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NBA playoffs are more than ordinary basketball games

by Kevin Plinzke-Staff Writer
Tue, Apr 25th 2017 06:00 pm
Photo courtesy of the Houston Chronicle
Photo courtesy of the Houston Chronicle

Christmas for NBA fans is here.

The NBA playoffs are upon us, and there are some very interesting narratives that are taking place. 

The Houston Rockets are taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference, and each of these two teams have an MVP race heavyweight leading the way. 

The Rockets are repping "The Beard" James Harden, who has been playing mostly point guard this year, and has been making quite the case for NBA MVP. For one thing, Harden is averaging 29.1 points per game, and 11.2 assists, according to ESPN. Those are some gaudy numbers for someone who is playing a position that isn't their natural position. He also has his Rockets set up with the three seed in the very competitive west. 

On the other side of the court, you got "The Brodie" himself, Russell Westbrook. Now, if you've read any of my previous articles you probably know how I feel about Russell Westbrook. The swagger, the confidence, the audacity. Westbrook literally averaged a triple double, and was the scoring champion. Those are two things that, by themselves, would make someone a decent case for MVP. But together? Come on. All of this on top of losing longtime friend and running mate Kevin Durant? And he has a less talented team than Harden's, and still managed to get the Thunder in the sixth seed.

My MVP pick is Russell Westbrook, but that's beside the point. 

   NBA fans now have the pleasure of watching the two of these superstars and MVP candidates square off head-to-head in a best of seven series. I think it will be unlikely that Westbrook will be able to overcome the firepower of Harden and the Rockets, but I will be rooting for him all the way. 

Another narrative that has unfortunately come into play, is the situation in the first seeded Boston Celtics series against the eighth seeded team Chicago Bulls. 

The day before the series tipped off, the Celtics star player, Isaiah Thomas, lost his 22-year-old sister, Chyna after she tragically passed away in an automobile accident. 

This is the type of news that really puts things in perspective, as this man has to try to put all of his emotions aside and play basketball. 

Before game one, Thomas was sobbing on the court. It is the type of situation that is truly as heartbreaking as they come. My initial intention was to root for the Thunder all the way, but following news like this, I don't know how you can root against the Celtics. Regardless of the games, Thomas is a strong man for playing through this difficult time, and he and his family are in my thoughts and prayers. 

On a lighter note, the third and final narrative to watch during round one of the NBA playoffs, is the respective series of each of the defending title champions. The Cleveland Cavaliers are facing off against the Indiana Pacers, while the Golden State Warriors are taking on the Portland Trail Blazers. 

Both teams are heavy favorites, but the sheer firepower of their lineups is what makes these series so exciting to watch. Who is gonna step up from game to game? Both teams have some insane big three's that make every game to watch exciting. 

Look for Lebron to take games over as we are accustomed to seeing. Coming back from his injry we can expect to see Durant assert himself as one of the Warriors top options. 

kplin1@brockport.edu

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