Let’s talk about the playoffs. LaMarcus Aldridge is staking his claim as the best power forward in the game. Blake Griffin, meanwhile, is shakily maintaining his throne after a disappointing first game against the Golden State Warriors. Chris Paul’s family lineage indicates a history of assistance, but the fourth quarter is when he takes it all upon himself. The Mavs are stressing out the usually unflappable Spurs, whose now 38-year-old anchor must take more responsibility. Wizards gonna Wiz, and Grizzlies gonna Grizz. The Hawks are up on the toast of the East, the Indiana Pacers, and their defensive master has more in common with Russell Stover than Bill Russell. The Thunder are not dominating as usual. Even the Bobcats are pushing the mighty Heat, with Al Jefferson trying to do his best Willis Reed impersonation. This is the first round of the NBA playoffs. Does it get any better than this?
The halcyon days of Blake Griffin as “the world’s best dunk artist who just happens to play professional basketball” are over in Los Angeles. Without Chris Paul, Lob City has managed to go 12-6 without their leader and guide, Chris Paul, and Griffin’s magisterial performance in a losing effort against the Heat on February 5 was one of the most exciting and thought-provoking games of the season. Elsewhere, Dan Gilbert is doing his best not to foster a Steinbrenner-Martin relationship with Mike Brown, and the Lakers played out an near-video game scenario against those very same Cavaliers. Also, the Brow is an All-Star for the very first time, and Damian Lillard can destroy anything with a basketball in his hand.
Polar Vortex II has struck the Eastern Seaboard, but that is not stopping Kevin Durant from igniting the NBA with an insane scoring run. As of this moment in time, @KDTrey5 is the most unstoppable basketball player on this planet, and his herculean shooting in carrying the Thunder is making a certain injured teammate of his very excited. Elsewhere, Carmelo Anthony is almost certainly checking out how many frequent flyer miles he has accumulated so that he can book the fastest ticket out of New York, and Pierre the Pelican (AKA “Death, Destroyer of Worlds”) is reportedly getting a face lift in time for the All-Star Break.
A game winning shot hangs in the air for what always seems like eternity. When it’s your opponent lobbing up a prayer, only when the ball clanks off the rim can you let our a shy of relief that you’ve been holding in longer than you thought. But if the ball falls through that metal cylinder, you experience a sinking feeling in which all hope is lost. The final horn has sounded, and your team is behind on the scoreboard. There’s no last possession. Game over.
But if it’s your guy, your team, which wins on that shot, it’s easily the quickest swing of emotions in the sports watching world. The feeling of hopelessness and disappear immediately evaporates and is replaced with unbridled joy.
In this installment of the TwH NBA preview, we look at what will be one of the most competitive divisions in professional basketball, the Northwest. Kevin Durant has the weight of the world on his broad shoulders in the biggest small market in the league, Kenneth Faried is a double-double machine and Damian Lillard will drastically improve upon one of the finest rookie campaigns in recent memory as he returns the Pacific Northwest to basketball relevance. When they can avoid the infirmary, the Minnesota T’Wolves are one of the funnest teams in the league to watch, and the Utah Jazz are, under no circumstances, one of the funnest teams in the league to watch.