Five Looming Stories in the NBA Playoffs
2. When will Chris Paul snatch that marker board from Vinny Del Negro and just start coaching himself? You know that Paul (23.5 ppg, 8.8 apg. 2.5 spg against a stingy Grizzlies defense) wants to. Badly. He also likes to instruct referees on what to look for a lot. From the looks of it, Paul mind is operating about three steps ahead of everyone else on the court in this Memphis v. Clippers series, and it's just a pleasure to watch Paul operate both when he's playing and during time-outs.
3. Can OKC win another series with Westbrook as a loose cannon? The Mavericks didn't have the athletes do put the clamps on Westbrook in Round 1, and he still shot the ball poorly in games 3 and 4 at OKC (12 for 31, 6 assists). Against an average team like the Mavericks, OKC managed to win because Durant and Harden salved Westbrook's poor performances by putting up monster numbers of their own. However, in later rounds, the same principle applies: championship squads need steady point guards who know how to select their shots, and who average more than 5 assists a game. Can Westbrook reach that level?
4. Just How Awful is this Indiana v. Heat Series going to be (assuming the Heat don't blow a 3-1 lead against the Knicks)?: The Pacers have a wealth of very good players, all who are capable executing at a very high level. However, so do the Heat (Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller), plus two of the top five players in the world (Lebron James, Dwayne Wade). Also, although the Pacers amassed an impressive 42-24 record in the regular season, they had a losing record against Eastern Conference Playoff teams. Hopefully, the Heat will crush the Pacers in four, the Celtics will do the same against an either sorely depleted Chicago or 76ers squad, and we can get into a real playoff style contest for the Eastern Conference finals.
5. Which Unsung Player will have his coming out party or resurgence in the NBA Playoffs?: I wish it were a Denver Nugget coming off an upset in Round 1 against the Lakers. Just take your pick between ferocious shot blocker Javale Mcgee, the little man's Dennis Rodman Kenneth "Manimal" Faried, or a still improving point guard Ty Lawson. Most likely, the Nuggets don't make it to Round 2, and the focus becomes on just how effortless and efficient a scorer Oklahoma City's sixth man James Harden is against the the Lakers. At some point OKC coach, Scottie Brooks has to face the fact that Harden should get more minutes than Westbrook.