What has happened to the NBA we came to know and love? The NBA in which two dominant teams, both defending conference champions, would run roughshod over the competition and challenge historic marks for regular season wins on the way to a rematch in the Finals?
I wish no ill will on the Lakers or the Celtics. They are both proud, fine franchises. Both enjoyable teams to watch and cover. But I have to say it is refreshing that normalcy or parity or whatever you want to call it has slowly crept back into the NBA's collective consciousness.
The Celtics, who recently won 19 consecutive games and had people like myself charting their course to a new NBA record (34) and a 70-win season, have lost five of their last seven. Their stunning loss to the Charlotte Bobcats (114-106 in overtime) Tuesday night marked the second time since Christmas that they've lost two straight games. This one was the Knicks and Bobcats. Ugh. Celtics G.M. Danny Ainge was watching the game on his SlingPlayer while scouting D-League games here in Orem, Utah, yesterday. I would hate to have been sitting next to him at the final buzzer.
The Lakers, meanwhile, bid farewell to their 15-game home winning streak Tuesday night with a 116-105 loss to the Hornets. New Orleans and San Antonio are two teams in the West that are starting to gather steam. In the East, Orlando, Atlanta, and Detroit are starting to make some noise. I think that's good. One or two dominant teams are fun to look back on and appreciate, but they're boring to watch. It's much better this way.
UPDATE: InsideHoops.com has a game-by-game breakdown of the Celtics' slump that's worth reading.