The Best Month in Sports, Part 4: The NBA Playoffs

Well, it has certainly been an emotional week throughout the country. With the explosion that rocked Texas and of course, the bombings in Boston and the manhunt that followed, the people of the United States showed once again that during tough times, we can come together. And while sports are meaningless compared to the events that dominated the news this week, they can provide us an outlet when the real world becomes too much to bear. But more than that, they can also serve as the setting for a lesson in solidarity, to show that no matter our personal differences, we can unite when adversity strikes and there was no better example than what happened this week. So before I get to the NBA playoffs, I would like to add one thing to The Best Month in Sports category this year and simply call it The Best Moment in Sports and it was brought to us from the fans at the Boston Bruins-Buffalo Sabres hockey game that took place only days after the bombings at the Boston Marathon and if you haven’t seen or heard it yet, please click on the link and you’ll realize how special it was. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbHMRpdk3_4

So with all that being said, the best month in sports rolls on with the start of the NBA playoffs and this year once again brings no shortage of storylines. Is there anyone that can stop the Miami Heat? We know this for certain. It will not be the Milwaukee Bucks. Sorry Milwaukee. We’ll stay in the East which brings us a great matchup between New York and Boston. The Knicks have not been relevant in a long time and Boston is hanging on for one final run. Throw in the whole Boston/New York rivalry and it should make for a great series but I see the Knicks being too much for the Celtics. The Bulls and Nets should be a physical series but neither one of these teams is poised to make a deep run in the playoffs. And then there’s the Pacers and Hawks, which two or three people outside of Indianapolis and Atlanta may watch. The Pacers are a good team that may be one of the only teams that may be able to take Miami to the limit in the East, along with New York. However, I am picking Miami to come out of the East once again. They are just too complete of a team. They have two of the best ten players in the world in LeBron and Wade and when Chris Bosh is your third option, you’re a dangerous team. They play great defense and have so many guys that can shoot the three when LeBron penetrates and dishes and I don’t think there’s a team in the East that can beat them four times so look for the Heat to return to The Finals.
The Western Conference brings us a lot more intriguing matchups in the first round. James Harden returns to OKC to take on the Thunder and he’ll bring Linsanity with him (remember when we bought into that). Houston may get a game but the Thunder should ease through this series. The Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors should be an intriguing matchup as some of the league’s best young talent finally get to showcase their skills on the big stage. Can the Clippers and Grizzlies bring us another great series? After last year’s 7 games, I am anxious to see this matchup again as Lob City tries to become the dominant team in LA. And yes, as a Lakers fan, I saved them for last. It’s my blog so I can do that. I’ve watched all year as this team tried to get healthy, tried to get on the same page, tried to find something to get this team going and it really never came. Kobe Bryant played like a monster this year and if this team had a better record should be the MVP. But when it seemed like things were finally coming together towards the end, Kobe goes down as did the hopes for making any noise in the playoffs. The Spurs are waiting and the Spurs are good. They’re well coached, have veteran leadership and are set to make another deep playoff run. As much as I would love to see the Lakers win, I just don’t think they have enough but this is the beauty of the playoffs, you just never know. I still think that OKC will give us a rematch in the finals with the Heat, but the Western Conference side of the playoffs are going to be great.
I could sit and break down each round so much more than I did right there, but you can find that kind of thing anywhere. I didn’t put this category into this series just to put it in. I put it in because I love playoff basketball. The games get so much more intense. The energy level is higher than it is during the regular season and if you look closely, you might actually see some teams play defense. It’s just a different type of basketball. Most of the historic moments in the game’s history don’t come from the regular season. The regular season can turn a good player into a great player but the playoffs can turn a great player into a legend. So as the best month in sports concludes, the road to the NBA Finals has begun.

Thank you for reading The Best Month in Sports series. It was a lot of fun to write so I hope you had fun reading it.

Upcoming Series: The Best Month in Sports

Starting on Monday, I will be starting a series entitled “The Best Month in Sports”.  Just look at what this month has to offer. We are already being captivated by the madness that is the NCAA tournament.  Early April brings the return of baseball.  Soon after, one of my favorite events of the year occurs at Augusta National in the form of The Masters, quickly followed by the start of the NBA playoffs.  With each segment of this series, I’ll take a closer look at what makes each of these events so enjoyable.

One quick note: For you NHL fanatics, I did not forget about you. The reasons that I did not include the start of the NHL playoffs in this series are these: 1) This year’s playoffs do not fall within the month I’m referring to. But more importantly is 2) I am not going to pretend to attempt to write about a sport that I do not follow all that closely. Believe me, it would be an insult to you.  I can tell you, however, that even though hockey is not my favorite sport, there are few sporting events more exciting or more intense than a Game 7 in the NHL playoffs.

And one small rant.  This month does also not include the NFL.  I am completely aware that we live in a country where the NFL is king and when football season rolls around, I’m sure I will discuss it at length. I love football just as much as the next guy. But for now, I really don’t want to hear about it when there isn’t a game that matters for five months. If you want your fix, just turn on ESPN Radio in the morning and listen, believe me.  With so many other stories going on in sports, do I really need to hear a two hour conversation about how The Tuck Rule is finally going away?  The answer to that riddle is no.  We all know that Raider nation is still pissed off so how about paying some attention to something else.

I’ll talk to you all on Monday with “The Best Month in Sports, Part 1: The NCAA Tournament”.