Last night went about how I expected it to last night for Indiana. After losing Game 1 on a potential buzzer beater, I thought it would be hard for the Pacers to bounce back and steal Game 2. Emotionally, I thought it would be tough to win that game on the road. If I had a bookie, I would have taken Cleveland and given the points (not sure what the spread was). So I'm not sure if Cleveland actually covered the spread or not but I wasn't shocked that they got up by 15+ in the 2nd half. Was a little surprised the Pacers fought back to at least make it interesting in the final four minutes.
I like Indiana's chances of getting two games at home though and getting the series back to 2-2 coming back to Cleveland. I haven't watched a lot of Pacers games this season, but I've watched enough games this year and this season to know that the Pacers shouldn't routinely score 100+ on anybody in the playoffs. Cleveland's defense is a mess. It's going to be incredibly hard to win a championship playing that caliber of defense. I know they have the potential to rachet up the intensity as the playoffs get deeper, but that's still expecting a large jump in quality of defense.
But for this series, if Cleveland plays that level of defense for 6 games then Indiana has a chance to push this to 7 games. Theoretically, Indiana should play a little better defensively at home. The Pacers are playing terrible defense themselves, but if they can just get that to playing mediocre defense at home then they should take the next two games at home. Unless of course we get a LeBron game. No matter what Indiana does, it can't stop a LeBron game. Not many teams can, which is why even being a Pacers fan I couldn't bring myself to take the Pacers in 7 games even though I think it's going 7 games. If it gets to Game 7 there's a what, 85 or 90% chance we get a LeBron game? Not great odds.
I've also been seeing the commercial for the NBA Awards in June as these playoffs have started. That is a terrible idea and I'm not sure who thought of it but they should be fired from their job immediately.
This has been the best MVP race in decades with 4 legitimate candidates and we have to wait until the end of June to figure out who is winning that award. Dumb. Even all the other awards, will I really care in 2 months who was the Rookie of the Year or who made All-NBA 2nd team? No, but at least I'd have some interest in it now.
I get the idea of trying to extend your season and having another week to be in the media cycle before the NFL juggernaut takes over but you also have to strike while the iron is hot. I don't get putting your post-season awards reveal at the end of the season. Major League Baseball does the same thing and I always thought it took away from some of the spotlight for those guys. When MLB posts their Cy Young winners and MVP's I often think they get overlooked. Some of those guys haven't played a game in one or two months and it's just a quick news bite. They'd get more attention and press if they were the MVP playing in the playoffs, or the Cy Young winner pitching to get his team to the World Series. Many times we know in the playoffs who these winners are going to be but to give them that honor after the postseason instead during it seems like a missed opportunity. I think the NBA is falling into the same trap.
Exciting start to the NHL playoffs so far. All four games went into overtime last night and it's tough to top overtime hockey. I haven't watched much of the playoffs so far so let's do an abbreviated version of NHL Round One Quick Hitters for the playoffs so far.
- Danger Zone for the Chicago Blackhawks. Down 3-0 to Nashville. Nashville is talented and got a tough draw with Chicago in Round One but they are taking it to the Blackhawks thus far.
- The bracketing for the NHL playoffs is too weird for me. I get the idea of rivals in the early rounds but doesn't that mean you are almost always likely to play the same teams in the first rounds? I appreciate a sport that doesn't get a lot of attention trying to be creative to get eyes on the product but I'm not a fan of this move.
- I picked the Minnesota Wild to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. They are also down 0-3.
- After picking Pittsburgh in my bracket to win the first round, I remember the team they're playing was the team that just dominated hockey in the first half of the season. Then Columbus falls down 0-3 to Pittsburgh too and makes me look good. Thanks Blue Jackets, I'll need all the help I can get this year.
- Good to have a real Canadian feel back in the NHL playoffs. Been a little to USA heavy for my tastes the past couple years. Five of the eight first round series have a team from Canada in them. And they are leading the series in four of those five series. Good work, eh.
- Big game for Alex Ovechkin on Wednesday. Currently down 2-1 to Toronto, Game 4 is a huge game on the road. He needs to show up. He and the Capitals may be passed the point of no return but another postseason collapse would really hurt their legacies.