SPORTS TALK: A playoff extravaganza


Late spring and early summer are a special time in American sports because they are the only months where two of the four major sports leagues are having playoffs simultaneously. This means there is quite possibly more compelling sports action on your television than you can watch. At the very least, it means that rabid sports fans find themselves with far less free time during these months, because there is literally an important game on every night of the week. Of course, this year is no exception and while it might seem a bit overwhelming, we are here to help you make the most of this very special time of year.

While I certainly understand the limited appeal of the NHL playoffs — not everybody understands the beauty of guys on skates hitting each other — the same cannot be said of the NBA’s second season. It seems like the playoffs bring out even the most casual fan, looking for something important to cheer, especially during a time when the baseball playoffs are almost half a year away and the most important thing happening in the NFL is the upcoming draft. With that said, there is a lot of good stuff going on in the NBA playoffs thus far.

The top seed in the eastern conference is already down 2-0 to the number eight seed. I am speaking of the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls here. Yes, the Celtics are, perhaps surprisingly, the best team in the east. Yep, even better than LeBron and Cleveland, at least in the win-loss category. That said, they certainly don’t look like the best team even in their own playoff matchup as they are being tormented by their own former star, Rajon Rondo, as well as former nemesis Dwyane Wade, in the early stages of their best-of-seven series. This is the first time in NBA history an eight seed has taken a 2-0 lead over the number one seed, so at least the Celtics are making history. Seriously though, I don’t see Boston coming back from this. They may very well have a talented, young roster, but that youthfulness will be their undoing as the Bulls’ experience will continue to frustrate Boston’s younger players.

Out west, San Antonio is off to a hot start against Memphis, which I think was to be expected. The Spurs are another one of those teams that always seem to rise to the occasion in the playoffs. Portland gave Golden State everything they could handle for most of the first game of their series. In the end, the Warriors prevailed. Probably because they have a much better team. Isn’t that the way it usually works out? The better team wins? I think that’s what the first round of the playoffs is for, to weed out the lesser teams so the big boys can clash in the next three rounds. Just remember, the best team is not always the one with the better record.

Finally, I think we should at least acknowledge the guys battling for the Stanley Cup. The Boston-Ottawa series has been as tense a showdown as one might want in an NHL playoff series. The same can be said for San Jose-Edmonton and Montreal-New York. These match ups are tough to predict and often can be swayed by a hot goaltender.

There is something wonderful to me about the animosity created by the playoff series in the NHL. It produces a lot of passion in the guys playing the game and, ultimately, leads to some of the best sports action of the year. Then, when it is all said and done and one team has prevailed, the players line up and shake hands for the first, and only, time during the series. It is a beautiful thing and well worth some of your attention — if you can find some time.