The classic Bulls-Celtics series, arguably the greatest first round series in the history of the NBA and up there with any series in any round in terms of pure entertainment value, ended on Saturday in a somewhat anticlimactic fashion. By normal NBA standards, it was a better than average basketball game, but with a playoff record 4 overtime games (covering 7 overtime periods) and another game that ended on a last-second Ray Allen shot in regulation (I recall thinking in Game 1 that Jesus Shuttleworth didn’t look too intimidating, and he of course then went on to hit roughly 978 fadeaway three point shots in a row while being double-teamed for the rest of the series), it was almost impossible to expect anything more even though this series had exceeded expectations up until the end.
When one of your teams gets eliminated from the postseason, there’s a sudden shutdown that’s quite different than, say, the end of a regular season where that same team doesn’t make the playoffs at all. If your team had a bad regular season, you almost welcome the offseason and have plenty of time to plan for it. In contrast, a team in the playoffs (especially in basketball and baseball where the sheer length of each playoff series increases the time commitment) dominates your life for days on end – you seem to plan all of your evenings around these games, so when it’s over, there’s a sense of emptiness after being constantly in an amped up mode. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, yet I would have been perfectly happy to have had the Bulls roughed up by the Magic on Monday (if Boston had a 28-point deficit at home in the first half, the Bulls probably would have had a 40-point deficit on the road). At least the Bulls season ended on a relative uptick, which has already spurred me to spend hours scouring websites on what the team plans to do with Ben Gordon, NBA trade rumors (I’m hitting up the trade machine with any and all combinations for the Bulls to nab Chris Bosh), and potential draft picks (as much as I watch college basketball, I’m at a loss right now because there probably won’t be anyone of use at the Bulls’ 16th spot in an already weak draft). If anything else, I want to spend as much time avoiding having to watch Octavio Dotel give up leads in the 7th inning at all costs.
(Image from Slam Online)