Eastern Conference Underdogs Cause Top Guns To Misfire

Joe WillettSenior Writer IMay 8, 2008

The Eastern Conference has had all the competition and tough play by lesser teams that was expected to happen in the Western Conference.

The Western Conference has seen the top two seeds role through the First Round and the beginning part of the Second Round.

Before the NBA Playoffs, people expected the winner to come out of the East because of the tough road that the top seeds were going to have due to the parity in the West while the East was generally a 2 horse race.

But so far, the exact opposite has happened.

The Lakers and Hornets (the top two Western Conference seeds) rolled through the First Round in 4 and 5 games respectively.

The Celtics and Pistons (the top two Eastern Conference seeds and the two who were the only chance for the East) took 7 and 6 games to take out their supposedly inferior opponents.

Sure, people can say that the refs made bad calls in the Celtics series, and some of those thoughts may be true, but the facts remain that it took the #1 Celtics 7 games to beat the #8 Hawks.

Then there are the Pistons, who were met by a 76ers team with hunger that gave the experienced Pistons a tough fight through 6 games.

While on the Western Conference side of things, the only people that were mad about the 8th seed were saying that the Nuggets just gave up to early, which allowed the Lakers to use up much less energy in rolling over the Nuggets.

The Hornets also beat out the Mavericks who were favored by a size-able amount of people.  Chris Paul played lights out basketball and managed games perfectly while letting Jason Kidd know that he was no longer as much of an asset as he once was.

We now sit in the 2nd round and we are already seeing signs of more easy sailing through to the Conference Finals for the Western Conference and scary signs for the top contenders in the East.

The Lakers are 2-0 against the Jazz who are looking like they are about to receive the same complaints that the Nuggets faced about quitting.  In the most recent game on TNT, comments were made about the Jazz not believing that they can beat the Lakers.

The Hornets are taking it to another team that once ruled the West, San Antonio, and are leading that series a convincing 2-0, winning each game by about 20 points.

In the East, however, the Celtics refused to take advantage of an bad shooting night for LeBron James (only 2-18 from the field) as 2 of the Big 3 scored a combined 4 points (Paul Pierce 4, Ray Allen 0).

The game went right down to the final buzzer and the Celts won it 76-72 in what was also a moral victory for the Cavs.

The Pistons won their first 2 games against the Orlando Magic, but were completely dominated in Game 3, 111-86, and they are possibly without Chauncy Billups for Game 4, which could lead to another loss and a minimum of 6 games to win the series.

If the East's best teams can't start to win games more consistently, they will likely be met for a beating once they get to the NBA Finals while their Western Conference opponents come in with the confidence of a dominant playoff run.

I'm Joe W.