Just one month after the end of an exciting March Madness, crowning the North Carolina Tar Heels as champions, basketball fans are now enjoying the thrills of the NBA playoffs. LeBron James has successfully, and quite fluidly switched on his ‘playoff mode’ switch, Isaiah Thomas continues to put on an incredible individual scoring performance, and Golden State is still making shots from every spot on the floor. Players and fans alike are getting a high dose of playoff basketball, and now its finally our turn to have some playoff fun for ourselves!
Here in Poland, the top 8 teams advance to the playoffs, a cut we almost didn’t make. Our last regular season win at home just a few days ago gave us the last inch of breathing room we needed to secure the 8 seed, and a best of five game series with my previous club and top seeded Anwil Włocławek.
There’s nothing quite like playoff basketball, on any level. It’s the beginning of a new season you could say. More emotion. More energy. More on the line. Every team has battled through the ups and down of the season, finding a way to push past injury, losing streaks, and whatever personal issues players deal with over the course of a season. Reaching the playoffs is a chance to wipe the slate clean and start fresh, with a new focus of the ultimate goal of being the last team standing.
This post-season will mark my fourth playoff appearance in seven years a professional. Having the opportunity to compete for a championship is something I will never take for granted. My last playoff experience here in Poland ended in a disappointing loss in game six of the finals. One thing I learned from that team, as well as from my time at UNC, is that no matter the goal in mind, the most important step is the one right in front of you. Our mindset going into this year’s playoff is to focus on each single game ahead of us.
Game 1 Thursday May 4 on the road in Włocławek, Poland!
Let’s go Engerga Czarni Słupsk!