WRITTEN BY: STEPHEN A. KELLERMAN
I still can't believe I went 2-2 in the Quarter Final predictions (9-3 overall in playoffs)...I have no idea if the Bulls were drunk before the game or if the Pistons went out jogging all afternoon before playing their game. Both of them just did not show up when it mattered most...The Pistons showed up for the first half and then their dementia kicked in 2nd half and they totally forgot how to play ball. Don't get me wrong, I am happy for the Rockets and Heat but I did not have them making it to the final 4. So that may give you an indication of how I am going to be betting for the semi-finals. Let's get down to business.
8:00PM BOBCATS vs ROCKETS
BOBCATS + 21 – They beat the Rockets by 31 in the regular season and I am going to be kind and say they will win by 21 this time around. The Bobcats were the overwhelming favorites going into the playoffs but they probably thanked their lucky stars that they did not have to matchup with the Pistons. The Pistons to whom they suffered their first loss to...proved that you will need to score at a high level and do the best you can on defence using length and size. The Rockets however, don't particulary have an incredible amount of size (besides Tobi and Nash) and are very guard heavy. It is going to be a tall talk (no pun intended) trying to guard the bigs of the Bobcats. The guards will have to try and get their hands on the ball whenever they can and disrupt the flow of the offence without fouling. The Cats were third in freethrows made and in freethrow percentage and so you want to be physical but also smart and not pick up any cheap ones. The Cats biggest strength is their 3pt shooting as they led the league in that category (both percentage and makes). So don't foul and don't give up easy looks from 3...easier said than done but the rotations have to be on point for GM Lemo's squad and the help defence has to make it as tough as possible. Let's face it...it is no shame coming this far and losing to this elite squad...is there a puncher's chance? Sure...maybe...probably not. Roshane has to be other worldly...Ayam, Thanujaan and Kirk have to contribute...Venush has to play his best defence on Allan/Matthew...but alot has to go right for them and even with ppl in the gym rooting for them...unfortunately...Cats will win pretty easily.
9:00PM HEAT vs THUNDER
THUNDER + 11– This match up is certainly interesting as the Thunder will have to deal with the twin towers of Markshun and Nidun. But fortunately for the Thunder, they do most of their damage from the outside as they were the 2nd best 3pt shooting team in ETBL and may not have to try and attack the towers too much inside.Mau, Anthony and Keerthanan will all have to be at their best with their perimeter defence and Mathusan will also have to use his length to bother the Thunder shooters. Janath is on a mission and with the talent he has on his team...the Heat should not give him too much trouble. The Clippers were the biggest threat to them on their side of the bracket and now that they have easily gotten past that...the Heat should just be the appetizer before the large main course meal in the Bobcats. All of the Heat's chants from the bench...the cheering from their fans...the coaching from their GM...it's not going to be nearly enough to take down the Thunder. The Thunder were 2nd in points scored this season while the Heat were 19th! When it comes to offensive prowess...one is a Ferrari and the other is a Toyota Camry. Both defences will play hard and both teams will rebound the ball but too many shot makers on the Thunder for the Heat to contain. It was a good ride and a great szn by the boys from Miami. They should now start packing to go down south cuz that's how the game will end up going.