Wednesday, February 20, 2008
OK, so it happened. The unthinkable. Colorado, for one night, got revenge for that whole World Series thing. Phony got his revenge for me continually (yet, believe me, accidentally) bringing up the Padres before the new season washes away the pain of the Holliday incident. Allen Iverson got revenge on Rajon Rondo for that nasty fake behind-the-back thing he does to veteran guards (though you'd think Sam Cassell got enough revenge by clocking his jugular).
Even crazier, the Celtics dropped a winnable game against an opponent deemed lesser than themselves. Forgive me for bragging, but that hasn't happened all that often this year. I get the feeling it will happen a lot more as the post All-Star hangover wears away. They have exactly four cares in the world right now come playoff time: Dwight Howard, Chauncey Billups, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett's stomach muscle. The East, barring major mishaps, will be series of 81-75 games and will await Reggie Miller's tiresome jawing and off-the-cuff mispronounced phrasings.
Meanwhile, the West just solidified what could be the greatest playoff alliance in the history of the free world. When, basketball fans, can any of us remember a time so loaded with talent in one league from the aging vets (Kidd, Shaq, etc.) all the way down to their super-young counterparts (Bynum, MVPaul, etc.)? When? All in one side of the league? Are you sure?
The Nuggets win tonight isn't just exciting for Phony, it's exciting for all basketball fans. Yeah, Garnett was hurt, but he played and the Nuggets won. They just catapulted above 16 other West teams that had not been able to beat the team with the NBA's best record-- including the Spurs (who got no Garnett at all). Let's project the following teams into the playoffs in no order: Suns, Spurs, Lakers, Mavs, Hornets, Jazz, Rockets, Nugs/Warriors. Each of these teams has the potential to push a seven game series-- proven by the fact that the Nuggets are 1 game above the Warriors right now for the final spot, and they just beat the Celtics.
Random conjecture: If the Suns win the West and draw the eight-seed Warriors, HOW FUN WOULD THAT BE? HOLY SHIT. NOTHING BUT 133-131 shootouts? YES PLEASE. If the Lakers came into the third spot and had the Hornets (who I think will finish well below their current projection), who is going to stop Chris Paul? In that case, who will stop anyone? Consider this:
MAVS: Kidd, Nowitzki, Howard, etc.
LAKERS: Kobe, Bynum, Gasol
SUNS: Amare, Shaq, Nash
SPURS: Champions, etc.
NUGGETS: 'Melo, Iverson, whomever they trade for
ROCKETS: Yao, oh nevermind. They are out in the first round.
JAZZ: Deron, Boozer, team ethic/angry coach. Western Conference finalist last year, remember?
HORNETS: MVPaul, West, Chandler-- sure it ain't enough, but it will be fun to watch.
and then there's the WARRIORS, with he most improved player in the league Monta Ellis. His game will warrant a whole other post. It's undeniably perfect for that team RIGHT NOW.
The big three on any of these teams are as good as any other team, with the exception of the Hornets' youth (but still, MVPaul) and the Nuggets possible trade possibilities. The playoffs are promising to be the best we may ever see or even better, so as the season progresses, I am going to find a way to (not quite) fully and (un)extensively report on each of the contenders in the West until I am out of steam or I hyper-extend my brain... whichever comes first. I'm sure Phony will help, despite our lack of allegiance this evening.
One thing his for sure-- whatever happens will be fucking outstanding.