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“Cinco… cuatro… tres… dos… uno!
It’s going down…(I’m yelling…) PLAYOFFS!”
I just wanted to start this series of NBA playoffs writing by paying my respect to the best theme song in basketball postseason history. Nothing gets me more hyped than hearing that harmonica riff intro from the Pitbull and Ke$sha’s “Timber” rendition made for the 2014 NBA playoffs. It’s a magical theme song that is both genius and absurd.
“Team by team, round by round, end of the night it’s going down”
Both conferences have interesting top vs bottom seed matchups, but the East has a stronger scent of upset alert than the West.
The Toronto Raptors finished with the second-best record in the league, earning their first ever No. 1 seed in their conference. Their opponent? The flailing Washington Wizards who lost their last 13 of 20. Ironically, at the start of the season their all-star backcourt considered themselves “ top of the class in the East” despite finishing last. In 2014, both teams faced off as a four vs. five seed, with Washington sweeping the Raptors very convincingly. This series has seven games written all over it, and I don’t think the ‘House of Guards’ squad can pull it off on the road. Toronto in seven.
The most exciting matchup this round may be the (6) Miami Heat vs. (3) Philadelphia 76ers. The Process versus Culture. Philly Cheesesteak versus Pan con bistec. Or this:
But the best matchup this playoffs without a doubt is Hassan Whiteside versus Joel Embiid. Both are athletic, dominant centers who clearly dislike each other. On the court this season, they split the series two a piece. Off the court, Embiid is much more cleve r than Whiteside at trolling. Philly is entering the playoffs scorching hot, on a 16-game winning streak on the shoulders of Ben Simmons (most likely winning Rookie of the Year) without their All-Star big. And it seems like Embiid will be missing the series opener according to Sixers head coach, Brett Brown. While the Heat pride themselves on defense—on paper, the Sixers are ranked fourth in defensive rating. But that’s all thrown out the window during the playoffs. This Miami team is battle-tested and has the veteran leadership to pull the upset. Heat in six.
Lastly, the most interesting series is another four versus five bout, between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz. Many NBA fans can’t even fathom the idea of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and the rest of the Thunder (name me a player outside of Steven Adams, I dare you) to get upset by the Jazz. I mean, last year’s MVP averaged a triple-double this season… again!
The Thunder won the regular season series 3-1, but both teams finished the season 48-34. And since the All-Star break , the Jazz have been the best defensive team in the NBA. Rudy Gobert will make it difficult for Westbrook to drive in the paint, which forces Carmelo Anthony to hit the outside shots he was brought in to OKC for, despite having the worst shooting season of his career. Ricky Rubio, Joe Ingles and rookie phenom Donavon Mitchell give the Jazz a lot of buzz, but the Thunder will find a way to make it out of the series. Thunder in seven.
“So, if you’re ready for the PLAYOFFS, say ‘yeah yuh!’”