NBA Playoff Match-Ups and ‘Stashes Excel

Now that the madness of the college basketball season has ended, it’s time to forget about Butler’s woeful shooting percentage and Connecticut’s epic run of 11 straight wins to a championship. NBA enthusiasts rejoice, it’s time for your game to shine.

The playoffs are almost here. We will be bombarded by the all-too-familiar talking heads explaining to all of us that this is when the “real season begins.” Channeling my inner Bart Scott is needed at this moment because I can’t wait.

There are many storylines heading into the playoff s. Here are a few worth watching.

Who are these Bulls and where did they come from? I mean really, did anyone expect them to be this good this soon? Yes, they have everyone’s MVP in Derrick Rose but they also have the best record in the Eastern conference. In year one under new coach Tom Thibodeau, da Bulls have adopted a new style as a hard-working, defensive- minded club. I like Chicago and what they have but they’re young and unproven. Round one may come easy but after that, things will get interesting.

Out West, I look for the young guns of Oklahoma City to make some serious noise. Watching Russell Westbrook play basketball makes me wonder why I ever thought I could play in the NBA. I can’t imagine trying to guard him and I shiver at the thought of him guarding me. No, thanks. Anyway, while Westbrook is having a career year, his teammate leads the league in scoring. Kevin Durant and his 28-points-per-game is a joy to watch. Last season, they almost sent the Lakers home before falling in six games. The two seven-footers, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, proved too much for them to handle.

Now, after a mid-season trade with Boston for Kendrick Perkins, OKC finally has some muscle to battle with. Will this addition be enough to dethrone the Lakers?

How about those guys who took their talents down to South Beach? You know, the ones who walked down a runway during the preseason modeling their premature championships. The Heat and the trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh put a lot of pressure on themselves by teaming up this season. At times, it hasn’t all been smiles. Earlier in the season, there were reports that players were crying in the locker room after a loss. Some said it was refreshing that millionaire athletes cared so much. I say it’s a sign of weakness.

What happens when this team is on the road facing elimination? Will they crumble and cry? Or will they prove all the haters wrong by destroying those daring to get in their way?

I can’t leave this space without mentioning the home team. It’s been a few years since our Orlando Magic made the Finals. The team is different now. New faces line the roster and a new building houses the team. One thing has stayed the same and that’s coach Stan Van Gundy’s mustache. It’s a thing of beauty, really. With all of the change it’s nice to know we can count on that ‘stache and all of its glory. As far as the team goes, it’s all on Dwight Howard. He’s averaging a career best 23-pointsper- game, he’s second in the league in rebounding—averaging 14—and his shot blocking is up at over two blocks per game. The reigning two-time defensive player of the year is surely going to win his third in a row as he has become the most dominant defensive player in the league. If Orlando feeds him the ball and plays off of his talents, they have a great chance to make a run back to the Finals.

Some may say, “Orlando in the Finals?!”

I say, “Why not?”

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