NBA Playoffs Playlist: 16 Songs For Round 1
Check out the anthems that best describe this year's playoff teams.
After months of regular season play, the National Basketball Association's postseason finally tips off on Saturday (Apr. 20), with LeBron James and the Miami Heat trying to defend their crown and 15 other teams trying to snatch it away. It's been a crazy season as always, with incredible win streaks, new stars blossoming and devastating injuries turning teams' entire seasons southward (R.I.P. to this writer's beloved Philadelphia 76ers). Now that it's playoff time, what better way to get the remaining teams ready than create a personalized anthem for each of them?
Check out Billboard's custom playlist for the 2013 NBA Playoffs, which offers 16 songs that correspond with each postseason team. Warning: the non-ballers in the house might want to stop reading here.
Miami Heat - Kanye West, "Good Life"
Yeezy's most deliriously happy single encapsulates how the Miami Heat players are feeling entering the 2013 playoffs: fresh off a championship last year and a staggering 27-game win streak this season, LeBron & Friends just need T-Pain to tail them for a little while to become Kanye in this song.
New York Knicks - Paramore, "Now"
The Knicks overachieved this season and landed the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, but there's a heightened sense of urgency in New York -- after all, the average age of the squad is approximately 85 years. Imagine you're Kenyon Martin, Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby or Quentin "Q-Rich" Richardson: if there's a future, you'd want it now, right?
Indiana Pacers - Band of Horses, "No One's Gonna Love You"
The poor Pacers are playing their first playoff series on NBA TV this year, because, despite a tremendous season and stingy defense, they're an unexciting offensive team in a small market. This wistful Band of Horses track speaks for all Pacers diehards -- no one's gonna love this team like they do.
Brooklyn Nets - Fall Out Boy, "This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race"
The Nets front office did everything they could to make sure Brooklyn fans got a flashy team for their inaugural season, taking on Joe Johnson's enormous contract while re-signing Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace. The pieces have fit well enough to get them into the playoffs, but as Fall Out Boy's jittery anthem unwittingly suggests, this team has stockpiled weapons in a short amount of time in order to compete with the big boys.
Chicago Bulls - Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now"
Picture it: Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau calls up Derrick Rose at 1:15 AM one night prior to the playoffs, and slurs, "I said I wouldn't call, but I've lost all control and I need you now." Rose, a former MVP who has sat out the entire season with an injury, could certainly help a Bulls team with a great supporting cast to get past the first round this year.
Atlanta Hawks - 2 Chainz, "I'm Different"
Some major changes have happened in the ATL since last year's first-round exit to the Boston Celtics -- de facto star Joe Johnson was traded away for supporting players and cap space, and new acquisitions like Devin Harris and Kyle Korver will prove crucial in this year's playoff push. More than anyone, 2 Chainz understands the importance of change -- and how to successfully re-emerge in a different shell. We'll never forget Johnson's time with the Hawks as well as Tity Boi, but it's time to move on.
Boston Celtics - Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, "Tha Crossroads"
It's been an interesting season for the Celtics, who are constantly wrestling with the decision to either part ways with aging stars like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett or bring back the gang for one more title run. Replace "I miss my Uncle Charles, y'all" with "I miss my injured Rondo, y'all," and Bone Thugs' biggest hit perfectly captures the 2012-13 C's.
Milwaukee Bucks - Vampire Weekend, "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance"
I mean… good for the Bucks to return to the playoffs, but let's face it: against the league-best Miami Heat, this young team will be lucky to win one game, let alone four.
Oklahoma City Thunder - Bruno Mars, "Locked Out of Heaven"
Ignore the sexual overtones and focus solely on the feeling of struggling to make it into paradise. That's exactly how the Thunder -- who made the NBA Finals last year, scored the top seed in the Western Conference this year and have a perpetual scoring champ in superstar Kevin Durant -- must be feeling existing in the same era as LeBron James and the Heatles. As long as LBJ keeps doing his thing in South Beach, OKC is likely to stay a bridesmaid and not a bride.
San Antonio Spurs - Adele, "Turning Tables"
For the relentlessly efficient Spurs, this year's post-season could be one with a tinge of revenge. After all, the veteran squad would love to one-up the Thunder, who knocked them out in stunning fashion last year, as well as prove to the world that they're not too old to take down the Heat. "Next time I'll be braver, I'll be my own savior, when the Thunder calls for me," Adele sings, and Spurs star Tim Duncan might just agree.
Denver Nuggets - GOOD Music, "Clique"
The Nuggets are the deepest team in the league -- heck, they lost Danilo Gallinari to injury and barely blinked. With no true superstar but no lemons in their lineup either, Denver can allot sizable minutes to their bench guys, just like Jay and Kanye do with Big Sean on "Clique."
Los Angeles Clippers - EMF, "Unbelievable"
Those dizzying dunks! The sick alley-oops! The… solid defense! Since the additions of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, the Clippers have been incredibly enjoyable to experience, if maybe not the best of the best -- sort of like EMF's "Unbelievable"!
Memphis Grizzlies - Waka Flocka Flame, "Hard In Da Paint"
Yes, we used Waka Flocka Flame's brooding anthem in last year's NBA playoffs preview, but with Z-Bo/Marc Gasol tandem still running strong, the Grizz continue to dominate the paint like no other team. You can make your own Gucci Mane/Rudy Gay exit comparisons.
Golden State Warriors - Bad Meets Evil, "Fastlane"
The Warriors are one of the most run-and-gun teams in the playoffs this year, and with a promising future built around rising star Stephon Curry, Golden State can afford to play a little fast and loose in a year where they're not really considered title contenders.
Los Angeles Lakers - Beyonce, "I Miss You"
"I miss you, like every day," Lakers fans are now saying while holding framed photos of Kobe Bryant and swaying to an understated R&B backing track. The injured leader of the Lakers leaves them in an awkward position as they creep into the playoffs -- they could have been a dark horse this year, but without Kobe, things are just dark.
Houston Rockets - Drake, "Started From The Bottom"
Before the season, the Rockets were pegged to be one of the worst teams in the league -- and then, they traded for James Harden, and everything in Houston made a little more sense. After missing the playoffs last year, now, they're here.