It all feels pretty much normal now, doesn’t it? It’s the first week of May, and we have: LeBron treating the Air Canada Centre like a rental property; the Warriors strutting out to a 2-0 series lead over New Orleans, thanks in part to the return of Steph Curry and despite the ongoing dominance of Anthony Davis; the Wizards watching from home by the second round; and the Rockets having decimated the league’s best defensive team of the second half of the season (and subsequently falling in Game 2, calling into question Houston’s bona fides).
By most accounts, even after one of the most exciting first rounds in recent NBA playoff memory, everything is pretty much going according to plan. Everything, that is, except for the other Eastern Conference Semifinal, featuring two young-ish teams boasting a wealth of talent and assets. It wouldn’t have been totally unreasonable to expect either the Philadelphia 76ers or the Boston Celtics to be in their current positions, but to have done it like this, each in their own, singular ways, is as impressive as it is foreboding.
Sports are so arbitrary when you really think about it. It’s just a collection of athletes, exhibiting an arbitrary set of skills, governed by an arbitrary set of rules. You can throw a ball through a hoop? Good. You can throw it through a hoop behind this line? Even better.
It’s the arbitrary nature of sports which leave me finding them rather meaningless at times. When a man throws an oblong ball and another man catches it, the action doesn’t directly affect anything in the outside world. Wars are still fought. Diseases still kill. A ball passing through space doesn’t alter race relations or alter prejudices. It’s just an object traveling through space.