Every time spring rolls around, without fail, I find myself rolling my eyes and thinking: "If I really want to call myself a sports fan, I guess I have to watch at least some of the NBA playoffs. But I'm not going to be happy about it." They literally drag on longer than the human attention span is capable of following. There are almost never any upsets, and the fans are finally rewarded by a championship series so low-scoring that you're not sure if this is the NBA finals or the Stanley Cup.
This year wasn't going to be any different. But then it was.
In round 1, the Warriors pulled off what Marv Albert christened "The most shocking upset in NBA playoff history." It was thrilling. I found myself staying up way past my bedtime every night the Warriors played. My love of the NBA (which had been non-existent since I was, like, 3) was re-energized. Every time Baron Davis hit an improbable, off-balance jumper, I smiled a little wider inside.
On the other side of the bracket, The Bulls were going off on a chest-thumping, dominating sweep of the defending champion Heat that was absolutely dripping with bravado.
Then, in the second round, the Suns and Spurs met. It was a sight to behold, watching Steve Nash and the frenetic Suns whipping their way around the court, running circles around the Spurs, and then the Spurs simply overpowering the tiny Suns on the other end. The series was high-scoring, competitive, and after Hip-checkgate, juicily controversial.
And then, in the Eastern finals, the seemingly impossible happened. The signature moment of the 2007 NBA playoffs, stunningly, won't be the Warriors toppling the Mavs. Those of us who tuned in to the end of the Cavs-Pistons game 5 got to be witnesses to what, very likely, we'll all be calling 20 years from now the beginning of LeBron's reign.
If the Cavs hang on to win, then I'll be more intruiged by these finals than a priest in a pre-school. The greatest player of the decade throwing himself directly at the greatest team of the decade, the Spurs. It would be a really exciting thing to watch.
So feel lucky, everyone. This level of excitement in the NBA playoffs doesn't happen much.