The Bulls are watching the remainder of the 2010 playoffs from home now, and are doing little in terms of progression to find a replacement for Vinny Del Negro. So I guess i'll offer some thoughts on the four teams that are relevant.
I was telling a friend last night that I thought the Magic would overpower the Rondo-run Celtics in just five games. He (and not just because he's Ray Allen's #1 fan) thought I was crazy and labeled the prediction "rediculous." And after seeing what the Celtics did this afternoon in Game 1, thanks to the play of Allen coincidentally enough, I've begun to question my own sanity as well.
Maybe I just haven't been paying close enough attention, but the Celtics do look in the same form as the '08 squad that brought Boston it's first championship since the Bird era. Rondo has emerged as a star in the league, but everything still goes through the Big 3. Pierce, Garnett and Allen lay are the blueprint of the team's gameplan and Rondo feeds off of them, or at least should. In the regular season when Rondo was running the show, scoring and all, the team was inconsistent and most were doubting their impact in the Eastern Conference. Well, three rounds in and the Celtics are one series away from their and every other team's preseason goal and are riding the play of the three OG's. To me, the fact that Garnett has gotten healthy and returned to form has been the biggest factor.
I'm not saying that I no longer feel the Magic can pull it out and head to the Finals for the second consecutive season, but 4-1 might have been a slap in the Celtic's face.
Most of my attention for the remainder of the month will be with the Conference Finals out West however. I'm always pulling for Kobe, but Steve Nash has been one of the best overall guys in the league for a decade, and desperately needs a Finals appearance to help justify his hall of fame career. There isn't a single person that doesn't respect the guy and wouldn't want to see him get a shot to hoist the trophy.
I think the Lakers are just too big however, and having the best closer in the game doesn't hurt either. The series will be close though. I can't imagine either side wrapping things up in less than 6 games. This series just stands out more to me and seems to be more exciting. I'm looking forward to watching Game 1 tomorrow night while writing high school baseball recaps. 18 hours 52 minutes and counting....