This is going to be my stubborn column. You see I was all prepared to break down the biggest difference between the NHL and the NBA Playoffs.
“Come the playoffs skill takes a back seat in the NHL versus the NBA, upsets are the extreme exception in the NBA and the regular season is more important in basketball than it is in hockey.”
But then the Hornets tied their series with the Lakers at two, Memphis is up against the Spurs and Atlanta is a game away from upsetting the Magic.
You know what, I don’t care. I’m going all Captain Ahab on you, white whales be damned.
Because really do any of you think the Lakers are going to lose? This series is merely a reminder that Chris Paul is really super duper awesome, but in the end I don’t think any of us trust Trevor Ariza, Carl Landry, Emeka Okafor or Marco Belinelli to pull off the upset.
Hey let’s give credit to Memphis, this is a team that has never won a playoff game. But I’m sticking to my guns that the Spurs win, it’s just going to take them longer to do it than any of us ever expected it to take.
As for Orlando, can we really call this an upset when Hedo Turkoglu is in the starting lineup? He may be the worst player I have ever seen in the playoffs. Seriously; I’m half expecting him to rip off his jersey to reveal a Hawks jersey underneath. The man is literally murdering his team. My theory is that the Lakers are paying him millions to tank this series to infuriate Dwight Howard to the point where he is “F&#k-It I already have copied everything else Shaq has done, I’m going to play for the Lakers.” How else can you explain Turkoglu’s line of: 37 minutes, 7.8 PPG while shooting .229%. Oh my freakin GOD!!!!!!!
So I like to take small sample sizes and blow them up into big theories, it’s fun to do, especially in sports. I have always believed that the playoffs are about “grit” in the NHL vs. “skill” in the NBA when one name hit me to justify my beliefs … Dave Bolland.
Now this is not to say Bolland is one of those “lunch-box” players, which again is code for “not very skilled”. He is a multi faceted player. But Bolland is not exactly an all star. In 61 games he garnered 37 points while averaging 17:39 of ice time.
Out of the line-up the Sedin twins had plenty of space to do what they pleased. But with Boland’s return in the lineup Chicago has a hat trick going in the win column and the Glimmer Twins have one measly point and a Jason Voorhees esqu -13. Somewhere Hedo is nodding his head in approval at their performances.
This can only happen in hockey. Could you imagine one player being able to play such a vital role in shutting down two NBA superstars? Last year Ron Artest was brilliant against Kevin Durant, but it wasn’t like Ron-Ron was also shutting down Russell Westbrook. Yes it’s not just Bolland alone that’s getting it done, but the impact his return has had is stunning.
So really it comes down to what you want from your regular season & postseason:
NHL: Wild first round of the playoffs, unpredictable throughout, different Stanley Cup Champions every year BUT the regular season doesn’t mean as much because really who cares what seed you are? Just ask the Blackhawks about how much they’ve struggled this past week as a #8 seed.
NBA: First round of the playoffs is as predictable as porn with either multiple sweeps or the lower seed getting one mercy win, looking at you Pacers and 76ers. The downside is the first two weeks are boring but the playoffs get wildly interesting after that. The regular season has greater significance but in the end it usually is the same couple teams winning. On the flip side in the NBA whoever wins it all feels a bit more legitimate than in the NHL because in basketball in a seven game series the BEST team always wins.
I am not here to tell you what is better, just to clarify the differences.