Nothing is better than a full seven-game series in anything. Not home-and-home, not winner-take-all, not even economic fairness, social justice, and world peace, though those come close. Indeed, we will know the rapture has come when all 30 NBA and NHL series go seven in the same year. After that, what’s the point of striving for more or better? That’s the day the galactic pixies will decide we have finally stopped our planetary monstering and can move on to the next plane of existence.
True, this seems to fly in the face of Nuggets-Warriors, which has already reached the WWFN (Well, We’re Fucked Now) stage for the losers. Denver has no answers to anything the Warriors do, and even something as tactically mundane as Golden State’s three-guard lineup is being tried out for cute/annoying nicknames to go with 2015’s classic Death Lineup, which was largely a defensive construct built around Andre Iguodala. All this actually is is three guards Denver cannot guard.
But imagine how this would play out if Denver figured out a way to either reinflate Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, Jr., or figure out how to keep the Warriors from shooting 54 percent and 44 percent from three-point distance. Imagine if Denver’s vaunted home-court advantage actually emerged as the Warriors’ collapsed lung? (We were going to say Achilles’ heel, but you know how the Warriors are about that.) What if this became a series again?
And what if Toronto put the COVID on Philadelphia now that the series is headed to Canada? What if Atlanta rose up and smote Miami, or New Orleans gave Phoenix one across the chops? The usual Game 1 narrative—that, like everything else, we think the last thing we saw is the only thing that could happen—would be blown to smithereens, the tired old “a series starts when the home team loses” mumbledyblech is recited, and the fun really starts.
That’s why you must want the Nuggets to win Games 3 and 4 Thursday and Sunday, and for all the other losing teams to get back in their respective series: because narratives are never as good as the surprise that comes with not knowing. Every game that isn’t played is a defeat for all mankind, because games are inherently good, even ones with the Lakers in them. Sure, the games may occasionally be hard to watch, but we know how you live. You have nothing better to do—nothing, we tell you.
And when it comes to the NHL, nirvana is all 105 games not only happening but going to overtime. There have been series that have come close: in 2012, when Phoenix and Chicago played five overtime games in a six-game series ultimately won by the Homeless Kachinim, and 2017 when Washington did the same to the Toronto Hilari-leafs. In 1951, the Leafs beat Montreal in a five-gamer in which all the games went to overtime, but that was when the game was played on slush and puddles.
Either way, the point remains the same. Nuggets-Warriors and Raptors-Sixers can be saved from their turgid selves, and from our saddened eyes, not by ending early because you already know that Denver and Toronto are outmatched, but because they change course and give us three betting opportunities we didn’t think we’d have. There are added bonuses here, too. Toronto rallying will shut Nick Nurse up about how mean James Capers is, and Denver drawing back even may stop the three-guard nickname craze in San Francisco, where over-the-top infatuations with your favorite Warrior has been a fan staple for nearly a decade. What if we just called them The Three Ungodly Bastards? You can turn that into a T-shirt easily. Comrade McQuade can whip that bad boy up in an hour.
He won’t, of course, but that’s only because he’s working on a Tyrese Maxey as Dribbling Ben Franklin thing right now, but you get the point. The only answer to what we have now is more of it, because more is not only definitively better but brings the entertainment of surprise along as a consequence. What, you’d rather have Stan Van Gundy yowling ceaselessly about Sixth Man of the Year Stephen Curry and offering to marry Jordan Poole? Is that the world you want to live in? Aren’t things bad enough already?