A quick round-up of the first round series from a Raptors POV. Sorta.

Celtics/Knicks: This is a series with a little bit of Raptors history tied into it if you search really, really hard. The Knicks haven’t won a playoff game in 10 years, the last time they did it was against…yup..the Raptors. That was the Raptors only taste of playoff success and since then both teams have starved, with the Raptors making the post-season three times, losing in the first round on each occasion. The ‘Melo trade and the Stoudamire signing took the Knicks from pretenders to glamorous pretenders in a hurry, and the sweep they incurred at the hands of the Celtics isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. With Stoudamire and Anthony locked into long-term deals and only $45.5 million in guaranteed deals, the Knicks could easily have a true Big Three come next season. The Celtics have another year of contention in them.

Heat/Sixers: The Sixers will likely lose Game 5 in Miami but their core of Brand, Iguodala, Williams, Turner and Holiday will return next season and provide tough competition in the Atlantic. The wildcard here is Jrue Holiday and whether he can become a good enough player to become a tandem-threat with Iggy. The Sixers face a looming decision about Thaddeus Young, a restricted free-agent who will command big dollars if the lockout is avoided. The crystal ball sees years and years of mediocrity on the horizon for the Sixers, unless of course they already have a diamond in Turner. They’re good enough to make the playoffs, but not good enough to do anything once they’re there. In other words, they’re the Atlanta Hawks of the last five years. It’s hard to see the Raptors making the playoffs ahead of the Sixers if the growth they showed this season is a sign of things to come. The Heat are proof that the devil exists.

Magic/Hawks: 11/48 FG (23%) shooting. Those are Hedo Turkoglu’s numbers for the season, I know Vince Carter struggled with his shot in Orlando but surely he wouldn’t have been this bad. Turkoglu only has 16 assists in the four games, and is having trouble playing point-forward against an athletic Hawks defense that is showing a great desire to recover after the initial dribble penetration. I didn’t think he could play any worse than when he was in Toronto. I was wrong. Watching Jamal Crawford operate off the bench (10-18 FG, 25 points in Game 4 win) makes me wonder how much of an impact Bargnani could have in a pressure-free role off the bench, where offense is always at a premium. The Magic could be the most predictable team in the playoffs because of the way they use Dwight Howard making them very easy to plan against. They’ve scored 93, 88, 84 and 85 points in the four games, and are finding themselves missing Rashard Lewis, a perimeter option which could break down the defense only too prepared for Howard.

Bulls/Pacers: The playoff initiation for the young Pacers has been fun to watch, they’ve fought in every game and hadn’t it been for the lack of experience, could easily be tied. If you’re talking Big Threes, they have Danny Granger under contract, and two of Paul George, Roy Hibbert and Darren Collison to choose from. They only have $35 million in guaranteed salary tied up for next season and I don’t expect Larry Bird to start handing out extensions to players midway through their rookie-scale deals. The Pacers have another early playoff exit ahead of them, but as far as talent and cap flexibility goes, they’re ahead of the Raptors. The Bulls are here to stay. T.J Ford is the only Pacer to register a DNPCD in all four games.

Portland/Dallas: Tim Chisholm compared Aldridge vs Mavs to Bosh vs Nets. I don’t see it, the help Dallas sends in the form of Chandler and Hayward isn’t comparable to Bosh being shut down by Mikki Moore one-on-one. It was great to see Brandon Roy overcome his injury issues to win Portland Game 4, he’s still the best talent in that draft. On the other side, Dirk Nowitzki is making us look like plain idiots by comparing Andrea Bargnani to him. Nowtizki’s fluidity, confidence, decision-making and shot-making ability is so much superior to Bargnani’s that any comparison can only be deemed insulting. Dallas chose to go away from Nowitzki towards the end of Game 4 without any ball-denial on the part of Portland (Batum guarding him one-on-one). Not sure what Carlisle was thinking.

San Antonio/Memphis: Following his 9-10 FG masterclass in Game 1, Marc Gasol delivered 12/17 in Game 2 and was the driving force in the Grizz’s Game 3 win delivering 17/9. The space he occupies in the paint is giving the Spurs bigs a lot of trouble, and the sheer amount of effort the defense has to exert dealing with him has to take toll in the later stages of the game. The story for me has been the defense played on Tony Parker, in the two Spurs losses he’s shot 4-16 and 5-14 (6-14 in the win), and it’s been a combination of solid perimeter defense by Conley, and timely interior help by their bigs. Raptors fans watching this series should get an idea of how important a “two tier” defense is, and how essential it is to any type of success.

OKC/Denver: I don’t know what the numbers look like, I do know that Denver’s scoring was so dependent on team play that when the cold spots came, they didn’t have a star presence to pull them through, and they ended up losing two games by a combined 6 points. Clutch scoring is what OKC have and what Denver doesn’t. Robbed on a goal-tending call in Game 1, Denver should have been in the early lead and if they get some high-percentage shooting from Gallinari or another wing, could still win two games. I like watching Westbrook more than Durant.

Lakers/Hornets: If Pau Gasol doesn’t mishandle that great Kobe Bryant pass in last night’s game, this is a 3-1 series going back to LA. As it is, Jarrett Jack is Johnny-on-the-spot and it’s all to play for. Marco Belinelli is 11-37 in the series, and Jack is 9-24. The latter is also seen being used as a backcourt partner to Paul, giving the Hornets two ball-handlers to ease the pressure imposed by the length of the Lakers defense. The Hornets lost all four games to the Lakers during the regular season by an average of more than 10 points, which makes this series all the more interesting. Good ‘ol undersized Carl Landry is proving to be a beast, and the Lakers are wishing Ariza didn’t sign for the Hornets – he held Kobe to 5-16 last night.

  • hateslosing

    As bad as the Magic have looked, Dwight Howard’s stat line is one of the best I’ve seen in a playoff series. How does your team lose when its best player is averaging 32.3 pts, 1.8 blks, 17.5 rbs, 66% shooting and 68% free throw shooting (9% over the regular season). He is leading all players in both rebounds and points for goodness sake! It’s not all rosey, he also has 6.5 turnovers and 44 minutes per game, but how bad is this magic team that they can’t win with Dwight putting up those numbers? When/if he leaves next season, this team will be worst in the league.

    • Statement

      Hateslosing,

      see my below thread. I thought Chris Paul is more valuable than Derrick Rose but that DH should win the MVP.

      That team would be truly garbage without him, which you can not say for Chicago without Rose.

      • hateslosing

        I understand why they give it to Rose, he is clearly the best player on arguably the best team, but I would personally give it to Howard. The man has carried that team all year and has finally made the jump to that top portion of the league which contains the true superstars like Lebron and Kobe. If he moves to LA like some are suggesting and Kobe is still there they will three peat again, Phil Jackson or not.
        I think Chris Paul has definitely not received as much love as he deserves this season and I agree that he is still ahead of Rose in the Point Guard ranks. Rose is good, he will be a perennial MVP candidate, but Paul is basically the team for New Orleans and the fact that he has not really been in the conversation is a bit of problem.

        • Theswirsky

          In turns of MVP

          its Dwight > Lebron > Chris Paul > Derrick Rose.

          If its the best player on the best team, than its Derek Rose.

          Wonder if they can’t just change the title from MVP to BPotBT.

          • Theswirsky

            edit: In terms

          • Statement

            I agree with that.

        • jlongs

          CP did not really perform all that great during the regular season (at least not consistently), so it’s really no surprise he isn’t in the conversation for MVP. That said, he is showing this off-season that he is right up there in terms of talent level.

          • voy

            yeah, if CP put up the numbers he’s putting up in the playoffs, no question, unanimous mvp winner. the problem is he didn’t. he had stretches of games where it looked like his production was hampered by injuries.

            no doubt, CP, injured or not is a great player but how many games do you think the Bulls win, this year, without Rose? I say you can easily make an argument for 20 fewer victories. Again, no doubt without CP the NOH lose more games as well but I dont know if its as many as the Bulls lose without Rose.

            • Theswirsky

              maybe… but how many fewer victories for Orlando without Dwight? NO without CP3? Miami without Lebron? LA without Kobe?

              The Bulls were hardly a suprise team… and Noah, Deng and Boozer are not exactly average players. I’d take Bulls without Rose over Orlando without Dwight or NO without CP3 anyday of the week.

              That said, CP did go through some stretches that he either looked disinterested or injured. Still ended up with superior statistics in nearly every category (except points) than Rose… but then again we know the influence of points on the view public around here.

            • Statement

              CP had better box-score numbers than Rose this year,

              CP true shooting % = .578
              Rebound % = 6.9
              Assist % = 45.8
              Stl% = 3.5
              turnover% = 13.9

              Net off-def rating = 18
              Win Score/48 = .232

              http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/p/paulch01.html

              Rose
              true shooting % = .550
              Rebound % = 6.4
              Assist% = 38.7
              Stl% = 1.5
              turnover% = 13.1%

              Net off-def rating = 10
              Win Score/48 = .208

              http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/r/rosede01.html

              So Paul rebounded better, is a better assist man, better steals man, but turned the ball over marginally more.

              Let’s not forget NO played a hard schedule and Chicago played a soft one in the regular season.

              Derrick Rose is not the MVP of the league, it’s just false.

          • Statement

            jlongs I disagree, see my below post.

    • Bendit

      …and with a payroll which includes long term mucho dollars to Hedont, Agent zero and Reddick

      • hateslosing

        Ugh…it’s things like that that make me happy I’m a Raptor fan.

  • Ol’ Dirty Raptor

    tj ford played in the game where collison got hurt. even hit a buzzer beater at the half.

  • Harry S. Truman

    I feel bad for Denver, things were looking promising for them as a dark horse in the West. Now it looks like the beginning of the end for them.

    How about that dipshit JR Smith telling the media he’s likely gonna leave Denver after the season. Like, who says that in the middle of a playoff series? Way to inspire your teammates! What a punk.

  • Statement

    I have to bring this up.

    I had a conversation with a few posters regarding the fact that I thought Chris Paul was more valuable than Derrick Rose.

    Well given that the LA NO series is tied up, I feel that my point is even more validated.

    • Bendit

      Re CP…I was writing while u posted…agree…sorry for the duplication

    • mountio

      No doubt CP has been great .. in our little back and forth I agreed with you hes a great player. But – bottom line, he didnt do it consitently enough throughout the year and thus his team finished middle of the pack.
      Hes been a beast against LA (great matchup for him, since Fisher’s corpse is trying to guard him, which helps) for sure. But, Rose hasnt been all that shabby against Ind .. flat out taking over games 1 and 2, when the rest of his team couldnt get it done.
      Rose has had some stretches of not being able to hit a shot for 5 or 6 shots in a row .. but hes been able to get to the basket and score or/and get fouled in crunch time when his team needs hoops .. also had some great defensive sequences.
      CP has proved himself again to be a great player .. but the MVP is a season long award for continued excellence and CP wasnt that this year. Lebron was. Rose was. Even Howard was more than CP (although arguably Howard should be able to make his team better given his supposed dominance and the fact that his supporting cast isnt THAT bad. Wasnt Nelson and all star two years ago? J Rich is a solid player? He dont, Arenas and others .. agree they are stinkin it up now .. but if you compare Howards supporting cast to LBJs over the last few years, you would have to say ORLs is far superior. As impressive as DH looks at times, he has to take some of the blame for their struggles, doesnt he?

      • Statement

        oh come on dude,

        Mountio, he posted better stats than Rose and played a harder schedule with inferior teammates. Your argument has no legs to stand on. You are wrong.

        • mountio

          You want to talk about arguments that have no legs to stand on? Your strength of schedule argument is ridiculus. As someone who seems to understand stats .. I would think you can figure out that the MARGINAL difference in schedule might account for one or two wins .. but no where near the 16 wins that Chicago had compared to NO. If you want to argue based on stats, fine, but this argument is completely baseless.
          As for the stats, I love how you conveniently leave out points (oh NO! Points, the stat that only uneducated fans look at!). Well, on this metric that some of us simpletons still think matters, CP scored 15.8 / 36 (down from 21.4 two years ago) and D Rose scored 24.1 / 36 (up from 16.3 two years ago).
          I give you that CP had better assist, rebounding is essentially the same (CP slightly better) and shoots a better %. Being objective, I would say these stats are a wash …. BUT D Rose’s team had 16 more wins than NO. 16!
          Thats why he will win and to say Im flat out wrong and my argument hows no legs only discredits the few accurate things that you do have to say ..

          • Statement

            Alright sir…I just have one thing to say.

            Ragae Even! I think we can agree on that.

            If you feel you have to disagree, might I suggest another option….Leonard!

      • Statement

        “for sure. But, Rose hasnt been all that shabby against Ind”

        It’s one thing to go against Indiana in a playoff series, with the likes of Tyler Hansborough protecting the paint

        It’s another to go against Bynum and Gasol.

  • Bendit

    Nice summation. Some additional observations…

    a) Dont underestimate the Knicks to implode organizationally with a owner like Dolan. They seem to be pussyfooting with Donnie Walsh and Melo is already mouthing off about wanting to be consulted before further signings and trades. Re the Celts, its surprising that Jeff Green hasnt shown much while Perkins absence will be felt more severely next series.

    b) The devil exists! lol. Preening aholes. Iggy has been a disappointment but Lebron can do that to you I suppose.

    c) Howard is going to be one tired player…win or lose. He is just being maxed out on both ends. What a beast. Hedont is going to get Otis Smith fired. Zaza is a tough Euro (for the euro bashers!). Must admit Atlanta is surprising on defense.

    d) Paul George is a player (I wanted him as the pick I admit). Pacers have indeed given the Bulls more than they imagined and playing with a lot of heart. If Rose is hurt it could be interesting.

    e) I hear rumbles in the Mavs lockerroom re Carlisle coaching…no adjustments for the zoned in Roy. Shows how difficult it is to put the whole thing together and win in the playoffs (its been so long I cant even imagine having the Raps the same calibre as the Mavs or Portland).

    f) Is Lionel Hollins a good coach or what? Conley has surprised. I was surprised they gave him that extension but I suppose Lionel knows…and they are doing it with a Popovich on the other bench and without Gay.

    g) Denver looks like a eastern team! You are right…Westbrook is fun to watch.

    h) CP3 is better than Rose. Kobe is even more alpha than Lebron. I find it hard to believe he’ll allow the Lakers to be beat in that series. Why cant we get a coach like Monty Williams.

  • knickz

    don’t really care, being a loyal raptor fan i don’t watch this crap

    • Colef5

      you dont watch the NBA playoffs because you are a loyal raptor fan?
      what has the world come to?!

      • POINTS

        King bargs don’t even watch the nba playoffs,our franchise mr.i’m a pf who does the complecated things for the raptors , somebody should ask him witch playoff series he has seen . I want my franchise player to be watching the playoffs that what they dream about growing up.

  • knickz
    • Bendit

      Rings?

      No mention amidst all the fluff. And LJ had to go join other stars. Lets see if he can make good and even make it to 1.

  • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

    The Raptors under BC aka The Liar, Gheradini aka Who Me? & Jay aka Company Man equals no NBA playoffs for past 3 years plus the worst team defensively in the NBA 2 years running.

    One thing that I have noticed in the playoffs over time is that defense is the ticket to advance deep into the postseason.

    The Heat are proof that the devil exists?

    No, I think that the proof is in the liar BC as the devil is the father of all lies and BC speaks in lies and half truths- do the lying math.

    BRoy on two bad knees has more heart, talent, desire in his pinky finger than Andrea- aka I Got The Flu Coach, does in his whole being.

    • Milesboyer

      You certainly stay true to your namesake. Don’t you get tired of saying the same thing over and over?

      • POINTS

        why should he? these blind used car salesman are still here and this is one of the ways to get the blind to see and it looks like BC is starting to see the light .

  • DryDry

    It was so
    so
    so
    so
    so
    so
    so
    satisfying to watch Turkeglulououo blow the game