2022 Playoffs: Too Many Series, Not Enough Drama

Between having a full-time job with one heck of a commute between the city and the suburbs, living on the West Coast, and having had my evenings occupied with getting my new apartment set up the way I like it, I have generally been too busy to watch many games this past week. But checking in with ESPN and Basketball Reference and committing that cardinal sin of the writer of letting the box score do the job of actually watching the games, I can’t help but think I haven’t missed anything important. Sure, Minnesota’s giving Memphis all they wanted in …

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The Boston Celtics’ “Only Very Good” Problem

The Boston Celtics, by virtue of having won a convoluted three-way tiebreaker, took the 2 seed in the 2022 Eastern Conference. If they can get past the 7-seed Brooklyn Nets and the winner of the 3-seed Milwaukee Bucks and 6-seed Chicago Bulls in the second round, it will be Boston’s fourth appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in the past six seasons stretching back to 2017. The problem is that Boston hasn’t broken through and gone to the NBA Finals since 2010. And for a franchise whose 17 championships stand tied with the rival Los Angeles Lakers for the most …

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5 Ways to Fix the Broken NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are nearly upon us, and with them come a couple of games guaranteed to involve a team that posted a losing record (the two West play-in game teams, plus the Clippers if they lose their last two; they’re 40-40 at this writing.) The play-in games are pointless, and if the 34-46 Spurs lose their last two regular-season games and somehow turn it around in the play-in tournament, that 34-48 record will be the worst record by a playoff team since the 1988 Spurs got in after going 31-51. On the other hand, the East is showing why …

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With the #LOLakers Dead, What’s LeBron Got Left?

LeBron James is, at this point, playing purely for his legacy, putting any finishing touches he can on his GOAT argument before age catches up with him for good and sends him into retirement. Bron’s got four rings, including a ring in Cleveland in 2016 that came for his hometown against a team that went 73-9 in the regular season and had a 3-1 lead in the Finals. He’s got a “career triple double”, having notched his 10,000th rebound and 10,000th assist during this 2021-22 season to put the finishing touches on an accomplishment that no other player in NBA …

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The Annual Anti-Play-In Games Rant

If ever there were a concept in sports that bore repeating until the sun burned out its supply of hydrogen and the Earth burned up in the corona of a red giant star enveloping it in five or ten or however many billion years the solar system has left, it is this: The NBA Play-In Tournament is STUPID with a capital stupid. You could make the argument that the Eastern Conference at least hasn’t made a complete garbage fire out of it this year, as the 10th-place Atlanta Hawks stand 37-37, making all four play-in teams at least over .500. …

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The NBA Dunk Contest Is Obsolete

I am, by the standards of NBA fans, an old man. Even though I’m just 44, basketball’s demographic has always skewed more toward the Millennials, Zoomers, and whatever they’re going to call the generation that’s already started but who are going to be defined by being too young to have watched LeBron James play basketball—or if they do remember him, they’ll remember him the way kids born in the mid-’90s remember Michael Jordan, as “that old guy on the Wizards who used to be good.” Unlike baseball, where being a 44-year-old MLB fan makes you a kid by that league’s …

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The NBA’s “Omicron Asterisk” in 2022

The last three seasons of NBA basketball have been challenging to sort out if you’re the kind of person who isn’t a fan of making apples and oranges occupy the same history book. The 2019-20 season had a five-month hiatus, an eight-game abbreviated finish, and playoffs conducted entirely within a “bubble” where home court advantage instantly evaporated in a puff of COVID-scented smoke as all the games were in the same place and played to empty houses. Indeed, fans of the Phoenix Suns, who won all eight of their bubble games, stood at 34-39, and in any other season would’ve …

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Every NBA Team’s 2021 Christmas Present

Christmas and the NBA go together like hamburgers and J. Wellington Wimpy’s credit rating. As such, let’s take a look at all 30 NBA teams, from worst to first by conference, and play Santa Claus, giving every team its dearest holiday wish. No fancy intro this time out, just straight to opening presents like…well, like a kid on Christmas. Detroit Pistons: All Their Young Players Hit Their Best Possible Ceiling. The Pistons start three players—Cade Cunningham, Isaiah Stewart, and Killian Hayes—who are too young to drink the fun kind of egg nog on Christmas morning. Another starter—Saddiq Bey—is 22. And …

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Achtung Panzer! The 4-21 Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons, at 4-21 through games of December 10, hold the dubious distinction of not just being the worst team in the NBA in absolute terms in 2021 (although the 5-21 Orlando Magic are nipping at their heels) but being well on their way to the worst season in franchise history. They have zero double digit wins. The teams they have beaten have been terrible. They have the second-worst Net Rating—Orlando is worst. And it’s not like Dwane Casey is an awful coach. This is just a team that has had three straight years of the most utterly putrid …

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Brooklyn Nets…Or Broken Nets?

The Brooklyn Nets are 10-5 so far through games of November 16, having been clobbered 117-99 on their home floor by the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night. Their five losses have been against Milwaukee, Charlotte, Miami, Chicago, and the aforementioned Warriors, and the closest of those losses was by 13 points. That’s your defending NBA champions and three teams regarded as contenders, along with the ultimate wildcard of a Hornets team. And while Brooklyn is still third in the East and just a game behind surprising Washington for the top record in the conference, questions surround the Nets and whether …

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