Most Impressive Team so far:
I think without a question it has to be the Boston Celtics. Boston has been repeatedly counted out by pundits and experts, but somehow they're the only team to actually complete a sweep in the Playoffs. You can cry that the Knicks have dealt with injuries, however, KG and Paul Pierce are visibly getting older by the day. Somehow Ray Allen continues to play at a high level, but that's also because his game never required much athleticism. I would also like to suggest that the Celtics are an extremely physical team. Sometimes, you get injured playing them. That can happen to anyone in the Playoffs.
Most Disappointing Team so far:
I'll avoid the Heat bashing for this paragraph. This is really a toss up between the Bulls and the Magic. The Bulls are playing an inspired Pacers team thats ranked 8th in the east. You would hope that the team with the best record in the league would dispatch of an 8th seed easily, but as the west is proving, teams with nothing too lose play as such. The Magic dispatched the Hawks last year in one of the most embarrassing playoff defeats in recent history averaging a +10 ppg differential. Now, they are on the brink of being eliminated by that same team. Are you telling me Kirk Hinrich is making that much of a difference? The show that Dwight Howard is putting on, you would hope, would be enough to carry this team past the Hawks. The Magic are playing uninspired and are showing that if your name is not Dwight Howard, you may as well mail it in.. I'll go Magic.
Most Impressive One Man Show:
Before I make the obvious choice, I just want too point out some numbers.
32.3 ppg, 17.5 rpg, 1.8 bpg
28.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 6.3 apg
The top line is the averages of a player on a team in a 3-1 hole. Those are Dwight Howard's averages through 4 games this Playoff. Those are historic numbers. I guess what this comes down too is, who is more valuable. Dwight Howard is putting up ridiculous numbers on a team about to be checked out of the Playoffs, while the second line - Derrick Rose - is up 3-1 on a competitive Pacers team. I'll take a 3-1 lead. D. Rose.
Favorites so far:
It's always dangerous too go out and say who are the favorites too win the east in the first round of the Playoffs, but, let's give it a try. The Bulls are the Cinderella story of the season so far. After being spurned by "King" James and D. Wade, Derrick Rose made it a point too come in this season and make teams pay. However, a one man show hasn't won a championship ever. You need the sum too equal a better whole. Not one too equal a team. I'm not even going to indulge in a debate about the Hawks/Magic. The Heat have looked dominant at times, and have also looked too lackadaisical for a team who has yet too win anything except the Lebron sweepstakes. They have no depth past their big 3, and have problems executing down the stretch. They can be out-toughed and even out-willed at times. Guess who has both those strengths. That's right. I'll go Boston. Playoff meddle and experience plus phenomenal teamwork have won championships well before 2 superstars and 1 almost have ever done it. 2004 Detroit pistons anyone. My pick is Boston.
What can we take from this season into next:
I'm going to rattle off random thoughts for each of the top 4 seeds going 1-4. After the first round of eliminations I'll give thoughts about the eliminated teams.
The Bulls have a lot of talent and depth, so they'll always be there in the end. However, they could still use a legit 2 guard that can help spread the floor. If Rose keeps improving he'll end up drawing comparisons too Jordan in terms of greatness and being competitive, not so much in terms of style. Carlos Boozer turned in a solid season, but they didn't sign him to be solid. They signed him to be a 20 and 10 guy. If they get it, they can definitely win.
The Heat are going to be close to impossible to dismiss next year. We can argue that they beat up on bad teams this year. But one season of actually working it out will be the best remedy for what ails them as far as late game troubles. They're going to be the favorites from here on out probably. We'll see if they can actual live up to the hype.
The Celtics are close to done. Their window is more or less closed. How they are remaining relevant is a mystery. Rondo is playing out of his mind right now, but as age continues too creep in they are eventually going to fade.
I don't even know what to say about the Magic. Aside from Howard, this entire team should be up for grabs. Nelson is a solid pg but hasn't turned in another All Star year since the 08-09 season. Hedo needs to be examined by a coroner. Bass is showing that he can't be a starting 4. This teams needs a redo badly, or they're going to have flashbacks of Shaq leaving.