With the news last week that Free Darko was ending I decided to say fuck it and stop writing my Alibi posts as though I was still constrained by the newspaper, as though I have something to shill. It's never worked for me anyway.
The NBA Playoffs have gotten off to a bang and it's time to unleash your liberated fandom. The games started off with what some are calling the best NBA weekend ever - although The Basketball Jones wonder how you can qualify that - and have continued to spill over in complete madness.
Over the weekend, in the Western Conference, both the 1 seed and the 2 seed lost their first games. There were indications that it would be this crazy when the boring game that everyone was talking smack about turned into an almost-instant classic.
On Tuesday night, Carmelo Anthony decided to take things to a whole new level by scoring 42 points in a noble effort to keep the New York Knicks afloat. It didn't work. But it made for one of the most entertaining games thus far, in a postseason that's been filled with them.
The time has come to declare that, if you're not watching this season of basketball and especially now, if you're not watching this postseason of NBA, you're clearly not a fan of basketball. There are always arguments made about whether the NCAA game or the NBA is a better product, but putting aside the notion that this is a subjective argument and cannot be won by one side or the other - the quality of play thus far has been far beyond what fans even had a right to expect.
The righteous anger of Denver, with the drama surrounding Anthony all season, has been galvanized since the trade. They're playing out of their heads against an Oklahoma City Thunder team that some claim is ready to take that next step - all the way to the Finals.
On the other side of the bracket, no one expected the Chicago Bulls to be this good when the season started. But now that it's finished, and the Bulls had the best record in the league, the weight of expectations has been foisted upon them. The struggles that presumptive-MVP Derrick Rose and his team are having with the Indiana Pacers do not bode well for the other young gun team.
(It'd be more than bizarre, but a little apropos, at least, if the Bulls were to meet the Thunder in the 2011 NBA Finals. I don't think it'll happen.)
Dirk Nowitzki was mentioned early in the season as a possible MVP candidate, but then his team merely did what it's done for the last 12 years straight: win more than 50 games in pretty convincing fashion, despite a host of injuries. He's roared back to life (along with the old man swag of Jason Kidd) for the Playoffs and the Dallas Mavericks look to be a tough out for anyone, much less the (seemingly, at this point) over-matched Portland Trailblazers.
The thing about this postseason is that it's reaffirming the notion that this season was (and is) one for the ages. With the worry of a lockout looming over everyone's heads (the players, the owners, and, most of all, the fans) this feels a little bit like insurance: if the building burns down, at least we'll have memories of that one last rager of a party.