If this isn't the best game I see all day, I'll be disappointed. Teams in the West stand for something. They're cohesive, consistent--even if only in their inconsistency—in part because we spend a lot of time developing these models for them. That's where the good product perches.
But it's also tiring. Yeah, I said it. Always pondering the end or beginning of the world in each series, the big picture obscuring the simple pleasures (or the simple pleasures becoming big pictures in their own right), it take a toll. That's why, as sick as this sounds, there's something endearing about the possibility for GOOD Eastern ball. The conference is a wasteland. But then you get a series like this where, despite long stretches of dross, there's that frontier-like feeling that, with the right character plopped into the scene, anything could happen.
Maybe I'm biased, since I used to live out East, and still have very fond memories of Iverson/Carter, or 2006's Bron/Arenas. There's real, unstable suspense here. So much room for both brilliance and calamity, for the Cavs to trundle along until LeBron's awakened with you-know-what. Arenas, Willis as fuck, reminding me exactly why he's my favorite player with that patented combination of guts and perversity.
Granted, this is best case scenario for East ball, circa 2008—flighty stars, a rugged backdrop, and genuine kill-or-be-killed stakes. Until SAS/PHO goes into triple OT, though, I'm sticking to this as my local branch of basketball heaven. Or maybe that's just because it's the first game on, and I know I'll get progressively more and more sapped as the hours roll on.
My preview of the series. Read the other ones, too.