Well It’s Crunch Time And It’s Time To Man Up ……..
It’s crunch time in the NBA and a number of teams are scurrying to play themselves into contention in terms of a playoff berth. As an avid San Antonio Spurs supporter I’ve begun to realize that the season has begun to unravel faster than a ball of twine. The moment I heard that the team’s point guard Tony Parker had broken his right wrist , the season was all but over. Now all I can envisage for the team is to see them make another unaccustomed and unceremonious bow out, as they may well fail and fall at the fist hurdle in the playoffs.
Without Parker alongside Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan , the team essentially becomes a mere shadow of itself. And while the acquisition of Richard Jefferson was meant to further assist the team from the offensive side of things and also to add as a buffer on the defense. It appears that Jefferson has been slow to acclimatize himself to Gregg Popovich’s system. Never mind the fact that Jefferson seems to be a mere shadow of the explosive player that he once was when he played for the New Jersey Nets .
If there’s to be any hope of a good showing by the team in the playoffs then it’ll be incumbent upon Duncan and Ginobli to lead by example . And then hopefully the other players and in particular the younger players on the roster will follow their lead. We’ve seen the gradual progression in the play of George Hill and DeJuan Blair . But that by itself, simply won’t be enough to make the team a real threat in the postseason. It is going to take a monumental effort on the part of the Spurs to make it to at least the Western Conference semi-finals. For me that would be a realistic target for the organization as it now stands. Fortune smiles on the brave and this team, when put to the test has shown what they’re capable of .
Now strange as it seems within the Eastern Conference.It now appears that the three most prominent teams within the conference may well be in for something of a dogfight. What at first may well have seemed clear cut now looks as if it could end up being somewhat of a suspense thriller in the making. The Cleveland Cavaliers may well be the presumptive favorites to come out of the conference . And in LeBron James at present , we might just being seeing the ‘nascent era’ of the player , as he and his teammates look to land the franchise their first NBA title.
Looking to stop the Cavaliers in their tracks are the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic . The surprise here , may well be the Atlanta Hawks, as I seriously doubt that most fans would envisage seeing this team with the third best mark within the conference. The Hawks simply have been playing some fundamentally sound basketball. And with that has come a great deal of confidence and the belief that they’re more than competing with and amongst the very best within NBA. And the Hawks’ fans have to be cautiously optimistic as to their chances in the postseason.
When I watch the Orlando Magic , I view them as something of an enigma. One minute they’re playing up to their potential and the next they’re playing down to the level of a lesser opponent . That’s not exactly the form you want to see coming from a team that many thought were in with a chance of dethroning the reigning NBA champions , the Los Angeles Lakers . And with if Dwight Howard is to be viewed as the best ‘big man’ in the league, then his game has to be more consistent on a ‘night in , night out basis’ . And unfortunately if that isn’t happening then we’re liable to see a more animated Stan Van Gundy on the sidelines.
In the Western Conference the Lakers have a 4 game lead over their nearest rivals in the conference standings. The Dallas Mavericks have been playing at a high level but each and every time I see this team . I merely view them as a unit that once the postseason comes around . They’re simply a traffic accident waiting to happen and they endanger themselves with their complete lack of mental and physical competitiveness. On paper this roster could be viewed as amongst the very best in the NBA. But the strange thing is , the team that is more of a danger to themselves than they are to others. While they may well make it to the conference semi finals , I seriously doubt that they’ll be capable of derailing the Los Angeles Lakers. The mental aspect of the Mavericks is susceptible and frail and it can be borne out by the fact that there isn’t someone who one could look at on the roster and view them as the vocal or physical leader of this team.
And based on last night’s performance against the Boston Celtics . I think it’s pretty much safe to say that the Mavericks are as close to be viewed as championship contender material , as Paris Hilton could be considered a candidate to become a Rhodes’ scholar at either Cambridge or Oxford University . This is a courtesy shout-out to both chappy 81 and sportschump , who are still enamored with the Mavericks, the way that a teenage boy would be with the center-spread of Playboy magazine.
Of the teams I view within the conference who I think could make it all the more difficult for the Lakers to make a return to the NBA Finals . It could very well the George Karl coached Denver Nuggets. With the play of Carmelo Anthony , Chauncey Billups and J. R. Smith all playing with a great deal of zeal. A conference finals between the Lakes and Nuggets could very well be one of the better conference finals of recent years. Pitting Kobe Bryant against Carmelo Anthony would make for a very engaging Western Conference Final. I can only surmise that it’d prove to be ‘a hit’ for the respective fans as well. But that would definitely be predicated upon both teams making their way through the playoffs and the appetite of a thrilling conference final.
As the regular season now winds down and with the postseason now about to get underway . It will be most interesting to see whether or not the scenarios I’ve envisaged will actually play itself out. It’s now ……”Well It’s Crunch Time And It’s Time To Man Up “ . Which teams will be the ones who will man up and which will the teams to fall by the wayside ?
Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………
Ludacris feat’g Shawna …………’Stand Up’