NBA Playoff Make Over

LeBron James and the Miami Heat are ousting some of the more familiar faces from the NBA Playoffs. (AP)
LeBron James and the Miami Heat are ousting some of the more familiar faces from the NBA Playoffs. (AP)

Story lines?

For the vanquished Lakers, how about "Golden Franchise Sheds Grit To Dismay Of Glittering Fans?"

Or, better, "Hollywood Shocked By Horror-Show As Champions Turn Thug."

Now let's look east: "OK Needs Extra Rounds to KO Memphis."

And we haven't even gotten to the grand if tortured metaphor expressing what happens when age tangles with youth, in overtime or anytime: "Who Can Stand The Heat?"

The action in the current NBA post-season has been an advertisement for the game. Perhaps it has also confirmed the good judgment of fans who pay scant attention to the NBA until the playoffs. The long regular season determined very little, whereas some of the confrontations in the post-season have been decisive, as when Boston swept New York and Miami thumped Philadelphia, four games to one. A lot of the rest of the match-ups have reminded fans of what fun a best-of-seven game series can be.

But wait. There's been more.

The failure of the Los Angeles Lakers to win even a game against Dallas, and the frustration evident when two Lakers committed fouls serious enough to get them ejected from the final game of that series while the Mavericks were lobbing in three-pointers as if they were free throws provided the sort of what-a-falling-off-was-there melodrama that captures the attention of people who don't know hang-time from halftime.

The same can be said of the Miami-Boston series, albeit for different reasons. The Celtics are Boston, tradition, and old. The Heat is Florida and young, which sounds counterintuitive, but never mind. It's an oversimplification, but it's the sort of oversimplification that attracts interest.

Then, for fans who insist that a good series must go the distance, there has been the Memphis-Oklahoma City match-up. Game four went the distance plus three overtimes, and the series would seem likely to exhaust both teams before it ends.

And then there's suspense. In a sports world characterized by haves continuing to have as everybody else scrambles for the crumbs and promises to try to do better, the NBA post-season seems poised to provide…well, that's the great thing, isn't it? Who knows?

This program aired on May 12, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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