Eastern Conference semi-finals: Act like you know. Eh, just act like you care.
(1) CLEVELAND CAVALIERS VS. (4) ATLANTA HAWKS
Nope. Too easy.
BROKEASS: Will this series even be televised?
DUBBS: Everything Lebron does is televised. He’s brushing his teeth on ESPN 12 right now. In theory, the Hawks should match up well with the Cavs. But this isn’t a theory class. The Hawks first round series was uglier than Delonte West. They are the type of team that can show up and take Boston to seven (like last season). And they’re the type of team that can not show up and get taken to seven by Miami (this season). If they pull their shit together, they have the talent to push the Cavs to seven. But they could also lose in four. Who knows which Atlanta team will show up?
BROKEASS: When we talk about teams that CAN win, it’s usually because they DON’T win. Nobody talks about Cleveland’s potential. We talk about Cleveland winning. And that’s exactly what we will be talking about during and after this series. Any Detroit Pistons can make it to the Playoffs, the second round is for contenders. Unfortunately, the Eastern Conference didn’t have enough of those teams, so the Hawks will be faking it for the cameras.
DUBBS: Well, at least we got Atlanta. If Miami had won, all we’d hear about for the next week would be Lebron and Wade, Wade and Lebron. What good friends and great competitors they are. How they hang out together in the off-season and curl each other’s hair and drink miso soup out of each other’s foot-baths and have swordfights in the bathroom. And the Cavs would have obliterated the Heat. This series has the potential to be watchable. Whoops, there’s that word again.
BROKEASS: I like the Hawks but those wayward souls make me uncomfortable. Atlanta has no leader. Surprisingly, Josh Smith’s tantrums haven’t unified the team the way he expected. Lebron isn’t just the best player on his team, he is also the general they follow into battle. He takes all the guesswork out of the game, freeing a guy like Delonte up to do what he does best: Score the ball and look hideous (second Ugly Delonte joke, if you’re keeping score). Atlanta has guys that can score the ball – Six guys averaged in double figures. And guys that look hideous – I bet on Marvin Williams to win the Kentucky Derby (first Ugly Marvin joke, if you’re keeping score). But no one who takes care of all the other stuff that goes into winning. If scoring the ball and looking hideous was the perfect recipe for success, I’d be lacing up my Air Van Exels right now. But I ain’t. I wear $20 Starburys. Unrelated to winning.
DUBBS: Atlanta might be motivated. Joe Johnson needs to prove to people he’s just sleepy-looking and not actually asleep. Josh Smith needs to prove he can hit that stupid between-the-legs dunk he missed so badly against the Heat. And Mike Bibby needs to prove to Henry Bibby that he is worthy of his love.
BROKEASS: Newsflash, Mike Bibby: You’re not. Nobody is proving anything in this series, other than that time can move very slowly.
DUBBS: I’m gonna take a leap of faith and say Atlanta in 4. Lebron is getting injured in Game One. Shelden Williams is gonna do a run-in from the locker-room and take Lebron out with a chair while the referees are distracted. Jim Ross will be apoplectic: “Oh my god, it’s The Landlord, Shelden Williams! He’s supposed to be on the Sacramento Kings! He fooled us all! The Landlord!” And Shelden Williams will walk back to the locker-room with a smug look on his face and the Intercontinental Title Belt held aloft above his head.
BROKEASS: Just what the NBA needs – A Shelden Williams heel turn. Clearly the heel turn will be Lebron ripping off his Cavs jersey mid-series and joining the Knicks. I can already see Spike Lee cackling at confused fans on the Jumbotron. Just kidding – Boobie Gibson would be inconsolable. Seriously, Cleveland will win because this is basketball and the Hawks aren’t very good at it. Cavs sweep.
DUBBS: I’m gonna go ahead and climb out on the really thin limb of this really tall tree during a windstorm and predict that Atlanta captures some of last year’s playoff magic and pushes the Cavs a bit. Cavs in 7.
BROKEASS: If this series goes 7 I will gouge out my own eyes. The NBA: Where “Blindness” Happens.
(2) BOSTON CELTICS VS. (3) ORLANDO MAGIC
"I just wanna dance but the fat man in the turtleneck keeps shouting at me!"
DUBBS: Can both of these teams lose? That would be my preference. I really like Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rondo. But my hatred for Kendrick Perkins, Eddie House and the bench version of KG is so intense that it’s difficult for me to root for the Celtics. On the other hand, I’ve made my feelings on the Magic clear. They are powder puffs. They should be embarrassed by their play against Philly. I won’t root for them until they get some tough guys down there to play actual playoff basketball. Where’s Charles Oakley when you need him?
BROKEASS: Oak’s working the door at Jordan’s Cinco de Mayo tapas party. The Magic could get him for a Manwich and some dignity. Lifetime contract. Boston vs. Orlando: First team to four losses gets to go home. It’s hard to bet against Boston, because this unit remains undefeated in a playoff series. But it’s hard to bet on Boston, because they haven’t shown any signs of being that good this Playoffs. It’s hard to bet on Orlando, because they are so…Orlando. And it’s hard to bet against Orlando, because, well, Dwight should be unstoppable. Though for every “Dwight should be unstoppable,” uttered before, there is a “Dwight should’ve been unstoppable,” to be mentioned after.
DUBBS: Exactly. With KG out, Dwight should dominate every game of this series. But you know he’s not going to. He just doesn’t seem to be able to take a series over like that. Having said that, this is where the thinness of the Celtics frontcourt with both KG and Leon Powe out is really going to kill them. Will Kendrick Perkins foul out of every game before the National Anthem is sung? They can’t slide Big Baby over and Scalabrine can’t cover Dwight. The weight of the world truly rests on Kendrick Perkins’ shoulders in this series. So at least the look on his face will finally match up.
BROKEASS: Boston’s thinness will be an issue. And so will its thickness. Big Baby can’t cover Rashard on the wings or Hedo up top. Scalabrine is the basketball equivalent to a designated hitter. The Magic frontcourt is a nightmare for healthy opponents, and the injury-depleted Celtics are struggling with even mediocre bigs. Rafer Alston is not the perfect substitute for Jameer Nelson ever, but he should have an easier time skipping to his Lou against Rondo than the stout, inflexible Andre Miller, leading to more drop offs for Dwight and kick-outs for the 3-ballers.
DUBBS: I’m tired of hearing about Jameer Nelson. People talk about it like if he were healthy, the Magic would win 8 championships in a row. Rafer might not be a perfect substitute for Jameer Nelson but Jameer is not a perfect substitute for an actual point guard. Let him go play NBA Jam at the arcade with Nate Robinson. I’ll up his allowance. Still, Rondo is going to eat Rafer Alston alive. By the end of this series, Rafer is going to be talking about retiring (again) and fighting Sam Mitchell (again). Also, um, JJ REDICK IS STARTING!!!! JJ Redick wouldn’t make the Celtics practice squad.
BROKEASS: JJ only starts until Courtney Lee gets home from allergy camp, or wherever the fuck they sent his sinuses. Wow. The Magic are in trouble. But so are the Celtics. This is the first series I can think of where absolutely no one can guard anyone else. I guess it comes down to a battle of masterful coaches. Anybody know where we can find any masterful coaches? Between having homes in Boston and Orlando and doing nothing in the first round, Doc Rivers should at least be well-rested. So that’s an advantage.
DUBBS: Courtney Lee’s coming back? Phew. Championship saved. Stan Van Gundy will show Doc Rivers the real meaning of flop sweat. It comes down to this: If Orlando allows a team like Philly to hang around without delivering the knockout blow until it’s almost too late, how will they will deal with a team that fights tooth and nail for every game? That’s what’s so impressive about Boston. They never stop fighting. They never give up. Boston won’t give Orlando this series. Orlando will have to take it. And I don’t think they have the stuff to do that. Celtics in 6.
BROKEASS: And yet the Celts had to settle for a split decision victory over the Bulls, a team that wasn’t even strong enough to wrestle the 6 seed from Philly while the 76ers were in an end-of-the-season coma. Neither team proved themselves deserving of more basketball: Orlando lacks the toughness and Boston lacks the muscle. If this was single elimination I’d pick Boston for their heart. Over a series, I think Orlando’s size will wear on them. Magic in 6.
DUBBS: Fans of the Magic would love that prediction. Too bad they don’t exist.
Will Dwight Howard finally stop turning the other cheek? Will Eddie House finally realize that hitting an open three-pointer doesn’t make you a tough guy? Will the Cavs bench finally realize they don’t get to follow Lebron to the Knicks? Will Kevin Garnett finally see video of his behavior on the bench and die of shame? Will Boobie Gibson finally realize that’s a birthmark on Delonte West’s face – not grape jelly? Will Eddie House’s son finally realize his dad is a bit player in the NBA and not the hero he believes him to be? Will Mo Williams finally realize its not an all-star slight if you’re not an all-star? Will Marvin Williams finally get braces to correct his wicked overbite? Will Stephon finally realize the Celtics organization is conspiring to hold him back? Will Acie Law IV finally realize he’s the only Acie Law that matters? Will Mikki Moore finally realize he’s Busta Rhymes’ skeleton? Will Marcin Gortat finally get the joke about how many Polish guys it takes to screw in a lightbulb? Will Flip Murray finally battle Flip Saunders in a duel to the death, winner gets to be an adult called Flip? Will Brian Scalabrine finally realize he’s Michael Rapaport? Will Jeremy Richardson finally realize I don’t know who he is? Will Mike Bibby finally realize he’s Eddie House’s brother-in-law and force his sister to get a divorce? Will Doc Rivers finally realize he’s not a licensed medical practitioner? Will Stan Van Gundy’s moustache finally explode? Will Kendrick Perkins finally figure out who farted? Check back throughout the Playoffs for the answers to these questions – and more!
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