(May 21, 2007) — The rest of the NBA playoffs aren’t likely to set any positive TV ratings records.
When your league is playing basketball in June, the Finals matchup had better be dazzling.
The Detroit Pistons vs. the San Antonio Spurs won’t be.
The two most entertaining teams in the eyes of most NBA fans — the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns — have been eliminated. At least the Mavs lost fair and square to Golden State. The Spurs might not have needed a big assist from the NBA office to beat the Suns, but they definitely got one and we’ll never know what would’ve happened had both teams been at full strength for their series-turning Game 5.
But before we get a rematch of the 2005 Finals (San Antonio over Detroit in seven games), we have to survive a pair of mismatches in the conference finals.
San Antonio in five games over Utah.
Detroit in six games over Cleveland.
Utah’s best player is Carlos Boozer, probably the most underrated power forward in the NBA. San Antonio’s Tim Duncan probably is the NBA’s all-time best power forward and he has a much better and more experienced supporting cast.
The Spurs on Sunday in Game 1 of their series won 108-100 (it wasn’t that close) at home over the Jazz for the 17th straight time. That streak isn’t likely to end before next season.
Cleveland vs. New Jersey might have been the most difficult playoff series to watch since the shot-clock was introduced. Slow-paced, low-scoring and boring — partly because the defense was decent but mostly because the offenses were horrible. The big difference was LeBron James playing well for the Cavaliers and Vince Carter predictably playing poorly for the Nets.
Cousins Carter and Tracy McGrady were teammates in Toronto for two seasons and some people have wondered how the Raptors would’ve fared had they both stayed. Judging by their disappointing playoff histories, probably not exceedingly well.
Detroit has too much big-play experience and plays too much defense to lose a playoff series to Cleveland. James’ brilliance should help the Cavaliers win once or twice but it isn’t going to happen four times.