By Craig Fields
So the 2013 NBA playoffs are upon us and I have to say that they have been woefully underwhelming. Besides the occasional close game here and there, the first 8 games have followed suit. The home team has won every time. This hasn’t happened since the 2003-2004 playoffs. There have been no upsets, no drama and if I can be perfectly honest no real entertainment value. I’m looking into my crystal ball, shaking my 8 ball, and even consulting my 10-year old sister’s hand made fortune teller and the answer reads as this, “Expect more of the same.”
I understand that this may not necessarily be something that NBA enthusiasts want to hear but I’m in the tell it like it is business; and the way I see it, that is the way it is. Journey with me, if you would, down this trail of “like it is”.
I see two 1 vs. 8 match ups that will blow my mind if they go 5 games let alone 6. I see two 2 vs. 7 match ups that have teams missing key components and valuable players. Kobe Bryant of the L.A. Lakers, Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks, and Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, are just some of the marquee names out of commission in this years’ playoffs.
Just one of those teams, the New York Knicks, can actually take the hit of a key player not being available. I see trees of green, red roses too… oh wait I apologize, that’s Louis Armstrong. But what I do see are a couple of 3 vs. 6 match ups that would be entertaining if not for the hip flexor injury to David Lee of the Golden State Warriors and the inconsistency of Atlanta Hawks all-star power forward Josh Smith. Needless to say, if Jeff Teague continues to be the Hawks leading scorer, then the Indiana Pacers will bring out the brooms. Last but certainly not least, I see two 4 vs. 5 match ups that, while on paper may seem entertaining enough, reality states something different.
The Chicago Bulls, who are without their all-star point guard Derrick Rose, are obvious over-achievers that have some how willed themselves to the 5 seed with tremendous coaching and tough minded veteran role players. Can they get out of this first round against the Brooklyn Nets? Of course not. Can they at least make the first round interesting? Well if the first game is any indication as to what we should expect from them, then the answer is an emphatic N-O. They have many key players on their team hobbled or hurt. Too many.
Personally the one series that I had circled on my must watch list was the Memphis Grizzlies vs. L.A. Clippers series. This one, I thought, was going to encompass the hard nosed, grind it out, highly competitive aspects that epitomize the NBA playoffs. According to the first game, that unfortunately looks like a pipe dream. With the trade of Rudy Gay earlier this season, the Memphis Grizzlies have not been the same team. Sure they were able to win here and there but frankly the playoffs are a different beast than the regular season. And it seems as if they do not have enough to get it done.
This year’s playoffs already appear to be a foregone conclusion with the Miami Heat, yet again hoisting another trophy and adding a banner to the American Airlines Arena. I mean not since the Chicago Bulls in the 90’s has there been such a clear cut winner from the beginning to the eventual end of the playoffs. So there you have it ladies and gents. These playoffs in a nutshell. Expect no surprises. Expect no miraculous series wins from some lower seeded underdog. These playoffs are like a book with the end reading, “HEAT WIN, HEAT WIN, HEAT WIN”.