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NBA Playoff Preview:

April 18, 2009

I was talking to Teach today about the NBA playoffs, and throughout the conversation the topic continued to morph into other topics. It culminated in comparing each team with a rock band. The following is what we came up with:

Eastern Conference:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers as Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band
; Without the boss, would we know who Max Weinberg is? Or Big Man? How about Little Stevie? The answer is cloudy. Sure they are a talented group of musicians, but without Bruce they wouldn't be the same. The same goes for the Cavs, as Lebron plays the part of Bruce and his underrated yet talented group of teammates make up the band; Big Z was an all-star before Lebron graduated high school, Delonte is a good player in his own right, and Big Ben Wallace is a former NBA defensive player of the year. However it remains to be seen if they can sustain this level of play over multiple seasons, whereas Bruce and his buddies from Jersey are legends.

2. Boston Celtics as The Beatles: The Celtics are the most talented team in the NBA, much like the Beatles. Ray Allen plays the part of George Harrison, as he is the most consistent yet unheralded player on the team. George continued to make great music throughout his lifetime, but as a Beatle he never got as much credit as he deserves. Paul Pierce is Paul McCartney, and not just because they share the same first name. They are both talented, but they are not the best. Even though they will let you know that they believe they are. Rajon Rondo is Ringo Starr, well because he is the fourth best on the team and Rondo as Ringo has a good ring to it. KG is John Lennon, because without KG the Celtics just are not the same team. He gives them their edge and separates them from all the other British Invasion bands. Still, despite the musical product, Teach and I find Lennon slightly annoying. People complain about Bono blurring the lines between rock star and political activist, but he never got naked in a storefront window--Lennon did, and KG's constant screaming and intensity is similar to when Lennon made music with Yoko Ono based on scream therapy...

But who is Yoko? Is it Stephon Marbury? Maybe but he hasn't had that much of an impact yet, negative or positive. He is sort of just there. KG's knee has got to be Yoko. Because his knee has a much higher chance of derailing this team from there glory, and I think we all have gotten tired of hearing about both Yoko and the knee.

3. The Orlando Magic are Huey Lewis and the News.
The Magic have Dwight Howard. The News had Huey Lewis. Past that neither has much, but they are both fun to watch/listen to. Plus, can you name me the rest of the Magic lineup or any of the band members of the News? Didn't think so. Also, the News provide the soundtrack for Back to the Future, and Dwight Howard, we believe, is from some other time; whether it's past or present, he's got some McFly in him.

4. Atlanta Hawks are Coldplay. Coldplay is an overrated band, named at times as this generation's U2 . Sure, they sell a lot of records, but who is buying these records? (Teach tells me its either teenage girls or middle-aged adults who think they're hip.) And if someone asked you, would you admit to liking Coldplay? Me neither. The Hawks are the fourth best team in the east. That sounds great but when you look at it, it is kind of demeaning. The east is not good, only three teams out of the east would have made the playoffs in the west. Which shows to me, that their record is a bit inflated. Plus what are the Hawks best known for? Pushing the Celtics to 7 games in the first round of the playoffs. Yeah, they are known best for a series they lost.

5. Miami Heat as Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine seems too good to be true, but it is true. Dwyane Wade is Gloria Estefan, because its hard to admit but both are pretty awesome. However, this analogy works better with the people that accompany them. Dwyane Wade has been getting MVP consideration all year because the Heat were a terrible team last year and now they are in the playoffs. However, the Heat are a lot more talented this year. There is Beasley, Chalmers and Haslem; not a bad squad. Much like the Miami Sound Machine. Without the Miami Sound Machine, would we know Gloria Estefan? Without the group around Wade, would the Heat be in the playoffs? Most likely but that's only because the east is a terrible conference. However they wouldn't be a 5 seed. Also, Teach brought up the slightly inappropriate comparison between Gloria Estefan's near paralysis and Dwayne Wade's "fall down seven get up eight" commercials.

6. The Philadelphia 76ers are The Strokes. When The Strokes came out in 2001, critics hailed them as the next big thing. They were the darlings of every music magazine, and the retro rock revolution was on; but both of their albums since 2001's Is This It? have not garnered the same kind of love or attention, even though they're arguably just as good if not better. Last year, the young Sixers made a solid debut in the playoffs, and in the offseason, they signed Elton Brand, becaming media darlings. They're followup to last year has been solid, if not world changing. (Elton Brand went to Duke, so his body is made of yogurt.) Maybe the expectations were always greater than the talent of the band. Still, Room on Fire is a solid rock album in its own right, just like the Sixers' 2009 season.

7. The Chicago Bulls are a Jam Band Festival. Sure, the Bulls have a lot of talent, but all of it lies at one or two positions. Much like a jam band festival, where all the bands can play but sound exactly the same. The highlight of the festival is usually a guy like Keller Williams. A musician who can write and play, while having a sound of his own. For the Bulls, that player is Derek Rose, an extremely talented point guard that has the ability to take this team to the top. It just won't happen until he is around musicians that do more than take turns soloing--Ben Gordon and John Salmons.

8. The Detroit Pistons are Van Halen. They both used to be good with a possibility of being great. But after multiple lineup changes, they are both shadows of their former selves.

Western Conference

1. Los Angeles Lakers are the Rolling Stones. Their purple and gold uniforms are as familiar as the opening riff to the Stones' "Satisfaction," and it feels like they've been doing this show for years. First, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor did their best at the glamorous duo of Mick and Keith. Then, Magic and Kareem carried on the tradition, followed by Shaq and Kobe. Well, now it's Kobe and Pau's turn. According to Teach, the Western Conference playoffs are merely a prance off and a lip pouting competition between these two to see who is Mick and who is Keith.

2. Denver Nuggets are Dire Straits. I was talking to a friend the other day, and we were making a list of the top 10 bands of all-time. Dire Straits was not one of the first bands we listed, but they ended up on the list. They aren't a band you immediately think of, but they should be. They managed to bust out hit after hit and can you tell me ten bands with a better catalog of music? If you asked anyone who they thought would win the championship, this wouldn't be the first second or even the third team you would name, but they could end up being the best team this year. Much like Dire Straits they aren't the first to come to mind but when discussed they have to be looked at as one of the best.

3. The San Antonio Spurs are The Who, which would be great for the Spurs and their fans, except Teach insisted on the fact that we clarify this team as The Who circa Keith Moon's death. Teach feels strongly that without Manu Ginobili the Spurs are pretty much done. He also wants everyone to know that Manu's injury also has him too depressed to write, even if Carolina won a national title, and the longer this conversation went the more depressed Teach got. By the end of the conversation, he had killed off Entwistle too, making the Spurs The Who circa today...a two-man duo playing just for the memories.

4. Portland Trail-Blazers are The Foo Fighters. Teach and I had a hard time pinning this team down. We played around with a few bands before settling on the Foo Fighters, deciding that this year's Portland team is like the Foo Fighters around 1994 when they released their first album. Dave Grohl was clearly showing the world that he had a lot more talent than anyone was previously aware. Isn't that what Brandon Roy has shown the basketball world this year? I mean, when the first Foo Fighters' album dropped, did anyone think that they were about to be one of the most consistent bands of the next fifteen years? Brandon Roy is good everyone, and he's not going anywhere. The only problem right now is that people would rather talk about Roy's oft-injured fellow cornerstone Greg Oden. Roy feel free to consult Grohl on how he handled Cobain's death whenever you're not sure how to answer questions about whether or not Oden's joints have been blasted with a shotgun. Teach wanted me to make that last joke. He's very insensitive.

5. The Houston Rockets are in that period that Pink Floyd experienced when Syd Barrett realized that the rock and roll lifestyle was just too much for him. The Rockets pretty much know that the time period with Tracy McGrady as their leader is done, and it's time that Yao Ming, Ron Artest, and the rest of the supporting cast collaborate to make their version of Dark Side of the Moon. McGrady, shine on you crazy diamond.

6. Dallas Mavericks are the Damn Yankees or any Super Group that is not super. Does anymore need to be said other than the fact that Mark Cuban and Ted Nugent are eerily similar in their abilities to grow increasingly annoying?

7. The New Orleans Hornets are the duo of Simon & Garfunkle. Chris Paul is Paul Simon because he's got diamonds on the soles of his shoes, and the rest of the team is Garfunkle. Seriously, this team wouldn't win 30 games without Chris Paul, much like Art Garfunkle didn't do jack without Paul Simon.

8. The Utah Jazz are the Parliament Funkadelic. Deron Williams is George Clinton, the maestro of funk, and the rest of the cast of characters for the Utah Jazz are just about crazy enough to wear diapers and cavemen alien suits on stage, in order to hide their lack of confidence.  How else does one explain Kirilenko's haircut?  There's something seriously off with these guys. It was only a couple of years ago that they made it to the Western Conference Finals against San Antonio, and two of their key guys went ahead and booked vacations on the dates for the NBA Finals (because they didn't believe they could beat the Spurs), which seems like something only the basketball version of Bootsy Collins would do after taking too much coke.

LCB 1st round Picks:

Langston- Cavs in 5
Teach-Cavs in 4

Langston- Celtics in 7
Teach-Bulls in 6

Langston- Magic in 6
Teach-Magic in 6

Langston- Heat in 7
Teach-Heat in 7

Langston- Lakers in 5
Teach-Lakers in 5

Langston-Nuggets in 7
Teach-Hornets in 7

Langston- Spurs in 4
Teach-Spurs in 7

Langston- Rockets in 7
Teach-Blazers in 6


Anonymous said...

i like your team comparisons to rock groups. you have reasonable predictions. i hope cleveland can beat the Lakers. i do agree with teach that the playoffs are somewhat depressing since the spurs are hurting but i guess i am still lifted up by the tar heels.

April 18, 2009 at 10:56 PM
Anonymous said...

I think you are right on with your musical metaphors. I still think Foghat needs a place on your list.


April 20, 2009 at 7:53 PM

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