Opinion corner: NBA playoffs deliverThis year’s NBA playoffs have been fantastic, and there has been an abundance of storylines. Some of these storylines are new and noteworthy, like Amar’e Stoudemire putting his hand through a fire extinguisher case or Derrick Rose tearing his ACL. A possible changing of the guard in the Western Conference to the young Oklahoma City Thunder is another intriguing topic. However, while some themes excite, other storylines have been played out and driven into the ground.
By: Casey Johnsons, The Jamestown Sun
This year’s NBA playoffs have been fantastic, and there has been an abundance of storylines.
Some of these storylines are new and noteworthy, like Amar’e Stoudemire putting his hand through a fire extinguisher case or Derrick Rose tearing his ACL. A possible changing of the guard in the Western Conference to the young Oklahoma City Thunder is another intriguing topic. However, while some themes excite, other storylines have been played out and driven into the ground.
We all know that LeBron James is a great basketball player. He might very well go down as one of the top 10 greatest players of all time. We also all know that LeBron James has never won a championship and that he has not developed the kind of clutch, killer instinct that stars like Jordan and Kobe had/have. But, like I said, we already know this, and it’s getting extremely annoying to have to listen to analyst after analyst break down his late game decisions and his inability to hit game-winning shots.
Most recently, we had to hear about this ineptitude following Game 2 of the Boston-Miami Eastern Conference Finals. Sure, he missed on a potential game-winning drive and a game-winning jump shot, but people miss shots. That’s basketball. They were both pretty good looks, and he just didn’t convert. End of story. I know that he’s a great player, and great players are supposed to make big shots. But I’ve grown bored with the constant debating about how his legacy is affected every time he doesn’t come through in the clutch. Honestly, I hope that he wins a championship soon just so that we don’t have to hear about it anymore.
However, I don’t want LeBron to win a championship this year because that means he will have defeated my beloved Celtics. And if anyone knows about recurring, played out storylines, it’s the Celtics.
Since Kevin Garnett hurt his knee during the second season of the “Big 3” and the team was knocked out in the second round without him, critics and analysts have continued to say that the window for the Celtics to be a legitimate championship contender has been closed. However, the next year, they made the NBA Finals before losing to the Lakers in seven games, and this season, they find themselves just one win away from upsetting the Heat and advancing to the NBA Finals. I’m not predicting a championship this season, by any means, I’m just saying that, despite being written off three years ago, they’re still a contender with the same core group of starters.
Another recurring theme is that if the Celtics win or play well, their experience is often given as the reason. However, when they play poorly, their age receives the blame. As a Celtics fans, I certainly understand that age has limited the Celtics in many ways, namely their lack of athleticism. But it’s that same age and NBA experience that has them in the Eastern Conference Finals. They might play a step slower, but like a savvy YMCA noon ball veteran, they use their intelligence and the tricks of the trade that they’ve accumulated over the years to beat their opponents.
Still, when they lose, NBA analysts will say things like, “They just looked old tonight.” I disagree. They ALWAYS look old. There’s no night-by-night variation. The “Big 3” consists of Paul Pierce (34 years old), Kevin Garnett (36), and Ray Allen (36). They ARE old for NBA standards. There is no way around it. It’s comical to watch analysts laud their experience after wins and blame their age for losses.
I understand that NBA analysts are expected to come up with abundant insights during and after every game, but it gets old hearing them circle this metaphorical merry-go-round that is the topic of the Celtics age versus their experience. If they lose a game, please center your explanations on tangible deficiencies, such as turnovers, poor shot selection, free throw disparity, and lazy help defense, not their age. After all, their age and experience are directly intertwined, and the Celtics, at the end of the day, are still playing while many younger teams watch from home.
These NBA playoffs have been filled with great storylines and talking points, so let’s please let these old ones die.
Johnson is a 2007 graduate of Jamestown High School. He lives and works in the Twin Cities. Read his blog at www.http://caseyjohnson.wordpress.com/