*Lazy Blogger Note - the draft diary is coming, I'm running into some formatting issues, but it's coming. I think. I hope.*
Welcome to the best first round of the NBA playoffs possibly in history, and definatly in recent memory. As the Hawks have pushed the Heat to the brink (and I might have figured out an in for tickets to the Highlight Factory), I thought I'd touch on my favorite subplots thus far:
5. Teams Openly Quitting on Coaches
Hornets and Jazz, come on down! Jerry Sloan has historically grated on teams over the course of a season, and this year appears to be no different. He disarmed AK-47, and those first two games were a portrait of a team that hates their coach. At least he was able to rally the troops in game 3, before falling in 5 like I said they would. And at least they didn't poop on their fans like the New Orleans Hornets. 58 points? 58 freaking points?!? I happened to be watching this monstrosity, and while I like watching history in action, I have no desire to watch a snuff film.
4. The Return of the 15-Second Rule
The rule that truly defines the playoffs. "Thou shalt not allow thy whistle to decide the game within the last 15 seconds." While the officiating has been wholly and completely inexcusable, the fact that they let Brad Miller side-slam Ray Allen, and then let Rondo knock his teeth out. Speaking of the C's point guard...
3. The Emergence of the Playoff Hero
Most years, this subplot would be, "The Securing of the Too Big Contract Next Year", but in our current economic climate, this will have to do. Players like Ray Allen, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant have all reminded us why they earn their money in May. But, we've also gotten to bear witness to the emergence of players who we either didn't expect, or had convinced ourselves that they would never 'get it': Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Ben Gordon, Derrick Rose, Josh Smith, Brandon Roy, Dwight Howard's elbow...lot of stepping up so far.
2. The Old School Series
This Hawks/Heat series has been a throwback for various reasons, cheif among them the physicality displayed by both squads. I don;t know how I feel about the prospect of WAY too much Zaza in Game 6, but I can't knock either team for playing their butts off. Except for when the Heat got out of the way to let Josh try that ridiculous dunk.
1. The Amazing
This is where amazing happens. Hokey ending, maybe, but you could play a black and white film of me making toast, set it to that music, and I'd tear up.