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Wednesday, June 4, 2008
If the NBA Playoffs Were Run Like a Democratic Primary ...


This is how Christopher Orr of The New Republic imagines Joe Dumars might handle things.

I'm talking about a fair, common-sense resolution of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Some in the media are declaring the series over because the Boston Celtics have won four of the six games played so far. But I don't understand why, with a series this close and hotly contested, anyone would want to shut it down before we play a seventh game and have all the results in. As anybody who follows the NBA knows, a seven-game series would be good for the league, and the added competition would make the eventual victor, whomever it might be, a stronger opponent against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals.

It's no great surprise that some are trying to push us out of this series. From the beginning, it's been clear that the media and league elites have been looking for an exciting new face, instead of a team, like ours, that has proven its mettle by making it to the Conference Finals six years in a row. ... Yes, Boston has won four games and Detroit only two. But it's hard to imagine a more arbitrary and undemocratic way to determine this series's outcome than "games won." It is, after all, a bedrock value of the game of basketball that all points must be counted. But how can that be the case when every point beyond the winning point is ignored? There are literally dozens of layups, jumpers, free throws, and (yes, even) dunks that our opponents want to say don't count for anything at all. We call on the NBA to do the right thing and fully count all of the baskets that were made throughout the course of this series.

Once you abandon the artificial four-games-to-two framework that the media has tried to impose on the series, a very different picture emerges, with the Celtics leading by a mere 549 points to 539. Yes that's right, the margin between the two teams is less than one percent-a tie, for all intents and purposes.

(Thanks to Kevin for the link.)