Games Ones: Carnage in the East
Teams expectations went pear-shaped after just a game. Start in Chicago with the most dispiriting injury to an athlete that I can remember in the modern NBA. Life flashed before us watching Derrick Rose be victimized by the results of an endless boardroom battle during the lockout. Yes the Bulls are a deep team and they are also now completely stunned.
New York got mauled like goats at Jurassic Park. No one expects the Knicks to win this series, but we do expect competition. Before they could even think to restore the concept, being down by as many as thirty, they lose Iman Shumpert their most gifted perimeter defender to the same debilitating injury that fell Rose. The coach is in question. The stars are in question. As it always is with this franchise, only the Garden can save the Knicks.
Indiana lost to ORLANDO. Possibly a worse loss, psychologically, than the one we saw last night in Memphis. Indiana should recover but there are ramifications when a young team suffers insecurity.
Boston is not so young yet we have seen their “veterans” get ejected in the Celtics last two playoff series. Paul Pierce got kicked last year from game 1 in Miami and now Rajon Rondo who will also most likely be suspended. What’s more, Boston looked physically unprepared for playoff basketball and vulnerable to a team like Atlanta on a night the Hawks brought energy. In wake of events this is supposed to be Miami’s stiffest challenge in the Conference.
Miami is carnage. Oppenheimer could have watched LeBron James in game one and contemplated “destroyer of worlds.” It made matters in the East seem more dire watching this indestructible athletic force shake off his own flop to bounce up and down the court like a living statue on a day when players on rival teams suffered such grim setbacks. It’s not LeBron’s fault his body is perfectly tuned. But I am of the belief that more so than because of his exit from Cleveland, people root against LeBron because of what he naturally embodies which is total domination. Only his head is in the way which makes the rooting from either side more compelling.
Miami’s defense is back. Still its depth is a noticeable flaw. There just may not be an opponent in the East alive and well enough to exploit it.