Guest Post By Jon Sabal
We’re off and running with the NBA playoffs. The first week of the playoffs are barely over and we already have a handful of great moments. But first, let’s get into some of the real surprises of the NBA playoffs so far.
Even though the Hawks got destroyed by the Indiana Pacers the other night, they still have to feel pretty good about the fact that the series is tied and will now be going back to Atlanta for two games. Jeff Teague had an awesome game one. Thanks to his constant drives to the basket Atlanta was able to power through and come up with the win in game one. Let’s not forget about the lone All Star for the Hawks, Paul Millsap, who has been able to score at will. It is important to note that this is a #1 seed vs. #8 seed series; and only once in NBA history has a #8 seed upset and beaten a #1 seed in a seven game series. The Hawks do have some advantages, such as key mismatches against the Pacers. I’m not saying the Hawks are going to outright win the series, but they can potentially make it interesting.
Man, talk about putting yourself at a disadvantage. The Washington Wizards were able to pull off two huge wins on the Bulls’ home court. Since January 24th of this year, the Bulls have only allowed three opponents to score 100+ points. The Wizards were one of those teams, and they did it in back-to-back games. The Bulls are in real trouble as they head to D.C. for two games against the Wizards. One of the main issues that the Bulls face is their own offense. Their overall offense is ranked near the bottom of the league; they have been able to get by due to their hard nosed defense. The major problem with their offense is that they don’t have that dynamic scorer that can help them in those “dry spells”. They don’t have someone like – Oh I don’t know…Derrick Rose perhaps? Another issue is that Nené is outplaying Joakim Noah. Noah was the defensive player of the year this year, and for the Bulls to have any shot in this series, he must be the “X-factor” that he has been during the regular season. If he’s not, then expect a quick end to the Bulls’ season this year.
Home Court Advantage?
This year home court advantage hasn’t really meant much. Only the Miami Heat have won both of their home games, both against the Charlotte Bobcats. Every other team has lost at least one home game in the playoffs. The Bulls and Rockets are in a horrible position because they have both lost both of their home games; the Bulls losing to the Wizards and the Rockets losing to the Blazers. The odds are not in the favor of either the Bulls or the Rockets coming back from this deficit. History shows thatlosers of game one are not in the best shape either, since 69% of game one losers end up losing the series. Now the lower seeds will get their chance to prove themselves at home, so let’s see how they do.
It’s still very early in the playoffs so we will just have to wait and see what other surprises are yet to come.