One thing that gets me through spring and the early part of summer is the NBA playoffs. And since I'm a big Jazz fan, it's always nice when they have a deep run in the playoffs like last year. It makes for an easier transition period between Utah basketball and Utah football and thankfully, it appears the Jazz will make a semi-deep run in this year's playoffs. Now I know many Ute fans really don't care about the NBA or the Jazz, but I know many do and in fact, I'm willing to bet a majority of Ute fans also cheer on the Jazz.
So with that said, I'm going to talk about the NBA playoffs to get me through the next few weeks. If I don't, it's going to drive me insane trying to find things to discuss relating to Utah athletics. And who knows, I may also bring up former Utes and their playoff histories. In fact, that's where I'll begin.
If anyone has been following the Sixers story over the season, you'll know they've gone through an impressive run. When the season started, I don't think many thought they would make a run at the playoffs, let alone get in. And yet, like Atlanta, they somehow managed to make the cut, albeit in a rather pathetic Eastern Conference. Leading the Sixers is Andre Miller, who's in his first full year there.
In the first game of the first round playoff series, the Sixers stunned Detroit with a 15-point comeback victory. And even though I doubt Philadelphia will win the series -- they already lost game 2 Wednesday night -- they could make things interesting. And for Miller, that's pretty good, especially when you figure they weren't picked by anyone to be in the position they are right now.
On the flipside, Denver, who Miller was traded from, doesn't appear destine for any type of run. Even with the talent they have between Iverson and Anthony, the team is one giant headache and it doesn't help they are coached by one of the most undisciplined schmucks in the NBA. The Nuggets, who are now down 0-2 in their series against the Lakers, will probably blow the entire team up at the end of the season, or at least make a coaching change.
That takes us to Utah, as they most likely will face LA in the second round barring a historic choke job by either team. How good is this Jazz team? I don't know if anyone really can answer that, because it looks like Utah is having no problems with Houston, even though a few predicted the series would go at least 6 games. With that said, the Rockets aren't a very deep team and they're hurting from Yao Ming's injury. It doesn't help that Utah, even with Yao, is a horrible matchup for Houston. Which is probably why the Jazz are going to cruise to a first round win. But it doesn't necessarily mean they're good enough to push the best team in the West (presumably LA) out of the playoffs. Chicago last year swept the defending World Champion Heat and then lost 4-2 to the Pistons in the second round. Could the same fate befall Utah?
Regardless of what you think will or will not happen, this will probably be a fun run for the Jazz. They're looking at the franchise's 3rd sweep and the first since they swept LA in 1998 and the future is bright. You know even if the Jazz are bounced, they'll be right back there again next year and if they can get their act together in the regular season (not losing to horrible teams), they'll contend for the top seed. Plus, playing LA always lends itself to great series. The Jazz have a history of playing the Lakers tough in the playoffs, even when they've struggled in the regular season. Let's not forget the 1998 Jazz lost the season series 3-1. Obviously these are dramatically different teams, but you get the point.
Already, though, this has been a fun playoff for NBA and Jazz fans. Phoenix and San Antonio have had two really good games, though the second one could barely touch the emotion and excitement of game one. For Utah, they won the first two games of a series on the road for the first time in franchise history. And anytime you get closer to putting the Rockets on the brink of elimination, it can't be all that bad. And that's what Utah will try to do tonight.
If you're not a Jazz fan or an NBA fan, you probably won't get any satisfaction out of the playoffs. But it at least gives many other fans a sports outlet to get through the next few months before we go headstrong into football mode.
And to catch you all up, here's the daily recaps from Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday's action.
Jazz-Rockets tonight at the ESA. Here's to a game 3 victory!