I am not going to pretend to be an NBA expert.
I used to follow the NBA really closely, but a funny thing happens when you become a husband and a father:
You have to either become a casual sports fan or you need to pick one sport to become maniacal about and casually follow the rest.
So I don't have a blog called "Sully Basketball."
That being said, I am rooting for the Celtics and likewise want to see the Lakers flop.
And little did I realize that a floppero might happen in the first round, which is generally considered to be a formality.
I live in the middle of Laker country and I heard the build up to the playoffs being a return trip to the NBA Finals was a foregone conclusion. The 8 seed Thunder has a big star in Kevin Durant but he is too green. The Lakers were going to make quick work of them.
But even a casual observer can see this series could easily be 3-1 in the Thunder's favor.
I called my friend and great columnist for the Santa Monica Daily Press, Kenny Mack.
I asked him "Can the Thunder win a game in Los Angeles?"
He responded "The correct question is can the LAKERS win a game in Los Angeles? Game 5 won't technically be an elimination game, but it will be psychologically in the 4th quarter. If the fall 3-2 to the Thunder and have to play a do or die game in Oklahoma... where the Thunder would have absolutely nothing to lose."
I still think the Lakers are going to win this series... but MAN the Laker hater in me would love to see them get bounced in the first round!
And the ripple effect of the Thunder going 2-1 in the next three games is mind boggling.
First of all the remaining teams in the West will have an injection of purpose. The big bad Lakers would be gone and this would be one of the best chances in a while for one of these franchises to make the NBA Finals.
The Mavericks have some unfinished business from the 2006 NBA Finals. The Jazz, Nuggets and Suns are also seeking their first ever title. The Blazers could join the Thunder as the Cinderella story and all the Spurs want is title #5 in 12 seasons.
And the top teams in the East would be thinking the road to a potential title could be a lot easier without Kobe and company.
The Celtics are probably at the end of this run... but title #18 isn't out of the question.
The Magic may have been happy to be in the Finals last year, but without the Lakers in the mix... a first title in Orlando could be in the works.
And oh yeah... the urgency of LeBron... with no titles since the 1964 Browns in Cleveland and free agency looming for Cleveland's biggest star since Jim Brown... no pressure. They would cream any western opponent not named The Lakers.
The only people who would be pissed would be the ABC execs who have a series of great potential Finals match ups ratings wise, provided that the Lakers are in it.
Kobe...vs The Celtics.
Kobe... vs Howard in a rematch of 2009.
And the holy grail of match ups:
Kobe... vs. Lebron (with Shaq on the side!)
No offense to Dirk and Steve and Duncan and Durant... but combined they don't have the star power of Kobe.
And in terms of media markets, where would you rather canvas? Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Portland, Salt Lake City of San Antonio.
But ABC's ratings can stink for all I care. I had to deal with both the Lakers AND the Yankees winning last year...
At least ONE of them needs to be eliminated early this year.
It's not enough that my teams advances... the other team must suffer.
I am a petty man.
And GO THUNDER!