Momentum of the NBA Playoffs has been Halted by Donald Sterling
The comments made by Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling has halted momentum on what has been a fantastic start to the NBA Playoffs.
The NBA has been on fire with the Playoffs since they started just a couple weeks ago. Each series has had its own story-lines and interesting aspects to it. Now, with all the events this past weekend, that all has taken a backseat.
There are no excuses for anything that Sterling, or anybody that is on that recording, has said. Even if he was recorded unlawfully, unknowingly, or the audio was used as a revenge tactic, it shouldn't have happened. Now instead of everyone talking about how interesting the Clippers/Warriors series has been, we instead are graced with trying to figure out what action the NBA should take against the Clippers owner.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has quite the task ahead of him when deciding the fate of Sterling. The commissioner essentially works for the owners of the league. See where the issues pop up from here? Silver would have to have the owners on board with trying to decide on a punishment for Sterling. The league would essentially have to find a way to buy-out the Clippers from Sterling, and with him holding the team that would come at a price. Could the NBA allow players to declare them as free agents and go elsewhere without contract penalty? A lot of questions need to be answered and Silver will be at the front of it.
At least for Silver, the quality of play on the court has been extremely positive. The NBA Playoffs so far this year has been miles ahead of previous seasons. Each series has a form on intrigue included with it.
Miami/Charlotte - Sure, the one series that can actually turn into a sweep tonight. The Miami Heat are defending champions and have been battling the Charlotte Bobcats throughout the first three games. It's been interesting to watch the Bobcats, who remember were the worst team in the league a couple years ago, attempt to stay within the radar of the Big 3. The Bobcats have not been completely blown-out in the series, having lost by 11, 4, and 13. They will look to grab one game on the Heat and cap what is a successful season for the Bobcats.
Indiana/Atlanta - How has the 8th seeded Hawks been able to hang with the powerful Pacers? The reason is because the Pacers have imploded. The development of the collapse of the Pacers has made this a series to watch. Currently the series is tied 2-2 and the swing game will take place tonight. Just the question of whether Indiana can pull it together makes every game interesting to watch.
Brooklyn/Toronto - Raptors fans are extremely excited to be back in the playoffs and sitting in a three seed. As they pact the arena, and outside of it, they are looking to advance out of the first round for the first time since Vince Carter was roaming around there. While the young legs of Toronto might take them there, they are currently tied with the old legs of experienced veterans in Brooklyn. The old vs. young story has been enough to sell the series, and it has given us four exciting games where the point difference has been a combined 24 points between the games. Game five will take place on Wednesday night.
Washington/Chicago - The Washington Wizards are leading the Chicago Bulls 3-1. Say what? The @JTESPN991 dream is starting to come alive as his Wizards are one game away from advancing into the next round for the first time since 2004. Washington took the first two games on the road, and have dominated with John Wall and Bradley Beal. More impressively, they were able to take another game from the Bulls without the services of Nené. Can the Wizards close out the series, or will the Bulls make a comeback? It's been a fun first round in the Eastern Conference.
Dallas/San Antonio - I've learned to never count out the Spurs, but I've also learned to never count out Dallas. Something will have to give, and it might be the legs of one of these two teams. Dallas currently holds a 2-1 lead in the series and will play game four tonight at home. This series has so many questions surrounding it. Has time caught up with San Antonio? Is the run over for Tim Duncan and company? Can Dallas really take four games from the Spurs? Will Mark Cuban lose his popcorn? We'll find out over the next few games.
Oklahoma City/Memphis - This has been my favorite series so far. Memphis just won't go away, no matter what people thought about them coming in. Three overtime games over four games with those Grizzlies taking two of them. Can Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley continue the run and take two more games from the Thunder? With three overtime games, and a 2-2 series, here's hoping for at least two more classic games and potentially another overtime. In a perfect world, this will go 7.
Portland/Houston - Talk about fun. These two teams also have played three overtime games over the course of four games. Between this series and the OKC/Memphis series, NBA fans are getting a complete fill. Each game has been close with the biggest spread being a seven point win. Houston is a good enough team to make a comeback, but down 3-1 it will take a good run to do so.
Golden State/LA Clippers - And finally a series that is tied 2-2 that is sadly overshadowed by the controversy. The Warriors have won a close game, and had a dominating performance in their other win. The Clippers have won two games in the same way. Can the Clips show move past the black cloud of their owner controversy and pull out the series win? Or, will the Warriors continue to push forward and return to the Western Conference Semi-Finals? Hopefully the last games played in this series can be focused mostly on the game, and not the outside issues.
I think we are all hoping that the NBA Playoffs continues to be this great, but with the recent audio recording released of Sterling the momentum of the league has slowed down massively. Silver has called for a press conference tomorrow to discuss the punishment for Sterling. Hopefully we have a decision that is positive for the league, and for everyone involved.