Boston falls to Orlando: I predicted this when Boston had a 3-2 lead in the series. One reaction I could not resist is that the team is not built around the Big 3—it is built around the Big 2.5. Without Kevin Garnett, the team is way too limited offensively and has a huge hole in the d as well. The team is aging and already in salary cap hell. There isn’t any way out of that for the Celts. They will get old together. If, and it is not a given, KG comes back at or close to 100%, they will be in the playoffs for another year or two. But they will not be able to get to the finals again without finding a mid range exception superstar. Orlando and Cleveland are likely to be playing in the East finals for the next several years as long as they are healthy.
LA handles the upstart Rockets easily in game 7: The Lakers jumped off to a quick start against Houston in game 7 and never looked back. The bad sign for them is that the Rockets forced them to game 7 without their superstar center Yao Ming and his backup. The Lakers should have been able to handle the Rockets in 5 or 6 games after Yao went down in game 3. The Nuggets are well rested and hungry for an appearance in the finals. I think it will be another 7 game series but home court should give LA the series. If, however, the Nuggets can steal game 1 because the Lakers have not recovered from the Rocket series, the Nuggets will win the series.
A lot of good hockey is going to waste: The conference semifinal series were outstanding. But due to bad scheduling, the two game 7s were on at the same time. That has to change if the NHL is ever going to get to the next level in fan support.
The even greater problem is that only two games of the conference final series are being shown on NBC. The rest are on Verses. The two potential game 7 match-ups in the conference finals will both be on Verses. No matter how much money the channel is paying them the NHL has to get a deal with a REAL network that is an over the air or at least first level network on cable. Otherwise the league and the new stars will be a very closely held secret between a few great fans.
Detroit vs. Chicago: The Redwings looked very strong in the game 1 win over Chicago 5-2. This should be a good series but Detroit has too much for the upstart Blackhawks. Detroit wins the series in 5 games.
Pittsburgh vs. Carolina: The Hurricanes will have to play better hockey in game one than they have in their two previous series if they expect to have a chance against the Penguins. Given the offense of the Pens, Cam Ward, the Carolina goalie, will be a busy guy. Pittsburgh wins in 6 games.
Watch out for Mine That Bird in the Belmont: Rachel Alexandra won the Preakness by less than a length. MTB was coming up fast from the rear of the pack. The gelding made up 3 plus lengths from the top of th backstretch to the finish line. Had the Belmont been the length of the Belmont, MTB would have won. MTB got forced to the outside by traffic or he might have won this race. Rachel Alexandra is an outstanding horse but she struggled a bit toward the end of the Preakness. It will be interesting to see if she is entered in the Belmont.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .