KINGS TAKE LORD STANLEY?
I'll be honest up front. I am not the biggest fan of the NBA. I love college basketball but the NBA has never been that appealing to me. Maybe because I live in a city that rejects professional basketball, but embraces the Pittsburgh Panthers.
I can say that I have been watching the less popular selection to many, the Stanley Cup Final. Yes, I know, the ratings are terrible, Games 3 and 4 are on a cable channel most have to call their provider to find out where it is, and when the NBA Draft Lottery beats out Game 1 of the Finals in viewers, you can only sit back and deal with it.
I am someone (even when the team I cheer for is eliminated from the postseason), who will still stay tuned into the action. I often find myself cheering for a team. Like many in southern California, the Kings bandwagon has been occupied by me since they took out the Canucks in five games. An eighth seed that made waves late in the season, especially when they picked up Jeff Carer off a sinking ship in Columbus that still needs further repairs. The Kings didn't score a lot of goals during the regular season, but they scored when they had their chances and Johnathon Quick has become a name many hockey fanatics now know. Move over Marty? No, not yet. Quick has been the main reason the Kings are 15-3 in the postseason and only one win away from raising a Stanley Cup banner along with all the championship banners belonging to the Lakers.
If the Kings finish the series back in New Jersey Saturday night, they would accomplish two feats never done in the modern conference playoff format dating back to 1994. The only eighth seed to win the Stanley Cup and a probable 16-3 record would be the best by a team in the postseason. Let's face it too. Most of us like the underdog. The Kings play the role differently. From the way they have played, you would've thought they were the #1 seed. Only negative for the Kings, they are 0-3 in Game 4's. Game 5 should be the final one, and the Cup goes back to California for the second time in five years.
Like most, I can't stand the Heat. But the Thunder are making me enjoy postseason basketball a little more this year. When the older Spurs squad that won 20 straight after taking a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals, it looked like it was curtains for the Thunder. Not so much.
One thing that separates the NBA from the NHL is player recognition. You can name at least two players from each of the final four teams in the conference finals. If I asked five people in Pittsburgh who Dustin Penner was, maybe one, if I'm lucky, could tell me who he is. Duncan and Parker, Durant and Westbrook, internationally known. I have a fascination with relocated teams. I always think back to the days of the Supersonics before they moved to Oklahoma City.
Other than that, the younger group of players and the veteran leadership of Durant made it fun to watch them come back and beat the Spurs. Especially when I have enough time to catch the end of Game 6 after Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final finished.
I'm on the Thunder bandwagon, and whoever they play for the championship, the Heat or Celtics, the odds are in the Thunder's favor.