Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge

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The 2015 NBA Playoffs start today:

April 18, 2015


I woke up this morning singing like a little kid. My lyrics went something like: "It's the Playoffs. There's a payoff. It sounds like Superman. But it's Tim Duncan man. He's coming to dunk all over your town!" Then I quickly made fun of Blake Griffin for being a sissy. It made no sense. It was awful. My wife wished she was deaf. I don't care. I'm excited. This is my favorite sporting event. I love the games. I love the TNT ad slogans and Hollywood-NBA mash-up ad campaigns. I love the rampant Twitter feeds. I love the weaving and unraveling of narratives. I love it all. For in my mind, it's as otherworldly as two mythic beasts colliding in epic fashion on the big screen:



Washington @ Toronto (12:30 Saturday)

Both these teams settled into the #4 vs. #5 match-up in the Eastern Conference after failing to erect a second half of the regular season on par with what they achieved in the first half. DeMar DeRozan, having just earned co-NBA player of the month honors with Russell Westbrook, comes into this series playing the best individual ball. The pairing of him and Kyle Lowry versus John Wall and Bradley Beal should excite, as should the front court match-ups.

The continued development of Toronto's young, 7-foot center Jonas Valanciunas and his possible emergence as a postseason force could be huge. While the League continues to evolve towards ball movement and interchangeable parts, the grind of the Playoffs still allows for the emergence of monsters in the paint. Remember what Roy Hibbert's awakening did for the Pacers a few years ago. The one constant about size is that it cannot be taught. Valanciunas could be the difference maker in this series as he battles with Washington's veteran front line of Marcin Gortat and Nene.

Also, expect Paul Pierce to have at least a couple huge moments. These instances will either reveal his clutchness springs eternal or that even the gods have forgotten him. Either way, they will decide games in the favor of one team or another. Lastly, enjoy the moments when the Raptors' Tyler Hansbrough and the Wizards' Kevin Seraphin are asked to out hustle one another, for in those moments, you will witness the wide valley between the NBA and college ball.

New Orleans @ Golden State (3:30 Saturday)

This year the Pelicans are a sacrifice at the blood altar that is the Golden State Warriors' 2015 season. May the sun rise and set in the shades of Anthony Davis' veins. I've been reading a ton of Aztec and Mayan mythology recently, and pitting the League's best young player against the League's best team of the moment feels rather ritualistic. If the Pelicans somehow make this a series or even pull off the unthinkable, then 1994 Denver Nuggets will not only have been matched but raised. There's no way the Pelicans win, but in losing, the rest of the roster can audition for Anthony Davis' future incarnations. I'm looking at you, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans.

Milwaukee @ Chicago (7:00 Saturday)

These Bulls are like a Supremes' song. They just keep us hanging on and hanging on and hanging on, through the injuries and the injuries and the injuries. Part of me wants Chicago to win this series quickly, allowing the team the best opportunity for resting players in order to mount some sort of charge against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round. A healthy Bulls team would seem to make for a better, and more entertaining, Playoff. Then, I think about the constant swirling of soreness around Derrick Rose's knee, etc., etc., and I think just put this team out of its misery. Chicago is not whole. They will never be whole. Watching them is Romantic torment, like Diana Ross singing, "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree." Go Bucks! Go youth! Fetch utopia from the bones of the decrepit!

Dallas @ Houston (9:30 Saturday)

This series appears destined for gridlock. Dallas' Chandler Parsons is out for revenge, but Chandler Parsons is also not one hundred percent. The Mavs have more individual talent, but much of that talent is either aging or soulless. Houston possesses Dwight Howard, but he, too, is soulless. James Harden is the best player in the series, but while often entertaining, he often plays like a Lamborghini stuck at a tollbooth. He lives at the foul line, his beard having grown an inch for every foul shot. And then there are those old and ancient stalwarts of Playoffs long past: Dirk Nowitzki and Amar'e Stoudemire and even Tyson Chandler. What do they have left? I look at this series, and I have a difficult time imagining it lasting less than seven games. Even after seven, we may not feel we know who's better, but one of them will advance and these narratives will rewrite themselves.

 Bring the blue breath! Bring the hard stone! Celebrations! And pterodactyl screeches! It's the Playoffs! I love the Playoffs. Something on Sunday's games tomorrow.

Bryan Harvey can be followed @LawnChairBoys.

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