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So, Canada. The stereotypes abound for our neighbor to the north, from being polite to the point of apology to a seeming national mandate to wear flannel and grow beards to an unconscious appetite for maple syrup and Molson. At the moment, the country’s greatest export is a former teen actor-turned-living PBR&B emoticon who has enough #VIEWS to spawn several generations of memes. Innocuous, vaguely socialist and definitely non-confrontational: this is the Canada we know and love°.

A nation with seven (7) NHL teams and only one NBA franchise has this season seen its hockey teams fail to produce a single playoff participant – when half the league goes to the playoffs – and its basketball team reach its final four. Thus far, the Toronto Raptors have played two seven-game series and are arguably lucky to have escaped both on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Nevertheless, Toronto did make it, and though the spectre of the league’s most dominant player awaits them, it would seem foolish to write off the resident reptilians.

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Kobe

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

The Mamba is back. The king has returned to his throne in Los Angeles, and not a moment too soon in one of the tightest Western Conference races we have ever seen. In the first-ever real battle for the city’s heart, Kobe has staked the claim that the Clippers “will be the Los Angeles team when I’m dead and gone.” Even with his legendarily freakish, near-sociopathic work ethic, questions linger about his effectiveness returning from a serious injury at 35 years old. Meanwhile, in the dreadful Eastern Conference, major Internet forces are making light of Jason Kidd’s coaching style. Also, Carmelo Anthony is not an effective LeBron-style point-forward, so who can run an offense with him in it?

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paul-george

With a career-high 43 points last night acting as a bolded semicolon in the middle of a wonderfully crafted sentence of a season, we have officially entered the Paul George age of the LeBron epoch. Not to be outdone, Kevin Durant showed up with his fourth career triple-double. Jason Kidd has successfully transferred some of his craftiness as a player to the bench, and subsequently to the floor as well. The Eastern Conference is a desolate wasteland. Also, Tim Duncan is a technically skilled basketball player who should consider becoming a pitching coach upon retirement.

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