Sometimes one can't help but wonder whether the playoff format has grown too big. After all, 8 teams from each conference qualify.
Sure, I get it. Everybody wants to be in the playoffs. Bazillions of dollars stand to be made by owners, players, staffs, and the networks lick their lips over the big time advertising money that will pour in. It's the American way.
Still, some match-ups are foregone conclusions before the first game even starts. Witness Cleveland brooming Indiana, and then Toronto. See Golden State do the same to both Portland and Utah. There was no chance -- ZERO -- that any of these underdog teams would be able to pull an upset in a seven game series.
True, hard core fans in such cities really want to believe that anything is possible, but it's really not. They can root, root, root all they want, and likely forego a house payment to attend one of the games at ridiculous jacked-up prices, but their team has about the same chance as a Republican politician would in San Fran or LA. Spend all the money they want but, forget winning, it ain't gonna happen. The other guys are just that much better.
For the most part, the first couple rounds of the playoffs are just to get the riff-raff out of the way. Maybe a team here or there will "steal" a single game from a vastly superior opponent (yours truly thought the Raptors and Jazz might -- MIGHT -- do so). But no, they were unceremoniously swept aside.
But it will start to get interesting shortly. Whichever team emerges from the San Antonio/Houston series will be, by far, the toughest competition Golden State has seen yet. Could either conceivably knock off the Warriors? Unlikely. The Spurs have already lost point guard Tony Parker, and the Rockets big man Nene. To knock off the Oakland boys, especially already ceding home court advantage, either of these teams would need to be at full strength and play their absolute best A games during the series. A mighty tall order even BEFORE the injuries. The Warriors appear to have rounded back into their juggernaut selves and appear virtually unbeatable, barring any key injuries of their own. Ya never know about that stuff.
In the East, few think the Boston Celtics, even holding home court advantage (and assuming they finally dispatch those pesky Washington Wizards), pose much of a threat to Lebron and the Cavaliers in the eastern finals.
Idle thought in the "This dude has a lot of nerve department".
Golden State's Draymond Green recently came out and said he considers Boston's Kelly Olnyk to be a "dirty" player. Really? Isn't this the same Draymond Green that kept delivering thunderous kicks to the groins of opposing players last year? The very same clown that finally got rightfully suspended for a game for taking yet another swipe at Lebron's "junk" in the Finals last year? Let's not forget that happened in Game 4 of the Finals last year. Afterwards, Golden State would lead 3-1. But without Draymond in Game 5, AT Golden State, the tide turned. The Cavs won a game few thought they could or would. Then came games 6 and 7. The momentum had clearly shifted and we know how it turned out. Nobody wants to talk about it, especially Draymond, but it could be argued the GS loss in the Finals last year was squarely his fault -- from his own thuggish play. And he has the utter audacity to call Kelly Olnyk dirty? The hypocrisy is mind-numbing.
Interesting how some of the "experts" say Golden State has a whopping 93% chance of knocking off Cleveland in the Finals. That seems like a pretty high number. Last time I looked, the Cavs, with Lebron, Kyrie, Kevin, and Co. were rolling right along themselves. And they weren't supposed to win last year either -- remember?
We shall see indeed, but first things first. The Celtics aren't exactly patsies, nor are the Spurs or Rockets. They all got some serious game. It's no slam dunk the Cavs and Warriors will dispatch them in the conference finals. And even if they do, they will be hard fought series. Again, who knows when the injury monster might rear his ugly head? Could happen to anybody at any time.
One can also wonder whether interim GS head coach Mike Brown, subbing for Steve Kerr who remains out with back problems, will be able to keep the Warriors purring along. In other words, not doing something stupid to screw it up. Brown has a history of being a failure elsewhere in years past when the pressure got ratcheted up. Let's just say he's no stranger to being fired as an underachieving head coach.
So yep, it will be getting down to the nitty-gritty pretty quick now.
As San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich has been known to say --- it's time for "Big Boy" basketball.
Bring it on.......