I’ve been away from any TV coverage of these playoffs since the tail end of round one. But that hasn’t kept me totally in the dark.
Here’s how I see what unfolded in round two.
SJ vs DET: That flying fur-ball you saw was the Sharks FINALLY throwing the monkey off their backs. A new reputation is being built in San Jose this season, it appears. The veteran Wings had ended the season strong, and many felt they would give the Sharks trouble… again. But five games silenced that notion.
CHI vs VAN: The ‘Nucks started with a roar and never mustered much after that. Most fans acknowledged that the Hawks SHOULD win, but I think some of us wanted to see Vancouver push it to the brink. In the end, the top two teams meet in the Western Final–just the way most of us would like to see it.
BOS vs PHI: Oh, Boston! Making history is supposed to be a sweet thing, but not this way. Imagine the feeling of beating a team convincingly three consecutive times, only to hit a wall where you cannot possibly get that forth win–UGH! Credit the Flyers. Did anybody out there pick these guys to reach the Eastern Final?! Probably only a Hab or two!
PIT vs MTL: I have never been a Habs’ fan. I grew up with a few fanatics, and it anti-indoctrinated me. But I might be on the wagon now. This run is little short of miraculous… and those who believe in destiny say it’s only half-way finished. After two rounds, the bottom two teams meet in the Eastern Final–just the way that absolutely nobody could have imagined!
LAL vs UTA: A sweep. Easy to have imagined. If they’d have had their act together in the opening round, the Nuggets might have given the Lakers a better fight than the Jazz did, but either way, nobody was stopping Kobe’s crew this early.
PHO vs SA: A sweep. I never would have thought. The Suns winning? I could have believed that, but not in less than seven. Yet Nash and company beat a Spurs team that shocked the Mavericks, and they did so in a machine-like fashion. All four scores were nearly identical, and there was never a doubt who was in control. My friend Malcolm is beaming!
ORL vs ATL: A sweep. No surprise. Atlanta looked good all season, but when the “real season” began, they barely got by the Bucks. They’re just not on that top level yet, and this off-season will be big in determining which direction they go from here. Orlando’s played only 8 games this post-season… and some of that hasn’t even been great ball! The test arrives in the next round.
CLE vs BOS: Six games opened the Summer of Lebron. Two years of disappointment for Cleveland fans to heap on top of their decades of disappointment. Last year, the Cavs got beat by a hot Magic team. This year, they didn’t show up for the battle, and an apparently hungrier Celtics’ team got the best of them night after night. Lebron will be (and already is being) analyzed tirelessly. His next jersey will figure itself out in due time. For now, the playoffs move on without him.