Thursday, April 19, 2007

NBA Playoffs Guide, From A To Z

Last night the NBA concluded the 2006-07 regular season. 14 also-rans have put their uniforms away until next fall. The other 16 teams remain in the chase for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. For a look at the postseason participants and storylines, here’s an A-to-Z guide.

ABC: Network TV home of the playoffs. To boost ratings, expect the finals to have a Dancing With the Stars format.

Boozer: Utah forward Carlos, or what David Stern will become if he has to hand the championship trophy to Mark Cuban.

Conspiracy: The reason for any team’s defeat, if you listen to its fans.

Dirk Nowitzki: The odds-on favorite for MVP, unless Sanjaya somehow wins.

ESPYs: A July event that LeBron James will co-host with Jimmy Kimmel. To get used to working together, Kimmel has joined Cleveland’s playoff roster.

Fifty: Point total reached ten times this season by Kobe Bryant. It’s also the price of a beer at Staples Center.

GMAT: A high score is crucial to getting into a top business school. Oh sorry, that’s something for the MBA Guide From A to Z.

Harry Potter: After season-ending injuries to Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler, he might be the last healthy Wizard.

Iverson: The Denver guard left Philly early in the season. Chances are, so will Charlie Manuel.

Joker: Jack Nicholson on the Lakers’ sideline, or Charles Barkley in the TNT studio.

Kirk Hinrich: The Bulls’ point guard takes on the Heat. He can’t do any worse than the last Chicago quarterback to start a playoff game in Miami.

Leather: The material of the NBA ball, properly reinstated after an off-season change. “You’re with me, microfiber composite” never sounded right.

Mommie Dearest: The film resonates with Tim Duncan, as it showed mistreatment by a Crawford. No wire hangers, Tim!

NFL Draft: An event next week that draws WAY more interest from sports fans – 4 ½ months before any of it even matters.

Orlando: Most people there are on vacation. Before long, so will the Magic.

Prince: Detroit forward Tayshaun, or the Spurs’ inspiration as they hope to party like it’s 1999.

Quicken Loans Arena: Home venue of the Cleveland Cavaliers, unless they decide to play in Milwaukee.

Ronald Reagan: President of the United States when Jerry Sloan was hired as Utah’s head coach. Jerry’s too lazy to find a new job.

Spice Girls: They were similar to Toronto’s starting lineup: one’s a quintet with Posh, the other’s a quintet with Bosh.

Thirteen: The number of years since Golden State’s last playoff appearance. It’s also how many weeks the first round will last.

USA: The Miami Heat, unlike every other playoff team, features an all-U.S. roster. Fortunately, they don’t have to play Greece.

Victoria, British Columbia: The hometown of Phoenix star Steve Nash. Like the Stanley Cup, he left Canada and settled in the States.

We Built This City: A truly awful song from Starship. Similarly, the New Jersey Nets would have ugly results if they got rid of their Jefferson.

X-Men: A unit that has been unlike any of Chris Webber’s teams. In crucial situations, they have a Wolverine that delivers.

Yao Ming: Averaging 25 points in 48 games, he emulated Roger Clemens: A Houston Rocket dominating in just over half a season.

Zero: Average number of traveling calls in a game.