Sunday, April 26, 2009
The Playoffs: When is enough enough?
As I type this, the Cleveland Cavaliers are mercifully taking the Detroit Pistons out behind the barn to put them out of their misery. It's about as merciful as a 20 point blowout can be.
It's the kind of game that makes me wonder if there's any hope that the NBA will take the playoffs back to a five-game series in the first round, because there's no need to even play this game. In fact, the only reason why I'm still watching it is because my remote is too far away from my computer.
Really, from Game 1, the Pistons have played like they didn't even want to be here. I understand that Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace are hurt, but they haven't even really tried to win this series. The only reason to keep it going is because there's always the chance that LeBron is going to give the NBA some more highlights to play in slow motion, but when a lower-seeded team is down 0-3 in the first round, they should be given the option to save face and forfeit instead of suffering another blowout. After all, they're not coming back, because if ESPN has taught us nothing, it's that 85% of teams down 0-3 lose the series.
I think, when it comes to the first round, seven games is just too much. In most cases, by the time Game 4 rolls around, the point was made at least a game and a half ago. Making the Pistons and Cavs play Game 4 is just overkill, unless the point is to demoralize the Pistons. As I type this, there are more Cavs fans in the building than Pistons fans, and they're chanting "MVP" for LeBron.
To put it in perspective, the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds of the NFL Draft contain more suspense than some of these games.
For instance, The Lakers have beaten the Jazz. That series is over. The Mavericks have beaten the Spurs. San Antonio is just too banged up. If Orlando loses again to Philadelphia (and I'm sure they will), they should call that series. Orlando just doesn't have the guard-play to control a series against a team with great guards. The only series' still in doubt are Denver/New Orleans, Portland/Houston, and Boston/Chicago. Even all of those should end in five games, because what's going to happen in Games 6 and 7 that's more important than what will happen in Game 5? Whoever wins Game 5 in all of those series is going to win it. Get it over with, so we can get to the real playoffs.
But we can't, because the NBA needs that ad revenue. The spirit of competition didn't make them add those two games to the first round. Or if you're a conspiracy theorist, it was so the fifth-seeded Lakers would have a better chance of getting out of the first round against the fourth-seeded Timberwolves back in 2003, which assured higher ratings and comes back to money.
Not only that, they spaced out all of the games so much that a playoff round that used to take a week and a half at most lasts way longer than it needs to. It's almost like the NBA thinks that having a marathon regular season isn't enough.
Welcome to the dog days of the NBA Playoffs. There is such a thing as "too much," when it comes to basketball.