Look East for NBA intrigue
We’ve spent all season talking about the NBA’s Western Conference and how great would be the Western playoffs. And indeed the West does have the vast majority of the power teams. But the Western playoffs have been a drag; the Eastern Conference has been much more interesting.
Of eight first-round series, only two went 2-2 after four games. Both in the East: Boston-Atlanta and Detroit-Philadelphia, and neither series offered any hope that they might be riveting. The Hawks (37-45) and Sixers (40-42) were the only losing-record teams to make the playoffs, and they went against two absolute bluebloods. Boston had the NBA’s best record, an historic 66-16), and Detroit had the league’s second-best record (59-23) and has been the most consistent franchise in the NBA over this decade, with five straight trips to the Eastern finals.
Out West, the difference between the No. 1-seeded Lakers and 8th-seeded Nuggets was only seven games. LA went 57-25, Denver 50-32. Yet the Lakers swept the Nuggets with ease. Second-seeded New Orleans is up 3-1 on Dallas with nary a close victory. The other two series have been much more competitive, with San Antonio up 3-1 on Phoenix and Utah up 3-1 on Houston, but 3-1 is a far cry from 2-2.
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