The NBA’s Game 7s couldn’t hold up against the NHL’s Game 7s
It was truly an amazing sports weekend we all had. The NHL had five Game 7s and the NBA had two of them.
For hockey, it isn’t that abnormal to have a competitive back and forth series. Part of it is just the design of the sport. But it makes for compelling television for the fans to watch.
Every game but one was decided by one goal in the NHL. That one game was Edmonton and Los Angeles. It was 1–0 late in the third, and then Connor McDavid hit a backhander to give them the 2–0 lead that would seal the deal.
Toronto and Tampa Bay were must-see TV on Saturday night. Toronto, who hasn’t won a playoff series since 2004 and a Stanley Cup since 1967, got eliminated in Game 7 to the defending champions. The game was close the whole way. At any moment you thought Toronto could tie up the game, but Tampa’s defense helped close out the game.
Then you move to Sunday in which the two hockey games went to overtime. If you’re new to this, it’s sudden death. The first team to score in overtime wins the game.
Pittsburgh vs New York was a great matchup. Pittsburgh played extremely well with a third-string goalie. If we’re being honest, New York was lucky to have won that series. It also could’ve been the last run for Sidney Crosby and this Penguins squad.
The late-game was absolutely insane. Dallas went into a Game 7 in Calgary in which they had no business being in. Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger played out of his mind. He’s a 23-year-old goalie that carried Dallas to 7 games. Calgary outplayed Dallas for the majority of games, but Oettinger was the man. Oettinger gave up 3 goals on 67 shots. Absolute insanity. At the end of the day, Calgary moves on.
NHL Game 7s were awesome. All of them could have gone either way, and that’s the type of back-and-forth action that you want in a game 7.
NBA on the other hand? Complete duds. There were only two games, but both were absolute massacres. Milwaukee went to Boston to take on the Celtics. The first half was competitive, but Boston was taking momentum into halftime.
Then it was over. It wasn’t even a game. Boston wins 109–81. No nervous fans. No late-game timeouts. Nothing. Snoozefest.
Giannis Antetokounmpo did all he could this series, but with his right-hand man Khris Middleton being injured the whole series, Giannis was limited.
Then the west-coast series brought a surprise. Dallas went to Phoenix and dominated from the tipoff. Luka Dončić is 23 years old. He went from not winning a playoff series to now being in the Western Conference Finals. Luka dominated that game. The Suns had 27 points at halftime. So did Luka.
To go into someone’s home arena and do that to that is absolutely insane. Luka is proving himself to be one of the best players in the league. He finished with 35 and got to rest for a good chunk of the game because Dallas blew out Phoenix, 123–90.
A side note: for the “superstars” of the Suns to combine for 21 points is pathetic. Chris Paul is now 0–7 in Game 7s. He also has blown a 2–0 series lead on five different occasions. Those are stats that absolutely kill a legacy. He finished with 10 points.
Devin Booker finished with 11 points. For a guy who talks trash to everyone after getting to one NBA Finals, he sure didn’t show up when it mattered. Booker needs to humble himself and come back and carry a team the way Luka is.
But, back to the point.
NHL playoffs have just been far more entertaining. These guys want it with everything in them. For teams like the Bucks and Suns to just fall over and give up is such a bad look. Especially for the Suns at home. Deandre Ayton refused to go back into the game when his coach, Monte Williams, told him to.
Not to mention, it was the first round for the NHL and it was the second round for the NBA.
I love both sports. NBA is far more mainstream and the off-court drama is second-to-none. But just talking from a competitive standpoint — NHL is unquestionably the best.