Normally I’m a guy that will ramble on and on about how college basketball is better to watch than the NBA. I like the team aspect of the college game. There is much less just one on one and isolation plays. In the NBA ,a team will often score 30 points just from the free throw line and don’t get me started on how a charge against Kyle Lowry is not a charge against Kobe Bryant. Normally I love the one and done nature of the NCAA Tournament. No day gives me more butterflies and anticipation than Selection Sunday, but this year the NBA playoffs have been the superior product. I can’t get over how exciting the NBA has been. Lets compare the two.
There were some good games in the early rounds, like Ohio St/Siena and Western Ky/Gonzaga, but you better have not looked for upsets. Really, the only true upset of the entire tournament was Cleveland St housing Wake Forest. All the other supposed seed upsets like Arizona over Utah weren’t that unexpected. The last great game of the tournament came in a regional final when Villanova edged Pitt; and UNC was only challenged in the second round by LSU. They still won that one by14. The NCAA tournament is still my favorite, but this was a down year.
Thank God that there was still NBA basketball to be played this year after UNC cut down the nets…… because this year those games have been as exciting and memorable as maybe any year before. Just think about the Celtics-Bulls series going seven with four overtime games. It was the greatest first round series ever. The Orlando/Philly series was also very interesting in the East and although his games weren’t close, we got to see LeBron really start to take over the league in the Cavs first two series. Once the second round began, how could it live up to Boston/ Chicago. Well it could by producing two dramatic and completely different seven game series. Los Angeles and Houston played about 5 blowout games in a row as LA got the seventh game win, but in its own way it was exciting. Each game changes were made that flipped how you saw the series , then the team that was humiliated would come back with a tweaked gameplan and trounce the other side. It was compelling theater to see how Kobe would react to this unexpected pressure and how the Rockets would make a stand without Yao Ming (or McGrady for that matter). The Celtics/Magic was a series of close games that came down to big shots and big free throws and one wild celebration from Big Baby Davis. Orlando seemed out of it after dealing with successive late game losses but came back to become the first club ever to topple the Celtics from down 3-2, and they did in in Boston no less.
Now we are in the conference finals. All four games have been decided in the last seconds. Three of them had a shot in the air at the buzzer that would have won or tied the game. All capped off by LeBron’s big three last night. Enjoy this run while it lasts. I promise you not all the NBA playoff years will be like this. So lets watch Kobe and Gasol take on the newly determined Nuggets. Lets see if Chauncey Billups can lead an improved Carmelo Anthony over Showtime. Now that LeBron brought Cleveland back from the brink of death, how will Orlando respond. If the previous series are any indication we might be headed to a couple more seventh games.
The best part is that it won’t end there. No matter what the final is Lakers-Magic, Lakers-Cavs, Cavs-Nuggets, Nuggets-Magic; the final will be closely contested and it will have star players. So keep it up NBA, you might convert me yet.