NBA Playoffs 2011: LA Lakers Won't 3-Peat and the 5 Biggest Overreactions so Far
The 2011 NBA Playoffs have arrived.
16 teams battled through the 82-game grind to earn a shot at the title. Now the real season starts.
The 2011 NBA Playoffs may go down as the best in recent history. Just a few days into the postseason, we have already witnessed dramatic finishes and surprising upsets.
In the Western Conference, the top two seeds both lost their first game—the first time that has happened since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984.
In the 24/7 news cycle, we overanalyze and overreact to everything. The 2011 playoffs have been no different.
Here are the five biggest overreactions of the playoffs thus far.
5. The Chicago Bulls Are Not Championship Contenders.
The Chicago Bulls won more than 60 games for the first time since Michael Jordan left town and finished with the best record in the NBA.
Their defense allowed the second-fewest points, and they have the No. 1 MVP candidate in Derrick Rose.
The Bulls were expected to roll over the Pacers—a team that lost eight more games than it won. If Rose had not delivered amazing fourth-quarter performances in the first two games, the Bulls would be heading to Indiana down 0-2.
Many are now saying the Bulls are a one-man team, and their performance against the Pacers proves they are not true contenders.
Let's not overreact—there is a reason they finished with the best record.
The Bulls are built for playoff basketball. They play great defense and run a solid half-court offense. They had a lot of injuries during the regular season, and it will take some time for them to find their playoff groove.
Don't worry though, the Bulls will be fine.
4. The Dallas Mavericks Are Championship Contenders.
Many people, including me, felt the Mavericks were soft and would crumble under the pressure of playoff basketball.
In Game 1, Jason Kidd played one of his best games in years, scoring 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting. The career 35 percent three-point shooter went 6-of-10 beyond the arc.
Dirk Nowitzki was average through most of the game before turning it on and finishing with a magnificent fourth quarter. He delivered a clutch performance and the Mavs won the game.
It may look like the Mavericks have exorcised their playoff demons, but looks can be deceiving.
I can almost guarantee Kidd will not have another showing like he did in Game 1. The Mavericks have few legitimate threats on offense, and that will become visible as the series progresses.
Brandon Roy and Gerald Wallace scored only 10 points and shot 25 percent from the field. That will not happen again.
Even if the Mavericks do get past the Blazers, which is unlikely, they will be dominated by the Lakers in the next round.
The Mavericks may have taken Game 1, but they will ultimately prove what we already know—the Mavs are soft.
3. The Orlando Magic Will Lose to the Atlanta Hawks.
Despite his Superman-like effort, the Magic lost to the Hawks by 10 points.
The two teams met in the playoffs last season, and the Magic obliterated the Hawks in a four-game sweep.
Despite winning three of four during the regular season, the Hawks entered the series as underdogs—all of the ESPN analysts predicted the Magic to win.
Oh, what a difference a game makes.
People are now saying the Magic have been exposed as a one-man team and won't bounce back.
Let's not overreact.
The Hawks shot an incredible 73 percent in the second and third quarters. How likely is that to happen again?
Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson made 1-of-8 three-pointers, shot 24 percent from the field and combined for 10 points. How likely is that to happen again?
The Magic are not that bad, and the Hawks are not that good. Stan Van Gundy will ensure that his team is ready for Game 2.
The Magic will win the game and ultimately the series.
2. The San Antonio Spurs Will Lose to the Memphis Grizzlies.
I don't want to take anything away from the Grizzlies. They played great in Game 1 and stole a victory on the road. The team shot 55 percent from the field and made 60 percent of their three-pointers.
Despite the Grizzlies' marvelous performance, Richard Jefferson had an open three-pointer that could have sent the game to overtime.
If he makes that shot, everyone is talking about how the Grizzlies can't win in the playoffs rather than how the Spurs are finally showing their age.
Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined for 49 points and shot 19-of-25. They are good, but not that good. The remainder of the series will prove the Grizzlies are inexperienced, and Randolph is still crazy.
Even if Manu Ginobili does not return from injury, the Spurs will play much better the rest of the series. Tim Duncan is too good of a player to get pushed around like he did in Game 1.
Gregg Popovich is a phenomenal coach and will make sure his team makes the needed adjustments going forward.
Let's not overreact—the Spurs will bounce back and conquer the Grizzlies.
1. The Los Angeles Lakers Will Not Three-Peat.
Of all the matchups in the Western Conference, the Lakers-Hornets series seemed the most likely to end in a sweep. Half of the ESPN analysts picked the Lakers to win in four games, and the other half predicted they would win in five.
Despite beating the Hornets four times during the regular season, the Lakers looked awful in Game 1. Chris Paul had an amazing game, his team played with great energy and New Orleans embarrassed LA.
Many have said the stunning loss shows the Lakers' true colors; that they don't have what it takes to win the title and finish the three-peat.
I'm not buying it.
Pau Gasol played awful, and the Lakers' big men were outplayed by Carl Landry and backup center Aaron Gray. Those two shot 11-of-18 from the field and combined for 29 points. That will not happen again.
The Lakers do have their concerns. Derek Fisher looks older than ever, and the team's inability to guard quick point guards is a major concern.
But the Lakers will figure it out. They have too much talent and experience to have their title hopes derailed this early.
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