Here’s the NBA’s worst-case scenario – the Celtics sweep the Magic tonight, and the Lakers drum the Suns Tuesday and Thursday and the league has to wait a week for the NBA Finals to start June 3rd. The playoffs so far have been maddeningly bland. One game seven (Hawks rolled). Three sweeps in the conference semifinals. There have only been a handful of truly memorable games (D Wade vs. Boston, Spurs-Mavs Game 5, Lakers-Thunder Game 6). And now the Magic are on the verge of getting the broom from a resurgent Boston team that has come from nowhere to being one win from another trip to the Finals.
This series has the same feel as the conference finals last year – Cleveland looked unstoppable through the first two rounds, not losing a game, and then ran into a hot Orlando team and was surprisingly ousted, robbing fans of a LeBron-Kobe matchups in the finals. This year, Orlando was unbeaten through two rounds and has run into a hot Boston team, potentially robbing fans of a Matt Barnes-Kobe rematch.
Remember last year when the Magic led the series 3-2 and everyone still thought LeBron could pull off the comeback? Same deal here – we actually don’t think the Magic are done (that could be because we’ve only seen about 15 of the 180 minutes of the series, and none of game three). Rashard Lewis (6-of-24, 1-of-13 from three) can’t keep playing this poorly, can he? The guy has 15 points in three games; he topped that total in three of four games against the Hawks. What’s happened to Jameer Nelson? He had 11 turnovers in the first eight games of the playoffs … he’s got 10 in three games against Boston. Remember how Orlando fortified its bench this offseason? Marcin Gortat, Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass have combined for an ineffective 10 points and 21 rebounds (and more importantly, Bass and Anderson couldn’t get off the bench in two of the games).
It ain’t right, but Stan Van Gundy could be on the unemployment line if the Magic get blown out again tonight.