Eastern Playoff Bracket Is Set, Hornets Have Lost Their Sting, Dwight Howard Returns And Takes Lives

04.12.11 8 years ago 32 Comments
And then there were two…days of the regular season left after Monday night. We had known for a few days that the Pacers were set up to be sacrificial lambs for the Bulls in the first round of the NBA playoffs, and that Orlando and Atlanta would begin where they left off last spring. But the real meat – who the Knicks would play and who would have the home-court advantage should Boston and Miami advance – wasn’t decided until Miami survived the Hawks’ second-stringers and the Celtics couldn’t survive Washington’s third-stringers … No one in the entire league is playing as well as Miami is right now. Through the first three quarters of their eight-point win in Atlanta, they pounded the Hawks unconscious. LeBron James (34 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists) and Dwyane Wade (21 points) were terrors in the first half. Atlanta’s reserves actually brought the Hawks all the way back from down 20, and had the game tied late, but James Jones hit two consecutive threes, one that turned out to be a four-point play, and it was over from there … For a while, it looked like the Heat would lose their grip on the second seed, a fact that became funny every time we channel-surfed over to the Boston/Washington game. We can only imagine Doc Rivers throughout the night. The Celtics rested their Big Four, obviously convinced Miami would steamroll Atlanta, and yet had the odd scenario of watching the Heat nearly lose while Boston themselves got beat in Washington, 95-94 in overtime. John Wall had a nice line (24 points, 9 rebounds), but it was a pretty ugly game. However, you have to check Von Wafer‘s blown dunk in OT and his reaction afterward that forced Jermaine O’Neal to double dribble. Wafer had a series of unfortunate events that proved to be abysmal, priceless and costly in the C’s close loss … Maybe Dwight Howard is angrier than we thought he was. Before Orlando’s 10-point win in Philadelphia, Howard (19 points, 13 rebounds) promised that he wouldn’t change his game despite the rising technical totals. Then he went out and brought a reign of terror down on the Philly rims. We’re just glad we’re not Jrue Holiday considering how he was on the wrong end of an alley-oop tomahawk slam. It looked like Orlando would roll throughout in the first quarter. Yet, the Sixers’ bench was galvanized when Howard sat out midway through the second and eventually tied the game. It didn’t help when Chris Duhon lost his shoe during the run, leading to a stalled possession, a timeout and an eventual turnover. It turned out all that effort was for naught as Orlando’s huge 21-4 third-quarter run turned the tides in their favor ’til the final buzzer … Who thought the Sixers would secure a playoff spot after their rough start? Doug Collins did a bang-up job bringing the squad’s young talent together for some good ‘ol fashioned team ball this season. Tom Thibodeau will more likely than not will get Coach of the Year. However, we wouldn’t be mad if Collins got his fair share of votes … The Eastern Conference playoffs are now set. Besides CHI/IND and ORL/ATL, the Heat will host the Sixers and Boston and New York will renew what they started this season. Any chance for an upset? … Read More: The Birdman returns, the Mavs jump a seed, Kemba is bouncing and guess which Top-5 pick is staying in school?

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