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Point-counterpoint: Will the NBA or NHL playoffs be more entertaining?

BY DI SPORTS STAFF | APRIL 14, 2009 7:30 AM

NBA Playoffs

It pains me to think that this topic is even debatable.

The NHL? Really? Where do you even watch a game? ESPN “The Ocho”? Come on people, there is no comparison.

I was tempted to just write “Kobe” and “LeBron” and call it a win, but for the sake of journalistic integrity, I’ll state my case.

LeBron James’ triple-double spree literally torn through the “Player of Year” talk as he has lifted the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA’s best record, averaging 28.3 points per game. He is a 99.9 percent shoo-in for MVP, and ESPN’s top analysts are calling it, too, giving him 17 of 18 first-place votes.

Jon Barry was the lone ESPN analyst to give James a second-place vote and is now and forever in the abyss of “experts” who are delusional. Barry can keep Skip Bayless company.

The NBA playoffs begin this Saturday, and I cannot wait to see the insanely entertaining production starring the NBA’s top talents. Although I am predicting LeBron will steal the show, the King is not the only MVP-contender (they have no chance really) making an appearance. Dwyane Wade has revitalized a broken Miami Heat team with his spectacular offense. The season averages for “D-Wade” would verge on supernatural if I hadn’t grown up in Chicago and seen Michael Jordan play at the United Center. Wade averages 30.2 points per game, 7.5 assists, and 2.3 steals and has pushed the Heat to the fifth-seed in the East.

Kobe Bryant — as always — is dominating in the Western Conference, and he has ensured the Los Angeles Lakers will be the top seed. Bryant makes the game look effortless when he steps on to the hardwood. Sometimes I forget that I am 5-2 with a pathetic vertical leap and sadly attempt to imitate his moves (I apologize for those who witnessed). He has kept somewhat of a low profile this season, still managing to average 27 points per contest, but the playoffs appear to be the ripe time for Bryant to do what he does best — overshadow the competition.

Seriously, with this much talent, how can the NBA playoffs be anything but thrilling? If you want to watch the NHL, check out the “SportsCenter” highlights at 2 a.m.

— by Amie Kiehn

NHL Playoffs

Where do I even begin?

This year’s NHL playoffs is shaping up to be a good one, and the puck hasn’t even dropped yet.
Sure, there won’t be any slam dunks or last-minute shots, but nothing is better than watching a

Stanley Cup playoff game in sudden-death overtime where the next goal wins.

Perhaps the best thing about this year, as with any other, is that any team could win it all. Having the game’s best player (*cough* Kobe) or even the best record (*nudge* LeBron) doesn’t guarantee anything in this sport.

Looking at the Eastern Conference, as a biased Boston fan, words cannot describe how excited I am for the first-round matchup between the top-seeded Boston Bruins and eighth-seeded Montréal Canadiens, a rivalry that might even run deeper than the Red Sox and Yankees. Or how about the Washington Capitals/New York Rangers series?

It’ll be interesting to watch Alex Ovechkin, arguably the NHL’s best player, contest against New York’s recent pick up of Sean “I-get-the-NHL-to-create-rules-in-honor-of-me” Avery. The same guy who called New Jersey Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur “fatso” after a playoff series and got suspended from the league for making comments regarding ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert.

Even if the Rangers can’t pull off the upset, Avery is sure to make another mark in the postseason one way or another.

Still haven’t gotten your attention yet? Hey Chicago, the Blackhawks made the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Even better? They’re actually pretty good. Unfortunately for them, the San Jose Sharks still have something to prove as they hope to finally win the West, while the Detroit Red Wings will look for a championship repeat.

Why bother with the NBA playoffs? I’ll spoil it for you now, it’ll either be the LA Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, or Boston Celtics. Why bother with the NHL playoffs? Because sometimes, people enjoy watching sporting events that aren’t a foregone conclusion.

— by Evelyn Lau


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