Last year, I was bemoaning the fact that rather than the Suns-Heat matchup that everyone wanted to see in the NBA Finals, we instead got the two least entertaining teams in the league grinding it out for the trophy. As predicted, it lasted for seven laborious games, with only Robert Horry’s heroic 3-pointer in game 5 providing any sort of excitement.
Well, what a difference a year makes.
With Detroit’s elimination tonight at the hands of the Miami Heat (and in convincing fashion, getting drummed by a score of 95-78 in the series-clinching game), we have gone from a Worst Case Finals to a Can’t Lose Finals. Three teams are left – Dallas, Phoenix, and Miami, who’s already taken the East title. Unlike last year, when the two teams that slugged it out were unappetizing to anyone who wasn’t already a die-hard fan of either team, the three teams left in contention this year are all worth watching, and all worth rooting for. At this point, it doesn’t even really matter who wins the Finals – I’m going to be happy with any team winning it.
If Dallas wins, I’ll be glad, because I’ve always been a fan of Mark Cuban’s antics (not to mention his crusade against inconsistent officiating). If Phoenix wins, I’ll be happy, because the Suns were the first team I ever rooted for when I finally started to take notice of the NBA, and it’ll be rewarding to see them win the trophy (albeit a few years later than I had hoped). If Miami wins, I’ll be glad, because it’ll mean that Shaq will have won a title without Kobe, before Kobe could win one without Shaq. I’ve never really been a fan of Kobe Bryant, and it’ll be great to see Shaq hoist the trophy on his own.
Last year, I was telling the NBA to go screw themselves. This year, I can hardly wait to see what the Finals are going to have in store.
In other news:
Tim Connolly Watch ’06 is now officially over, as the Buffalo Sabres were defeated by Carolina in the Eastern Conference Finals. Unable to recover from the concussion he suffered in the previous series, he finishes the postseason with 5 goals and 6 assists – not bad for eight games worth of ice time.