Hello NBA fans, I have not written on this platform since the second-to-the-last night of the regular season. But that does not mean that I have not been writing. Over the last three weeks, I have written a series of 2012 NBA playoff articles for Yahoo! Sports including previews and predictions for all 12 playoff series (eight first-round and four conference semifinals series) so far. I also wrote an article ranking all 16 playoff teams based on their chances of winning the 2012 NBA Championship. And I even gave my take on how I would have voted (if I had a vote) for the season awards and All-NBA teams.
Today, I would like to just share some random musings as they stream from my consciousness.
Fair or unfair, advantage or no advantage, the fact that both Western Conference semifinals will have back-to-backs while the four Eastern Conference teams all get two days off is ridiculous. And in my opinion was not necessary.
I know that the NBA and the networks want the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat to play on different days on the weekends (one team on Saturday and the other on Sunday). But there is no reason that Game 4 of the Miami Heat-Indiana Pacers conference semifinals could not have been played today instead of forcing the Lakers into hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder in consecutive nights. And instead of forcing the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs into a Saturday-Sunday back-to-back, the Clippers and Spurs could have played Game 3 of their series on Saturday and Game 4 of the Boston Celtics-Philadelphia 76ers could have been scheduled for Sunday.
So instead of
|Saturday, May 19||Sunday, May 20|
|12:30 p.m. PT Spurs-Clippers Game 3||12:30 p.m. PT Heat-Pacers Game 4|
|7:30 p.m. PT Thunder-Lakers Game 4||7:30 p.m. PT Spurs-Clippers Game 4|
The weekend schedule could have easily been
|Saturday, May 19||Sunday, May 20|
|12:30 p.m. PT Heat-Pacers Game 4||12:30 p.m. PT Celtics-76ers Game 4|
|7:30 p.m. PT Spurs-Clippers Game 3||7:30 p.m. PT Thunder-Lakers Game 4|
But it is what it is, and the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder will be at it again tonight at the Staples Center less than 24 hours after completing a down-to-the-wire, 99-96 Game 3 last night, which the Lakers won. The game did not end until 10:30 p.m. PT, and by the time the players completed their post-game obligations it was nearly midnight. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. PT. So the Lakers and Thunder have fewer than 20 hours to get over an emotional Game 3 and get mentally and physically ready to lace them up again for Game 4.
At least the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs will have a full 24 hours between their Game 3 and Game 4 back-to-backs at the Staples Center. Game 3 of that Western Conference second-round series begins at 12:30 p.m. PT time today and Game 4 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. tomorrow night. An interesting note is that the Los Angeles Kings, who lead their NHL Western Conference Finals series 3-0, will play Game 4 against the Phoenix Coyotes tomorrow afternoon. If the Kings complete the sweep, they will have a post-game ceremony on the Staples Center floor which may cause the Clippers-Spurs game to be delayed.
Fair or unfair, advantage or no advantage, it is what it is. Winning a championship is not supposed to be easy and if the Clippers, Lakers, Spurs or Thunder want to win the 2012 NBA Championship they will have to find a way to win despite the circumstances. Besides, the Clippers and Lakers could have possibly avoided this scenario by simply winning their first-round series in fewer than seven games.
I also have to give the Indiana Pacers some well-deserved credit. Indiana, who I predicted would miss the 2012 NBA Playoffs altogether, leads its conference semifinals matchup with the Miami Heat two games to one and have a legitimate chance of making it to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2004.
With that said, I also owe David West and his surgeons an apology. I believed that the Pacers would go as far as West could take them and I was not certain that West’s surgically repaired left knee would allow him to consistently play at a high-level during a rigorous, compacted 66-game season. I was wrong and he just might carry them to the NBA Finals before it is all said and done.
One final thing, Pat Riley is an NBA lifer and has been around great players throughout his professional career. I highly respect his opinion, but I am not as convinced as he is that LeBron James will likely win multiple championships. In fact, I am not certain that James will get even one.
As I mentioned earlier, winning a championship is hard work and it is not supposed to be easy. To me it seems that LeBron kind of expects and wants the work of winning the championship to be easier than it actually is. And his comments admitting that playing power forward against the Indiana Pacers during the playoffs is “taxing” on him suggests that he just might not be willing to put in all of the hard work that is necessary to become a champion.
But before it is all said and done, LeBron James just might prove me wrong like David West and the Pacers did.