…showers * heavy sigh.* At least they do here in Northern Indiana. I’ve managed my expectations, so I’m neither shocked nor disappointed. I’m just prepared for lots of schedule changes. I gain solace, however, from the NBA playoffs, whose television ratings were the highest in eleven years.

The blowouts have even been compelling to watch because encased in the action are some impressively executed runs, and some great individual performances.

Additionally, the Minnesota Timberwolves, recently notorious for guard Patrick Beverly’s over-the-top, tear-induced, title-esque celebration of a play-in game win (Google ‘Patrick Beverly Play-in Celebration’), beat the West’s second seeded Memphis Grizzlies for a road playoff win, and had the Grizzlies down by 26 points before they imploded in the fourth quarter.

The ‘Wolves do a lot of dumb things on the court, but the Grizzlies’ comeback was still a good watch.

Philadelphia and Golden State will likely sweep the Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets in four games, but even watching action in each of those series was time well spent.

Philadelphia has a rising star in Tyrese Maxey, and maybe James Harden, who seems to relish being a facilitator in this series, might have an NBA title series in his near future. The other compelling blowout series, Warriors-Nuggets, showcases three guards: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and newcomer Jordan Poole who are crushing their mile-high competition raining baskets from beyond the arc.

Although I’m enjoying most of the televised games - whether I watch in full length, watch in snippets as I put away laundry or work on spreadsheets, or revisit the highlights watching TNT’s Inside the NBA well past midnight – the first round needs to be at its lengthiest a best-of-five series.

If the fourth-seeded Dallas Mavericks were in a best-of-five series with the fifth-seeded, is it likely Luka Doncic would have suited up and played in pain? I believe he would have been on the court, playing in pain.

I would like the NBA season to start later (the beginning of December), finish in a compressed 72 game schedule, and wind up the season with the title series closing out just before July 4th weekend. My timeline would move the NBA playoffs later than the NFL draft.

Chip Davenport, NBA commissioner, would have teams play their conference foes 3 times (42 games) and maintain the home-and-home, East-West contests outside the respective conferences (30 games). Let’s keep the play-in games to give the best six teams some well-deserved rest from a compressed schedule.

I’m not going to leave you hanging on my comments about the greatly improved television ratings.

Apparently, those who’ve boycotted the NBA either in attendance, or on their TVs, haven’t put a dent in the interest in the league. Gambling has a lot to do with the increase in NBA playoff game TV ratings, but I also believe it’s easier for a basketball fan to tell you what NBA player lays for what team than it is for a basketball fan to reel off starting lineups even among college basketball’s elite programs.

The NCAA’s one-and-done policy now burdens the NBA with fewer players who enter the league with the skills to make an impact on their team, let alone the league itself.

The shooting in the NBA is superior, and when they’re not hot it’s because someone, or some team, is playing great defense.

Pro athletes are paid entertainers who have some of the same emotional and psychological issues screen and TV actors have. I wonder why people who boycott the NBA watch any TV at all. Some of the most insufferable people dwell among cable and network newsrooms, and among numerous Hollywood studios.

I like small college basketball more than I like Division I college basketball. I’ll address the difference some other time.

Division I basketball an inferior product for all its hype. I’m not going to settle for what it lacks in shooting skills, defense, and continuity when there is a product on the screen like the NBA. If we tuned out all entertainers due to political differences, there wouldn’t be much to watch.

The most irritating issues in the NBA for me are when there is a three-on-one and at least one guy doesn’t move to the lane, and when top players take games off to load manage although they’re healthy.

I’ve even opened my mind more about all the three-point shooting because, unlike most players at college and high school levels, NBA players can shoot very well from beyond the arc even when they’re taking contested shots.

Most of the 16 playoff teams have enough weaknesses to make the second round series interesting from a competitive level but take some time to enjoy first round action if you appreciate different aspects of the game.