Way back in the preseason, I wrote an article examining the impact of a new head coach to a hockey team. The bottom line was that teams improved by nearly 6 standings points on average, but Boudreau’s first two clubs improved by an outlandish 23.5 points on average. The Wild, of course, saw a massive jump in their own standings numbers compared to the previous season, jumping from 87 to 106 points. If it hadn’t been for the disastrous slump in March, the Wild likely would have reached, if not surpassed, the 20 point improvement mark. As it is, an increase of 19 points was a welcome sign that Chuck Fletcher found the best man available when he hired Boudreau.
A basketball purist may complain how Westbrook marred the fourth quarter, but those two teams dueling was peak entertainment. When you’re dealing with the two players who have ostensibly had the two best seasons (since they’re presumably going 1-2 for MVP), that’s what you’re looking for. The NBA is entertainment, and we all want high stakes, something Rockets-Thunder Game 2 provided for us.
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It’s the same with Celtics-Bulls. The series itself hasn’t been great, but a No. 1 seed falling to a No. 8 seed is wonderful drama. It does feel like Boston is the victim of their own fantastic regular season, but this is still an upset, no matter how you look at it. The pressure — and the intrigue — now falls on Chicago, to see if they can complete the upset.
Elite Mens John Simon Jersey As for Jazz-Clippers, the series has been dampened by Rudy Gobert’s absence. He’ll miss Game 3 again, but Utah did prove they can win without him thanks to Joe Johnson’s game-winning floater in Game 1. Now back at home, the question is whether they can steal another one and buy time for their potential Defensive Player of the Year to get back on his feet and into this series.
Here’s how you watch a fantastic three-game slate of games.