The last few seconds tick away on Wednesday night's NBA matchups, and the Los Angeles Clippers last gasps aren't enough gas to get them past the Houston Rockets, each of the four second round series are now tied at one game apiece.
In the first round, there were three four-and-out sweeps amongst the first eight series, but only one was a real surprise, the fifth-seeded Washington Wizards taking the broom to the fourth-seeded Toronto Raptors. Though only one of the Western Conference's first round series was all that close (an all time classic, with the Clippers narrowly escaping the champion San Antonio Spurs), several pundits were hard-pressed to pick a favorite amongst any of the West's elite, and understandably so.
Even at the bottom of the NBA barrel, there are few teams who don't have some glimmers of hope amongst the cellar dwellers (sorry, Minnesota Timberwolves fans) including your very own Denver Nuggets. Though the Nugs were less-than-hoped-for this past season, they showed signs of life over the last half of the year, and there are several attractive pieces amongst the squad, whether they end up staying or becoming trade chips.
Should two teams (the Rockets and Chicago Bulls) fail to win this year's championship, the NBA will have only its 10th champion since 1979. If Washington fails that task, that date becomes 1978. And if the red-hot Golden State Warriors also cannot ascend, the league will have a first-time champion.
Fun playoff games, rising young cellar dwellers, and the richest league contract in years coming down the pipe, with money for everyone to spend... it's a great time to be an NBA fan. Let's hope our Denver Nuggets are playing this time of year in 365 days.