Home-court advantage has played a very significant role in the NBA playoffs this season. In the conference semi-finals the home team is 15-1 (the Orlando Magic had to mess up the perfect record). The Celtics did look like the team to beat, until they arrived in Cleveland. Boston appeared like they had too many 23 cent pizzas on thursday and look sluggish. Lebron James hasn’t played very well at all, yet they tied the series 2-2 tonight. The Celtics are getting flashbacks of the Atlanta series, but Cleveland is an actual NBA team, not an NBA D-League team that currently plays in Atlanta. Ray Allen has disappeared and Pierce looks like Antoine Walker lately. If the trend of home teams winning stays true, this series should go seven games.
The New Orleans/San Antonio series looked like a possible sweep after the first two games. Tim Duncan played like Jerome James and he wasn’t getting help from Manu Ginobli’s bald spot or Mr. Eva Longoria. Chris Paul was playing his best in the biggest games of his career so far. Peja Stojakovic was forgot that he was washed up and playing like he did while with the Kings. Unfortunately for the Hornets, Duncan woke up and the Spurs had hard to beat at home. The Hornets/Spurs series appears to be a possible seven game series.Kobe Bryant at the Lakers have their hands full with the Utah Jazz. The Jazz didn’t show up in Los Angeles, but Utah only lost four games at home all season. Kobe injured his back in Game 4 and had to stand up during the post-game conference. If Kobe isn’t 100% for Game 5, I think Utah could sneak a win and clinch the series in Utah. David Stern will probably hate to see Utah advance, but Andrei Kirilenko started actually playing again and he will break you.
The Detroit/Orlando series will not go seven games. Orlando is a good team, but Detroit’s experience is proving to be too much for them to handle. The Magic will be a contender next season, but Dwight Howard needs another big man to help him in the low-post. Howard’s offensive skills start and end with his dunking ability. If they draft or sign a free-agent who can score 15 a game and can hit a 20-foot jumper, Howard will benefit. They need a player like Mehmet Okur, who can take shots from the outside that would leave Howard one-on-one to fight for the rebound.
I would like to see Jazz/Hornets and Celtics/Pistons Conference Finals, but I am afraid I couldn’t stomach another Pistons/Spurs in the NBA Finals. They are both good teams and deserving to be there, but I would like to see something new and fresh. I feel like the NBA Finals have been stuck on repeat the last few seasons and I want to push the shuffle button and see what happens.