For a while, the NBA’s motto has been: NBA – Where Amazing Happens. Yes, amazing things indeed have happened recently. But what exactly do we mean by this. Well, for starters, let’s take a look at the realm of the amazing: that which is amazing is usually, astounding, surprising, stunning, staggering, shocking, startling, stupefying, breathtaking; awesome. And certainly that which is amazing usually is unexpected. There is no amazing in something that is bound to happen periodically and with flawless precision.
And perhaps that high degree of uncertainty is what makes wagering on the NBA Playoffs such a thrill. For starters we should consider what we have learned so far during the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The No. 1 seed in the country, guided by the league’s MVP shouldn’t be struggling against No. 8 seeds, and yet the Bulls and Derrick Rose have struggled more then any Chicago fan would like against the Indiana Pacers. But there’s more.
No. 2 seeds, and that is, defending Champions guided by the likes of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol shouldn’t be defeated at home against No. 7 seeds. Let’s consider for a moment that the LA Lakers were supposed to manhandle the New Orleans Hornets. It’s hard to put this one into perspective. On one hand we have a team that is expected to play four rounds and win it all. On the other, we have a small market team that is expected to work on overdrive if they even plan to make it pass the first round. You put up those ingredients together and can find yourself with a box filled with surprises. And yes, there is the Chris Paul factor to consider. Paul’s knee injury keeps him from playing with all he’s got every night. But when he is on fire, no one can stop him. Not Kobe, not Pau, at least.
Derrick Rose deserved his MVP. I mean, we haven’t seen the Chicago Bulls played like they did since, well, since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen grabbed their last national title together back in 1998. So why are we bringing his name up in this space reserved for the unexpected? Well, for starters MVP shouldn’t be shooting 35.2 percent in the postseason. Ok, at least he shouldn’t be shooting that low against a team that finished the regular season with only 37 wins. Yes, the ankle injury has slowed him down, but he is almost pushing sole handedly the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs. The problem is that teams have come to realize that if you can manage to isolate Rose and force the Bulls to relay on other players, Chicago then becomes extremely vulnerable. As Derrick Rose goes, so goes the Bulls, seems to be the saying that gives faith to this scenario.
If Derrick wants to consolidate his MVP in the postseason, he has to win the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s as simple as that. His supporting cast is also going to have to step up and bring out the best they’ve got. Yes, Carlos Boozer, we are talking about you. Step it up.