From October through April, thirty teams scratched and clawed their way for this opportunity. Who will make it out? Who will be disappointed? Who will shock and surprise? Who will hit an insane buzzer beater that will make us all collectively gasp so loudly that we will be able hear each other from six counties away? WHO? TELL ME, WHO?
Welcome to the Hardwood Paroxysm 2012-2013 Playoff Previews.
Virtual Systems Analysis
by Andrew Lynch
I wanted to start this preview off with the V for Vendetta volume of V’s video, because apparently I’m stuck in 2005. Honestly, though, that’s way too many V’s for this series. THUNDERROCKETS needs but three:
Vengeance. Vindication. Variance.
Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but vengeance? She is a visage best viewed bearded, like some sort of angry carnival attraction. And James Harden, the PT Barnum of Offensive Efficiency, has a whole circus’s worth of vengeance to unleash upon his former mates in Oklahoma City. The Thunder wouldn’t give him his $6 million dollars, so he’s going to bring his Omer Asik elephants down I-35 like a millionaire Hannibal of Carthage.
Unfortunately for Harden and his three-point shooting acrobats, Oklahoma City stands to be vindicated for its decision — for now. The Thunder are heavy favorites, as they should be. Kevin Martin has done his level best to provide three-quarters of Harden’s production off the bench, and organic growth of the young core players has taken the Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook/Serge Ibaka combination to a higher plane of enlightenment.
The Thunder are far from nirvana, though, particularly with a Dalai Lama whose Four Noble Truths are predicated on playing Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher copious minutes. And, if the Rockets can jack up the variance in this series by running, gunning and doing what they do best, they’ll stand a chance — to win two games instead of one. It won’t be a very good chance; after all, circuses are kind of a dying business. But a little bit of probability goes a long way when the alternative is impossibility.
I Do Declare
by Amin Vafa
Any number of unexpected things can happen in this series. As a wise man once said, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!!!!” And he was right. Records can be topped, players can get injured (knock on wood that they don’t), upsets can occur, and hearts can be broken. But enough with the schmaltz. Let’s make some kooky predictions, shall we?
OK, I’m going to make three tiers of predictions, and make three predictions in each tier. Here we go:
Tier One: The Potential for an in-game fracas
1. Kendrick Perkins and Thomas Robinson will get double technicals in Game 1 because Robinson will misinterpret Perkins’s regular frown-prone face as a personal affront and will argue with him.
2. Kevin Durant (who is apparently “not nice” these days) will get a technical foul in Game 4 for yelling at Joey Crawford for calling him for a charge that he deserved.
3. Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia have to be separated in Game 4 because of Martin’s insistence that Knucklehead is better than that Parker’s.
Tier Two: Fans Gone Wild
1. OKC fans will boo James Harden in Game 1, causing him to go 3-15 in the first half. He will finish the game with 48 points.
2. Game 4 will be suffer a delay in the fourth quarter for over 20 minutes as the floor is being cleared of promotional “FEAR THE BEARD” fake James Harden-like beards that unhappy fans have thrown onto the floor of a 25-point rout.
3. Game 5 will begin on a 45-minute delay because “Mini Oil Derrick Giveaway Night” will have made the floor too slick. But for real, they should have seen that one coming.
Tier Three: WHAT THE WHAT?
1. The Rockets will lose the series at home at Game 6 because Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha will be replaced by MONSTARS. Kevin McHale is notoriously bad at game-planning against MONSTARS.
2. James Harden and Russell Westbrook will both get technical fouls in Game 2. This will occur because a fan from the stands will scream “WE SHOULDA TRADED YOU, RUSS!” Unfortunately, for Harden, the fan in the crowd will be an amateur ventriloquist, and Westbrook will think think Harden was the one who said it. The confusion will result in a very tense and confusing moment that will end in Westbrook sitting more minutes than he normally would.
3. Both teams will forfeit the series because they’ll all get emotional having watched hours of footage with Harden on the Thunder and Martin on the Rockets. As soon as both teams step out onto the court, Harden and Martin run past each other and hug their old teammates. They embrace and cry for so long that even the officials are too overcome with emotion to blow the whistle and start the game. The crowd goes silent for 10 minutes, until you hear one child sniffle. Then the entire stadium is filled with wailing sobs and memories of yore. The jumbotron no longer carrie a live feed and is instead filled with montages of Martin and Harden on their respective previous teams. The Rockets montage is set to “Good Riddance” by Green Day (those lyrics are so tricky, though! they’re so loving in parts!), and the Thunder montage is set to “Closing Time” by Semisonic.
Then the Thunder and Rockets all sign each other’s yearbooks. “H.A.G.S.!”
Through the Looking Glass
by Jordan White
Predictions for this series:
James Harden will score 45 points on 20 shots
James Harden will score 20 points on 30 shots
Chandler Parsons will continue to be handsome
Kendrick Perkins will continue to mean mug everyone
There will be at least one spat between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and once again we’ll find ourselves in the throes of the beaten-t0-death “they don’t like each other” narrative.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will continue to say how much they like each other
Jeremy Lin will remind everyone that he wasn’t a product of the New York media hype, and is actually pretty damn good
Omer Asik will be hilarious, without ever cracking a joke. Seriously, just look at the way he runs.
Derek Fisher will hit one big shot in a close game, vindicating Scott Brooks, but not really.
Reggie Jackson will miss an insignificant shot, and will get pulled instantly.
Serge Ibaka will bite on a pump fake
Terrence Jones will have a 20-10 game
Patrick Beverly-Reggie Jackson, though a likely insignificant match-up, will cause unexpected entertainment
Kevin Durant will have a triple double, and it won’t even be his best game of the series
The Thunder will win in 5.