In the National Basketball Association, the country may not get quite as mad as the NCAA Tournament, but we are down to the final four, and there is plenty to pay attention to. The NBA Playoffs have delivered their fair share of surprises (The Bulls taking game one against the Heat) as well as caveats and disappointments (Russell Westbrook's injury in the series against the Houston Rockets), but they've wound down by this point to the Conference Finals.
On Monday morning Jason Collins penned a first-person essay that was released in Sports Illustrated coming out as the first active player and openly gay man in one of the four major sports leagues of North America.
New Mexico Boxing
This weekend, the National Basketball Association begins its Conference
Finals. The NBA Playoffs started off with a whimper—as player
after player fell with injuries—and things seemed almost to be
doomed. However, now that we're down to the final four, the NBA has got to
be excited with its prospects for matchups.
In the Western Conference, the Spurs, persistently rumored to be too old to
get the job done—yet consistently making deep playoff runs—have mowed
over every opponent they've faced. They blanked both the Utah Jazz as well
as the L.A. Clippers. Going 8-0, though, the Spurs would have you
believe, means nothing. They are a focused group, led by the coach and
player examples of Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan, both of whom have been
around the block more than a few times. The Jazz and the Clips both had
a couple opportunities where they could have stolen a game or two, but they
were ultimately pushed by the mettle of the veteran Spurs.
With college basketball over, it’s time for the NBA to take the hoops spotlight. Even though everyone picked the Miami Heat to finally capture the title, the playoff field is wide open for any team to become champion. Here’s a breakdown by conference:
With a game-winning three over the Toronto Raptors, the Jeremy Lin story was taken to the next level. The Raptors are certainly no team to brag about beating, but Lin has now been too good for too long to be taken as anything other than the real deal.
Over the Thanksgiving break, there was no happier news than the revelation, entirely unexpected, that the NBA would, in fact, have a season this year. With game's slated to begin on Christmas Day (although the schedule appears to still be in doubt), this is the best present a basketball fan could ask for.
Tuesday night was supposed to be opening day for the National Basketball Association. Instead, we have headlines like "The Opening Day That Wasn't" and New Mexico residents got to see UNM beat up on NAIA Davenport. The defending NBA Finals MVP is saying things indicating that the NBA might lose some of their star power. And, of course, the long shadow of the dominant face of American sports (the NFL, of course) only grows longer.
The NBA has been officially locked out since July 1. But on Monday night, as the players and owners failed to reach a compromise on a new collective bargaining agreement, the lockout reached a new level: The first two weeks of the 2011-2012 NBA season have been cancelled. This is not virgin territory for the NBA. With a lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season still fresh on fans' minds, and the success of the 2010-2011 season, it seems poor timing for the perennial middle child (if that) of America's sports love to lose any part of a season.