A few years ago. someone asked me why I enjoy watching sports on television so much. It took me all of about 2 seconds to give her the answer. There are very few things on television that match the drama, excitement and entertainment of a huge playoff game. Sure there are good mystery shows on, but you can usually predict what will happen. Not so with sports; the past few weeks only reinforce why I love to watch sports. The last few weeks of NBA and NHL playoff action have been off the charts with high drama and excitement. I cannot recall a better playoff season with several close, nail-biting games in both leagues.
The NBA’s first round playoff matchups are normally about as exciting and predictable as watching grass grow. Every once in a while, you will see a random upset, but for the most part, the better teams usually do not have much difficulty in wrapping up the series. That is not the case this year. The number one seeds in both conferences, Indiana and San Antonio, have been stretched to a 7th game in their best of seven game series. Indiana was on the verge of being eliminated the other night before they staged a nice rally to force a game 7. I cannot recall both number one seeds ever being stretched to a game 7. Many of the other playoff games have been close, hard-fought battles with several going into overtime. Last night’s Portland, Houston game had a finish that will be talked about for years. Today is a historic day for the NBA as three game 7 deciding games will take place. That has never ever happened in one day. Tomorrow, 2 more game 7’s will take place. I know the NBA brass must be licking their chops at main headquarters. Having that many game 7’s in the opening round is unbelievable!
The NHL playoffs have not been lacking in their share of thrilling moments and finishes as well. Our hometown team here in St. Paul, the Minnesota Wild just got playing a spectacular and thrilling 7 game series against Colorado. The final game, which was won by the Wild in overtime, was one of the best hockey games that I have ever seen. Other games and series have produced memorable moments as well with several overtime games. Who can forget the L.A. Kings dramatic comeback in their series against San Jose? The NHL always has great drama in their playoffs and that is why this casual fan enjoys their playoffs almost as much as the NBA’s.
Besides all the spine tingling games, one of things that I have enjoyed seeing, especially in the NBA playoffs is the amount of parity that seems to be developing in both leagues. The gap between the lower seeded and higher seeded teams is a lot less this year than in previous years thus so many series stretched to the limit. I think parity is a great thing both leagues. The unpredictability of a series makes it so much more enjoyable to watch. I don’t see any of the remaining playoff teams to be locks to make it to the finals and that is a good thing. Personally, I would rather see different teams make it to the finals rather than seeing the same old teams always playing for the championship. Wouldn’t it be great to see the Toronto Raptors make it to the NBA finals?
Despite all this talk about parity and having new teams play for the championship, I expect and predict that we will see a repeat of last year’s championship series in both leagues, with the Miami Heat winning the NBA for the 3rd year in a row and Chicago Blackhawks repeating as the NHL champions. But in the meantime, grab some popcorn and a cold beverage because there are certain to be many more breath-taking moments to come in these unforgettable playoffs. I don’t know if I can take any more excitement!!