Tuesday, April 20, 2004
But nobody noticed. Nobody said anything. It's not that difficult to make a mistake like that. After all, the New Orleans Hornets used to be the Charlotte Hornets. But, the thing is, the only people who noticed the change are people in Charlotte. And maybe a few of the people in New Orleans.
Why did this change go unnoticed? Because it happened in the Eastern Conference, of course. For Western Conference fans, what happens in the East is largely irrelevant. To be more accurate, what happens in the East is wholly irelevant.
And the Eastern Conference was even worse than usual this year. Making the playoffs was not much of a trick this year when so many of the Eastern Conference teams that made the playoffs were below .500. It was quite embarrassing! The Indian Pacers led in the East by 6 games or more most of the season. They clinched a playoff berth months before any other team in the NBA was even close.
But that was a dubious achievement because they were mostly playing Eastern Conference teams. They didn't do so well against the tough teams in the West. They did beat the Lakers once. But, honestly, so what? The Lakers played like crap far too much of the time. It was very easy to attribute their loss to the Pacers to one of their bad nights.
The Eastern Conference segment of the playoffs seems like a mere formality. It's mostly just an exercise so that the Pacers can stay in shape for the finals. Who can even remember the other Eastern teams in the playoffs? The Knicks, the Celtics, the Nets, the Pistons, uh, um, it's like trying to remember all of the seven dwarves.
Hopefully, the battle for the Western Conference will be such a bloodbath that the winners will be exhausted by the time they face the Pacers in the finals. I'm not putting a lot of money on that, mind you ... but such faint hopes keep sports fans interested.
And at least these hopes aren't as faint as those of the Knicks and Celtics fans. Those people are just deluded.