Where will amazing happen? On the hardwood, of course

Michael Moses

Daniel R. Doherty | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

The popular NBA playoffs commercials, combining black-and-white footage of past playoff moments with piano music in the background, give sports fans goosebumps.

Where will amazing happen this year?

That answer is simple: Amazing happens on the hardwood. Say, a half-court buzzer-beater by a 6-foot-8, 250-pound superstar forward who just so happens to be the fastest player in a game filled with athletic guards. Or maybe a historic 36-point, 11-assist performance by a 19-year-old rookie in his first taste of NBA playoff basketball.

Amazing? I think so.

Can these be matched on the ice? It’s arguable, but I say no. At least not in America. (Maybe in Canada, eh?)

Basketball captures our country and is played in every city and community alike. Everywhere you look, there is a hoop or court. Kids get their Little Tikes hoops at age 3. You’re more likely to see a group of 12-year-olds running on a blacktop, not skating on it.

Geographically, I’d sure hope the consensus is siding with the NBA playoffs. The Cleveland Cavaliers had the best record in the NBA, with coach Mike Brown honored as NBA Coach of the Year. They’re taking a hungry city by storm. Cleveland has waited longer than any other city with three major sports franchises to win a title.

The last time a Cleveland professional sports team won a championship was in 1964, when the Browns won the NFL championship (pre-Super Bowl era). Are the Columbus Blue Jackets really generating that much buzz for the Stanley Cup?

Ask a non-NBA fan when to watch a league game, and most likely they will answer “with a minute left in the game” or “during the playoffs.” Even they know NBA players turn it up a notch when it counts the most.

It’s a golden age for basketball. The game’s three MVP candidates and best players are in the playoffs (LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade), with its emerging superstars leading their teams as well (Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Derrick Rose).

Perhaps the best example of NBA playoff basketball is in this year’s No. 2 vs. No. 7 matchup in the Eastern Conference, which features two storied franchises, the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls.

In the first two games alone, the Bulls’ Rose tied an NBA record with points in a game as a rookie in the playoffs (with 36), Rajon Rondo of the Celtics posted a brilliant triple-double (19 points, 16 assists, 12 rebounds), and two UConn alumna had the best one-on-one battle of the season thus far.

Ben Gordon looked like the human version of an ESPN Instant Classic in game two, hitting big shot after big shot and finishing with 42 points. But it was the older, wiser Husky who finished in the upper end. After going a horrible 1-of-12 shooting in game one, Ray Allen scored 30 points (28 in the second half) and hit the game winner with two seconds left on the clock.

So where will amazing happen this year? Not on the ice.

Contact sports correspondent Michael Moses at [email protected].