Ok, gearing up for the playoffs here. And that includes the non-playoff mega one-off game for the English Premier League between Man U. and Man City. Anytime two mans are playing, its big. (Blog column never written–is it better to have Suns-Jazz playing a big game for the 8th spot in the west, or is it better to have no playoff and just one massive game for the title of the EPL? Additionally, is it better to have our system where we let tons of teams in, or the EPL system where only one team wins EPL, but they play in lots of different tournaments throughout the year, and so teams that are bombing in EPL suddenly become vital elsewhere–e.g., Chelsea and Liverpool?) Big thoughts, I know, but also a digression from what’s really big…the NBA playoffs.
So, Atlanta. I’m not an Atlanta fan. Not of the city, not of the Braves, the Falcons, the Hawks, the (do they still have a hockey team? I don’t follow hockey). I used to like the Georgia Bulldogs as a little kid because I liked their uniforms. And I used to like the Braves pitching staff; I even, as a kid, enjoyed the tomahawk chop until I realized how racist it is. I still root for an Atlanta team from time to time depending on the match-ups.
But, when my own team plays Atlanta, I’m never scared. I’m an SF Giants fan–when they play the Braves, I have no fear. The Braves don’t even sell out playoff games. They allow even the guys who don’t play well in the clutch to come up big (case in point, see below).
I was rooting for Green Bay to beat the Falcons two years ago because I like Aaron Rodgers. Again, no fear. All of the critical games are in Atlanta, and still no fear. Why do Atlanta teams bother to fight for a home court/field advantage? Atlanta is not an intimidating sports atmosphere. I don’t care how bad a New York team is, or a Boston team, but I know they are going to play big at home and fight to their death. Certain cities are scrappy; certain cities are where comebacks happen. Not Atlanta, not any team in Atlanta. The only reason Atlanta has one championship in the modern era is because they got matched up against the least scary city of all, the city where everyone absolutely *knows* they will lose at the end of the day–Cleveland. And Francisco Cabrera? Against a pre-roid Bonds and Pirates team–doesn’t count. (Don’t argue with me because I create the rules here).
So, the Atlanta Hawks have a nice team and the home court advantage against the Celtics. C’s in 5 (maybe 6).
We also get to see Carmelo make life sort of difficult for the Heat, before succumbing in…5 (maybe 4).
Celtics are the only team without a home court advantage to win round 1, east or west. Charles Barkley admits to having lost more than $10 million to bad betting. It’s because he doesn’t read my predictions enough.