NBA: 2015 PLAYOFF PREVIEW

NBA PLAYOFF PREVIEW The world’s longest preseason is finally over. With 82 games behind them, NBA teams can now move into the portion of the schedule that really counts...

NBA PLAYOFF PREVIEW

The world’s longest preseason is finally over. With 82 games behind them, NBA teams can now move into the portion of the schedule that really counts – the playoffs.

“Be warned. The NBA playoffs are a little like The Hundred Years’ War.”

Some familiar teams will be missing. The Miami Heat are out for the first time since 2008. The Oklahoma City Thunder saw a five-year postseason run come to an end, even as Russell Westbrook finished as the NBA’s leading scorer. Well, thanks for the memories.

The New Orleans Pelicans did in the Thunder (indirectly) to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011. They beat the San Antonio Spurs 108-103, ending the Spurs’ 11-game win streak and knocking them back to the sixth seed in the Western Conference. The victory also put the Pelicans in and the Thunder out. The Spurs, the defending champs, don’t even have home-court advantage in their first-round series.

playoffpreview1

The Pelicans probably won’t be much of a test for the Golden State Warriors and sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers should play an entertaining series.

Be warned. The NBA playoffs are a little like The Hundred Years’ War. There’s winning, there’s losing, and there’s no particular hurry. Spurs-Clippers, for the sake of argument, begins Sunday. It’s a best-of-seven series. The second game is not until Wednesday. A seventh game would be May 2. That could make you long for The Hundred Years’ War and a final resolution to the question of succession to the French throne.

The Eastern Conference should eventually boil down to the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. You’ll see plenty of LeBron James and hear the noise about him possibly going to the Final Four for a fifth straight year (the past four with Miami). That too will make you hunger for The Hundred Years’ War and a cast of characters that included Joan of Arc, John The Fearless, Philip the Bold, Edward the Black Prince and Philip the Good, along with the House of Plantagenet.

The fun starts Saturday and ends sometime in June. Joan of Arc or the 3-point arc? Your call.
 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman .
 

Follow @TwistityNews