Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat
Game 1 — 7 p.m./TNT
LeBron James was quite clearly MVP.
There really was no doubt about it. When I was on with 103.7 The Game in Lafayette, La., on Friday, they asked me if you could make any argument to vote for anyone aside from LeBron James. I told him you could make an argument for Carmelo Anthony perhaps . . . but it was not a good one.
James played at a historic level this season and very well could have — and probably should have — been the first unanimous MVP in the NBA's history. Yet, someone still found a way to vote for Carmelo Anthony over LeBron James. He has some explaining to do — he reportedly did, saying Anthony helped turn the franchise around after a decade of ineptitude.
Of course, James already has plenty of MVP trophies in his case. What he does not have enough of is NBA championships.
Miami's quest to win a second NBA title in a row continues tonight after a sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks was completed a week ago. The Heat have been resting and preparing since then.
If one thing should be able to shake the rust, it is the brilliance of James. He returns to action tonight against the depleted Bulls as the second round series finally kicks off.
Other Storylines to Watch
-Things have been bad for the Bulls injury-wise. They continually get worse. Luol Deng did not make the trip to Miami and is out for tonight's game and possibly Game Two as he continues to deal with a virus that has kept him in and out of the hospital. Kirk Hinrich is also out for tonight's game.
-On the injury front for Miami, Dwyane Wade will play tonight after missing Game Four with a bruised knee a week ago. He has been practicing with the team throughout the week off from games.
Tonight's Other Games
Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs
Game 1 — 9:30 p.m./TNT
Stephen Curry and the Warriors have made some history in getting to the second round. It is the just the second time the Warriors have done it in 20 years. Golden State has rarely won playoff series. To win this Playoff series against the heavily favored Spurs, the Warriors will have to do something they have not done since 1997 — win in San Antonio. That is right, Tim Duncan has never lost to the Warriors at home. Good luck Golden State.
Larry Drew, staff on way out?
The Hawks season is not even three days gone, and the future is beginning to hit the Hawks in the face. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports Hawks coach Larry Drew and his staff have begun looking for jobs elsewhere. It seems pretty certain the Hawks will let go of Drew after another mediocre season for the Hawks. It makes sense though. Josh Smith is expected to walk in free agency and Atlanta is entering a new phase.
Several candidates emerge for Nets job
The Nets, perhaps unsurprisingly, decided not to retain interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo after their first round exit. Now Brooklyn is in the market for a new coach and just about all the major head coaches are on the table. Jeff Van Gundy is already being attached to the opening. His brother, Stan Van Gundy, is also being bandied about. Phil Jackson's representatives have also already issued a "no comment." Deron Williams has even publicly stated he would not mind seeing Jerry Sloan take the lead spot on the bench.
Bobcats, Sixers to interview Kelvin Sampson
Former Indiana University head coach and Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson has been one of the hotter names for coaching vacancies. Sampson seems set to interview with the Bobcats and Sixers for their open coaching jobs, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The Bucks too could also be in the mix.
Clippers 'confident' Paul will re-sign
There are many questions about the Clippers now that their season is over. The future of Vinny Del Negro is still up in the air and will not be decided for another week. Chris Paul though is priority number one for the offseason. It has been largely assumed that he will stay in Los Angeles, however the Clippers brass is confident they will get a deal done.
Amar'e expects to be available for Game Three
The Knicks may get some interior re-enforcements when the series shifts to Indianapolis. Howard Beck of the New York Times reports Amar'e Stoudemire is working on his conditioning and is hoping to be ready to return for Game Three. Stoudemire played in only 29 games this eyar, averaging 14.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.