Steinmetz: Lucky Jazz, sorry Mavs

The NBA playoffs are under way and it’s not too early for some observations and predictions.

<p>» Before everyone starts thinking of the Utah Jazz as a title contender, a quick hit of reality: The Western Conference is indeed brutal, but Utah has had ridiculous good fortune in the postseason the past two seasons.

Last year, they stumbled into the second round and found themselves not only against a No. 8 seed — the Warriors — but also a team with little to no chance of beating them. This year, Jerry Sloan’s team gets to skip into the second round after the likely dismantling of the Houston Rockets, who are by far the least-talented Western Conference playoff team.

» I’ve said it a few times but it bears repeating: The Warriors’ upset of Dallas in last season’s playoffs didn’t just ruin the Mavericks’ title hopes in 2006-07. It also exposed their frailty to the rest of the league and ensured there will be no championship in Big D with the current group.

Owner Mark Cuban tinkered at midseason, hoping point guard Jason Kidd could push Dallas back to the top. It won’t/didn’t work. This summer, expect wholesale changes with the Mavericks, starting with a new coach.

» Rockets power forward Luis Scola is earning praise for his defense and hustle but notfrom here. Scola, not unlike Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao, is a kind of basketball weasel — the type of player constantly badgering, sliding under, reaching, grabbing and generally bringing non-basketball gimmicks into the game.

He is a provoker, simple as that, and it shouldn’t be long before opponents and officials realize that.

» I’m still not convinced that the Washington Wizards are dead, but their start in Cleveland was problematic. It’s obvious Gilbert Arenas isn’t at 100 percent, but Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison haven’t gotten it done.

There’s still time and it says here Arenas will leave a mark on the series.

» Sure, you could say the Phoenix Suns should have fouled before Tim Duncan hit a 3-pointer to tie the game late for the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday. Regardless, Game 1 between the Suns and Spurs was remarkable, with all the big names making big plays when the game was on the line.

The Suns didn’t lose that game; the Spurs won it.

» When does the Toronto-Orlando series start? Oh, apparently it did.» No worries in Detroit, where the Pistons have been known to get disinterested every now and again. Guaranteed, the Pistons come back to Detroit no worse than 2-2.

» Do you still think the Rockets are better without Yao Ming?

» Conventional wisdom says that inexperience may hurt the Hornets in the postseason. Really? Other than playoff rookie Chris Paul — who had 35 points and 10 assists in Game 1, by the way — New Orleans players aren’t strangers to the playoffs.

Peja Stojakovic, David West, Morris Peterson, Tyson Chandler, Bonzi Wells and Jannero Pargo all have been there before.

Matt Steinmetz is the NBA insider for Warriors telecasts on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Other Sportssports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The sidewalk on Egbert Avenue in the Bayview recently was cluttered with car parts, tires and other junk. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
New surveillance effort aims to crack down on illegal dumping

’We want to make sure we catch people who are trashing our streets’

The recall election for California Gov. Gavin Newsom is scheduled for Sept. 14. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF could play a big role in overcoming Democrat apathy, driving voter turnout for Newsom

San Francisco voters are not used to swaying elections. Just think of… Continue reading

Health care workers treat a Covid-19 patient who needs to be intubated before being put on a ventilator at Providence St. Mary Medical Center during a surge of cases in Apple Valley, Dec. 17, 2020. Confronted with surging infections, California became the first state in the country to mandate coronavirus vaccines or testing for state employees and health-care workers. (Ariana Drehsler/The New York Times)
In California, a mix of support and resistance to new vaccine rules

By Shawn Hubler, Livia Albeck-Ripka and Soumya Karlamangla New York Times SACRAMENTO… Continue reading

Dave Hodges, pastor at Zide Door, the Church of Entheogenic Plants that include marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms, holds some psychedelic mushrooms inside the Oakland church on Friday, July 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Psychedelic spirituality: Inside a growing Bay Area religious movement

‘They are guiding us into something ineffable’

Most Read