by Ryan Meehan
While not as glamorous as those in the Western Conference, the Eastern Conference Semis still have some great storylines that are full of wholesome family entertainment. And since it’s my job to take such entertainment and turn it into what essentially amounts to material that’s unsafe for your work computer, let’s take a look at what you can expect to see in the second round.
Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls
What happened last round:
Proving once again my theory that sub .500 teams should never make the playoffs in any sport, the Miami Heat wiped the Milwaukee Bucks off the face of the earth. I don’t have nearly enough euphemisms to describe what happened in that round, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it a shot. Basically LeBron James heard that Brandon Jennings predicted the Bucks to win in six games, and after he stopped laughing he realized something had to be done about that. So James showed up at Jennings’ farm in the middle of the night, opened the barn door, and then it got really quiet for a few seconds. After that, the clucking started and what happened next was one of the most grisly displays of chicken sexploitation in American history. As my buddy DJ KFC would say “That shit was mad fowl”. Of course, none of that actually happened but if it did would it have been any less embarrassing than the series itself? Not bloody likely, and my version gave you a better visual didn’t it? Don’t you just hate it when somebody ends three sentences in a row with question marks?
Meanwhile in Brooklyn, the Nets were set up to come back from a 3-1 deficit to advance to face the Miami Heat in the next round. Everything was set up perfectly: They were going to play game 7 at home in the Barclays Center, and the Bulls were still suffering from severe injuries that went much further than just missing Derrick Rose. Kirk Heinrich was still recovering from a bruised left calf, and Luol Deng was hospitalized for meningitis, Hodgkins’ disease, and cancer of three body parts still not yet classified by the AMA. Then with the biggest game of the year in front of them, Joakim Noah went out and had a game that is starting to be very characteristic of Joakim Noah when he has a gun to his head. I’ll get into that more later, but all you need to know is that with one of the most dilapidated rosters in NBA history, the Bulls won game 7 on the road and even Rip Hamilton didn’t play a single minute. Chicago is running out of active players faster than China is running out of bunk beds, and the fact that they’ve been able to get this far is nothing short of a miracle.
What I want to happen:
Since I’m a Bulls fan, what I want to happen is very simple: I’d like to see the Bulls win against what is clearly the most talented and stacked roster in pro ball. It would set Miami’s goals back an entire year, and let’s be real here: If you’re not a fan of LeBron, Wade, or the rest of the team in general, the Heat are quickly becoming the team that everybody loves to hate. Ideally I’d like to see this series be tied at 2-2, and then have King James fall apart in game 5. (Remind you of a certain postseason stretch while LeBron was in Cleveland?) Now keep in mind even when the Bulls are healthy and have Rose at 100%, they are still not as talented as the Heat, but isn’t that the underdog story that us true sports fans would love to see?
What could possibly happen:
Although highly unlikely, the Bulls seem to draw from this very unique pool of an energy source where no matter how hurt they appear to be they can still rise from the ashes and kick your arse. It is possible that the Bulls could win a road game in the first two meetings, then they’re blaring “Gaining Momentum” in the locker room, and before you know it this series is over and they’re pretty much headed to the NBA Finals. It’s possible that Chris Bosh could be overwhelmed by the inside presence of Noah, and it’s easy to see why. Just when you think that Joakim Noah is going to injure himself to the point where he will no longer be a factor, he comes out and destroys a bunch of guys that should be better than the team he’s playing on. It’s a longshot to happen, but it’s not completely out of the question. Plus if the Bulls need any extra motivation to ensure themselves that there is no excuse for losing, they can simply look up Shane Battier on Wikipedia and see that his middle name is Courtney which should be all that they need.
What will happen:
Although it would be great fodder for Cavs fans that are still looking for a way to get back at LeBron, there is a very minimal chance that the Heat will lose this one. You have to look at it this way: They’ve had a week’s rest and in their eyes it’s now a twelve game season for them. They have 21 games to win those 12, and as long as they don’t lose four out of seven during that stretch they’re going to go home with title No. 2 which I think we need to discuss here for a second. When the Heat had that huge “concert” where they came out and introduced themselves with all of the pyrotechnics and the like, we all laughed at LeBron when he estimated how many championship he might win. While he might not get the seven that he “promised”, it took a lot of balls to do that and with the Spurs in decline and the relative uncertainty that seems to surround the Thunder maybe he’s not so crazy after all. The Heat should be able to pace themselves well in this series, and if they don’t let Chicago’s obnoxious defense get under their skin all signs point to this being a fucking walk in the park. I’d be shocked if this one gets to game six, and I don’t think that it will.
Prediction: Heat in 5
New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers
What happened last round:
Look, the Knicks didn’t exactly skate to the promised land of the semis on the backs of the old and worn out Celtics. That series shouldn’t have gotten as far as it did, but keep in mind Boston was so jacked to win game four they could have beaten about 85% of the league that day. Nonetheless, New York was able to finally win their first playoff series since 2000 and advance to the second round.
And you may not know this, but the Pacers and the Hawks played in the first round. If you missed it, don’t feel bad, because most of the country did as well. In the final game 6, David West and George Hill each scored 21 points and the Hawks were only able to come up with 73. But truth be told, we knew that wasn’t going to be a high scoring series and Atlanta was going to get screwed no matter who they drew first. Indiana still remained scrappy, and Roy Hibbert and Tyler Hansborough are really banging the boards underneath. BUT…it was just the Hawks, and you could argue that series shouldn’t have gone 6 games in any solar system.
What I want to happen:
I dream big, but who wouldn’t love to see John Starks climb from out of the stands and finally settle the score with Reggie Miller on national television? But seriously, since we’re a high scoring stat-based country of fans and the Pacers are so good at keeping people under the century mark I would like to see Carmelo go out there and just put a 50 Cent piece on the basketball Colts. I think it would create interest in the series on the West Coast (where it’s so desperately needed) and give him the world’s foremost expert on zone defense an ego boost. OK, OK…I realize there are people out there who don’t like the Knicks for whatever reason and I understand that, so to be fair I’ll go ahead and give you another scenario. Let’s say for example that the exact opposite happens…let’s say that Carmelo gets wiped and goes 3 for 28…that would prove that either he was way off the mark that night or that there is a healthy portion of the Eastern Conference that is going to have a future rooted in some hardcore defense. I hope it’s the latter.
What could possibly happen:
I mentioned Hibbert and Hansborough earlier, and if I had to predict one thing that will probably happen is that there is going to be so many elbows thrown around in the paint it’s going to look like they’re filming another “Jackass” movie. Dubsism called BS on the Knicks before any of this even started, so when it comes to what could possibly happen I’ll take that angle and say that the Pacers could take this thing. Since Carmelo has the potential to turn Indianapolis into brick city, there is the possibility that the Pacers can somehow sucker him into taking some of the shots he was taking at the beginning of the year before Stoudamire got hurt.
What will happen:
You may or may not agree with Dubs when it comes to the intestinal fortitude of the Knickerbockers, but keep in mind they’re playing Indiana here. Sure, they should have swept Boston and just because Indiana has no real star power outside of David West this has the all the ingredients for an upset. (Sorry, I don’t consider Miles Plumlee to have star power. Feel free to call into the next Blastcast and debate that topic with us if you’d like) I got the Knicks.
Prediction: Knicks in 7
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