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Top 5 Most Fun Potential Playoff Series
Posted By Joel Brigham On April 16, 2012 @ 12:00 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
In just under two weeks the 2012 NBA Playoffs will start, and already it seems pretty clear that fans are in for a very competitive two months of basketball. Even the first round is shaping up to offer some pretty competitive series, meaning there’s practically no limit to our potential entertainment in the upcoming postseason.
The following list includes the series that would make for the most interesting 7-games of playoff basketball. There certainly is more weight placed on a series if it looks like it’ll occur later in the postseason since bigger matchups mean more scrutiny and more pressure, but in general this list is just about the matchups themselves and the various subplots each one could offer. We know, for example, that a Bulls/Thunder Finals would be wildly entertaining, but there’s no bonus points there for bad blood.
These are dream matchups for this year’s postseason, and by the time you’re done reading this article you’ll want to fast forward through the last two weeks of the season and just get to these games, already. Here they are, in descending order, the Top 5 Most Interesting Potential Playoff Matchups:
#5 – Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs, Western Conference Semifinals – Remember a year ago when the Grizzlies stunned the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs? That was one of the most exciting series in recent history, and no true basketball fan would turn down watching the rematch. There aren’t a whole lot of teams that have a real shot at making the Finals, but these are two of them. Should they meet up in the Conference Semis, we’d be treated to a great matchup very early on in the postseason picture.
#4 – Boston Celtics vs. Miami HEAT, Eastern Conference Semifinals – This series would be sold as the “old” Big Three versus the “new” Big Three, and the six of them would most likely give us a terrific show. Boston has already beaten the HEAT twice in the last two weeks, so a postseason meeting would serve as either redemption for Miami or validation for the Celtics. Either way, expect this series to get chippy at some point, and that combined with the two team’s competitive regular season games should lead to some really good, really interesting game play, and we’d be in for a heck of a series.
#3 – Boston Celtics vs. L.A. Lakers, NBA Finals – Haven’t we seen this matchup enough times to be bored with it by now? Of course not. Two years ago we thought these two teams’ biological clocks were ticking down when they faced off in the 2010 Finals, yet here we are two years later and nobody would be shocked if either team found its way back there. It would be the two greatest teams in league history battling it out one more time, with all the familiar faces from ’08 and ’10, and both would have to play like it was their last shot at a ring because, for a lot of those guys, it absolutely would be. Desperation makes for some excellent television.
#2 – L.A. Clippers vs. L.A. Lakers, Western Conference Finals – It would be big brother versus pesky little brother in a crosstown Conference Finals series the likes of which we’ve really never seen, at least not in this generation of basketball. We’ve already seen this year that, given the chance, these two teams will try to rip each other’s throats out, and the added pleasure of keeping Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Blake Griffin, and Chris Paul active deep into the playoffs means this really would be a best-case scenario for the Western Conference Finals. There’s no questioning people would watch this series. They’d watch the living daylights out of it.
#1 – Chicago Bulls vs. Miami HEAT, Eastern Conference Finals – Is there a series any real NBA fan wants to see more than this one? For two straight years Chicago has owned Miami in the regular season, but last year’s Eastern Conference Finals felt like a breeze for the HEAT. We’d have plenty of star power in the series, including what could end up being this year’s MVP (LeBron James) against last year’s (Derrick Rose). There would be great defense, great transition offense, and a whole lot of competitive flair from both benches. We’re all anxious to see if Chicago has grown enough in a year to unseat the Eastern Conference kings, and we’ll be waiting with baited breath to see if this series happens again.
Chicago Bulls vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA Finals – From a pure basketball standpoint, this one would be sure to provide us with plenty of great basketball. Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant are cut from exactly the same cloth in terms of commitment to the game, modesty, leadership, and love for their team. These are two prolific defensive teams with probably the two most athletic point guards in the game, and considering both are currently atop their conferences this really would be the two best teams facing off in the final round of the playoffs. As far as subplots are concerned, we don’t have much beyond Thabo Sefolosha facing the team that drafted him, but if the basketball were good enough (and it probably would be), who needs subplots?
New York Knicks vs. Miami HEAT, Eastern Conference Round 1 – While there’s less at stake in this kind of series because it’s in the first round, imagine seeing four of the top five picks from that great 2003 draft all playing in the same series. Even though Amar’e Stoudemire would be back, we’d still see plenty of Carmelo vs. LeBron at the four, and that just screams appointment television. New York has been, pretty easily, the weirdest team in the NBA this year, and the crazy thing is that they would’ve been weird even if they weren’t stationed in the most insane sports media city in the world. Hook them up with the HEAT, and there’s no way people turn off those games.
Dallas Mavericks vs. L.A. Lakers, Western Conference Round 1 – There is zero chance Kobe Bryant ever gets swept out of a playoff series again. It’s simply not going to happen, but I’m sure he’d love to get a chance to redeem himself in a rematch with the team that did the sweeping last spring. If only Lamar Odom had stuck around in Dallas, this thing would’ve had a whole other layer of complication, but there’s enough history here anyway to make this series plenty interesting, particularly for a first round series.
Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers, Eastern Conference Semifinals – Last year, these two teams met up and the Pacers gave Chicago more than anybody thought they would. This time, Indiana has added some veterans with postseason experience, and the two teams have developed a bit of a rivalry in the meanwhile. Remember when Derrick Rose got all bent out of shape because Indy beat the Bulls on their home floor, then celebrated like they’d won the Finals? Even having played the Pacers since then (and won), Rose likely hasn’t forgotten that. Indiana also likely believes they’re every bit as good as the Bulls, and despite the fact that they’d be wrong, that sort of confidence could lead to seven really entertaining games.
The really beautiful thing about the postseason is that there’s a great chance that some series not on this list will end up being better than we imagined any of these would be. Whatever happens in regards to matchups, this is about to be a terrific postseason. There’s just no way around it; there are too many good teams in the field. Hopefully we’ll get a few of these series to enjoy, and if we don’t, we’ll enjoy it all the same.
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