Thursday, April 21

Holy Crap! The Playoffs are here!

 Quick, call Vegas! The Pope has laid out his playoff picks!  </
Quick, call Vegas! The Pope has laid out his playoff picks!

For those of you who were out visiting another planet this week, there was some rather big news occurring on earth. Yup, that’s right, the Western Playoff Seeds were set! Here they are:

Contenders, toe the line:
1) Phoenix Suns vs. 8) Memphis Grizzlies
2) San Antonio Spurs vs. 7) Denver Nuggets
3) Seattle Supersonics vs. 6) Sacramento Kings
4) Dallas Mavericks vs. 5) Houston Rockets

As promised, we got THE exclusive interview with the highest authority possible: The newly elected Pope Benedict XVI.

For those questioning the validity of this interview: trust me, it’s legit. I met Joseph (Jo, I called him then) Ratzinger on a train while traveling Europe in the summer of 95. The train stopped at Vienna, where I was to switch to another one, but Jo came to me with a unique proposition: get off with him in Vienna to spend the remainder of the night continuing our talks. I agreed. It was magical… At the end of it, we parted ways and lost contact… that is until I caught him on TV becoming the most powerful being on the planet. Through some hard work, I was finally able to get into contact with him and he accepted my proposition for an interview. Anyways, here’s the transcript:

-Booth52: First off, congratulations on the whole pope thing. Must have been a big day for you.
-Pope Benedict XVI: Yes, thank you. I feel truly blessed to be given this responsibility to lead the people of the world to the light of God. In fact, I have been given the message to direct the church in a radical new path, which includes… (The remainder of this particular dialogue has been edited due to article length restraints. We now fast forward to the more interesting portion of the interview.)
-Booth52: Alright Pope, down to business. Many folks don’t know this, but you are a HUGE NBA fan. Care to drop some insight on the playoffs?
-Pope Benedict XVI: (chuckling) Yes, you are right. In fact, most of the Cardinals are. The reason the voting actually took so long was because we had the games showing in the room. Once the playoff seeds were set, Cardinal Arinze set up the church pool for the playoffs and we got back to the whole voting thing. It’s unfortunate about Arinze’s gambling problem; I think it’s what cost him the vote… Anyways, the questions: proceed, my son.
-Booth52: Let’s focus on the Western Conference: In the 1. vs. 8. match up, we have the Suns vs. the Grizzlies. Your thoughts?
-Pope Benedict XVI: Yes, of all the matchups in the west, this is the one I find least intriguing. I just don’t see Memphis offering any competition for Pheonix. They come into the playoffs losing 5 out of 6, and having no true go-to player on their team. Gasol? He’s untested. I see a monster series from Stoudamire and an easy Suns victory in the series.
Pope’s Verdict: Phoenix advances 4-0
-Booth52: Can’t argue with you there Pope. Now 2 vs. 7: San Antonio vs. Denver.
-Pope Benedict XVI: Ahh yes. There always seems to be one of these matches with a top seeded team facing the surging at the right moment team. On paper, this looks like the match up with the most potential for an upset and I see many pundits foreseeing a competitive series. Alas, God doesn’t show his divine plans to the weak and the foolish. When the Nuggets are on, they get a lot of points off of drives into the lane, wide open dunks & alley oops by K-Mart, Camby, & Co. That type of stuff is just not going to happen vs. San Antonio. They’re way too sound defensively. San Antonio should take this in 5. That is unless Duncan is hurt, but my sources tell me he is going to be fine.
Pope’s Verdict: San Antonio advances 4-1
-Booth52: Alright, let’s switch off here and go to the 4-5 matchup: Dallas vs. Houston.
-Pope Benedict XVI: Yes, now this is an interesting match-up. While Phoenix & San Antonio are rightfully deserving of their elite status, I believe these two teams should be considered as the second tier of teams in the race, being clearly superior to Seattle, Sacramento, Denver, and Memphis. They both have legitimate superstars that will demand the ball down the stretch in Mcgrady and Nowitski. It'll be a close series and if the NBA ends up showing all four Miami-New Jersey blowout games over this series, may the Lord have mercy on their souls. I’m not too sure who’s gonna take this ser… wait, what’s that? (looking up) Oh. Houston in 7.
God’s Verdict: Houston advances 4-3
-Booth52: Wow! Really? The 4-3 upset huh? O.K., time for the series that matters: Seattle vs. Sacramento.
-Pope Benedict XVI: I’m sorry to bring you bad tidings, but your Sonics shall not prevail over the Kings. Bibby’s sick tattoo will be rewarded by the Lord with repeated one-on-one defense from Luke Ridnour, and he will average 25-5-8 for the series. His prayers for a miraculous healing of Stojakovic, Miller, & Jackson have also been answered, and they too will perform well. The series will go the distance, but the Kings will prevail.
Pope’s Verdict: Sacramento advances 4-3
-Booth52: WTF! You gotta be kidding me! You can’t say that on this site! I don’t know if you’ve been truly paying attention, but the Sonics, while not an elite team, are good and certainly capable enough of disposing of the Kings. Lewis seems recovered from his injury, and I expect he & Allen to average 55pts between the two of them, with Lewis scoring some key buckets in the 4th quarters of several games. Along with solid supporting performances by A.D., Collision, Ridnour, and Fortson/Evans, I see the Sonics taking the series in 7.
-Pope Benedict XVI: I find your lack of faith disturbing my son. I’ll pray for your soul.

Well, there you have it folks. NBA picks from the Holy one himself. Now go call your bookies and cash in on the scoop.

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