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Here at the sports desk located somewhere below decks of the Good Pirate Ship RedState, we’ve been busy installing our new big screen TV purchased when the captain wasn’t paying overt attention to the expenses ledger. All the better to watch the NBA playoffs and especially the upcoming NHL playoffs. We’re also getting used to our most excellent new oversized couch, with plenty of room for Sammy the Shark and Karl the Kraken as, alas, neither will be participating in this year’s postseason festivities. In fact, the couch is so roomy we’ve got plenty of room for people watching playoff action from afar. Like LeBron James.

Anyway, the NBA’s first-round is in full action. While there is seldom much drama in the higher-lower bracket matchups, this year there is much interest in the Eastern Conference’s two-seven bout with the number two seed Boston Celtics taking on the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets have been such a drama llama all season they’ve almost made people forget about the Lakers’ penchant for Hollywood-worthy hijinks. First, there was Kyrie Irving showing he was one of the, if not the, most intelligent NBA players alive by refusing the jive jab, thus making himself unavailable for all home games. Then there was James Harden sulking his way out of town, eventually being sent to Philadelphia in a deal that involved the malcontent poster child Ben Simmons going to Brooklyn. The move made perfect sense because, as is well known throughout the sports world, fans in New York would never hurt a player’s feelings by booing them the way they do in Philadelphia. Simmons has yet to play for Brooklyn as, apparently, his back is even more fragile than his psyche. The Nets do have Kevin Durant doing what Kevin Durant does, and if he and Irving can replicate their performances from Game One, won by Boston on a last-second Jaysom Tatum layup, this one could quickly go to every minute being must-see for hoops huggers.

Elsewhere in the first-round Eastern Conference matchups, the aforementioned Philadelphia 76ers are having no problems with a depleted-by-injury Toronto Raptors, currently enjoying a two to none game advantage over Barney’s brigade. The top-seeded Miami Heat scorched the Atlanta Hawks in their first game, but given Trae Young’s penchant for rising to the occasion, tonight’s game figures to be a far tighter affair. And the Milwaukee Bucks, who are the most loudly ignored defending champs imaginable, have thus far reminded the Chicago Bulls that while they’re good, the Bucks are better.

Out west, the biggest eye-opener was how soundly the Minnesota Timberwolves thumped the chic pick Memphis Grizzlies in their first game. And in Memphis, no less. You’ve got something more than deserving maximum attention when you beat a Ja Morant-led squad in their barn. If Memphis can’t figure out how to overcome Minnesota’s aggressive defense tonight, they are in a world of trouble.

In the other first-round Western Conference series, it’s doubtful the New Orleans Pelicans can offer much resistance to the Phoenix Suns. The Utah Jazz-Dallas Mavericks series, presently tied at a game apiece, has thus far been overshadowed by Mavericks superduperstar Luka Doncic’s unavailability due to a strained left calf. For the record, no, Doncic doesn’t live on the second floor, and yes, it’s his strained calf muscle that was not incurred by trying to restrain a straining calf, even if we are talking about Dallas. Oh, and the actually all healthy for once Golden State Warriors are abusing defending league MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets like redheaded stepchildren, having outscored the Nuggets by a collective 36 points en route to a two to none series lead.

The hoops are heating up.

Source: This post first appeared on RedState

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