Playoff Sleepers

There are no Cinderellas in the NBA Playoffs.

I went to Wikipedia to prove my point and was shocked by what I found. In this millennium, only one team below a fourth seed has made it the Conference Finals. As in, every year for 14 years the entire lower half of the bracket has failed to win two rounds, with the exception of the 2013 Grizzlies. They were a fifth seed, and they beat the Russell Westbrook-less Thunder in the second round before getting curb stomped by the Spurs, 4-0, in the Conference Finals.

If you’re a fan of a playoff team without one of the four best records in its conference, now would be a good time to start steeling yourself for the inevitable. Enjoy the playoff games your team takes part in and then start thinking about next year.

Or if you, like me, prefer to torture yourself by rationalizing why you still have a chance, read on. I’m going to break down every team I see as potential sleeper. (Celtics and Pelicans fans can stop reading now. Neither team has a chance of winning more than two games against the Cavs and Warriors.)
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NBA Predictions Revisited

Before the NBA season began, I made five bold predictions. Well, not that bold, considering they included such nuggets as “A bunch of teams will fall well below expectations,” and “All predictions will be incorrect.” But hidden amid the rambling was one substantive note: the Eastern Conference separated into tiers. So how did past James, in all his ignorance, do in predicting the Eastern Conference landscape?
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In the NBA, like in so much of popular culture, new rules the day. Something bursts onto the scene and sucks up all the air. For a while it is everywhere and everything. Then, one day, it stops being cool. And just like that, it’s thing — the thing that made it fresh and exciting, the thing that made people stop and pay attention, the thing that made people want more — is just “meh.”

Look no further than the performance of “Happy” at the Grammys for Exhibit A: a once fun song now reduced to an irritant. Or maybe you were one of the determined souls who gritted their way through the 37th and final season of How I Met Your Mother last year.
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Super Bowl Shock

There are few things in sports that truly shock me anymore.

When you’re a kid, it’s easy to be amazed. The first time you see a buzzer beater, the ball swishing through the net in the glow of the neon red zeroes, it seems — in the literal sense of the word — unbelievable.

The tiniest competitions can take on monumental importance. I remember playing Madden 03’ with my friend Adam back when we were maybe 10. We were playing on the same team — the Eagles, obviously, so we could scramble with Donovan McNabb. We were down a few points — it might have been against the Patriots — with about five seconds left deep in our own territory. So we ran the play where you chuck it to the wide receiver running straight down the left side of the sideline. Half of the time that play ends in an interception. Every once in a while the guy gets his hands on it. This time he caught it, and then, somehow, broke the tackle. That never happens. As he sprinted down the field with nobody else in sight, we were floored. This quickly turned into delirium, jumping and down, rejoicing in the miracle that had just occurred on my PS2.
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The NFL, MLB, and NHL are crapshoots.

We spend hours studying these sports. We watch games and skim box scores. We dissect athletes’ quotes for hidden meaning. We devour statistics that in any other context would feel like homework.

And yet, really, only one thing matters. Are you good enough to squeak into the playoffs?
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Movies and NBA Teams

Over Thanksgiving break, with no classes to fall asleep in and no projects to worry about, I had time to burn my way through an impressive (or depressing, depending on how you look at it) number of movies. Some made more of an impression than others, but I enjoyed aspects of every movie, just like I enjoy things about every NBA team. So I had the bright idea to compare each movie to an NBA squad. Here’s what I came up with.
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