Playoff basketball is structured to ignite the best basketball out of every player and every team fortunate enough to get invited to the big dance. With the game being played out on the biggest stage for the masses, individual storylines receive a substantial amount of attention and analysis.
While the unfortunate storyline of Donald Sterling’s racist comments shifted the focus off of basketball early in the first round, we want to make this list solely about the on-the-court performances of these talented players and teams. Regrettably, NBA fans will be hearing about Sterling for a while longer, as we prepare for the likely time-consuming litigation process between Sterling and the NBA.
Therefore, let’s keep the spotlight on pure basketball. So what are the top five storylines from the 2014 NBA Playoffs thus far? Let’s take a look.
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5. A League Of Extraordinary Duos
A common trend amongst the teams remaining in the playoffs is that most of the squads are lead by dynamic duos. Newly named MVP Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook lead the Oklahoma City Thunder. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin lead the Los Angeles Clippers. Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge lead the Portland Trail Blazers. John Wall and Bradley Beal lead the Washington Wizards. Finally, LeBron James and either Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh lead the Miami Heat. These talented duos set the tone for their team to feed off of in any given game. Throughout the season and at crucial times in these playoffs, the aforementioned duos made their presence known with dazzling displays of their two-man games and lifted their teammates in the process.
Of course, duos do not win championships; teams do. Playoff basketball can make or break a player, but when a team is mentally strong, the pressure can be tackled and a group united can rise as one. So the question is: can the dynamic duo-lead teams in the postseason beat the more balanced teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs? Or will these teams have too many points of attack for the duos to overcome?