Smack / Apr 17, 2010 / 12:05 am

NBA Playoff Preview: LeBron, ‘Melo, Jennings, D-Wade in action

LeBron James (photo. Nike)

Forget the first 82. The NBA playoffs get underway today: Cavs/Bulls at 3 p.m. EST (ABC), followed by Hawks/Bucks at 5:30 p.m. (ESPN), Celtics/Heat at 8 p.m. (ESPN), and Nuggets/Jazz at 10:30 p.m. (ESPN). Naturally, the Atlanta vs. Milwaukee series is getting the least amount of hype and attention, but honestly? It could be the best of the bunch. Ever since John Salmons came to the Bucks in a deadline trade, their games against the Hawks have routinely gone down to the wire, with Salmons and Joe Johnson serving each other heaping bowls of Bucket Pudding … Cavs/Bulls has potential for fireworks beyond the basketball part. You remember when LeBron and Joakim Noah got into a pissing contest earlier in the season, and the last time LeBron played in Chicago, he was talking to the Bulls bench while picking their defense apart on the floor. Noah made headlines when he said his team would “shock the world,” and ‘Bron responded by saying the Bulls were dealing with “a different monster” this time around … We got up with Miami’s Dorell Wright yesterday to preview Celtics/Heat. According to Wright, their plan is to push the tempo, defend, and let D-Wade do what D-Wade does. Is there any reason to believe the Heat won’t have a repeat of last year and exit quietly as soon as D-Wade starts to run out of gas? Yeah. Michael Beasley is better than in ’09, Q-Rich has proven to be dangerous when he gets going, and Miami has been hot in recent weeks. And we’ve been over Boston’s struggles already … Jazz/Nuggets seems to be all about injuries. Carlos Boozer (rib) is going to be a game-time decision, while Andrei Kirilenko (calf) has been ruled out of the entire series. Kenyon Martin (knee) is expected to play, but won’t be 100 percent. After that, this will come down to the Deron Williams vs. Chauncey Billups matchup, whether or not Utah can contain ‘Melo, and whether or not J.R. Smith gets hot … After initial reports said he’d be out 4-6 weeks following knee surgery, now Brandon Roy is only expected to miss 1-2 weeks. Seriously, the Blazers need to be smart and just cancel B-Roy out for at least the first two rounds, if they even make it that far. You hate to look like you’re throwing in the towel on the season, but Roy is the franchise’s long-term investment. There’s no need to risk turning him into Grant Hill. With all the other injuries Portland has suffered, obviously this just isn’t their year to win a championship … How did Phil Jackson manage to make Lakers/Thunder all about Kevin Durant and the refs? You think he and Pat Riley compare notes about how to do stuff like this? Is it like a chess match between the two? … Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers are coming back to Michigan State, so go ahead and book Final Four hotel rooms for Tom Izzo in 2011. Meanwhile, John Calipari keeps re-stocking the arsenal at Kentucky: High school All-American SG Doron Lamb is committing to UK, which we broke on DimeMag.com but you can see the formal announcement today at the Jordan Brand Classic (8 p.m. EST, ESPN2) … The NBA released its list of the Top 10 Dunks of the Season, and naturally it sparked debate. We understand why a lot of people would have put D-Wade’s dunk over Varejao at No. 1 instead of Amar’e Stoudemire‘s Hulk-Smash on Anthony Tolliver, but to say Wade’s dunk was “clearly” better or imply it’s some kind of crime that Amar’e got the top spot is silly. For starters, this is all preference and opinion. There’s no way to definitively say one dunk was better than the other. Obviously whoever made the NBA list liked the Amar’e dunk more, and that makes total sense. Also consider that Wade’s dunk wasn’t all the way clean on the finish, and AV didn’t challenge it as much as Tolliver challenged STAT. But hey, it’s all opinion … We’re out like Kirilenko …

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  • quest???

    not buying your stat being number one excuse

  • quest???

    this smack is littered with typos..for example is not “there year” its their year

  • Bill


  • rapTOr

    Anyone else feel the urge to eat a Whopper after reading this? wierd…

  • b

    Amare’s dunk was just nasty…

    Cavs all the way or NY doesn’t get lebron

  • jdstorm

    The real question is where was the JR smith 360 alley? that was way better then half of the top 10

  • http://www.nba.com Buckets

    That D. Wade dunk was violent. I liked Amare’s but you have to factor the big vs little w/ D. Wade’s dunk.

  • http://www.nba.com Jay

    How exactly did Tolliver challenge Amare’s dunk? Looked like he half went up and half tried to duck out of the way…

  • QQ

    Lovin’ the Cavs/Bulls series, even if it has not even started yet. These Bull has the cojones to deal with Bron’s antics, and it won’t be pretty. Of course, I’m not dumb to think that this will be an upset, but it’s good seeing those little guys with attitude match up with the diva giant, cause the lil guys has nothing to lose.

  • spit hot fiyah

    amare should NOT have been nr 1. like jd said, where is the 360 oop, and where is brewer over r lopez….that one was ill

  • lucky

    Give it a rest, they were all great dunks. Go Celtics! Murder Miami and take care of business against Cleveland next.

  • Peter

    Awesome dunks, too close to call. Still have not seen one more filthy and dominating than that thrown down by the Reign Man vs. my Warriors in Oakland in ’93. Saw it in person from 15 rows away. I swear that his hand was at the top of the backboard when he started the tomahawk…

  • http://Www.dimemag.com Smitty

    Cavs 2010 champs!!!! Nyk strike out in free agency !!!!!!!

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    Dwyane Wade’s dunks never count for me. The bigs always know that unless they run away, it’s going to be an and-1. F D Wade.

  • K Dizzle

    @ Dime

    please get an athletic therapist on staff or speed dial so you stop comparing Grant Hill’s BROKEN FOOT to Roy’s torn cartilage. It’s not nearly as serious and Tim Hardaway dominated for about 2 seasons with no cartilage at all in his knee. There’s a reason the team doctors can change a prognosis from 4-6 weeks to 1-2 weeks. I guarantee the tear wasn’t that bad and once they got in there with the scope, they figured that out.
    Ok, done ventin

  • Name (required)

    i’m thinking the Bulls might make it as tough a 4/5 game series as you can get. They’ll be lucky to snatch a game, but will make the Cavs work hard for each of theirs.
    Heat will beat the C’s, if the season started in January the Celtics would have struggled for the 8th spot, Dwade should have enough in the tank to carry his team past the old celtics even if the rest of his team dont show up.
    Bucks v Hawks could be the best 1st round series of the playoffs, but missing Bogut ruins any chance of bucks actualy winning it.
    Billups Vs Williams will be great, but the Jazz have no answer for Melo.

  • heartbreaker85

    wade’s dunk on varejao is number 1 because

    a) everyone not on the cavs’ bandwagon hates varejao’s antics

    b) it was like wade was doing it in slow motion, and av didnt, couldnt, wouldnt, do squat.

  • sh!tfaced

    Let’s go, old Celtics. Especially you, Sheed, you lazy-ass sonofabitch… just know that the deeper you get in the playoffs, the better the team will play.

  • Rafa23

    the time between the last regular season game and the first playoff game is awful. every year I read everything about all the matchups and time just goes by as slow as possible. LETS XY%&(?§” GO!!!

  • me


    “preference and opinion”?

    That sounds ridiculous.
    It’s okay to write the word “subjective”.

    This makes me feel like your website is unprofessional and a waste of my time.

  • Sweet English


    this smack is littered with typos..for example is not “there year” its their year

    This Smack is littered with typos. For example, it’s not ‘there year’, it’s ‘their year’.

    People in glass houses and all that jazz.

  • QQ

    @ 17:

    People who hate Varejao are obviously not on the Cavs bandwagon, but are on another bandwagon: The ‘I Hate This Player Because Many People Says He Sucks, So It Means He May Actually Suck’.

    Personally, I hate the Bron/Cavs hype machine, but hating on Andy because it’s what the cool kids do? Even I can see what he brings to the floor. Yes he might be annoying as hell, but that’s why he’s effective. Don’t hate on the game, because that kid CAN play.

  • Rafa23

    @ QQ
    “Yes he might be annoying as hell…”

    maybe thats why people hate him? lol
    answered ur own question without knowing it

  • QQ

    Yes I answered my question. My point is that these cats are hatin on Andy V because many casual fans are annoyed by his antics. But they don’t realize his hustle, his heart. etc. And to hear these people say he ‘sucks’? No, he doesn’t suck, he can play. Get off Youtube and realize that highlight dunks aren’t the only skills a basketball player should possess.

  • Rafa23

    I agree with u that he doesnt suck, and I’ve heard a lot of people saying he flops without ever seeing it.
    But if I say I dont like him because of his antics but his game is valuable, that should be alright.

    BTW, I picked the magic to win the east over the cavs, hope they dont allow the “best person in the history of sports” to win a ring

  • QQ

    Okay I see your point.

    Careful with the Lebron burn, Dime might get hurt! LOL.

    I can’t wait to see The Cavs Hype Machine (I’m officially calling them that now) in action. It’s so good to see them on paper but seeing how they flamed out of the big picture last year, you still get that feeling that they will mess this up again. It’s a game of ‘wait and see’ though.

  • Tbeezy

    I missed the conversation yesterday, but i loved this dunk.


  • Tbeezy
  • Rafa23

    the thing with the cavs is that I dont really have a problem with that team or most of the players. but when I see that Lebron’s shot against the magic last year gets # 2 on the best buzzer beaters ever from Espn it really makes me a fan of the other teams because of all the hype. just ridiculous. not shaking hands AND not talking to the media just make it worse.

  • Sporty-j

    First 2 games are going to be boring and blowouts. Playoffs dont start until 8p.m. tonight to be honest. There is easy money to be made with the Cavs, Hawks, and Nuggets. Definitely not taking any chances yet on betting on an old Boston team and against a hot Miami team. I’m not going to even waste my time after this on Y Wades dunk is way better than Amares. But consider this: Tolliver was able to just walk away after he got dunked on. Varejo needed assistance getting up off of the floor as if TYSON just knocked his a$$ out. Im mean go and look at the whole thing on Youtube and analized everything in slow motion. If it was not for that padding where he hit his head. The guy would have did a WHOLE BACK FLIP as if he was rolling down a Mountain lol. The guy got steam rolled and that was just Brute force. I’ve seen Tim Duncan and guys in the past do the same dunk that Amare did when he dunked on Tolliver. But have you ever seen a guy do what Wade did, with everything that happened afterwards unless his name was SHAQ. I dont think me and George W Bush jr would agree on a lot of things. But i think even he would be smart enough to say that they dont even compare and thats saying a lot about Bush to even give him that much smart CRED… RECOUNT!!!

  • johnsacrimoni

    Is there anyone else who doesn’t have a definitive team? In every other sport I have a definite favorite team. In the NBA, however, I don’t really have a team and just root for my favorite players. Three of my four favorite point guards of all time (Magic being number one) are all in the West: Kidd, Nash and Williams. I’d love to see any of them get a ring but I think Kidd has the best shot of the three. I can definitely see the Mavs winning the west, beating Cleveland or Orlando is another story. Who is everyone else rooting for?

  • control


    Andy Valgina has “other skills other than dunk highlights”? My problem with him is that he possess almost NO other skills other than flopping around like a bitch, and hustling. He can’t shoot, he can’t finish around the rim with a soft touch, he can’t pass, and he can’t dribble. What other fundamental skill does he really possess that makes him a “skilled” player? He’s not a great defender (though plays with energy), not a great rebounder (though plays with energy), doesn’t have a good basketball IQ (how many times has he jacked up 18fters at the end of games when LEBRON was open?) and not a good shot blocker (though plays with energy). Basically the only thing he does, is…you guessed it: plays with energy.

    Other than being 6’10 (7’0 counting his STUPID fucking hair cut), having a stupid hair cut, playing with energy, and flopping around like he’s on ice, what does he do?

    He fucking sucks, get over it.

  • QQ

    @ control:

    All I heard as ‘flopping’ and a bunch of gibberish.

    When he’s on your team, flops to get a important call, and your team eventually wins, come back to me.

  • K Dizzle

    This reffing in game 1 Cavs-Bulls is damn near scandalous. Everytime, Lebron drives, the whistle blows. Not cuz he’s gettin fouled, but because he screams and the refs just react. D Rose been atackin the tin all game and he’s shot like one freethrow and he actually gettin hit, but he don’t make a sound. I wanna see how this changes in Chicago.

  • kudos

    - I hear you KDizzle-

    Playoffs is where the lebron-loving ref’s up the ante. 10x. It’s gonna happen all throughout, i have no doubt.

  • QQ

    Wasn’t able to watch the Cavs Hype Machine, so I can’t comment on the Lebronpalooza, but hey, if that is true, should anybody be surprised by now? As fans, we all hate that, cause Bron has the talent to carry a team all by himself, without those fucking refs blowing their whistles everytime Lebron moves. Quite fucking sad, really.

    Jazz – Nugs was classic, until the start of the 4th where Melo got insane, and JR Smith more or less being the Good JR (as compared to Dumb, Make-Your-My-Lose JR). Jazz did put up a fight though.

  • M Intellect

    QQ – I know your a Magic fan and you like to overpay and all that but would you really want The Valgina, who brings clumsy arm-flailing that people call heart now, OK Defence, Flops and NO offence ala Ben Wallace on the Magic. All for a bargain of $8 milli a year?

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Ron Artest is getting $6 milli.

    Also – Amare’s dunk kinda grows on you. The more you watch it the more you see it. It’s like him and Tolliver squared up pre-takeoff and his power just eclipses him. He makes Tolliver look like a kid.

  • QQ

    ‘Make-My-Team-Lose JR.’ SOrry.

  • QQ

    Yeah I like overpaying and all. But at least I see my team go to the Finals in my lifetime. Where has your team been lately? (Don’t answer if you’re a Laker fanboy).

    My point with Varejao is, people tend to put him down because of his antics, yet they really don’t know that he can play. Take away the antics, and imagine Andy V as that perfect gentlemen, and yall go ‘That is a REALLY solid player’. He may or may not deserve that contract, but yall gotta admit that the kid helps his team. Annoying or not, he does help his team. And that’s what you want from your players.

  • M Intellect

    QQ – If you take away the annoying aspect(s) of his game, Valgina is Above Average Man D, 10 assisted-points, 7 rebounds, a couple screens and 6 fouls a game. As the points are given to him, he is basically 7 boards.

    I’d rather have Pops Mensah Bonsu, at least he’ll give all Valgina does and some dunks and blocks.

    For 6 milli cheaper too…