It would be cruel (and inaccurate) to suggest that the Chicago Bulls choked against the defending NBA champions on Boston’s home floor in a Bulls’ Game 7 loss to the Celtics. Additionally the Celtics should be absolved from receiving any guff after being forced to go the distance with a team that finished no better than .500 during the regular season.
We cannot say the same for Atlanta and Miami. The Hawks corps of young, talented players could have (not saying should have) taken less than seven games to rid us of Dwyane Wade, whose misplaced consonant in his first name and favorite son status in the eyes of referees have been confusing casual NBA fans for years now. But Wade and the Heat are gone, a warming prospect as we head to pro basketball’s conference semifinals.
The Denver Nuggets, however, didn’t see the need to wait for everyone else and started their series with the Mavericks anyway. Denver took an early 1-0 lead in their series and could be the monkeywrench that ruins everyone’s Kobe-LeBron Finals matchup. I still don’t know why it’s “The Finals” in basketball, but “the Stanley Cup Final” in hockey. I blame Canada for that.