For me, NBA playoff time is one of the most exciting times in any sports season, particularly the first round. You get to see a collection of the finest and most gifted athletes and teams in all of sports performing on the biggest stage in their profession. My eight- and nine-year-old sons would rather spend their Sunday afternoon watching the NBA than anything Disney or Pixar could ever dream up.
I also believe the NBA has the worst reputation of having athletes that regularly demonstrate poor sportsmanship. We can especially see this during the intensity of the playoffs (remember this Metta Worldpeace elbow from last season’s Western Conference 2nd Round?).
It reminds me of the broo-ha that Charles Barkley set off in a circa 1993 Nike ad, claiming that he was not a role-model, and calling for parents to be the role models for their kids. At the time, I agreed 100% with Barkley and even parlayed that media into a B+ classroom* presentation (on the difference between “role models” and “heros”) in college.
I still agree with Sir Charles’ position, although I certainly wish, now that I have my own kids who are watching these guys, that they would make a better effort to be better role models. But at the end of the day, I’m the parent. Not LeBron James, not Kevin Durant, and not Metta Worldpeace.
What they see their favorite athletes doing on TV is magnified when your kids are athletes themselves. My kids are veterans of football, baseball, and yes, basketball. And they love to imitate what they see their favorite athletes doing on the court, for better or worse.
Dads, if you have kids watching the 2013 playoffs, be ready to teach when they wonder why someone who voluntarily calls himself “Worldpeace” felt like he had to clock James Harden in the head. Especially if they are athletes themselves. And I mean taking the time to sit down, one on one, and explaining why that stuff not only is not cool, but it’s also not sports.
The 2013 Playoffs – Round 1
(1) Oklahoma City vs. (8) Houston
Former teammates face off in this 1/8 series as James Harden will take on his former Thunder squad. With Harden and last season’s sensation Jeremy Lin, the Rockets are equipped with playmakers. The Thunder, however, simply have too many studs. OKC in 4.
(2) San Antonio vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers
I have heard a lot of sports media personalities predict that the Lakers would win this series. Did they happen to hear that Kobe Bryant was out for the season? LA should make this series more competitive than a typical 2/7 series, with a resurgent Dwight Howard playing well. However, any notion that this is a better team without KDB is ludicrous. Spurs in 6.
(3) Denver vs. (6) Golden State
This should be one of the most entertaining series of the first round. The Nuggest took a huge hit earlier this month, losing swingman Danilo Gallinari to a torn ACL. They will bring the NBA’s top-scoring offense up against one of the league’s premiere young stars, Golden State’s Stephen Curry. Bold(ish) Prediciton Alert: Golden State in 6.
(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (5) Memphis
The Memphis Grizzlies bring the league’s top scoring defense up against perhaps the most exciting team in the NBA. This series will be a rematch of the 2012 first-round matchup, which the Clippers won 4-3. I see this series turning out much the same. Clippers in 7.
(1) Miami vs. (8) Milwaukee
A warmup for Round 2. Miami in 4.
(2) New York vs. (7) Boston
The Knicks can score points seemingly at will. With this season’s scoring champion Carmello Anthony pacing the league’s highest scoring offense, the Knicks are built to win in any series. However, in a big series between rival cities, with perhaps the best playoff coach in the league, I’m calling the upset. Bold Prediciton Alert: Boston in 7.
(3) Indiana vs. (6) Atlanta
The Hawks are limping into the playoffs, having lost 5 of their last 7 games and falling from the 5th to 6th seed. Indiana, on the other hand, may be the most underrated team in the NBA, certainly in the Eastern Conference. Given another shot to put the Heat on the ropes, 2013 could be a different story. Indy in 5.
(4) Brooklyn vs. (5) Chicago
The Nets have made an impressive run in their first season in NYC, jumping from 4th-worst in the conference to 4th-best, and landing home-court for it’s first playoff series. This series pits two of the NBA’s top defensive teams, and will be worth watching if for no other reason than to see the first playoff series in the Barclays Center. With the return of Bulls’ guard Derrick Rose still in question, the Bulls may be poised to take a run at Miami in Round 2. Chicago in 6.
Who do you like in Round 1? Please leave your comments, and enjoy the playoffs!
*I believe to this day that this was most definitely A+ work, but stuff happens when your Psych professor is not a sports junkie.