The NBA Playoffs have arrived which means that fans of all levels of basketball can transition right from March Madness right into the first round of the playoffs. It’s great. The majority of the first round is pretty chalky with the favored teams holding either 2-0 or 3-0 series leads. The Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs are the exception to this rule as best of seven battle stands at one game a piece.
The playoff teams can generally be broken into three separate groups: young, up and coming squads, strong threats looking to make a serious title run and dominant, grizzled experienced teams looking to keep members of the other two groups at bay.
The young up and coming teams often have a dose of just happy to be there mixed into their makeup as well. Their youth and athleticism helps them to stay in games and remain close to the proverbial hump that often times they aren’t quite able to get over. At the same time their overall inexperience and lack of poise at crunch time usually leads to their undoing when the game is on the line.
The Boston Celtics fit this mold. They have played the Cleveland Cavaliers tough in all three games and come up short all three times. They are young all across the board and it shows. LeBron James takes over when the game needs to be taken over and there isn’t much Boston can do about it. Same goes for the Milwaukee Bucks as they have battled the Chicago Bulls for three games but still face a 3-0 deficit.
Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans are feeling it the most as they played lights out for most of game 3 against the Golden State Warriors.
Unfortunately for New Orleans, the fourth quarter just couldn’t end quickly enough.
Although the Warriors are the top seed out West they still fall into the serious threat type team that is looking to make a deep title run. They made the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. They have yet to make it past the second round. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are just starting to enter their primes as the Warriors look to progress into that grizzled, veteran team that has been through it all. The Atlanta Hawks are in the same boat in the East.
That title still belongs to the Spurs, the defending champs are playing their best basketball at just the right time. Cleveland is the team that has the label of the favorite who is at the top of the mountain. LeBron James moves from Miami to Cleveland, the bull’s moved with him.
The West is full of serious threats who feel that now is their time to make postseason noise. The Clippers, Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies are all in that category. The West is just brutal. The Chicago Bulls are trying to do the same thing in the East and barring miracle comebacks from Milwaukee and Boston the Cavs and Bulls second round meeting will be fierce.
The challenge of progressing from up and comer to serious threat to champ who’s seen it all is arduous. Not every team makes it. The 80’s Milwaukee Bucks could never get past the Philadelphia Sixers, Boston Celtics, or Detroit Pistons. Remember how hard it was for Michael Jordan and the Bulls to move up the ladder.
The Pistons were a serious threat in 1987 but had a classic up and coming moment against Boston.
Can the up and comers pull upsets? Will the serious threats break through? Will the veteran teams keep their windows to win open for one more season?
This is why we watch.