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NBA semifinals worth watching
June 5, 2012 - Neil Rudel
Some random thoughts about the NBA playoffs:
*This year's playoffs have been more compelling than most. There have been numerous storylines, such as the top seed in the East (Chicago) losing its best player (Derrick Rose) and getting bounced by the eighth seed (Philadelphia) and the Lakers being pushed to seven games by Denver before getting run off by Oklahoma City.
*Those early-round series, including Philly taking Boston to seven games, whet the appetite for what has been an outstanding pair of semifinals. It's tough to say which has been better -- the Celtics-Heat or OKC-San Antonio. We may find out tonight during Game 5 in Miami and the series tied 2-2.
*Series don't really start until the visitor wins, as the Thunder did in the Game 5 stunner in San Antonio, which did not lose through the first 10 games of the playoffs, let alone at home.
*Unless Miami wins the championship, I have to believe Erik Spoelstra will be fired. No way the Heat management (read: Pat Riley) assembled the talent he has, only to watch it look so disorganized at the end of games and unable to close out victories. Spoelstra also doesn't appear to have the total respect of his players as you've seen some sideline issues (bumping LeBron James last year; this year's dust-up with Dwayne Wade) that you don't see with other coaches. Like Greg Popovich.
*Tony Parker's aggressiveness was borderline out of control in the Spurs' Game 5 loss.
*Miami, which lacks depth, is being pushed around by a veteran but old team that has been in position to win three of the series' first four games.
*Someone suggested on ESPN Radio this morning that Miami possibly has three Hall of Famers. Really? I don't think Chris Bosh is going to the Hall of Fame, and I'm not so sure Wade is automatic. LeBron will go, but his resume would look better with a couple of titles.
*The best bet in sports is when an NBA playoff team goes home for Game 3 down 2-0.
*Though I think Miami will still find a way to get past Boston, wouldn't a point-guard matchup of Rajon Rondo and Michael Westbrook be fun to watch in The Finals.
*Jeff Bower, a product of Hollidaysburg Area High School and St. Francis, is a candidate for the open general manager job with the Orlando Magic. Bower was also a finalist with Portland. He previously spent two stints as GM of the New Orleans Hornets (2002-03 and 2005-2010) and coached the team in 2009-10. Would be nice to see JB get another shot.