TORONTO, ON - APRIL 30: Deron Williams #8 of the Brooklyn Nets tries to defend against DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Toronto Raptors in Game Five of the NBA Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at the Air Canada Centre on April 30, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
My daily NBA playoff thoughts. I cannot promise there will only be one post per day:
1. This will be short. I’ve been traveling most of the day and I’m all worn out. But I promised a daily notebook, and you know me. I always have something to say.
2. I was able to see the thrilling conclusion to the Nets-Raptors series, and like so many of those who have fallen by the wayside, I’m sad to see the Raptors go. They tried, and they tried every night. To the fan in me, that counts for a lot.
3. It’s interesting to me (or I should say, disappointing) how many fans I feel the need to block on Twitter after I make a simple statement about a team, any team. For instance, I’ve praised the Raptors and Hawks (among others) in the past two days, then received way too much backlash from fans of opposing teams. It takes a lot for me to block you on Twitter — and I mean A LOT.
4. In fact, ideally my goal is to not block anybody. It’s the same reason I don’t get on message boards. Why would I care what a bunch of people who I don’t know are saying about me? As long as my boss thinks I’m a swell fellow, and that direct deposit is made every Friday… I have no worries. Some college kid who uses an anonymous Twitter name and an Indians logo for a profile pic sure ain’t gonna change any of that.
5. I could go on and on about that, and at some point I likely will. I have strong feelings about fan behavior, and I think it’s an important topic. I know we’re passionate about our teams. (I’m very passionate about the Cleveland Browns.) But people need to act human. Again, I’ll get to that at some point. For now, back to the playoffs.
6. People who say the Hawks are "running on a treadmill" couldn’t be more wrong. The Hawks have a nice nucleus of Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, Al Horford (when healthy), second-year forward Mike Scott, Kyle Korver, etc. As former NBA coach Mike Fratello once said, "You play every game to win because that is how you’re supposed to play in the NBA." The Hawks are further along than you think. And if you really do think about it, this was really the first year of their program, since this was the first year for coach Mike Budenholzer. He’s a system guy. And it’s a system that looks like it will work.
7. And it always cracks me up when fans from teams that don’t make the playoffs say that teams like the Hawks are "spinning their wheels." Really? How has missing the playoffs every year worked out for the Kings and Cavs? I’d rather spin my wheels than that. Not saying I’m right, I’m just saying that’s how I approach things. You have a different approach? Great. Go share it with your friends. Because this guy doesn’t think it works.
8. I missed Game 7 between the Spurs and Mavericks, but from the sounds of things, I didn’t miss much. The Spurs simply cruised, as they so often do in deciding games at home. They’re such a professional outfit, yet remain so underrated and underappreciated. I have no clue who will come out of the West (obviously, since I originally picked the Rockets), but I have a hunch it will be the Spurs again. Then again, I think if anyone can beat the Spurs, it’s the Trail Blazers. Or Clippers. Or Thunder. See what I mean? I actually have no clue.
9. I’ve been asking friends if they think the Heat could come out of these Western playoffs. Most say no. One gave a good answer: "I think the Heat could’ve lost to any of the eight teams that made the playoffs in the West in any round. But they’ll only have to play one."
10. OK, that’s it. I’ll have more later (likely Monday). Here we go. It’s time for Round 2. Based on the first round, it should be pretty cool.