NBA playoffs are too soft for me

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Call me old school if you want, but I’ve had enough of all this talk about the current Pacers vs. Knicks series being a throwback to the era in which the matchup meant plenty of physicality and a truckload of flagrant fouls being committed.

Is it possible that I’m the only curmudgeon who remembers both Anthony Mason wrestling with Dale Davis and Antonio Davis reminding both Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley he too was a grown man?

Heck, even John Starks going at it with Reggie Miller is more of a battle than what we’re currently watching, as not one player on either team has the street cred to even think about imposing his will on his opponent, and that alone makes me chuckle when an announcer even remotely refers to how intense the physical play is.

It’s important to say I’m not a fan of cheap shots or any sort of an underhanded maneuver that could lead to an injury, but for the life of me, all these uncontested drives (actually strolls) to the basket without even marginal contact is both pathetic and beyond disrespectful to the stalwarts of yesterday who played hard and used all their fouls each game they participated in.

Today is all about finesse, running the floor in transition and hoisting three-point attempts early in the shot clock, and while a number of teams have developed that formula into a successful attack, l still long for the day in which diving for a loose ball often resulted in the referee separating players and technical fouls being assessed routinely as a by-product of it all.

While the game today showcases a tremendous number of talented players with incredible athleticism, it sorely lacks the enforcer type of player, one who patrols the lane as if it’s his home, daring an uninvited guest to ring the doorbell, let alone evade his domain. Then again, maybe I’m just stuck in the distant past, one in which the playoffs meant you were more than likely going to get bruised in the half court sets it took to win a series.  

This Mr. Softie approach to the NBA Playoffs annoys me more than ketchup on a hotdog, and while l do believe there’s still a few like me out there trying to ingest this style of play without dialing 911, l will concede it’s simply what the game has morphed in to, and there is really nothing l can do about it.

Just don’t tell me both teams left it all on the floor, and please don’t confuse the inability to defend without fouling with rugged play.

It’s simply not the case, and while the track meet without physical defense suits a large number of NBA fans today, it’s not even close to the remarkably great playoff basketball that the Pacers and Knicks gave us in the 90’s.

Do yourself a favor and pull up those great matchups l referred to on YouTube and take note of the style of play l have referenced.

Follow that up with the games we’ve been watching and note the distinctive differences in them.

It’s okay if you prefer today’s NBA. Just don’t tell me it’s even close to being as physical as it once was. Danny Bridges, who longs for another round of spirited, physical playoff basketball, one that produces a bench clearing brawl with no injuries and some harmless ejections, can be reached at (317) 370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.