Well, this season, it’s true.
With the exception of the Heat’s demolition of the 76ers, not a single playoff series has really gone as one would expect. The underdogs aren’t just stealing games, they’re looking capable of stealing series.
Going into the playoffs, most experts thought that the Memphis Grizzlies were a matchup problem for the San Antonio Spurs, but that surely didn’t mean that they thought Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and company would actually threaten to eliminate the West’s top seed. That, though, is exactly the position that the Grizzlies are in, thanks to Z-Bo’s domination down low.
The other No. 8 seed, the Indiana Pacers, have arguably been just as surprising. While they are down 3-1 to Chicago, they could just have easily have swept the top-seeded Bulls, who were nearly universally expected to make quick work of the team that ended the regular season 37-45. In fact, if it weren’t for Derrick Rose playing even beyond his usual MVP self, the Bulls would have been absolutely run off the court by Indiana.
Another team that nobody gave a chance in the first round was the Atlanta Hawks — even though they had taken three of four from the Orlando Magic in the regular season. Most have considered the Hawks to be at a dead end with the core of Josh Smith, Joe Johnson and Al Horford, but they instead look like a team that could not only beat Orlando, but could also top Chicago, given the Bulls’ level of play.
Some of the Association’s better teams, though, have surprised as well. The Celtics couldn’t have limped into the playoffs with any less momentum, and many suggested that the Knicks could really test the C’s — especially if they didn’t have Shaquille O’Neal. That, though, has been far from the truth, and Boston looks poised to eliminate the Knicks in four.
Likewise, while many believed that Oklahoma City would be a tough out for anyone in the postseason, few expected them to show up as the best team out there come playoff time. However, OKC has gone up 3-0 against a Denver team that many also believed could make a deep playoff run, with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook looking completely unstoppable in the process.
After a week of the NBA playoffs, we’re now in a situation in which Memphis-OKC could be the most compelling second-round series.
Clearly, we should’ve seen this coming. It’s where amazing happens.
Which team has been the biggest surprise in the NBA playoffs? Leave your thoughts below.
Friday, April 22: Will the Celtics sweep the Knicks?