NBA Playoffs: Themes That Aren't Basketball
The NBA playoffs are in full effect and fans everywhere are waiting to see who will meet in the finals. The commercials tell me that this postseason is BIG, and I would have to agree. The amount of story lines coming from the hardwood is ridiculous.
- Spurs' 20-game win streak
- LeBron's stats
- Dwyane Wade's "I'm not that good—just kidding, I am" routine
- The Celtics fighting for one last hurrah
- Oklahoma City Thunder's quest to accept the torch of having the best player and team
- Philadelphia's run as an 8 seed
- Lakers' struggles
- Pacers' relevance in the NBA
And these are just coming off the top of the head. Undoubtedly there are many more.
However, the main buzz throughout the playoffs has been what's happening off the court.
NBA fans are being treated to stories as interesting off the floor as they are on.
I'm not sure which they care about more.
Who's Not Playing
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
I don't know what the players did to piss off the lines on the court, but they had their revenge.
The first day of the playoffs resulted in a devastating ACL injury to Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose after his knee gave out during a jumpstop. The Bulls never recovered and were one of few No. 1 seeds to be bounced by a No. 8 in NBA history.
New York Knicks upstart rookie point guard Iman Shumpert also sustained an ACL injury in the first day of the playoffs, also untouched.
I don't have to tell you that Jeremy Lin didn't play, because you don't live under a rock.
The Knicks also had personnel problems when apparently a fire extinguisher tossed a "your momma" joke at Amare Stoudemire. The star forward replied by throwing a haymaker in kind. The safety device won by unanimous decision and Stoudemire had to sit out one game during the first round series with the Heat.
Also, Rajon Rondo served a one-game suspension for "tripping" into a referee, earning an ejection.
Those pesky court lines are everywhere.
Dwight Howard's absence was felt in the Orlando's Magic first round series loss to the Indiana Pacers. Subsequently, head coach Stan Van Gundy has been fired and after committing to the organization this past season, Howard wants out.
Or maybe he doesn't. Or maybe he does...
Finally, prior to the playoffs Metta World Peace threw possibly one of the dirtiest elbows in all of sports at the Thunder's James Harden. Metta sat out most of the first round series.
Flops! Flops Everywhere!
Flopping could be considered an on-court issue. I'm just selling it as an off-court one.
See what I did there?
Whether it's because Jeff Van Gundy nearly has kittens on national television every time he sees one, or the fact that they are actually getting worse by the year, flopping is taking center stage in the NBA.
David Stern addressed the issue to ESPN during the Heat-Pacers series.
"I think it's time to look at (flopping) in a more serious way," Stern said, "because it's only designed to fool the referee. It's not a legitimate play in my judgment. I recognize if there's contact (you) move a little bit, but some of this is acting. We should give out Oscars rather than MVP trophies."
Fueled by Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph calling out the Los Angeles Clippers, and pretty much everyone else pointing a finger at the Miami Heat, the flop is quickly evolving from a lost art to a prima donna play.
The league is reluctant to instate punishments for it as it's a referee's judgement call, but fans and Jeff Van Gundy are certainly advocating for it.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Officiating has always been the cause of problems for losing teams everywhere. Nobody complains about the refs if their team wins.
The NBA officials have been running around willy-nilly with their whistles, slapping technicals 82 times to players so far this postseason.
Some of them are deserved. Take, for example, Danny Granger getting up in LeBron James' business at seemingly random times.
Some of them are just not.
This was on showcase in the Celtics game one loss to the Heat, where technicals were handed out at a few questionable times.
Coach Doc Rivers was assessed for one, uttering the phrase "C'mon Eddie" as his crime. Rivers would later say that the tech was the worst he's ever received.
The technical fouls aren't deciding the outcome of the games—yet.
It is something the league will want to address moving forward, though.
I'm Not Saying It Was Aliens...
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
If there's a single word that the NBA loathes it's got to be conspiracy.
However, that's exactly what they have on their hands after the NBA lottery.
Fans everywhere are yelling foul after the New Orleans Hornets landed the number one pick in the upcoming draft. Moving up from the No. 4 spot, the Hornets had a 13.7 chance of getting the number one going in, and now hold the rights to draft a franchise player in Anthony Davis.
This being after a season where David Stern blocked a trade of Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, that Stern deemed in the best interest of New Orleans. Needless to say, fans everywhere were outraged.
Everything worked out in the end, with the Hornets securing the number one pick.
I'm not going to say that the NBA lottery was fixed. But doing the draw behind closed doors and asking fans to go on their word isn't helping calm the buzz.