Can't say that Bulls/Wizards game was particularly fun to watch. Arenas did get his, so at least that was gratifying (I am the perfect NBA fan, after all). And I am still perplexed by Nocioni, who, while guilty of everything I accused him of on Sunday, probably should also count as a skill player (nice shot, good feet, polished athleticism, range). But the real story here is that the Bulls are ready to make a serious playoff run, and the Wizards at least need some tweaking before they'll get out of the first round. The Bulls work as a cohesive whole; the Wizards have their backcourt of glory, some tall guys right under the basket who are deathly effective if there's no one directly on them, and Jamison running interference (has anyone ever considered that his game is so unorthodox and unpredictable, it might actually mess with his own team's offense?). In between, nothing. No connective tissue holding things together, no strategic bridge between the guards' interplay and the low, low post presence. Jamison's too weird to consistently be that; Kwame, when he plays well, can be. Tonight, though, it became glaringly obvious—just by taking a cursory look at where players end up standing—that the Bulls don't have any such holes to exploit. They make sure the offense doesn't fall apart when things don't go their way.
I know Bulls fans don't want to hear this, but with Curry and Deng we might now be talking about their chances of taking the East. Or maybe I'm just overreacting to their trouncing of my sentimental playoff favorite.
I think I'm done with the first round. The Spurs seem to have figured out the Nuggets; Duncan was healthy enough to pull off what might be the most exciting dunk of his entire career. The new T-Mac is great and all, but I'd rather see him prove it against a team not so easily pushed to the point of self-destruction. My world would end if the Suns lost to the Grizzles, nay, if the Suns didn't sweep them. Heats/Nets, Pistons/Sixers are non-contests. This Celtics roster would be one of my favorite teams of all-time, if I didn't find myself still incapable of grasping that it really exists. They're also much less interesting to watch than they are to imagine hanging out in the locker room, and in that respect, the possibility of them losing to the drab Pacers is unimaginable (any chance of Ainge acquiring Artest for next year?).
Then again, there's always Amare in the half-court.
And the possibility that Avery Johnson will wise up and PUT MARQUIS DANIELS ON THE COURT. He was their second-best player in last year's post-season, and him and Josh Howard should be the heart of the post-Nash Mavs. The Terry/Stackhouse experiment is doomed to failure; anything called "the Terry/Stackhouse experiment" is doomed, even if it's a new way of making tomato sauce in the dark, or getting these two very rich people to bankroll my demanding fashion lifestyle.
Wake me up in a week. Or the next time Q blocks Gasol's shot late in the game.