Your Whistle Needs Some Snot
I'm not going to run and hide from people claiming that FreeDarko isn't built for the playoffs. In fact, I distinctly remember having typed that same sentence a year or two ago. Let's face it, the playoffs are, as one commenter pointed out, "a slow grind." It's the same faces, doing very similar things, for weeks on end. While I don't think FreeDarko is just about jumping on novelty, there's something to be said for the power of surprising, hitherto unimaginable, basketball events. For lord's sake, a major part of my NBA outlook circulates around the hollow god of potential; what makes Detroit or San Antonio maddening isn't just their style of play, but their sheer consistency.
On the other hand, there needs to be some continuity for a narrative to emerge, and I know that the playoffs are the only part of the season that really yields thus. There's a major difference between hailing Golden State's performance one game in, and considering its ramifications once the series is in the bag. Again, though, I'd argue that the teams that leave me cold just lack the unpredictability necessary to form a decent narrative arc. Steadiness, steadfastness, diligence, and a refined sense of focus are great from a competitive standpoint, iffy when as a fan, I want some surprises. At least a completely scattershot showing, like, say Denver in the first round, leaves with all sorts of questions and possibilities. Certainly not as compelling as the Warriors, but more intriguing than a team that rarely falters—especially when you've watched them stay on the straight and narrow for two rounds already.
Here's where I'll admit a problem. I get that the Spurs appeared somewhat vulnerable against the Nuggets, and that Detroit wasn't perfect this round. But after multiple years of relative fixity, it's hard to put much stock in little tiny hiccup. Just as, when the Warriors crapped out, their lack of track record kept me from believing this was part of some grand regenerative cycle.
As few things do anymore, this comes back to LeBron. He entered this season nursing a healthy clutch of storyline ammo, and then proceeded to piss a lot of that away. These playoffs, he's teetering between meaninglessness and the dawn of an even deeper tale than before. That's why the nation will soon hopefully look toward Cavs/Pistons, wherein LeBron can reclaim his spotlight with a couple of single-handed wins. I can safely say that, had he plowed through the reg seez and round one, the stage wouldn't be set like it is. But this is a gamble, for now he's in a position to seal his irrelevance.