The funky dissolution of the two great "just miss" teams of the last five years bears mentioning, but in terms of unpredictability this Hawks saga is still the strangest thing to come out of the playoffs so far. I will not comprehend it anytime soon, I'm afraid. And while only the Jazz and Houston toil on out West, here in the East the best team is gonna play at least six, and get no extended rest. And they have no one to blame but themselves.
While the Spurs had maybe the hardest first round opponent of all time, the truth is they are now going to have time to lick their wounds; the same goes for the Hornets and Lakers. As draining as we said these Western series were going to be on the elite teams, the main reason why was the drag-out fatigue a seven game stretch produces on your players. But LAL, SA and NOLA all avoided that with aplomb. Don't be surprised if the second rounds are shorter than expected out West, too. The postseason almost always normalizes within its traditional framework - the first round cannot be a kaleidoscope of epic battles; it's too early and it just doesn't happen.
Which brings us back to the great exception for this year - the totally bizarre "showdown" between two teams that seemed to be on the opposite ends of the playoff spectrum. I still cannot imagine the Celtics losing this series, and indeed will be stunned if it reaches seven games. And years from now when we see that the Celtics won the series in six no one will care one way or the other. But contextually in the moment it is far more shocking than seeing the Mavs and Suns going down in five to good teams. Something horribly askew will have to occur, however, for it to have more of a historical remembrance years from now.