Down in the hole
Two days ago, the Rockets were the team to beat in the West, the Sixers had to wait another year for the Webber/Iverson colossus to sprout wings and soar, and the Kings were looking to make their annual skulk away from the postseason a little earlier than usual. Now the Mavs are making adjustments and reloading, the Pistons have been proven mortal by a little man with all the guts in the world and a towering Haitian that Walton says "might want to consider starting his own religion," and the Kings are looking like the team I put twenty dollars on to make the Conference Finals (if healthy).
Playoff momentum is as fleeting as it is, well, momentous. An 0-2 hole seems like the end of the world, a done deal, enough of a sample that the judgement is set in cement. But win one and suddenly things turn. The certainty of the day before is washed away, and all of a sudden you've got nothing left but the possibility that its opposite is true. Maybe the Mavs have figured out the secret to disabling Yao and the shooters. Why wouldn't Iverson, Webber and a talented supporting cast have what it takes to overpower the Pistons machine through sheer heart? The Sonics never were any good to begin with, right?
1-2 is only one game away from evening the series and starting anew. If you put together a two-game streak of accomplishment in a series, not only is there a good chance it'll stay that way--since it's a lifetime in a playoff series, it will seem to all the world like a month of doing the same thing in realtime. But falter after two games, and it's as if you've exhausted yourself, peaked and then fallen, given it your darnedest and been found out anyway.
Maybe it's just the first round, but things really do matter way too much all of a sudden. Yet, at the same time, they can be returned to the dust by so, so little.
Thought of some consequence: Comparing rappers and ball players is like comparing arms and legs. That's a metaphor, bitch; everything that came before it wasn't, despite the completely gratuitous use of the second person.
I was dreaming when I wrote this. Here is a picture of me in the final stages of editing: