The 2013 NBA playoffs have been full of excitement with plenty of storylines. And those stories can be put to music.
The Miami Heat, in their quest to repeat as champions, really don't look like they are going to be stopped. But that won't slow down the rest of the Eastern Conference from trying to get in their way.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs have key and nagging injuries that has made the Western Conference wide open. And when is the last time the Los Angeles Lakers were swept in the first round?
To go with every team, here is a song that describes each playoff participant.
Brandon Jennings walked a lonely road saying that the Milwaukee Bucks would defeat Miami in six games. And I'm fairly certain that Jennings' "shadow was the only one that walked beside him" on that call.
In getting swept, not once did his team lose by single digits.
Winning one game would have been hoping for too much, and even that would have been a broken dream.
What a sad season for the Los Angeles Lakers.
They "Tried their best, but their best wasn't good enough."
Kobe Bryant "Gave his all, but his all might have been too much." Whether he admits it or not, the high-minute total had to have had at least a minor impact on his injury.
And now with Dwight Howard becoming a free agent, everyone is "Wondering if he oughta stay or head on out the door?"
Who knows what the future may bring, but "Just Once" it would have been fun to see Bryant, Nash, Howard, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace all healthy and how good the Lakers might have been.
In honor of Jay Z's last season as co-owner of the Brooklyn Nets, "Empire State of Mind" had to be the song for them.
The Nets finally ended up in Brooklyn this season. For them it's a place "where dreams are made and there's nothing you can't do, because now they're in New York. These streets will make them feel brand new, big lights will inspire them.”
It did get them into the postseason. However, they are going to need the entire city to inspire them if they want to get out of the first round.
But if their dream was to just make the playoffs, something the Nets haven’t done a whole lot of lately, then "let's hear it for New York, New York."
On the brink of elimination the Boston Celtics reached back and captured some of those old glory days.
Even if they don't make the comeback, the way they collapsed in the second half of the first two games with 25 and 23 total points in the second half respectively, it looks like "time has slipped away leaving them with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days."
Although, whatever happens in this postseason, it will remain that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had a great run in a Celtic uniform. With two NBA Finals appearances and one championship, they didn't leave much, if anything, on the floor.
While their days of championship contending are over, they can always "sit back and talk about their glory days."
The Atlanta Hawks are much better when they are playing at home. Their first two playoff games showed us that.
Everyone pretty much wrote off them after they traded Joe Johnson and began to look toward the future. And after they were blown out by the Indiana Pacers twice on the road, they were written off yet again as they looked like they were left for dead.
Then, they got back to Georgia.
There they looked like they belonged in the playoffs. Whether or not they will be able to win a game in Indiana is debatable, but in Atlanta they look like a team that can win a playoff series.
Really, the Houston Rockets could have won their first-round series by now.
They have two wins and had two other games in which they lost by three points. Both times they were within one possession of winning in the final minutes.
But their rookie or "Freshmen" mistakes cost them.
Errant passes and poor shot selection led to their inability to hold a lead late. They just didn't have the experience together to close games out.
However, this can be used as a learning curve for this team. Or now, with two straight wins, maybe they are learning on the fly and "won’t have to be held responsible" for their early series mistakes.
The Chicago Bulls are doing everything they can to survive without their star and former MVP Derrick Rose.
They didn't have home-court advantage in the first round and are dealing with Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich injuries, but still, they looked poised to make into the second round.
Is their play inspired by the hope that Rose might return to buoy their spirits?
It helps that Nate Robinson is playing out of his mind right now and the rest of the team and coach Tom Thibodeau are doing a great job. But without Rose, is there any chance they can get any further than the second round?
They would welcome Rose back in a heartbeat which would make them much more dangerous even if he played in limited minutes.
For now (to paraphrase the song) "They will wait, they will wait"...for Rose.
The Pacers love playing home games.
Only the Heat and New York Knicks had a better home record in the Eastern Conference. And as a No. 3 seed Indiana had a losing record away from home.
The playoffs have been more of the same, three home victories by a combined 55 points and two road losses by a combined 32 points.
Looking ahead, they were undefeated against Miami and New York in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. But the way it looks so far, winning at least one road game might not be possible, if only they had home-court advantage throughout.
"Mmmm, they want to go home."
Chris Paul is one of the best players in the NBA. When "He was young he never needed anyone" to help him...but he also wasn't winning 56 games in the regular season.
That's because he finally had a supporting cast to play with.
But now his teammates have left him out to dry, and he can't advance the Los Angeles Clippers "All by himself."
Now that Blake Griffin is hurt, the remaining supporting cast that helped set a franchise record for wins has to help Paul out.
It really looked like the Knicks were going to take that next step and become legit NBA Finals contenders.
They won 54 games, got the No. 2 seed and were up 3-0 against the Celtics.
As they were taking that "one step closer to the edge" of becoming a team that could contend with the Heat, now it just looks like they are going to break.
It feels like the Denver Nuggets took the Golden State Warriors a little too lightly.
Especially after seeing David Lee get hurt.
They were on the wrong end of a shooting spectacle in Games 2, 3 and 4, but after watching them get more physical in Game 5, you have to think that the Nuggets would want to go back and start this series over and make adjustments.
Both the Nuggets and Warriors play a similar style of basketball. That led Denver to having 10 more wins than Golden State this year.
But right now the Warriors have a 3-2 advantage. "If only they could go back and do it all over."
When David Lee, their All-Star, got hurt, they didn't throw in the towel.
They just started the next episode. Starting Jarrett Jack and moving Harrison Barnes to power forward galvanized the team, and Lee's absence allowed the rookies on this team to really step up along with the entire team.
And now that Denver has gotten more physical, "Hold up, hey, for my people who be thinking Golden State is soft" we'll see how well they react to the physicality.
Take a seat. Hope you're ready for the next episode from the Warriors.
"So this is what they meant" when the Memphis Grizzlies said they would be better off without Rudy Gay? Finishing four games out of first place and holding a 3-2 advantage over the Clippers?
Memphis has the defense, scoring and most importantly, with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, they become a matchup nightmare to play against any team. They are a tough physical team and "they never changing who they are."
So with Westbrook gone and with the way they matchup with the Spurs, "It's time to begin" for the Grizzlies to make a name for themselves and a run to the NBA Finals.
"No Easy Way Out" is perfect for the Oklahoma City Thunder for two reasons.
One, I get to post one of the greatest movie montages of all time and two, this same scenario and song is serendipitous.
Rocky Balboa at the time (of this video) was the champ.
The Thunder are currently the Western Conference defending champs.
Rocky lost his training partner in Apollo Creed. (In a fight that should have been stopped!)
Oklahoma City lost Russell Westbrook to a likely season-ending injury.
Rocky fought through that and ended up winning in the end. Can the Thunder do the same?
It's going to be difficult as it is no easy way to the NBA Finals without Westbrook.
However, Rocky managed to do it, and maybe so can the Thunder. They probably just need someone to yell to Kevin Durant, "You can't win."
The San Antonio Spurs may be old, but "Don't let that fool you about what's inside. There like one of those things that gets sweeter with time, they keep getting better as the days go by."
Again with no Westbrook and Tim Duncan playing as well as he ever has, same for Tony Parker, San Antonio looks like the team to beat in the West.
Manu Ginobili is banged up, but he is a gamer. So unless he breaks something, he will be out there ready to help the ageless Spurs in their quest to capture another NBA title.
By the looks of it, the playoffs are going to be very exciting. It is set up for tough battles in every round.
Tough for everyone who isn't Miami.
After winning an NBA championship, the Heat, most notably LeBron James, have a new sense of confidence. Which as we have seen by their collective performance, is a scary thing.
The way the Heat have looked this season and so far in the playoffs, it seems like they have every other remaining team in the NBA in check.
James did "pay his dues baby he know the rules," and now there might not be any stopping him or his team.