Two games in and this series has taken more twists and turns than a Bavarian pretzel. You'd think the Hawks were playing the Canucks! You couldn't write a script and have it turn out any more unpredictable. The funny part is how similar both games have unfolded with some common themes:
Act 1: Get out to a fast start and build an early lead.
Act 2: Hurt one of the other teams important players and get him out of the game early.
Act 3: Give up the lead and trail for a good portion of the game.
Act 4: Wait until the dying seconds of the game before tying it.
Act 5: Lay it all on the line in overtime.
This is why I love sports. Unscripted drama played out by athletes playing with passion. And that's what the playoffs are all about.
It's "will" over "skill" at this time of year, and that's exactly what is happening on the ice. The Blackhawks upped their "passion play" in Game 2, almost hit as many Coyotes as they had shots on net (which is always a good idea in the playoffs) and put Phoenix on the ropes just prior to Bryan Bickell scoring the biggest goal of his young NHL career. As with any great drama this story has plenty of great subplots, many of which will be reported on in the next couple of days.
The good news for us sports lovers, this thriller isn't even halfway over.
No matter how much you rely on analytics and logarithms in determining who are the best players, ultimately it becomes about judgment.
Should win shares have a greater value than a player’s winning percentage in the playoffs? Is defensive rating a better barometer about a defender’s ability than say, defensive field goal percentage differential? And how much do you weigh how they fare versus playoff teams and non-playoff teams? A legitimate case can be made for all those numbers and many, many more, being used to rank the top 25 players.
Realizing such an endeavor should not be a one-person job, I enlisted the help of my fellow CSN Insiders, compiled our rankings and voila! We made a beautiful, bouncing list of more than two dozen players.
[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]
The scoring for this is pretty simple: Each Insider picked 25 players, ranking them from No. 1 through 25. Their number one pick received 25 points, No. 2 got 24, No. 3 got 23 and … you get the picture.
Without any further delay, here is the first annual CSN Top 25 NBA Players list in addition to our "others receiving votes" group.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Starting at about 7 p.m. E.T, Tuesday may be the biggest night in Cleveland sports history.
That's when the Cleveland Cavaliers banner presentation and ring ceremony for their NBA Finals win over the Golden State Warriors will take place at Quicken Loans Arena. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert decided to bump up the ring ceremony and tipoff of his franchise's season opener against the New York Knicks by 30 minutes so conflicted Clevelanders wouldn't have to decide between watching the Cavaliers receive their championship rings and Game 1 of the World Series, which begins at 8:08 p.m. at Progressive Field right across the street.
"I’ll probably have to leave my house at 3:30, 4:00 to get (to Quicken Loans Arena) on time tonight because obviously the Indians are playing Game 1 of the World Series," Cavs forward Kevin Love said. "It’s going to be an unbelievable night, hard to put into words."
The Cavs have already made it two Indians playoff games in 2016, with LeBron James giving a pregame hype speech before Game 2 of the American League Division Series and cheering on the Tribe for their win over the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series:
And as they did in Game 2 of the ALDS and ALCS, the Cavs are planning on coming to Game 2 of the World Series Wednesday night, Love said.