We’re halfway through the first round of the NBA playoffs. Is there a team you’re rooting for or against? What’s driving your interest?
Xavier: I wake up extra early on days the Suns play in order to maximize my sports hate. Chris Paul being himself and Devin Booker trash-talking Luka Doncic are the two driving factors. I hate Phoenix with the fire of a thousand …. Suns. I like Kevin Durant but not enough to cancel the hate I have for Phoenix as a whole.
Matt: I have no real rooting interest in teams that aren’t the Dallas Mavericks... but I am a hater. So all my playoff outcome hopes are couched in who I’m rooting against, and in the first round, there’s no one I’m rooting against more than Kevin Durant. Go Clippers.
Outside of that, it’s undeniable that the Sacramento Kings are a great story, the beam is legendary, and the Warriors are insufferable.
Brent: Tired of the Warriors, can’t stand the Suns for documented reasons, and the Lakers did an annoyingly good job of midseason retooling. There is not a whole lot left in the West beyond the Kings and Nuggets. The question for Sacramento is the same as it is for all plucky upstarts - can you win on the road? We know GSW will steal one in game 5 or 7 so can the Kings muster something special in game 4 to preempt the pressure they might otherwise face in games 6 and 7? Denver is a glorified regular-season juggernaut until they win a series not featuring Rudy Gobert.
David: What X said. I’m a natural-born hater and the Suns are an easy target. I will never let go of game 7 last year. I also want the Bucks to win the championship because I like Giannis a lot.
DW: I think I am pulling for the Kings. It makes me happy for them to finally be seeing success for the first time in a while. Makes me nostalgic thinking about all those playoff series with the old Kings teams. They were one of my favorite non-Mavericks teams to watch!
Ben: I am a basketball sicko so I find myself rooting for a lot of teams. I want to see a Bucks-Celtics Eastern Conference Finals. But it’d be interesting to see if Joel Embiid makes a run. Same thing with Jokic and the Nuggets. The Kings are a fun story, and the Warriors are always a blast to watch. Seeing Chris Paul and Kevin Durant make a NBA Finals run would be fun enough to distract me from Devin Booker being there. And the Clippers are perennial underdogs, and it would be cool to see Kawhi Leonard, who seems to turn into a basketball cyborg in the spring, lead them to a championship game. Needless to say, I am sleep-deprived due to basketball right now.
Clint: I would root for any team over the Phoenix Suns. I would root for The I.S.I.S. basketball team over the Phoenix Suns. I would root for The NAMBLA basketball team over the Phoenix Suns. I would root for a team owned by Jeffrey Epstein over the Phoenix Suns. I would root for any team over the Phoenix Suns. Except for the Miami Heat. I would root for any team over the Miami Heat.
Matthew: I am rooting for the New York Knicks. The Jalen Brunson story has been discussed to death so no need to rehash it. It is often said that fans root for laundry, but I root for players too. Brunson has done everything any coach he has ever played for could have ever asked him to do. It is fun to watch him succeed, even if that success coming elsewhere makes it bittersweet.
Kirk: I want most of the Western Conference to lose, which leaves the Kings as the only team I don’t have an emotional reaction to. In the East, I am enjoying the Knicks but also think the Cavaliers are over their skiis. I really enjoy seeing the Bucks do well, so they’re probably the closest thing to a rooting interest.
Josh: The Kings have the best story, so that’s naturally where a lot of my attention has gone. I really like the Cavaliers roster, just how they’re constructed, so I’ve dipped into those games as well. Really, I’m not really “rooting” for anyone, too many years as a media person has beaten a lot of that out of me. What I am enjoying is watching stress-free playoff basketball and see how much ground the Mavericks have to make up this summer. There are always trends coming out of every playoff year that influence roster building, so I’m watching for that.