LeBron James: Playoff Sweat Is Different from Regular Season Sweat

The Miami Heat finished off the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 5 of their series Wednesday night and will prepare for what should be an epic clash with the Boston Celtics. There is little doubt that LeBron James will be prepared for the series, at least as far as conditioning goes. Jimmy Traina shared a great quote from LeBron on SI Hot Clicks that’s a week old, but no less funny.

Here’s a passage from Worldwide Windhurst’s piece, via Pro Basketball Talk:

James has a new sidekick these days — a gallon jug filled with water that he tugs around just about wherever he goes. James vows to drink those fluids every day during the playoffs, usually before practices, and even after games start. It is a routine he began several years ago in the postseason, an effort to increase hydration.

“Playoff sweat is different than regular season sweat,” James said Thursday morning as he grabbed his jug

You got that? LeBron James says playoff sweat is different than regular season sweat. I’m going to use my athlete-to-normal speak translator and figure that LeBron is saying the playoffs are more intense than the regular season, so you have to be extra focused and prepared for those games. It was a funny way of expressing that thought, but I’m pretty sure that’s what LeBron meant. And he better be chugging gallons of liquid to properly hydrate for the Boston series; with Miami’s weak bench, he’ll be playing nearly 45 minutes per game.

If Brutal Bulls Have a Shot at the Playoffs Then the System Is Broken

The Phoneix Suns clinched a spot in the playoffs Tuesday night with a win over the Chicago Bulls. This was a heartbreaking loss for the Bulls as it pushes them a game and a half out of the NBA playoffs. Although the Bulls have been playing OK lately, it still grinds my gears that the possibility of them making the playoffs exists.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not directing all my anger at the Bulls; I want to direct it at the NBA. We’ve frequently complained about the NBA playoff seeding system and asked why they don’t re-seed teams. Additionally, how does a system exist that allows a team like the Bulls who are under .500 with 35-39 record to have a chance at winning an NBA title? Why should they be able to make the playoffs? Frankly, I don’t think they have deserved it. The loss of Joakim Noah for most of the season certainly has hurt the team and they haven’t seemed to be able to get a good rhythm going. So please tell me why they should make the playoffs?

Contrarily, the Suns are quite deserving of their playoff spot given their 48-26 record. I think the NBA really needs to revise the playoff system including the amount of teams allowed to participate in the postseason. The way it stands, if a team like the Bulls with that crappy record has a chance at the playoffs then something is wrong with the system.

Bulls playoff hopes on fumes now [ChicagoNow.com]

Why Doesn’t the NBA Re-seed?

When I posted a few days ago asking why the Jazz and Heat were considered the No. 4 seeds in their respective conferences, despite having inferior records to the teams who were seeded 5th, and despite not enjoying the home court advantage typically bestowed upon a higher seeded team, another excellent point was raised. Both Jason and Sunofa pointed out in the comments that one aspect of the NBA playoffs that sucks is the fixed bracket system.

Under the current system, the top two teams in the West, San Antonio and Phoenix, will be forced to play each other in the next round, rather than in the conference finals. That means one of the Warriors and the Rockets/Jazz series winner will be getting to the conference finals without having as difficult of a path to get there as they should. With Dallas being eliminated, I think it’s safe to say that the match up everyone wants to see out West is Phoenix and San Antonio — but not in the second round.

Same thing with the Eastern Conference — there’s no doubt the Pistons should be playing the 6th seeded Nets, rather than the 5th seeded Bulls. In case you missed it, Chicago had the third best record during the regular season, yet Detroit gets the reward of having to play them in the next round, rather than the .500 Nets. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

The NFL re-seeds, MLB re-seeds, and the NHL re-seeds. Why doesn’t the NBA?

What’s Up with the NBA Seeding?

OK, I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time, but it’s still worth mentioning now that Houston and Utah is 3-2 Rockets, with each game being won on home court. The other series this affected was Miami/Chicago, but we all know how that turned out. I have asked several knowledgeable people, and still have yet to receive a legitimate answer. Why is Utah considered the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, while the Rockets are seeded 5th?

Houston still has home court advantage in the series because they finished with a better regular season record than the Jazz. Makes perfect sense. So then why isn’t Houston the 4th seed? Reason why I mention all this is because when I picked the playoffs on ballhype, I gave Utah the nod based on home court. I literally thought it would be the closest and hardest fought series, coming down to who held home court advantage in Game 7. Seems like I’m right on point there — only problem is that Utah, despite being the 4th seed, does not have home court advantage.

I like what the NBA did this year, allowing teams with better records from the same division get seeded higher in the playoffs than say a division winner with a poorer record. Such was the case with both Cleveland in the Eastern Conference, and San Antonio in the Western Conference. I also understand that the NBA doesn’t want teams tanking to try and intentionally play a team they believe to be a weaker team that could be a higher seed (due to division winners getting higher seeds).

But once we see that Houston and Chicago received the home court advantages, then why are they listed as the No. 5 seeds instead of the No. 4? Seems like just semantics, but it actually can make a difference — especially to someone like me who was led to believe Utah would have home court advantage being the 4th seed — man was I wrong. So someone, please explain to me why Houston and Chicago weren’t just named the No. 4 seeds when they received every advantage a higher seeded team gets?

The Playoff Beard Is on Its Last Legs

There you see the evolution of the short-lived playoff beard.  And yes, you read correctly — I am writing in the past tense because the Pens are done.  Before I get to the breakdown, you should know what you’re looking at.  From left to right: prior to Game 1 on Wednesday, April 11th; prior to Game 4 on April 17th; and today, prior to Game 5 on April 19th.  And I have to tell you, this Kyle Orton neckbeard ish ain’t cool.  How the eff did he play games like that without the urge to scratch his neck every five seconds?  This ain’t comfortable at all. 

Anywhoo, I don’t even know what to say. I already dubbed Game 4 the “must-win” game for Pittsburgh.  And they lost.  So I don’t even know what to call this Game 5 with the Pens down 3-1 and having to play it in Ottawa. Suffice it to say I’ve written them off. 

Still, it’s no worry to me.  Sidney Crosby and this Penguins team will win a Cup, sooner, rather than later.  They have way too much talent.  Nothing wrong with getting bounced in the first round … baby steps, it’s all about progress.  In fact, their regular season record is enough to be proud of.

As for the playoff beard, should it live to see more days, I’d like you all to know that the mission has been accomplished.  I watched Game 4 on Tuesday instead of the Red Sox/Blue Jays game.  I’ve been keeping up with all the series. 

I can tell you that the Rangers are a juggernaut, but they better pray the Lightning beat the Devils, because they don’t want any piece of Buffalo in the second round.  I can tell you that the hockey playoffs are like the baseball playoffs; where good pitching stops good hitting, good goaltending stops good shooting.  And such, the team with the hottest goalie goes the farthest.

And that goalie looks like Roberto Luongo of the Canucks — he’s stopped 55 of 57 shots in the past two games, both Canuck wins.  Meaning, Luongo is single-handedly carrying Vanouver out of the first round.  Yeah, you like that analysis don’t you?  See, that’s what happens when you grow the beard, you get all into it. Be sure to stop by PSAMP for some Game 5 analysis coming up.

Previous Chronicles of the Playoff Beard:
Tonight’s a Must Win For the Pens
Time for the Hockey Playoff Beard