As I waited for the two sport conference finals at the beginning of April, I was sure the NBA and NHL would deliver for another year. The NHL had early round upsets and some 7 game series, but now we are paying the price with lower quality hockey in the Eastern Conference finals. Even the Western Conference finals, who have the two best teams competing, has a 2-0 series lead for the (increasingly annoying) Blackhawks with 3 more games in Chicago. I am just hoping the West winner doesn't completely embarrass the Eastern Conference champs.
The NBA is no better. The Boston Celtics completely nuked the basketball world and ruined ESPN for 3 months by easily defeating the Cavs. Then, to stay in character, the Celtics are fairly effortlessly dismantling the Magic, winning two at home and will wrap up the series sometimes withing the next 3 months because of the stupid NBA playoff schedule.
Not to be outdone, the LA Lakers are destroying the Suns. The Suns don't play defense. I've known that for a decade. But Stoudemire and Nash really don't play defense. Now, they are relying on Jared Dudley to guard Kobe Bryant after the Grant Hill fiasco. Yeah, Jared Dudley. He was number 2 after 37 year old Grant Hill. Its such a mess that they will have to score 140 points in 4 games to win the series. They have no answer for Gasol. Lamar Odom looks like an All-Star, and I am doubtful I was right saying Lakers in 5. I have a hard time seeing the Lakers losing. Its like the NFL. If you don't play defense, it will come back to haunt you in the playoffs.
What do these playoffs show us? I think a few things. For the NHL, their superstars had a bad year. Ovie is having a bad career in the playoffs so far, and Crosby had a bad series, being distracted by my endorsement. Also, the salary cap is working and teams who are smart can win in the playoffs. Some teams totally collapse (Boston) and it shows it was just a weird year. In the NBA, it shows only 4 or 5 teams were very good this year. The Nuggets and Mavericks were eliminated early in the West, opening the door for a team like the Suns to go into a series with the mighty Lakers. The East had the Cavs, who may or may not been distracted by LeBron's mothers actions (you know the story). So many teams were just trying to get cap room to go after the elite free agents this year.
Sometimes, the playoffs stink. It happens. We can not always count on great games and performances. But this year, we should expect more from the sports we love, and unless the finals are incredible, I'll be walking away unsatisfied.