Anyone who has watched the Eastern Conference playoff matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls have seen a battle between teams with opposite narratives. The Bulls, meanwhile have been on the cusp of contention for a few years now.
With premier coaching and serious depth, the Bulls have been a team no one wants to meet in the postseason. A mix of injuries and LeBron James have kept them from playoff payoffs, but this year it appears as if they are here to stay. They have staked their claim in the NBA as blue collar crew.
The Cavs on the other hand are the new kids on the block in this playoff battle. After an offseason that saw the glorious return of the King and a trade for elite power forward Kevin Love, the Cavaliers have vaulted themselves from the basement to the driver’s seat. The frenzy that has encompassed the Cavs’ season was nothing short of a red carpet rollout to the finals. If Kendrick Lamar’s opening night concert wasn’t evidence enough, for this NBA season Hollywood has moved to Ohio. Bad example, but you get my point.
There are things to love about this matchup, there are other things that leave me shaking my head.
The first thing I have to address is Cleveland’s court design. What better way to celebrate Cleveland’s famous skyline than to decorate the court with its silhouette (cue sarcasm). No one knows what buildings are represented in that skyline.
Even a cursory Google search yielded no useful results. This is undoubtedly a result of the horrendous trend of spicing courts up with graphic nonsense in an attempt to be edgy. Along the sideline, situated directly beneath the skyline, are the words, “all for one, one for all.” A nice reminder of the time-honored Cleveland proverb, “all for LeBron, one for LeBron.”
The home court at Quicken Loans Arena also features the letter “C” a center court. Most teams have their logo at center court, it’s just that usually it doesn’t touch both three point lines. It is too large, much too large. Who ever thought that gaudy graphics trumped the classic beauty of polished maple is a scourge upon the basketball world.
The Bulls, on the other hand have their own place on the list of things that make me yell at my television.
I swear to Benny the Bull that every time Derrick Rose jumps into the air with no real plan of what to do when he lands, I can hear Thibodeau scream. The Bulls point guard has averaged four turnovers a game through this year’s playoffs, placing him third overall behind LeBron James and James Harden.
Though these players are expected to have their share of turnovers due to their high usage rates, common for star players, the stat does not account for bad passes made because Rose was forced to discard the ball before being called for a travel.
The fact that this move doesn’t result in disaster as frequently as it should, however, is one of the things I love about the game. It is Rose’s explosiveness that even allows him to perform the move that other point guards across the league would not even dare attempt. That split second where he dribbles left, spins back off his right foot and jumps into the lane, past his defender and ultimately scoops a nearly impossible pass to a teammate in the low post is what makes the guard so great.
Don’t let this rant give you the idea that I don’t love basketball (I do). Or that you shouldn’t tune in to watch the series as comes back to Chicago for game three (without a doublt, you absolutely should).
This column only stands as evidence that the NBA isn’t perfect, yet. That you live with the players you love despite their bad habits, and that something as innocuous as a court design can detract from a viewing experience when you watch an unhealthy number of the 1,230 games held every season.