat winning in 5 and I still believe it will go 5, even after the Heat’s blowout over the Knicks in game 1. The Heat tend to have letdowns, giving off the sense they play up to their potential when ever they want. I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens tonight and the Knicks pull the upset in game 2. If the Knicks don’t win tonight, then it’s a sweep, because you know James and Wade will show up in the Garden.
Indiana Pacers (3) vs. Orlando Magic (6)
Boy was I surprised by the result of Game 1 in this series. I had the Pacers in 5, but with the Magic upsetting the Pacers in Game 1, I’m not so sure the Pacers will win this seiries. If there’s one thing the Magic can do, it’s shooting 3’s. The Magic are capable of beating any team in the payoffs due to their 3 point shooting, but I don’t see this strategy working in a 7 game series. Maybe a 5 it they still existed, but not a 7. Also with Dwight Howard out, the Magic can only rely on Glen Davis, who played 40 minutes in game 1, as their main rebounder. The Pacers are a deeper team, which is why I still have them winning the series in 6 games instead of my original 5.
Boston Celtics (4) vs Atlanta Hawks (5)
If that ref bump leads to a game 2 suspension for Rajon Rondo then the Celtics aren’t going to win game 2 and probably the series. Will he get suspended? I hope not. Rondo did a stupid thing by bumping the ref, which did look intentional despite tripping on the referee’s foot. He was caught up in the moment, disagreeing with the previous two calls that referee made, and his frustration got the better of him. On top of that, Ray Allen is still dealing with an ailing ankle and is a game time decision for game 2. Without Allen, the Celtics offense seems stagnant. I still have the Celtics pulling it out, but if Rondo is suspended, I may have to throw that out the window. One last thing, isn’t weird that the Celtics are the 4 seed, but Hawks have home field advantage? I know that the Hawks have the better record, but it’s still weird.
San Antonio Spurs (1) vs Utah Jazz (8)
Spurs sweep. Next.
Oklahoma City Thunder (2) vs. Dallas Mavericks (7)
Originally I had Thunder winning in 5 games, but after Kevin Durant’s miraculous shot against the Dallas in game 1, I’m not so sure. Durant’s been slumping as of late, going 10-27 for 25 points in game 1. Westbrook actually shot well, going 13-23 for 28 points, but if both these players are struggling with their shot, Dallas has a shot. In the end, I think that mismatch between Westbrook and Jason Kidd will still lead the Thunder to win the series in 5.
Los Angeles Lakers (3) vs Denver Nuggets (6)
I thought Denver had a chance in this one, but after seeing game 1, I’ve change my mind, because a block party was held by Andrew Bynum and the whole Nuggets’ offense was invited. Bynum had a triple double with 10 points, 13 rebounds, and most importantly, 10 blocks. The Lakers have two of the best big men in the game with Bynum and Pau Gasol and they need to exploit that in not just this series, but for the whole playoffs. The Nuggets need to speed up their offense and use their youth to their advantage and they shouldn’t be afraid to go to the basket just because Bynum destroyed them. If anything, they could get Bynum into foul trouble. With that being said, I have the Lakers winning this series in 5 games.
Memphis Grizzlies (4) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (5)
I went to bed at around the 3rd quarter of game 1, thinking that Memphis had it in the bag, only to find out the next morning that the Clippers came back from a 21 point deficit in the 4th quarter to beat the Grizzles by 1. Of all the game 2’s, I’m most looking forward to this one to see how Memphis responds after choking in the 4th quarter. I see Memphis pulling it out in 7, because of their superior front court and also Chris Paul’s nagging groin injury, which will affect his performance in the series.
NFL Draft Notes
The New England Patriots, who had the 31st overall defense, were the big winner in the first round of the NFL draft by selecting defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Each should have an immediate impact. Also, if Chandler Jones is anything like his brother, current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones, the Patriots will have a scary athletic defensive player.
The Dallas Cowboys made the best move of the whole draft, moving up to select LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Dallas offense is stacked. Their front seven is decent, with DeMarcus Ware as their standout, but it’s their secondary that has held them back and with this selection, this is Dallas’ best and probably last chance to make a Super Bowl run.
I have no idea why Detroit keeps picking wide receivers early on in their draft, particularly one that is recovering from a torn ACL (Ryan Broyles). It seems that the Redskins are doubling down on potential franchise quarterbacks, because not only did they choose Robert Griffin III with their second overall pick, but also selected Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins. I guess Washington sees Cousins as possible trade bait, but it may not be the best way to convince Griffin that he’s their future quarterback when he has to look over his shoulder at another possible franchise quarterback.
Most surprising and questionable move in the draft had to be the Seattle Seahawks with their selection of outside linebacker Bruce Irvin. The Seahawks obviously put his pass rushing skills over his notorious background, where he’s been arrested multiple times for robbery and most recently disorderly conduct. This has BUST written all over it, but maybe Pete Carroll and the Seahawk organization saw something in Irvin that we’re not seeing.
Transformers 4: Megatron vs. Madden Curse
After leading the NFL in receiving yards with 1,681, it’s not surprising that Calvin Johnson won the Madden ’13 cover vote, beating out rookie phenom Cam Newton. But with winning the title as Madden cover boy, it also comes with a significant drawback, the Madden Curse. It’s a curse that has plagued many players who have graced the cover. The most recent victim of the Madden Curse has been Peyton Hillis, who was the standout running back for the Cleveland Browns two season ago. But last year, he was plagued by hamstring issues and apparently strep throat. He went from starting running back for the Browns to possibly second string for the Kansas City Chiefs if Jamaal Charles comes back fully recovered from last year’s knee injury. Other examples are Troy Polamalu with a knee injury, Shaun Alexander with a broken foot, Donovan McNabb with a sports hernia, Ray Lewis with a broken wrist, Michael Vick with a fractured fibula and a potential jail sentence, Mashall Faulk with an ankle injury and Daunte Culpepper with a knee injury that he never fully recovered from. That’s quite a list of victims. Now will Johnson be added to list? Only time will tell. Good luck Megatron.
Highlight of the Week
Lowlight of the Week
Yes, this is proof that the Spurs are old, but I still see them as the favorites in the West.