WHAT’S THE DEAL? WHY ARE WE SEEING THIS BEFORE GAME 2 AND NOT GAME 1? Some of us have jobs.
YEAH, AND SOME OF US HAVE FULL-TIME JOBS: Uncool, man.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM GAME 1? Absolutely nothing. I didn’t see a minute of it. Although I suppose I “learned” that Deron Williams had no injury issues from the Denver series. So there’s that.
WE’VE SEEN THIS MATCHUP BEFORE: Yep. Third year in a row between the Lakers and Jazz, with LA winning in six in the second round in ’08 and in five in the first round in ’09.
SO LAKERS IN FOUR IN ’10? Not quite. I expect this to be every bit as close a series as the other Western Conference Semi and every bit as intense as LA’s first-rounder with Oklahoma City (which I nailed, by the way). This was probably as good a Jazz team as we’ve seen over the last four playoff seasons—before the injuries to Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur. If Kirilenko comes back during this series—as he hopes to do for Game 3—I can definitely see the Jazz making life difficult on the Lakers.
For me, the American Point Guard Renaissance started on an otherwise uneventful night in Winston-Salem, N.C. in February 2004. In Wake Forest’s upset of Duke that night at Lawrence Joel Coliseum, highly touted freshman guard Chris Paul showed that he may not have been touted highly enough. Paul scored 19 second-half points and absolutely dissected the Blue Devils’ defense in as sterling a performance as a college point had displayed in years. I remember thinking that night how good it was to watch a real point guard—one who could dominate a game without dominating the ball—on the college stage.
The American Point Guard Renaissance is loosely defined as the return to form of, I think, the most important position in the game of basketball. Spearheaded by the continued brilliance of Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, some favorable rules changes on the perimeter, and a spate of young points like Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings, and John Wall, the American Point Guard Renaissance is our best hope today to revive the quality of play in the NBA, which has been lagging for more than a decade.
College football, you can have your “meaningful regular season.” College basketball’s postseason will be better than yours whether you change it or not.
The perfection that is the NCAA Tournament gave me a plethora of delights to choose from for this top 10. My shortlist was actually quite long, running into the 30s. It was so long, in fact, that later today we’re adding a special post—Buzzer Beaters of the Decade—to commemorate the best at the buzzer in college basketball, even if the entire games weren’t good enough to crack this list.
Those that just missed the cut for this prized pantheon include the Aughts’ biggest upset by seed (Hampton over Iowa State in 2001), Kansas staving off Davidson in the 2008 Elite Eight, and West Virginia’s thrilling double-overtime upset of Wake Forest in 2005. But don’t worry Mountaineer fans, you’re still involved here. But, ugh, not in a good way.