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2020 NBA Basketball Playoffs

Klassik

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There are threads here for baseball and American football, but is anyone here a fan of NBA basketball? 

If so, these are pretty exciting times.  It didn't look like it was going to happen for a while, but the NBA has been in the Disney World bubble in Orlando for a few weeks now and things have gone exceptionally well so far.  The seeding games are over and the actual playoffs will begin today in the bubble.

Prior to the stoppage of play due to the virus, it looked like Milwaukee and the two Los Angeles teams were the favorites to win the championship.  I think those are still the three favorites to win the championship, but Milwaukee especially has not looked good in the bubble.  Perhaps that is simply the result of them not having much to play for, but it looks like Toronto and Boston fans have more reason to be optimistic about their chances in the Eastern Conference bracket.

While the two LA teams are the favorites in the West, this might be the most competitive Western Conference playoffs in a long time.  All the teams left have healthy superstar players and reason to think they can win in the first round at the very least.  The West was shaping up to be a real battle before the stoppage, but now that has only increased with teams like Portland shaping into form.  Since home court advantage really doesn't matter in the bubble, the chances for upsets could well be even higher than normal.  I think all four Western Conference first round series have the chance to go to six or seven games.

I'm a Los Angeles Clippers fan from the time when they were the NBA punching bag.  They've been competitive in the last decade or so, but this is almost certainly the best team they've ever sent to the playoffs.  I'm excited that they have a chance to compete for the championship.  A Lakers-Clippers Western Conference Finals should be an outstanding series even if it won't actually take place at Staples Center in front of the LA fans.

Here are the first round match-ups:

Eastern Conference:

Milwaukee Bucks (1) vs. Orlando Magic (8)

Toronto Raptors (2) vs. Brooklyn Nets (7)

Boston Celtics (3) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (6)

Indiana Pacers (4) vs. Miami Heat (5)

Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers (1) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (8)

LA Clippers (2) vs. Dallas Mavericks (7)

Denver Nuggets (3) vs. Utah Jazz (6)

Houston Rockets (4) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (5)

Is anyone else following the NBA Playoffs this year?

 

Bazzer

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Is anyone else following the NBA Playoffs this year?
My son was a big fan but has cooled off the last couple of seasons , he followed the Houston Rockets , I think his favourite player moved on .

 

Klassik

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My son was a big fan but has cooled off the last couple of seasons , he followed the Houston Rockets , I think his favourite player moved on .
I am also a former fan of the Houston Rockets, but it's been about 20 years since I last cheered for them.  I am a Houstonian so they were the natural team to cheer for at first.  I was a big fan of theirs when they won their first two championships in 1994 & 1995.  After that, the owner of the team made a lot of decisions which I could not agree with.  First, he demanded a new publicly funded arena or else he said he'd move the team to Louisville, Kentucky of all places!  :doh:   The first arena proposition was rejected by the voters as it should have been.  The terms of the second proposition were just about as bad as the first, but they marketed it better (in other words, they made bigger lies about it) and so it passed and they got a new arena funded by the public.  9_9

That alone was enough reason to drop support for them, but they also had, and still have, a bad tendency to trade away or otherwise get rid of promising young players in exchange for chasing big name superstar players who are often just one-dimensional players and/or over the hill veterans who aren't the kind of players who win championships.  There have been many cases of this over the years.  They gutted the younger part of the core that won the two championships in the 1990s by trading Robert Horry and Sam Cassell for a very over-the-hill Charles Barkley.  Cassell went on to have a great career and Horry ended up winning 7 NBA championships with a reputation for hitting clutch shots in the waning minutes of close playoff games.

Kyle Lowry, a superstar player for the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors, was with the Rockets early in his career and they dumped him.  He turned out to be a great player.  9_9   A few years ago, they traded for Chris Paul (perhaps that's the player your son likes) and sent about their entire bench to my favorite team, the Los Angeles Clippers.  Chris Paul was good for the Rockets during the short time he was there, but the players they traded away to get him turned out to be great support players for the Clippers.  Lou Williams is considered the best bench player in the NBA having won Sixth Man of the Year for the Clippers the two seasons since being traded to them.  Montrezl Harrell is a high-performing young power forward for the Clippers who could well be a star player if he isn't one already and Patrick Beverly's scrappy play has given the Clippers real character. 

One of the other big reasons why I dumped the Rockets for the Clippers many years ago was that the Rockets dumped their enjoyable uniforms right after winning those two championships in the 1990s in exchange for some of the dumbest, childish looking uniforms I have ever seen.  They went from being and looking like champions to looking like they were wearing pajamas.  :doh:   It was nothing but a big cash grab by the owner who thought he could sell a lot of new apparel.  That particular owner sold the Rockets a couple years ago and the Rockets have since switched back to uniforms close to what they were wearing when they won those 1990s championships, but there are still the other problems mentioned above.

Seriously, look at how bad those uniforms were.  Here's Hakeem Olajuwon wearing championship uniforms:



And here is him wearing the pajamas they switched to :eek: :



Anyway, I've been a Clippers fan for about the last 20 years.  I always kind of liked them as a secondary team before, but they got elevated to prime status in the late 1990s.  They were a terrible team for many years, but they've been very competitive for most of the last decade or so.  They are one of the favorites to win the championship this year.  The Rockets are contenders in the playoffs as well.  The Rockets are playing Chris Paul's current team in the playoffs right now, the Thunder, and the Rockets seem to be having their way with things.


 
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Bazzer

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iu


Dear me they are awful !

 
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Bazzer

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Moving a team to another city / state is something we find hard to understand in Europe , I mean most people over here have heard of the Brooklyn Dodgers except now they are the Los Angeles Dodgers  :S  , we don't change our support for a team here , you can walk away but can't change.

 
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Klassik

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Moving a team to another city / state is something we find hard to understand in Europe , I mean most people over here have heard of the Brooklyn Dodgers except now they are the Los Angeles Dodgers  :S  , we don't change our support for a team here , you can walk away but can't change.
Yes, it's certainly not unheard of here for teams (or franchises if you want to call them that) to relocate to other cities.  In the NBA, the majority of the teams have relocated at least once it seems.  This has led to several oddly named basketball teams:

  • The Utah Jazz.  This has to be the biggest laugher around.  The team started out as the New Orleans Jazz.  The name made perfect sense there, but Utah is probably the least likely place in the US to hear jazz music.  :doh:   The name is so preposterous that it actually works in an odd way.  xD
  • The Memphis Grizzlies.  The team started out as the Vancouver Grizzlies.  There are a lot of bears in western Canada.  In Memphis?  Eh, not so much.  Maybe at the zoo.  xD
  • The Los Angeles Lakers.  The team started out as the Minneapolis Lakers.  Minnesota is known for their many, many lakes.  Los Angeles?  Not so much. 
  • The Hornets.  The current New Orleans Pelicans started out as the Charlotte Hornets.  Hornets itself may sound like a bad name, but apparently Hornets have some significant meaning in North Carolina.  Anyway, when the Hornets moved to New Orleans, they kept the name.  Charlotte got a new team, but they chose a rather generic name (Bobcats, the original owner of the Bobcats was named Bob 9_9 ).  Since the Bobcats and New Orleans Hornets names made no sense, the two teams elected to make a deal after several years of oddly named teams.  The Bobcats were given the Hornets name and New Orleans decided to go with the Pelicans name.  Here again, Pelicans seems like a goofy name, but it makes sense for a New Orleans team.  It's too bad they couldn't get the name Jazz from Utah.  Everyone knows the Utah Jazz should be the Utah Mormons.  ;)
  • The Houston Rockets.  You're probably thinking that the name 'Rockets' is perfect for a Houston team.  Well, it is, but they didn't start out as the Houston Rockets.  They were originally the San Diego Rockets.  The original owner of the team had a moving company named Rocket or Rockets.  :doh:   In this case, the name actually made more sense after the team moved.
  • The Los Angeles Clippers.  There aren't too many Clipper ships in Los Angeles just as there aren't too many lakes.   xD   The Clippers started out as the Buffalo Braves, but they then moved to San Diego not long after the Rockets left.  They then became the San Diego Clippers.  That made sense, but then the team moved again to Los Angeles.  It wasn't a long move.  Since San Diego is so close to Los Angeles, I suppose the name still kind of works.  The Clippers name made sense when Donald Sterling owned the team.  Us Clippers fans called them the Los Angeles Coupon Clippers then.  xD   Fortunately, those days are past now.

I would say that most fans here in the US don't change their favorite teams unless their team moves.  Some fans, especially in basketball, are fans of players more than they are fans of teams.  Thus, those fans may change teams all the time. 

In my case, I refused to root for a team that cheated my local community.  I still consider myself a fan of the Rockets up until about 1997 or so, but I've been a Clippers fan since then.  Likewise, I'm not really a fan of baseball anymore, but I used to watch a lot of baseball and the Astros were my team.  If I ever did start watching baseball again, I would not root for the Astros given them leaving the National League (though MLB forced that on them) and their whole cheating scandal.

I've learned that it's easier in some ways to root for an out-of-town team.  In that case, it's not such a big deal if the team is cheating their hometown.  xD   I will say that I've always rooted for the New York Giants football team.  My father told me to never become a fan of the Houston Oilers football team because they would be sure to screw things up.  He turned out to be right.  Not only did they choke in every big game they played, but then they moved to Tennessee to become the Tennessee Titans.  Meanwhile, the Giants have won several Super Bowls in my years as a fan.  :^

I would say that if a Brit was looking for an NBA team to root for, Toronto makes sense right now.  They are the defending champions, their very good head coach, Nick Nurse, used to coach in the British Basketball League for Birmingham, Manchester, London, and Brighton, and they have a player of British nationality, OG Anunoby, on their team.  The Australians have many teams to choose from because their are now many Australians in the NBA including some stars.  There are a lot of European players in the NBA, but not so many Brits that I know of. 

 

Bazzer

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I've never connected with basketball , American football was quite big over here in the 80's when Channel 4 dedicated a show to it each Sunday , I followed the Chicago Bears but lost interest after a few seasons . When my Sports TV package included ESPN a couple of years back live baseball appeared on my screen , it was a game I knew nothing about so I set about learning , my team choice was instant , I knew about the Yankees and the Red Sox but Chicago has always held an interest for me , the Cubs are the big team but I knew the White Sox's logo , it's quite famous even though the team these days are not . So I'm a White Sox fan and really enjoy being one , I post on their forum and have learned a tremendous amount the last two seasons . The Sox have quite a chequered past to say the least , I've watched the film Eight Men Out and read a bit about the great scandal of 1919 .

 

Klassik

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Back in the 1980s and 1990s when cable TV was booming in the US, there were two stations called 'superstations' which were local TV stations that were also basic cable stations that almost everyone in the US got if they had cable.  One of those was TBS/WTBS from Atlanta and the other was WGN from Chicago.  TBS used to show a lot of Atlanta Braves baseball games (the owner of the TV network, Ted Turner, owned the Braves) and, of course, the whole country could see them.  Since the Braves were very competitive in the 1990s, there were many Braves fans across the country.

In the case of WGN, they aired a lot of Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox games which could be seen across the country.  This was when the Bulls had Michael Jordan.  People don't talk about this much, and younger people probably wouldn't even get this, but I think the fact that a large number of games that Michael Jordan played in were aired nationally on WGN really added to his fame in addition to all his other accomplishments.  Other star players in other cities didn't get nearly as much airtime as Jordan did.  Someone in California or something like that could have made the Bulls as their 'home' team since they could watch so many of their games. 

The Cubs have been a popular team nationally.  WGN probably helped that.  I can't say I'm aware of many White Sox fans outside of Chicago.  Even then, they are not as popular as the Cubs.  Frank Thomas had a lot of fans during his prime years though, I do remember that.

I was still watching baseball and was an Astros fan when the Astros lost to the White Sox in the 2005 World Series.  The series ended in a sweep, but all the games were close.  The Astros had bigger name players, but the White Sox had a really solid starting pitching rotation.

Aside from the 1919 Black Sox scandal, perhaps the most famous thing the White Sox ever did was Disco Demolition Night.  :eek:   I'm sure you've heard about that.  Disco music was not the same after that and it really showed the the division between rock fans and disco fans.  In some ways, it was a bit of a race/gender/sexuality war between the solidly white, male, hetero-oriented rock music and the more diverse disco fans.  That certainly goes beyond the scope of sports though.  xD

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disco_Demolition_Night

 
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Bazzer

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Disco Demolition Night.  :eek:   I'm sure you've heard about that.
Yes I've read about that , can't say I remember it at the time but no doubt it made news over here .

 
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Klassik

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The major news tonight is that the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to play their playoff game tonight against Orlando in protest of the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Kenosha is located not far from Milwaukee.  The NBA has since postponed the other two playoff games tonight (Houston-Oklahoma City, Portland-LA Lakers).  

Since that announcement, the WNBA (women's pro basketball) has cancelled their games tonight.  A couple of baseball teams have decided not to play tonight as well including the Milwaukee Brewers.

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/29747523/three-game-5s-set-wednesday-postponed-bucks-decision-boycott

At this point, I think it would be rather surprising if the NBA games scheduled for tomorrow take place as scheduled.  The whole playoff bubble could get cancelled because of this, but I guess we'll have to see what happens.

 
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Klassik

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Good news, the NBA players have agreed to return to play starting this weekend.  The games which were supposed to take place on Wednesday will take place on Saturday and the games which were scheduled to take place Thursday will be played on Sunday.

It seems the players and team owners came to an agreement to make efforts to turn NBA arenas into voting places, voting registration places, and/or ballot drop-off points for the big US election in November.  Also, commercials will be made encouraging fans to vote.

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/29759939/nba-announces-playoffs-resume-saturday

I think voter turn-out will be very important in the November election and these things requested by the players could have a real difference in the election.  It's pretty impressive that the players, most of whom are quite young, were able to unite to get something done.  It probably helps that the players were all in the Orlando bubble so they could discuss this and probably most of the owners want Trump out of office as well so that helps as well.  xD

 

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