So much for these NBA playoffs lacking entertainment.
If you can come away with one lesson from the postseason so far, it’s that no lead is safe on the hardwood. That’s bad news if you’re the Boston Celtics or one of the Los Angeles teams (Lakers and Clippers).
But that’s great news if you’re a fan of the sport. After a pretty stagnant opening round, the NBA’s second season is now growing more exhilarating by the day.
Much of that has to do with teams’ inability to hold large leads. On Friday night, the Celtics appeared headed towards a resounding knockout punch of the Philadelphia 76ers in Rocky Balboa’s hometown.
They were up by as much as 18 in the second half and appeared ready to cruise to a commanding 3-1 Eastern Conference Semifinals lead. However, Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday and the rest of Doug Collins’s young and hungry squad picked themselves up off the mat to score one of the most impressive postseason wins in franchise history.
On the opposite end of the country, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers stormed out of the gates to the tune of a 33-11 lead against Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs.
But like Duncan and crew have shown so many times before, they rode composure and a gigantic tidal wave in the form of 24 unanswered second-half points to a stunning 96-86 win at the Staples Center.
With the win, San Antonio is one step closer to an inevitable return to the Western Conference Finals. Later that night at Staples Center, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers appeared destined to tie their series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
They held what was thought to be a comfortable eight-to-10-point cushion throughout most of Game 4. But as we have learned in these playoffs, that kind of lead is nothing to overcome, especially for the dynamic duo of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
The two sliced and diced their way through a tiring Lakers defense in the final frame to steal a 103-100 victory and grab a 3-1 stranglehold in their series.
Regardless of who wins that compelling contest, it’s safe to say that David Stern and the league are winning out right now. After an ugly lockout, compressed regular season and disastrous opening round that saw marquee star Derrick Rose lost to a devastating knee injury, the NBA playoffs have rebounded nicely.
And as long as teams keep posting incredible comebacks like they have the past few days and star teams like the Celtics, Lakers and Heat are fighting for their playoff lives, the league’s diehard fans will be treated to the best postseason they’ve witnessed in a very long time.