As a dozen or so of my readers have correctly assumed, I hate the NBA. Okay, hate is a really strong word. I really, really strongly dislike the NBA. I don’t like the sport of basketball all that much to start with, but the basketball travesty over the weekend just made it easier to dislike the NBA. If you’re old enough to recall the playoffs of the 80’s, you’d remember that playoffs sported final scores like 127-112 or 130-122; however, that’s no longer the case. On Saturday, the Celtics and Knicks – a matchup that has David Stern fist-pumping – opened the playoffs to an 85-78 barn-burner. It wasn’t a terrible game to watch, mind you, but if you’re a fan of either team then your viewing pleasure was marred by anxiety-infused prayers for someone, anyone, to score. If it was the 90’s and Patrick Ewing was playing against the then-bad Celtics, the game would’ve still been more exciting than whatever occured on Saturday. Anthony scored 34 of the Knicks 85 points, which means the rest of the Knicks scored a collective 51 points. Put my head in a vise and start turning the screw!
I don’t particularly enjoy that I really, really strongly dislike the NBA but it’s just too easy. None of the games this weekend were close, except for the Nuggets and Celtics. A close game is in the making when it at least appears to be coming down to the final possession and the air is thick with dramatic excitement for, say, 3 minutes. The NBA Playoffs have not been exciting so far and, as is my custom, I blame David Stern for enabling a bad show. But I gotta say, kudos to Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless for their abilities to break down and dissect games that were incredibly boring and one-sided. I was on the edge of my seat watching them pull a rabbit out of a hat. Really, though, how am I supposed to care about the Oklahoma City Thunder and upset possibilities when they won their opening game by 29. There’s no point in watching this stuff. Fast forward me six weeks when the playoffs are the one-possession games I yearn for. Last year was okay, I guess, but with these first round matchups as weak as they are there’s no reason why ABC wouldn’t want to showcase a 2/7 matchup to open. Like, shouldn’t the Heat be tested? Shouldn’t the Bulls open the playoffs doing better than being down 25 at halftime and losing by 17?
The PR ploy that suggests there’s drama in the NBA is ridiculous; it’s all about star power. The calls will go the home teams’ way until the higher ups intervene, but when that happens it’ll be so eggregiously obvious that you’ll be able to tell your great-grandchildren that you recall the moment, back in the day, that it occurred and they’ll look at you in awe and wonderment. The NBA wants the big markets to win. The NBA barely tolerates the San Antonio Spurs and can’t get enough of Nicholson’s Lakers. I wish the refs would just let the teams play. Let a Kurt Rambis scuffle ensue, let Alonzo Mourning start swinging, let the Melee at the Palace happen. I don’t care. I just want to see something more than LeBron doing a fast break dunk to get the crowd going when they all show up at halftime anyway and leave midway through the fourth. By the time Bron Bron and Co. have a full audience they’re already up 20 and it’s time to exit.
And you don’t even have to play to draw my ire. Derrick Rose – buddy – if you’re not gonna suit up for the playoffs then don’t show up at the arena to remind us all that its the Rose-less Bulls getting creamed. I can’t stand the 15-20 shots of him on the sideline with that frustrated look on his face; it’s completely disengenuous. If you’re that frustrated, Derrick, can you through us a bone and do a little something for that paycheck other than make us wait for the sun to come back out next year? I realize that this rant is simply a function of extreme frustration, but after what Adrian Peterson did this year there’s no way D-Rose should get a pass. Your team can and should beat the Nets regardless of whether you’re there, but it’s your job to get them to that series with Miami.