SI Vault
Jack McCallum
April 29, 1991
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April 29, 1991

The Nba Playoffs

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1) Right hamstring A) Kevin McHale
2) Right wrist B) Fred Roberts
3) Creaky back C) Kevin Johnson
4) Left knee D) Charles Barkley
5) Broken ribs E) Larry Bird
6) Leg numbness F) Isiah Thomas
7) Left ankle G) Tom Chambers
8) Bad haircut H) Dan Majerle

The Great Conundrum
If it's true—as so many of the NBA coaches and broadcast commentators love to say—that players must step up a level in the playoffs, can they do that and also stay within themselves? I've been wondering a lot about this.

Playoff Polling

For SI's final coach-general manager poll of the season, we asked the question: What dark horse has the best chance of showing well in the playoffs? We didn't define the words dark horse, but, holding to at least minimal standards, we withdrew from consideration the replies of the two coaches who voted for the Suns and the Lakers. Those teams, however loose the definition, have not been dark horses at any time this season. We did permit the inclusion of the Pistons, because three coaches and one executive insisted on voting for them, noting that the club has injury questions—the most notable being the tender condition of Isiah Thomas's right wrist.

The top dark horse vote-getter was surprising Houston (52-30) with 10 votes, followed by Seattle with five. There's no denying that the SuperSonics are true underdogs, having finished eighth in the West at 41-41. Atlanta received two votes, and New York, Golden State and Boston (another pretty questionable choice) got one apiece.

Matching Up

1-C. 2-F. 3-E. 4-D. 5-No one (Just wanted to see how hip you were). 6—H. 7-A. 8-B.

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