The NBA becomes upside down; We become scared

Just wanted to double-check, but did the space-time continuum spontaneously reverse itself on Monday night? Are we now living in a parallel universe? Is this what the Wachowski Brothers were going for with The Matrix? Seriously, what else could explain what happened last night in the NBA?

The underdog became king, as just about every league powerhouse lost, and some in blowouts, to the season’s bottom-dwellers. It was like revenge of the nerds, where Beno Udrih played Louis Scholnik and Tim Duncan was Stan Gable. The Sacramento Kings beat down the San Antonio Spurs 112-99, the Golden State Warriors outscored the Phoenix Suns 129-114, the Gilbert Arenas-less Washington Wizards took out the Dallas Mavericks 110-98, the Minnesota Timberwolves surprised the New Orleans Hornets 103-94 and even the lowly New York Knicks, given all of their off-court issues, took out the Utah Jazz 113-109. Only the underperforming Houston Rockets, who beat the Los Angeles Clippers 88-71, and the Orlando Magic, who bested the Portland TrailBlazers 85-74, escaped the foreboding clutches of “upset Monday” in the NBA.

Maybe, what’s happening in college football is contagious?

We hope not, because there needs to be a certain order to things. Edward Lorenz and his Chaos Theory can keep itself out of the NBA, thank you very much. Every year, there are teams that are good and teams that are bad, and the predictability and comfort that comes from that knowledge can spur euphoria when in the rarest of cases a 8 seed like last year’s Golden State Warriors upsets the 1 seed Dallas Mavericks. In that case, the event was unpredictable and unusual. That’s what made it special. But, when this becomes a regular occurrence we end up with widespread parity. And upsets become almost expected. That homogeny works perhaps in the NFL where parity is king, but can’t be useful for David Stern’s NBA.

The NBA has always thrived when there were powerhouses to rule the land. The proper order of things, dictated the repeated Finals match-ups between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers in the 80s. It influenced the yearly Eastern Conference playoff rivalries in the 90s amongst the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks. It drove Sacramento and Portland fans to absolutely and unconditionally hate the Los Angeles Lakers teams of Shaq and Kobe. It defined rivalries and added a necessary level of predictability to every NBA season.

So, please leave us alone Mr. Parity. The NBA needs the dominant players, the teams you love to hate. It needs repeat champions. It needs a general order to things. Nights like Monday can be fun in moderation, but let’s not make it general practice.

No comments: