So far, the 2011 NBA Playoffs have been a gargantuan sized melting pot of WTF. First, the Grizzlies fooled everyone into thinking they were an eight seed and then knocked off the top ranked San Antonio (Geritol) Spurs. Secondly, Chris Paul had New Orleans momentarily ready to shock the world. He was later seen courtside at a Heat game sporting a Yankees fitted causing Knicks fans nationwide to gush with premature joy. Third, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers find themselves looking disaster in the pupils because of their current 0-2 series disadvantages. And on top of all that, bin Laden kicked the bucket. Yup, see what I’m saying? W.T.F. Crazy thing is, that’s only scratching the surface.
Still, exciting is one thing. Legendary is a complete different acid trip. The other day I found myself in an interesting debate – the best playoff series of the past 15 years not named the NBA Finals. Here were my top three.
3. Chicago Bulls Vs. Boston Celtics (2009) — This was two years before Derrick Rose took home the MVP and the Celtics were without Kevin Garnett for the entire postseason. Before any of us even realized what happened, there were overtimes, near fisticuffs and big play after big play leading into a deciding Game 7 in Beantown. The Game 6 triple OT thriller remains one of the shining reasons I love basketball.
2. Portland Trailblazers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers (2000) — Nevermind the fact 75% of the team probably would have tested positive for marijuana, this Western Conference Final continues to live in infamy. Portland finished second in the West to L.A. Scottie Pippen, two years removed from his sixth championship with Phil Jackson, squared off against his former coach, only this time he didn’t have that Jordan character at his disposal. It’s almost mind numbing to think about the result in hindsight. Had the Blazers never blew their 15 point fourth quarter lead in Game 7, how much would history have changed? That one period effectively built a dynasty.
Two incredibly entertaining series in their own rights, yet both pale in comparison to one: the 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals pitting Allen Iverson’s Philadelphia 76ers against Vince Carter’s Toronto Raptors.