I know Donald Sterling is a racist @$$hole. I know that I got some redemption with Kevin Durant being named MVP and Michael Carter-Williams being named Rookie of the Year after I whiffed on “Manu as Sixth Man Of The Year.” And, I know – sadly – that the NBA family recently lost legendary coach Jack Ramsay and shooting guard extraordinaire Lou Hudson.
But, before I talk about anything else, I have to talk about these 2014 NBA Playoffs.
I have to.
Originally, when the “second season” kicked off, I thought I was just enjoying the games because my beloved Celtics – who basically started the regular season already out of the Playoffs – were long gone and, as a result, I was free to just enjoy pure basketball with little-to-no personal investment.
While there may be at least a little bit of truth to my “no allegiance” theory, I can now say unreservedly and unequivocally: the year Twenty-Fourteen just might be one of, if not the, best NBA Playoffs EVER.
Well, okay, maybe just the first round of it anyway, based on the first few games played in the second round…but, I digress.
I’ve wracked my brain trying to recall another opening round that’s been this competitive with so many teams that could have ended up winning their series and I have nothing. And, that’s after looking everywhere on the other side of the glass in my memory’s museum (thanks, Yeezus!).
But, don’t take my word for it…peep the cold, hard stats:
According to NBA records on first-rounders, there have never been this many seven-game series (5 out of 8 went the distance!), overtime games (eight…EIGHT!!…hit extra-innings) and most ludicrously, a total of 14 four-point plays (14!!) were completed to kick off the NBA’s “real” season.
And, it’s been absolutely unreal how evenly matched all of the teams not named after animals that begin with “B” have been, whether they were four seeds playing fives or ones playing eights.
While just about every team expected to advance did so (did anyone really consider the Brooklyn Nets a real underdog in their series with Toronto? No offense, Torontonians), it was clear that teams 1-8 on each coast got all they could stand from each other. In fact, the dreaded “P” word (nooo, people…“Parity”. The word is “Parity.”) was tossed around so frequently this postseason, Pat Riley has been trying to patent it so he can claim royalties.
And, with all this parity going on, I can’t help but imagine former commissioner David Stern all dressed up in his crown and king’s court gown singing Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence” as a single tear rolls down his right cheek and onto his basketball scepter.
Of course now, as the second round begins, the remaining teams have all gotten together like Voltron to form one giant R-Kelly-bot and piss all over the collective masterpiece they made in the previous round. Blowouts are now all the rage, what with the Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trailblazers and Nets all channeling their inner-Washington Generals to their opponents’ Harlem Globetrotters.
Talk about trendsetting.
But, rest assured, HoopHeadz…these teams will rebound (even if Roy Hibbert himself refuses to) and have a better showing as these series (serieseses?) move along. In fact, I’m going to do what I failed to ever do in the first round and predict the outcomes while they’re still in some doubt. Why? Because I care little about my reputation and that’s what a true sportswriter would do (and also because my “Cinco de Mayo” has turned alarmingly into “Mayo Because I Seis So” and my tequila brain is functioning at something well under peak capacity), that’s why!
In any case, it will be: Heat/Pacers and Spurs/Clippers when the dust settles.
What, you thought I was gonna give you specific predictions like “Pacers in six” or something? I’m drunk, not stupid!
Oh, and just for the record:
Adam Silver absolutely hit it out of the park (what is it with these Basketball/Baseball hybrid analogies, anyway?) with respect to his handling of the Donald “Tarnished” Sterling affair, or as I like to call it, “The Case of Sterling/Silver.”
As far as how I feel about what actually happened and the public reaction to it, I’m gonna get my Patrick Swayze “Ghost” on and say “Ditto” to my man Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s take in Time Magazine (hey, why reinvent the wheel when it’s already taking you where you want to go?).
And, finally…R.I.P. Jack Ramsay and Lou Hudson. R.I.P.
Photo Credits to: costumesluck.com, sports-pictures.vidshare.net, bargainblessings.com, rockstarfresh.com