Can Miami Win Without Chris Bosh?
LeBron James averages 28.5 points per game. Dwyane Wade averages 22.3 points per game. My first instinct is to write this off quickly as ‘no big deal.’
Bosh is out indefinitely the rest of the conference semi-final series against the Pacers with a strained abdominal – an injury not unheard of, but seems rare to me nonetheless – and could possibly be out for more time following this series. Sure, the Heat have other guys that can battle down low in Bosh’s absence – Ronny Turiaf, Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony were called "three of the best dirty-work guys in the business,” by Pacers coach Frank Vogel.
But here’s what scares me somewhat; in Miami’s game one win, Indiana got a great look at what the Heat will do without Bosh. A blue-print if you will. Simply put, James and Wade dominated the ball. James took a whopping 17 shots in the second half, while Wade took 13. No other player for Miami took more than two shots after the half – which is great, as long as D-Wade and James stay hot. If they don’t, they’re toast.
Expect it to be the D-Wade/LeBron show, full of pick and rolls on offense. As long as both can carry the offense and LeBron can provide some great ‘D’ in the post, Miami could be OK. But if Miami wants to win another championship (LeBron’s first) it’s going to take clutch play from both superstars, with LeBron playing the best ball of his career – especially when they face OKC in the finals. And trust me, it will happen.
Is the torch officially being passed from Kobe to Durant?
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 52 points in their game one win over L.A. on Monday night. I mean, did you see Durant dunk over Andrew Bynum? The kid is ridiculous.
OKC put on a show in game one. They won the game 119-90, and were up by 30 after three quarters. 30!
Pau Gasol no longer plays like he did during L.A.’s back-to-back titles just a couple years ago. Metta World Peace is only good for one thing: vicious elbows to the opponent’s head…and his great acting, of course. And although he almost won the scoring title, Kobe is approaching his mid-thirties and can’t do it all by himself.
In my book, the passing of the torch began when Phil Jackson left L.A. The Thunder is just warming up in the great plains. If L.A. wins this series it will be nothing short of a miracle.
If the Sixers upset the Celtics, will it be time to blow up Boston?
The series is tied up 1-1. Boston is the No. 4 seed, Philadelphia the No. 8 seed.
While Philly only got past Chi-town because they were without Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, the Sixers aren’t a bad team – and the Celtics aren’t getting any younger.
This series showcases just another example of the youngsters vs. the aging stars. Philly is fun to watch, featuring kids like Jrue Holliday, Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner. They’re fast, up-tempo and evidently clutch – sealing the deal in their 82-81 victory at The Garden on Monday night.
The Celtics’ heart lies within Rajon Rondo.
Ray Allen isn’t 100 percent. Kevin Garnett, although productive, isn’t the Garnett of old, and Paul Pierce is still day-to-day as well. Pierce says his knee is fine, but everyone is skeptical with they way he played in game two. Rondo — he almost averaged a triple-double this year. If Boston wants to make a deep run, they'll have to let Rondo run the show. If that Rodno leadership doesn't happen, then watch for a rebuilding mode in Boston.
With most of their guys past their prime, Boston could make some serious moves following this post-season; especially if they lose to No. 8 seed Philly.
Do the Spurs have one more left in the tank?
Just when you think the Spurs are too old, they make a run… OK, we’ve all been thinking that for the past five years. But it’s true!
They were the No. 1 seed in the West last year too, before Memphis played out of their minds, upsetting them in the first round. But this year, it’s been the Tony Parker show. The point guard has been unreal; averaging 18.3 points per game and 7.7 assists. Tim Duncan has also quietly been having a good year, nearly averaging a double-double with 15.4 points per game and nine rebounds.
But if the Spurs are for real, they’re going to have to pass the same test Boston and the Lakers are attempting to ace – get past the up-and-coming young guns of the league.
The Clippers may be ‘lob city,’ but they’re just that – fun to watch dunk contestants. If the Spurs contain Chris Paul — which they should be able to do with their stingy defense, not to mention Paul still might not be 100 percent — San Antonio could move on to the conference finals. However, getting past Oklahoma City is another story entirely.
In a nut shell
Whether they like to admit or not, players are tired and hurt. But guess what, they're still giving it 110 percent. Which means the door is wide open for more than a couple teams to take the championship this year.
In the West, the Thunder or Spurs could be at the top of the food chain come year’s end. While out East, it’s Miami’s to lose.
Sit back and enjoy the show. Five months ago we were questioning if the NBA could ever return – turns out, it’s back and only getting better by the series
Photo Credit: AP
Josh Helmuth is the editor for Crave Online Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JHelmuth or subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.