Hey, everybody. I’m Maria Alana, and I’m here to guide you through the National Basketball Association’s postseason. It’s important to have an idea of how the basketball matchups will go, but it’s just as important – maybe even more so – to check out the Hottie Matchups of each series. Let’s get to it!
(1) Celtics and (8) Hawks
A couple of weeks ago, a hawk attacked a teenaged girl at a Red Sox game. Remember that? They blamed it, of course, on the Sawx/Yanks rivalry, but since baseball’s not really my sport, I I was just tempted to take the attack as an omen for this series. I mean, teenaged Red Sox fans are usually bigger than hawks, right? And the hawk totally owned this girl. However, I’ve watched the Atlanta Hawks. I’m not self-deluded enough to think they could perform a similar upset. The Hawks are lovable and have tons of potential, and all, but. Celtics in four.
The basketball matchup is an easy one to predict. The Celtics have the best record, play the best defense, and have beaten every team in the league; the Hawks suck. The Hottie Matchup, however, is far more difficult to call: Kevin Garnett, representing the Celtics, and Al Horford, representing the Hawks.
This one is tough, and requires analysis. Al wins it on sight, obviously. But, in Hotties as in basketball, intangibles make a huge difference – and no one’s got more intangibles than KG himself. Time for Point-Counterpoint!
KG’s one of the few athletes that could legitimately be considered a hero. Between Minnesota and Boston, he was the uncomplaining martyr for one suffering franchise and the unquestioned savior of another. He’s one of the best players in the league, a stand-up guy, charismatic as all get-out. He’s handsome and photogenic, too.
Al’s young, talented, and drop-dead gorgeous. Beautiful face, perfect body. He’s a great kid, and devoted to basketball. Charisma? He’s got charisma (just ask Erin Andrews). He doesn’t have a legend like KG, but then, he is just a rookie – that he has star power at all is a testament to what he could become.
It comes down to the wire. KG’s overall greatness, or Al’s sheer beauty? The wisdom of experience, or the cockiness of youth? It’s close, but ultimately, this is a Hottie contest, not a Who Would Make a Better Boyfriend contest; therefore, the slightest of edges goes to Al. Horford in seven.
(2) Pistons and (7) Sixers
Wait, who let the Sixers in here? Don’t tell me they’ve been winning. Really? Since when? Huh. Weird.
I haven’t had much of a chance to watch the Sixers. I’ve seen a few games, but those were early in the season, when they still looked like a poorly-coached ACC team. So, take this judgment with as many grains of salt as you want. I’ve watched their progress, though, and they’re talented and full of potential – however, could be good someday isn’t going to cut it in this series.
We’re all familiar with the Pistons; their starting line-up remains relatively unchanged since Ben Wallace left. Chauncey and Rip are still quietly owning, Tay’s still thinspiration on pro-ana communities, Sheed’s still trying to convince the referees – of what, I don’t know, and I don’t think he does either. They’re sneaky, though, those Pistons – while everyone’s been watching the West, and LeBron, and the Celtics, they’ve quietly assembled one of the best young benches in the association. It’s kind of scary, actually. Their second unit alone could probably beat at least half of the thirty teams. Add the Sixers’ season-end four game losing streak and the Pistons’ four game winning streak, and the momentum doesn’t look good for Philly, either. They’ll fight hard, but in vain. Pistons in six.
Following the theme of youth, this series’ Hottie (tagteam!) Matchup will pit the Young(er) Pistons (here represented by Arron Afflalo and Rodney Stuckey) against the the Young Sixers (here represented by Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young).
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It’s a scrappy, blue-collar series, what can I say? No analysis here – none needed. Iggy and Thad are handsome in their own ways, but they can’t compete with Arron’s shoulders and Stuckey’s eyebrows. Afflalo and Stuckey in six.
(3) Magic and (6) Raptors
I’ve tried not to let my hatred of the Magic’s announcers interfere with my viewing of their games, considering they’re the ones I get on my local FSN. Here’s what I’ve learned while ignoring the announcers: besides every! single! call! against the Magic being wrong!, they’re freaking good. Not top-tier-good, necessarily, but surprising-and-deceptive-good. Yeah, Dwight, but the other guys are good too – Shard, and Hedo Turk-o-glue, and even wee Jameer.
And something I’ve learned while watching the Raps: they’re good enough to get a sixth seed in the East, but they’re weak. Weak mentally, weak morale, whatever you want to call it. They’re missing something and, as good as Chris Bosh is and as exciting as their guard play is, they’re just not quite there yet. I’m going to be wrong on this, maybe. But it is not going to be close. Magic in five.
The Hottie Matchup isn’t going Toronto’s way, either: Dwight Howard, representing the Magic, and Anthony Parker, representing the Raptors.
I’m so sorry, Anthony, but this is what happens when you’re the cutest guy on the team – you get the toughest games to play.
I mean, just look at Dwight. Ignore the goofiness for now – I’m sure he’ll outgrow it soon. But look at those shoulders. And those arms. Gentlemen, you wonder what women want? This is what women want. I’m sorry, Anthony: despite being one of the prettiest in the league, you’re just not quite as guhhh as Dwight. Howard in seven.
(4) Cavaliers and (5) Wizards
I’m so, so tempted to cop out on this one. I don’t want to make a prediction on this series. I want to watch it. Barring beast-mode LeBron (which is admittedly entirely possible), this is going to be the closest and most exciting series in the Eastern first round by a lot, and I’m so looking forward to it. LeBron and his lovable gang of misfits versus the wackiest ensemble cast in the league! The King, Boobie, a Brazilian gay icon, and a bunch of Bulls rejects, going up against CAROM! ANTAWN! GILBERT! and some very traumatized rookies! Ah, I love the NBA.
But no, I can’t give out on you like that. The Wizards are a lot more formidable than I think most people realize, or at least remember. Their big three (if Gil is indeed all the way back) are capable of outshooting any team on any night, and their bench is better than they’re usually given credit for. The Cavs, on the other hand, are LeBron and not much else. Factor in the trade if you want, but it still comes down to LeBron, and whether four really, really good players can beat one all-time player. If ‘Bron unleashes the Destroyer, it’ll be a short series, but he might not. Either way, I don’t think King James is going to tolerate losing to this team. Cavs in seven.
Rather than go with LeBron and one of the Big Three, your Hottie Matchup for this series is: Daniel “Boobie” Gibson, representing the Cavs, versus Nick Young, representing the Wiz.
These are two slightly flawed but talented young Hotties. It comes down to what’s more important: a killer fashion sense, or a gorgeous three point touch? Boobie brings the handsome, though he does look a bit like a tall, adorable fifth grader; Nick’s dramatic ears are overshadowed only by his suave demeanor and cocky grin. This is another close one, but I’m going to have to give it to Nick on fierceness alone. Young in seven.
(1) Lakers and (8) Nuggets
The Nuggets are disgustingly talented. They’re also disgustingly underachieving. With Melo and AI, backed by guys like KMart and Camby and JR and Kleiza and Nêne and Najera, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be a top four seed. Yet obviously there is a reason, because, obviously, they’re not. With a team supposedly this thug, you’d think they’d be hard. They are not. They’re soft. The Nuggets are capable of greatness, but all they are is mediocre.
The Lakers, on the other hand, are proof that God hates basketball fans. Why else would He allow the Lakers to build a dynasty again?Because that’s what this is, what it’s going to be. Their veteran stars could beat any team. Their bench makes the Pistons bench look like chumps. They have more young talent than an NCAA championship game. When Young Drew comes back, they’ll have the tallest frontcourt in NBA history. So, Kobe. You done complaining?
I’m not saying it won’t be a fun series to watch. These are, after all, two of the most exciting teams in the Playoffs, and their games this season have been great fun – except the part where the Lakers beat them all three times, twice by blowouts. Bah. I hate to say it, but Lakers in six.
The Hottie Matchup is a different story: the Lakers’ hot young bench, represented by Sasha Vujacic and Luke Walton, in a 2-on-1 match again Allen Iverson, representing the Nuggets.
Pah. Sasha and Luke are handsome boys, and all. They’d win against most of the Hotties on this board, but even together they can’t compete with AI’s Hottie intangibles. Iverson in six.
(2) Hornets and (7) Mavericks
The Hornets are such overachievers that nobody even knows what to say about it. Those who know knew Chris Paul, but even the optimistic couldn’t predict this. How did it happen? And how could anyone tell when they barely showed any of their games on national television?
The Mavs, on the other hand…well, they’re on the other hand. Damaged. Distorted. Underachieving. The MVP and an all-time great, and role players like Stack and Josh Howard that know and play their roles well – and yet, here they are, distressingly close to not being here at all.
The story here, or the one the announcers and analysts are going to shove down your throat, is the point-guard matchup of Chris Paul and Jason Kidd. I’m not saying that won’t be an important part of the series, and a must-watch, but I don’t think it will dictate the outcome of the series. It’s going to depend on the big men, on whether Dirk can dominate and whether David West can stop him, and on whether the Hornets are who they seem to be. There are a lot of questions I have and can’t answer about these two teams – are, or can, the Mavericks be back? Are the Hornets really for real, or a product of our collective imagination? The Hornets have been doing this steady winning thing since November, and the Mavs have not. Hornets in seven.
There’s no doubt against the Hornets in the Hottie Matchup. Do you know how ugly the Mavericks are? I didn’t know until I had to try to find an attractive Mav. Feh. Chris Paul, representing the Hornets, and Dirk Nowitzki, representing the Mavs.
Sorry, Dirk. He’s a nice boy, but then, the Hottie pickings are mighty lean on the Mavericks. Nice hair though! Just kind of squint and pretend he’s Rutger Hauer. Paul in five.
(3) Spurs and (6) Suns
I think I’m a bad basketball fan for thinking: Well, at least we’re getting this one out of the way early. I don’t know about you, but epic battles of Good and Evil make me tired.
The Spurs, yadda yadda, championship machine, dirty sonsofbitches, so on and so forth. They’re getting old. That doesn’t mean they’re grinding to a halt, but they’re not what they used to be. They are, of course, still pretty freaking good. They’re just not the lock they were before.
The Suns are kind of a special case. When they traded Shawn for Shaq, it felt like something real and important had quietly died – that, though the addition could make the difference and get the Suns to the higher level, it came at the price of an impossible but beautiful ideal. And yet, Shaq’s mere presence has freed Amare, freed him to play at his position and freed him to truly dominate. Shaq’s been trying to show everybody how hard he’s trying, and he only really plays in the playoffs anyway – I think the Suns are clicking into position just in time for the battle they’ve wanted to fight all season. Suns in seven.
The Hottie Matchup was a tough one to choose, for two reasons: one, although I’m deeply in love with Steve Nash, I want him to focus on basketball, not on out-Hotting a Spur; and two, the Suns are generally hot and the Spurs are an ugly, ugly team. (This is, incidentally, a problem shared by all three Texas teams.) I was going to put forth Emmanual, but he hasn’t been hot since about 2004, so I went with the other Argentinean: your Hottie Matchup is Fabricio Oberto, representing the Spurs, against Boris Diaw, representing the Suns.
French male model (I can just see Boris with a gauloise hanging from his lip) or occasionally handsome Argentinean? This isn’t really a fair fight. It’s not your fault, Fab; you had no chance. Diaw in four.
(4) Jazz and (5) Rockets
I don’t know why I dislike the Jazz. I mean, I love Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, I think their younger guys are adorable – I even like Andrei Kirilenko, despite his slight scariness. Maybe it’s Okur? Whatever, I don’t know. I know the Jazz should be boring, but are not; I know they should be fun to watch, but aren’t; I know their fans are generally assholes. They have the potential, with the guys I mentioned, to step into the Spurs’ place within a couple of years. However, they have a horrible road record to balance out their great home record, and for such a gritty team they have a tendency to lose games that they should win.
The Rockets lose T-Mac and win, then lose Yao and win. I don’t know how that works, but clearly, it does. I think this is finally their year. Rockets in seven.
Now, I know you’re expecting Kyle Korver to be in the Hottie Matchup. Nope! I think he looks like a serial killer. This Hottie Matchup (grudge match edition!) is going to pull out the big guns: Deron Williams, representing the Jazz, and Tracy McGrady, representing the Rockets.
This is a tough one, boys and girls. Neither depends on external skill so much as grit and determination, as far as being a Hottie goes. It comes down to the intangibles once again – Deron’s charming ways and killer point guard skills, or Tracy’s resilience in the face of tragedy and devotion to the game? It’s close, very close. But, as in basketball, Deron’s going to need at least another year before reaching true Hottie elite status. McGrady in seven.
These are just my predictions, of course. Feel free to make your own!