While the Cleveland Cavaliers have so far breezed through the playoffs, so have the Golden State Warriors.
The former swept the Indiana Pacers and then the Toronto Raptors. Eight games up, eight wins.
The latter did the same to the Portland Trail Blazers and then the Utah Jazz. 8-0 so far.
Meanwhile, the other two series continue.
The Boston Celtics are in quite a battle with the Washington Wizards. It could well go the full seven games.
Same with the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets. Two heavyweights slugging it out in Texas.
Who will win either of these series' remains to be seen. But one thing's for sure. They're going to be a whole lot more gassed than the Cavs or Warriors for the next series.
Those guys get to sit around, let the little bumps, bruises, and strains heal up, go through easy practices, and study both their possible future opponents while they're beating each other's brains out on the court.
True, they are many that have long thought a Cleveland/Golden State III -- a rubber match if you will -- has long been a foregone conclusion. And it may very well come to that.
Also true is Golden State still has home court advantage throughout the playoffs, up to and including the Finals. Yet they had that last year, but fell to Cleveland -- even after leading the series 3 games to 1.
On the other side, Boston, somewhat surprisingly, overtook Cleveland for the best regular season record in the East. If they can dispatch that pesky Wiz, advantage Beaners in the eastern finals. Or maybe not. Last time Cleveland went to Boston, they spanked them rather handily. And does anybody really want to bet against Lebron and Co. when the playoffs start?
Still, it doesn't seem fair that the two overwhelming favorites get some serious R and R while their future competition is wearing each other out.
The Spurs/Rockets hardly have the luxury of studying the Warriors on TV while they remain locked in a battle themselves. Same for the Celtics/Wizards regarding the Cavaliers.
But that's just how it goes sometimes. As has been mentioned in this space in the past, Gregg Popovich has always been right about one thing. It's time for "big boy" basketball.
When the bell rings, ya gotta answer it and come out fighting. Any excuses about being tired, beat up, or ceding home court advantage matter not one whit.
Champions sometimes have to overcome all such obstacles.
But if I'm Cleveland or Golden State, I rather like the position I'm in right now. The catbird seat, as it were. Let the other guys keep slugging it out.
We'll be there waiting for them when the time comes.
For either of these teams to get knocked off in their respective conference finals would be huge upsets indeed.
But ya never know......
Regardless, it raises an interesting possibility. Could both Cleveland and Golden State "sweep" their way into the NBA Finals with 12-0 playoff records? Maybe, though whatever competition emerges from the other series' is going to be a definite step up from what they've seen so far. Still, it could happen.
But then something would have to give in a big way.
Because no matter how you slice it or dice it, either Cleveland or Golden State is going to lose four games in the Finals -- if they get there.
Somebody's going to be happy, hoist the championship trophy, and have a parade in their home town. Fair enough.
But somebody else is going to wonder what the hell happened and how did the wheels fall off so fast?