Power Ranking the 2012 Playoff Series That Would Make the Best Movies

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2012

Power Ranking the 2012 Playoff Series That Would Make the Best Movies

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    The 2012 NBA Playoffs have played out like a movie up to this point, especially now that the Boston Celtics have turned a two-game lead for the Heat into a three-to-two lead for themselves, just like the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    With the possibility of five seven-game series coming out of these playoffs, Hollywood must be scrambling to get scripts together and actors signed for each and every one of these series.

    Now, some of these movies are obviously going to be better than others, especially when you consider the fact that three of the series in the playoffs have been sweeps so far, but that doesn't mean those are going to be bad movies, necessarily. 

    So, in anticipation of these series getting made into movies, for each film I've put together a storyline, given a lead actor, and gone ahead and thrown together a quick, little review—just so you guys know which ones will be the best. 

14. San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz

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    Lead Role

    Tyler Perry as everyone on the Jazz, and Eddie Murphy as everyone on the Spurs. We're going all out for this one.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    Nothing could make this a dramatic, interesting series, so we're going for generic, exploitative comedy that the masses will love. The old standard in guys playing multiple characters, Eddie Murphy is everyone from Tony Parker to Greg Popovich in this one, and Tyler Perry squares off with him as everyone from Al Jefferson to Gordon Hayward.

     

    Critic's Take

    A predictable romp full of crude humor and immature jokes actually ends up being the most watchable thing by Eddie Murphy in years and the most watchable thing by Tyler Perry ever. But that's not saying much.

13. Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic

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    Lead Role

    Ron Jeremy plays Stan Van Gundy.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    Our story starts out with the press conference from a few months back when Stan Van Gundy finds out that Dwight Howard wants him fired, and actually ends up being pretty hilarious in the hands of Ron Jeremy. Howard goes down, and Van Gundy realizes that his only hope of getting the Magic to choose him over Howard is to take down the Pacers—or at least make it a good series.

    The series start and an elated Van Gundy coaches the Magic to an upset win in the first game in Indiana, but then loses four straight. He begrudgingly accepts his fate and hilariously trashes the owner's office as he leaves. Laughs are had all around.

     

    Critic's Take

    This isn't a film that pulls any punches, the jokes are very straightforward. They are sometimes compelling, and Ron Jeremy isn't terrible as the rotund Stan Van Gundy. Not worth seeing in the theaters, but in all, not a terrible movie.

12. San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Clippers

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    Lead Role

    Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton) plays Chris Paul.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    Chris Paul comes into Los Angeles, looking at the fun bunch of guys he's playing with, a smile on his face and the future bright. The team comes out of the first playoff round with a big win over the Grizzlies, who are portrayed as any "evil" generic sports team would be in the movies, but the old guard Spurs come into town and look damned intimidating.

    Paul struggles to find a way to beat them himself, whether it be with his superb passing, his defense or his taking over the game with the ball. In the end, Los Angeles is badly beaten, but Paul comes away with a better understanding of how to be the best man he can be. His son makes multiple appearances throughout the movie, being cute as the dickens.

     

    Critic's Take

    Not a bad movie, in general. Compelling story with an unexpected, non-fairy-tale ending, with a lead who we haven't seen much of lately. Ribeiro looks overwhelmed as an actor at times, but it's still a fun movie with a bit of a lesson at the end of the day.

11. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers

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    Lead Role

    Kevin Hart on stilts plays Kevin Durant.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    The movie starts at the end of the regular season, with the game between the Lakers and Thunder in which Metta World Peace elbowed James Harden in the head giving motive and drive to the story.

    Kevin Hart goes through the movie as Kevin Durant, making sarcastic jokes along the way. Jokes about his "Doodle Jump" commercial are thrown around, and at the end of the movie, when the Thunder knock back the Lakers, he stares down World Peace, who drops his head in silence and walks off the court.

     

    Critic's Take

    It's a movie that's not funny enough to be a comedy and not serious enough to be a drama, but in all, it's a movie that's not terrible enough to be called bad. It's a decent basketball movie with retribution in mind and a final resolution, so not terrible at the end of the day.

10. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks

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    Lead Role

    David Hasselhoff plays Dirk Nowitzki because--well, Germany.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    The NBA season ends with an out-of-shape Dirk Nowitzki looking forward to the playoffs as if they were a delicious, greasy cheeseburger. The fire in his eyes is back after winning a ring the season before, but the drive in his feet and the talent in his team aren't there in the same quantity.

    With a handful of appearances by Jim Carrey as Rick Carslisle, the big German and the funnyman work together to try to find an answer for the Thunder, the team they took down in the Western Conference Finals in the previous year.

    In the end, they play the games close, but can't come away with a single win. The desire is back in Dirk's eyes to work hard in the offseason and get back to that pinnacle of 2011.

     

    Critic's Take

    At first glance, the thought of Hasselhoff and Carey working together is terrifyingly abhorrent, but for some reason it seems to work out. Hasselhoff as Dirk is a caricature of what the big man actually was during the season—some would say a complete lie—but taking a few liberties with the story definitely ended up being a good idea.

9. Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks

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    Lead Role

    Ray Allen plays Ray Allen.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    Ray Allen makes his glorious return to the screen for the first time in over a decade with his portrayal of himself in a re-creation of the first-round series between the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics.

    Allen is the embodiment of the team. Ailing with a sore ankle, Allen is unable to play in the first two games of the series and has limited minutes as the series goes along. But he's vocal in encouraging his team, and every time he steps on the floor, he's an inspiration.

    Game 6 comes along, and Allen is struggling, having missed every shot he's taken in the game so far. But with the game tied at 80 in the waning seconds, Allen gets the ball and hits a deep three to win the game and the series.

    That's not the way the series ended, but for the sake of our movie, you'd better believe that's how it ended.

     

    Critic's Take

    Ray Allen knows how to play himself well, and we all know that he knows how to play an inspirational basketball player. This movie, while coming across as cheesy at times, really hits home on the usual sports movie messages: determination, perseverance, etc.

8. Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks

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    Lead Role

    Xzibit plays Carmelo Anthony.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    The New York Knicks are facing a tough challenge going into the first round of the playoffs, what with their phenom point guard out with an injury, but they're determined to take down the better, more talented Heat team.

    A rash of injuries tear them apart, and their own stupidity hurts them a bit when Amar'e Stoudemire decides to smack a fire extinguisher. And in the end, they come out at the bottom of the pile, though maybe they've learned something about themselves.

     

    Critic's Take

    Xzibit is hilariously bad as Carmelo Anthony, but for some reason, it all works out well with the unintentional comedy that was the New York Knicks that season.

    The struggle between seriousness and accidental comedy is won in a landslide by comedy, which ends up making the movie more worthwhile than it would have been as a drama.

7. Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

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    Lead Role

    Dr. Dre plays Paul Pierce.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    The aging Paul Pierce has read all the headlines and the analysts' views on the direction of his team. This is their last year together, there's no doubt about it. After a first-round victory over the Atlanta Hawks, they're faced with the athletic, defensively sound Philadelphia 76ers.

    Pierce and his boys are slowed down to a crawl by the 76ers. They miss more shots than they ever could have imagined, and things get rough between the two teams. The series drags out to seven games, and thanks to a total team effort—and an explosion by Rajon Rondo after Pierce fouls out—Boston wins the series.

    The movie culminates with Dre as Paul Pierce on the sidelines, vociferously cheering on his team as they pull out the win. It ends with Pierce slowly walking over to a visibly drained Andre Iguodala and embracing him in a show of respect.

     

    Critic's Take

    It shouldn't be surprising that Dr. Dre is good at yet another thing, but his portrayal of the aging, contemplative Paul Pierce was pretty much dead-on. He grabs every emotion and pulls it out, especially at the end of the movie as he patrols the sidelines and ratchets up the intensity. It doesn't hurt that he looks the part of the aging, steadily widening Pierce, either.

6. Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat

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    Lead Role

    Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Dwyane Wade.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    Cuba Gooding Jr. portrays Dwyane Wade as an increasingly moody member of the Miami Heat who is tired of hearing the constant criticism from the media and the torrid boos from every stadium he goes to. 

    It all comes to a head in Game 3 of the series against the Pacers as a struggling Wade starts yelling at his coach. He then decides that enough is enough and takes over the next three games, winning each one for his team.

     

    Critic's Take

    Cuba Gooding Jr. is immaculate as the moody, sometimes brooding Dwyane Wade, and he portrays the shooting guard better than even Wade could have himself. As a movie that adds a bit of motive to the storyline, it makes it seem even more realistic than the series was itself.

5. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets

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    Lead Role

    Kobe Bryant plays himself.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    In Kobe Bryant's debut as a Hollywood leading man (on the big screen at least), he portrays himself dealing with the constantly problematic Lakers that he plays with and the increasingly difficult Nuggets. Bryant recreates every point of the series, calling out his teammates and everything, and at the end of the series, there's the same sense of unease moving forward, leaving a bit of a cliffhanger of sorts.

    JaVale McGee provides tremendous comic relief.

     

    Critic's Take

    Kobe Bryant is surprisingly good in his first leading role in a movie, portraying himself. He seems to have a memory bank, able to pull every emotion back out—as if what had happened in the series happened just seconds ago. Entertaining movie with a satisfying ending, even though it answers few questions.

4. Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies

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    Lead Role

    Method Man as Kenyon Martin. That's right we're centering this one around K-Mart, so it's gonna be damn good.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    The movie starts with Kenyon Martin on a plane back from China as his agent negotiates a deal for his release from the Xinjiang Flying Tigers. Then they land and sign a deal with the Clippers for the rest of the season.

    Martin silently pushes through the season as something of a hired gun, not doing much offensively, just playing hard defense and putting guys in their place. Once the playoffs roll around, he plays an integral role with his toughness in a seven-game series with the Grizzlies, which the Clippers eventually win.

     

    Critic's Take

    An interesting way to make the movie, indeed, but once it all comes together in the end and finishes with the uncertainty with which it started, it seems to be the best possible way. Method Man as Kenyon Martin isn't great, but he's not bad, either, kind of like Kenyon Martin as a player at this point—so maybe he was the perfect guy to play the big, mean forward.

3. Chicago Bulls vs. Philadelphia 76ers

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    Lead Role

    Michael Rapaport plays Brian Scalabrine. 

     

    Basic Plot Line

    The story centers around the seldom-used but undeniably important Brian Scalabrine as the Chicago Bulls start their quest for an NBA title with a series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Scalabrine cheers from the bench as his team wins Game 1, but stares on in horror as Derrick Rose goes down with a torn ACL.

    The series moves on without Rose as Scalabrine becomes a vocal leader from the bench, urging his guys on as the series gets tougher and more drawn out. He never even comes on in the series, but somehow ends up playing a part in every game as the Bulls end up losing in six games.

     

    Critic's Take

    It is the role Michael Rapaport was born to play, and he plays it as well as, or better than, anyone else could have. You wouldn't imagine that a basketball movie with the viewpoint of a guy who didn't play a single minute of real basketball would be this good, but it really is a classic.

2. San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, Western Conference Finals

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    Lead Role

    Lil' Bow Wow (Is he still Lil'? I don't know these things) plays Russell Westbrook.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    The movie starts out with both teams wrapping up their second-round matchups, the Spurs sweeping the Clippers, and the Thunder finishing off the Lakers. The series plays out with the Spurs thrashing the Thunder in San Antonio, Russell Westbrook getting torn apart by the media, and the Thunder looking dead in the water.

    Oklahoma City goes on to win the next three games as the Spurs retreat back into themselves, thanks in part to the gutsy (albeit poor) shooting of Westbrook. The movie will either conclude with the Thunder finishing off the Spurs, or Oklahoma City letting it get away

    Either way, the movie ends with Tony Parker coming up to Westbrook and giving him an approving nod, respect for the series he played.

     

    Critic's Take

    Bow Wow does, by far, his best job in any basketball movie up to this point, as he's much better being like Russ compared to being like Mike. The movie is an interesting take on the older generation against the younger, highlighting the respect that exists between the two. In the end, it was hard to root against either team, however.

1. Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat, Eastern Conference Finals

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    Lead Role

    Forest Whitaker plays Doc Rivers.

     

    Basic Plot Line

    This movie's got everything: good versus evil, old versus young, basketball—what else could you need?

    It starts out with the old Celtics looking, well, old. They seem to have very little chance of winning a game after two losses, but in the locker room after Game 2, Forest Whitaker delivers the speech of a lifetime as Doc Rivers, and the Celtics reel off three straight wins.

    Rivers' team is either going to win this game in Boston as the championship banners peer down at them, or they're going to let Miami get back home and have to take them down at home.

    The ending is still being worked out.

     

    Critic's Take

    Forest Whitaker puts forth an Oscar-worthy performance as Doc Rivers, capturing the desire and doubt in his voice. He wills his team to win as he wonders whether or not he has the will to win himself, eventually leading them back from a 0-2 hole to lead the series 3-2.

    Symbolic victories may not be as sweet, but this is one to suckle on for a while, because it's damn impressive.

     

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