By John Schmitt
March: the time of year when the ground thaws and temperatures rise as nature prepares itself for the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Things that have lain dormant start to rise and new life comes to the forefront. March makes my engine rev, and it’s not because of the blooming flowers.
The NBA and its players ramp themselves back up around this time for the spectacularly entertaining playoffs that will arrive in April. The crescendo starts around the beginning of March, right after the All-Star break and trade deadline when teams finalize their rosters, turn the intensity up, and make their final playoff push.
This week in particular has had some big story lines. The Miami Heat are streaking with their total coming to seventeen straight wins; the Celtics and Lakers each had huge fourth quarter comebacks in much-needed victories; and the Clippers-Thunder game got so heated, Serge Ibaka threw a haymaker into the vicinity of Blake Griffin’s “man zone.” This uptick in effort speaks volumes to the amount of determination these players exhibit to get to the playoffs.
This intensity is what the people like to see. This time of year garners so much attention because many teams in the league are in a sprint, jockeying for a playoff berth or position. Teams are rising, falling, entering, and exiting the playoff conversation.
Naturally, this creates added pressure on the players to perform, making each game that much more interesting. Leisure NBA fans do not pay attention until the stakes are raised, the intensity builds, and each game gets increasingly more critical. That time is now, so tune in, buckle up, and enjoy the ride because it is getting to be a wild one.