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Playoff May Continues: Superior Magic     Share

26 May 2010

Sports fan or not, if you’re like me, you haven’t watched a full regular season NBA or NHL game in years.  But I enjoy any kind of playoffs, and I like that that both hockey and basketball playoffs happen almost simultaneously throughout May.  Multiple sports with season-ending implications at multiple venues, changing nightly, make for a great start to summer.       

Last night the NBA Eastern Conference Finals returned to Orlando as the Boston Celtics, up three games to one, tried to close out the Orlando Magic and punch their ticket to the NBA Finals.  The Magic were able to stave off a series sweep by earning a hard fought overtime victory over the Celtics on Monday night in Boston.  Most pundits expected the Celtics to complete the sweep and cruise into a matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, but Orlando avoided the sweep and Los Angeles dropped two straight to the Phoenix Suns, evening that series up at 2-2.  

The Magic began to pull away in the second quarter when Orlando’s star center Dwight Howard took over both offensively and defensively.  Also, the Magic  enjoyed outstanding offensive execution and a barrage of dead-eye perimeter shooting by J.J. Reddick, Jameer Nelson, and Matt Barnes.  The Celtics fell apart in the third quarter after Kendrick Perkins was ejected and Rasheed Wallace fouled out.  Boston never seriously threatened after that.  Suddenly, both NBA playoff series have gotten a lot more interesting, as the underdog Magic  and Suns have clawed their way back into contention just in time for the start of the NHL Finals this weekend. 

and Playoff May marches on….   

 Send comments to: Josh@notasportsguy.com

The Basics

The NBA is divided into two Conferences, the Eastern and West conference.  Each conference has eight (8) teams vying for their respective championship in a best of seven series playoff.  The winners of the Conference finals meet in the NBA finals in June. Much like baseball, no one really cares about the regular season unless it involves some traditional rivals (Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics is the current gold standard).

Terminology:

Conference: A group of teams, usually geographically associated.  In the case of the NBA, there are the Eastern and Western Conferences.

Triple Double: When a player achieves double digits in three of five statistical categories (points, assists, rebounds, blocked shots, and steals).  For example a player with, 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists in a single game would have attained triple double.

Rebound: After an attempted shot that does not go in the basket, the act of retrieving the ball after the miss is called rebounding.  The player that retrieves the ball gets a rebound in that statistic column.

Assist: When a player gives the basketball to another player who then immediately scores.

Fast break:  a play in basketball in which a team moves quickly down the court in an attempt to score before the opposing defense can get set up