NBA Playoffs: 1st Round Assessment

It seems like so long ago. Two and a half weeks ago I was sitting on my Grandpa’s couch half-asleep watching Iso Joe hit a buzzer beater to win Game 1 over the Clippers. Today, I just watched the Jazz close out the series over those same Clippers in 7 games. And yes, were only 1/4 of the way through. Don’t get me wrong, I love playoff basketball, but man they need to speed it up. I know players want to rest, but I’m the consumer, what about my need to be entertained without stagnation. But either way, it’s time to analyze. I’ll start by talking about our 8 unfortunate losers. I’m gonna rank them based on the pain or hope they gained from their playoff exit, with 8 being the least devastating and most hopeful, and 1 being a brutal soul-ripping experience.

No. 8 – Milwaukee Bucks – As evidenced by the Greek Freak recently posting a funny video of how he sucks at golf, the Bucks aren’t mourning their defeat. And why should they? They had a series lead and almost stole two of the Raptors’ wins despite the Raptors being full of playoff vets while the Bucks are as young as they come (Jason Terry excluded of course). The Bucks proved how they’re a team for the future and they should be Freakishly good one day.

No.7 – Memphis Grizzlies – “Take that for Data!!!” That’s gonna be a quote for the ages. The core of the Grizz will likely fall apart within the next few years, but this was a great last stand. They finally stood up to a Spurs team that had bullied them in their last two series. The Memphis crowds were going ballistic, Mike Conley played like a true superstar, and Gasol had an incredible game winner. It was simply a good experience for all.

No.6 – Oklahoma City Thunder – Russ for MVP, Triple-Doubles, the Rockets cheated. Basically everything Thunder fans have said and will say. The Thunder are honestly in the state of delusion and will fail to realize that Westbrook can’t be the top dog on a top team. He was phenomenal for 3 quarters, but broke down when it mattered most. He’s still gonna win the MVP, but I’m sure Harden is fine relinquishing that for a potential Conference Finals appearance.

No.5 – Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks are so weird that they’re ending made perfect sense. An out of nowhere super physical series against a clearly superior team in which they somehow found 2 wins but collapsed in game 6 at the hands of J-Wall. The good news is that Schroeder was great and showed that he was the right choice over Teague. The bad news is that it’s unlikely that Milsap is on this team next year, which could bring an end to their run of playoff appearances. But hey, it’s not like we thought these guys were world-beaters in the first place.

No.4 – Portland Trail Blazers – This was a sad reality for Portland fans. It might happen to the next teams that the Dubs roll through. Plain and simply, the Blazers got absolutely curb-stomped. Did you watch the 1st quarter of Game 4? That was an unholy demolition. Portland should start tanking because it became obvious that they won’t beat this team for at least 7 years.

No.3 – Chicago Bulls – Unbelievable. C’mon I picked you guys, and when you were up 2-0, all my friends thought I was a genius. But Rondo, you just had to get hurt. Sorry, this is about their frustration, not mine. Here’s what happened: After a horrendously painful and disappointing regular season, the Bulls smuggle into the playoffs in what’s hopefully a quick exit. Somehow, Rondo reincarnates his old persona, dominates the court, and completely destroys the psyche of the entire Celtics roster. Not only that, but big guys like Robin Lopez, Bobby Portis, and Christiano Felicio maul the Celtics on the boards and Chicago leaves Boston strutting and ready for an upset sweep. Then the wheels fell off. Rondo broke his thumb. The Celtics regained confidence. Brad Stevens pushed the right buttons. D-Wade turned even older. Butler completely choked and fell apart. Their role players couldn’t make shots. MCW, Jerian Grant, and Isaiah Caanan disgrace the point guard position to the point that many viewers became physically ill. It was just astonishing. It was truly a sight to behold. Like a horrific car crash.

No. 2 – Indiana Pacers – Larry Bird is leaving. Paul George is probably leaving. This was the end of the once promising Pacers. Back in 2013, battling to a Game 7 against LeBron and the heat, to blowing a 26 point lead and getting swept in the 1st round by guess who … LeBron. The Pacers are just worn out. Paul George is tired of carrying a bad team and wants to go back to contention. This is a lesson to small market teams: you can only keep your star if you give him other stars. There is no light for the Pacers except for Myles Turner. And even that light is stalling.

No. 1 – Los Angeles Clippers – Clips gon Clip. Hopefully management does the right thing and dismantles this team. It’s like a painfully awkward TV or movie clip where someone dies but the person won’t leave the scene crying and saying it’ll be okay while someone (the rest of the NBA) is trying to drag them away and help them realize the sad truth. The Clips are just cursed. Just go back to being hard luck losers and stop trying to convince yourself that you can win. Optimistic, I know. And this was a truly Clippers-esk meltdown. Playing a team we’ve beaten over and over again, have home court advantage, take a 2-1 lead, have Blake Griffin get injured for the ump-teenth time, play a remarkable Game 6 to stay alive, only to squander a lackluster Game 7 at home in which no one really tried and Chris Paul had an awful game. As expected, the Clippers curse can never end.