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NBA’s real season about to get underway

Unless you are the biggest diehard hoops fan out there, you would have to admit that the regular season can be boring. Who really cares about the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic getting after it? There is absolutely nothing at stake, even with one of them being an eventual playoff team.

Certainly, you could say this about other sports. Why does anybody care about the Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins playing in August? They typically don’t, which is why the sport recently went to five teams in each league making the playoffs. MLB will do absolutely anything to keep as many teams relevant as possible.

The NHL has 16 teams in its playoff field — just like the NBA — but something is different. With teams getting a point for a loss in overtime or a shootout, the standings stay tighter. The NHL is a real race to the postseason, with any team that reaches it having a real shot of winning it all.

In the NBA, none of it matters. Even if your team makes the playoffs, it is truly a race to getting crushed in the first round for so many. It’s great if the Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers or Memphis Grizzlies make the playoffs, but they will be bounced in four or five games.

In the NHL, there have been multiple eighth seeds to reach the Stanley Cup Final, with the 2012 Los Angeles Kings winning it all.

Finally, though, we are about to have some real basketball that we can all get behind. The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder are going to play each other in the quarterfinals, giving us something to be excited about. Houston and Oklahoma City has a ceiling of getting into the second round before getting hammered by the San Antonio Spurs, but let’s ignore that reality for a moment (because it is the NBA, and we have to).

We are going to have a battle with Russell Westbrook and James Harden getting after it. The two top MVP candidates will be fighting to win a tough series, with neither having a ton of help around them. It would not be shocking to see both average more than 30 points per game in the series. Heck, it would almost be shocking if they didn’t.

The East doesn’t offer anything so fun, although the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls would be nice if it comes to pass. Chicago isn’t a good team, but watching Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo go against the Celtics with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford would be entertaining while it lasts.

Here’s to finally having some basketball that finally, finally matters.

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