NBA playoff preview
Or, a list of (likely) incorrect prediction about professional basketball
With the NBA season drawing to a close, it has come time for a preview of the playoffs. Instead of listing each playoff team and their chances of taking home the Larry O’Brien Trophy — because let’s face it the Milwaukee Bucks (all hail the Greek Freak) and, with my sincerest apologies to the Carillon’s own Matthew “Mr. Massachusetts” Wincherauk, the Boston Celtics, will not be holding a parade come June — I have listed below the four teams that I believe have the skills, the moxie, the character, the (insert whichever overused sports cliché you prefer here), to bring home the 2015 title.
First on the list, and fourth in the rankings, are the Cleveland LeBrons. Even with the ghost of Kevin Love past starting at power forward, the Cavaliers have cemented themselves near the top of the Eastern Conference dung heap. Spoiler alert: this is the only team capable of doing any damage in the final, and they still might get swept by whoever makes it through the gauntlet that will be the Western Conference playoffs. One could argue that the Atlanta Hawks deserve this spot and to them I say: who is going to stop number 23 in crunch time? At least Hotlanta is a nice place to go golfing.
Next up, the Memphis Grizzlies. They will find it tough to get out of the West (I think Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph will need oxygen tanks and a defibrillator on the bench if a series with Golden State or Houston goes seven games), but, if they get there, the team from Tennessee could do some serious damage. They have enough shooters to keep any team honest, and the brutal one-two punch of Randolph and Gasol will leave many a teams’ interior defences pulverized. Memphis has the ability to take the teams above them to the woodshed — get the icepacks ready, Dwight Howard — but one of their biggest rivals for the berth is, wait for it…
The San Antonio Spurs. I’m ninety per cent sure that next year, when I write another preview, you can just copy and paste this paragraph. Sure, they are only (picture Dr. Evil-style air quotes) sitting in sixth, but they are in a conference where the OKC Thunder (themselves no slouches), occupy the last playoff position. By my layman calculations, if the Thunder were in the East, they would be the fifth seed. So, yes, while many of the Spurs players are (at least statistically) looking to be on the downside of their careers, the squad has a distinct opportunity to capture another championship and, once again, laugh in the face of those who keep trying (unsuccessfully) to write their obituary. Maybe this cycle will never end. Maybe, Tim Duncan found the fountain of youth somewhere in the Alamo and has been using to create vintage masterpieces every once in a while.
Lastly, we come to the Golden State Warriors. They are leading the league in a plethora of key statistical categories, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry have been shooting like men possessed (if possessions were to be carried out by Ray Allen), and the team has not lost its collective approach. Night after night we see a team that is just as likely to pound you into the ground defensively, as they are to almost break the scoreboard. They pass the statistics test (what I lovingly refer to as a high score on the nerd index), and the eye exam. Fun to watch and fun to analyze makes for one heck of a team, and possibly, one championship.