Inside this letter includes my hopes and dreams for the NBA Playoffs, beginning this weekend.
Dear NBA Santa (a.k.a Ernie Johnson),
It’s playoff time again and though I’ve been looking forward to this time for months now, I have a few requests. Not that you’ve ever let me down before, but I just want to make sure these next few months are everything they should be and more. I’ve put a lot of thinking into what I want this year, and I’ve narrowed down on some things I need to see in this year’s playoffs. Trust me, it will be better this way. Here’s my list:
Wizards v. Celtics ECF
1. Santa/Ernie, Pleeeasee give us a Celtics vs. Wizards Eastern Conference Finals. I don’t think anyone is going to complain if we get to see Round 3 of Warriors v. Cavs, but perhaps my favorite moment from this season was the ‘funeral game’ when the Wizards wore all black and proceeded to bury Boston.
Each game got progressively scrappier as the season continued, and they split the series 2-2. I desperately want to see John Wall try to take on Avery Bradley for the entirety of what feels right now like a 7-game series waiting to happen. This is the matchup NBA fans deserve.
*NOTE: After this article was written, the NBA seeding destroyed this wish. Nonetheless, we are likely to receive a Wizards v. Celtics matchup, albeit in the second round.
2. Santa/Ernie, can we get at least one “Mike Breen double-bang” moment? Most everyone who watches NBA has grown familiar with the ESPN commentator’s favorite one-word exclamation. Nothing perfectly complements a big three-pointer quite like a Mike Breen “BANG”.
But last season, during a regular season game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors, we got to hear the infamous “double-bang” as Steph Curry hit a 38-footer with 3 seconds left on the clock to win the game. Just listen to this moment of broadcasting magic:
I don’t really care who hits the shot to summon the “double-bang”, I just want to hear it one more time, live and as joyous as ever. Who doesn’t love hearing a 55-year-old man lose his mind like he just won the lottery on national television?
A Unicorn-led Playoff Run
3. I’m in love, Santa/Ernie. I’m in love with a 7-footer from out West, who makes no-look passes and has as more triple-doubles this season as anyone not named Westbrook, James, or Harden. He shares a name with Tesla, though I trust him with my life more than I do a self-driving automobile. His name is Nikola Jokic, and he won my 2017 UOTY award (Unicorn of the Year).
Unfortunately, Mr. Jokic’s offseason begins this weekend, thanks to the Portland Trail Blazers recent tear, finishing off whatever hopes we had of seeing Jokic take Golden State to five games. Our only hope of a unicorn making a run remains with Giannis Antetokounmpo, probably the most talented of the NBA unicorns.
Currently, the Milwaukee Bucks are slated to face the Toronto Raptors in the first round – a tough matchup but not impossible. The Bucks went 1-3 against the Raptors this season, and in all honesty, don’t match up well against Toronto’s backcourt. But only one team has a unicorn, and that counts for something. Please let the Giannis get to the Conference Semifinals, at least.
These are my initial requests, though this list is subject to be added to as the postseason progresses. Regardless of whether you fulfill one of these things, or all three, I believe we’re in for a great couple of months. The Eastern Conference hasn’t looked this strong in years, and though maybe no one in the East stands much of a chance against Golden State, it’ll be fun to see who gets a crack at it in June. Tell Shaq I said hey and that I love him, but also that he needs to lay off JaVale…as funny as it is.
Your friend and avid NBA Playoff viewer,
Feel free to leave your NBA Playoff wishes in the comments below! I’d love to hear them.