NBA Playoffs Begin This Weekend

Derrick Rose Image: nba.comThe basketball season is winding down. This weekend, the playoffs begin.

There are 16 teams in the playoffs. Eight are in the Eastern Conference and eight are in the Western Conference. The final four winning teams will play in the NBA Conference Finals.

The Toronto Raptors, the only Canadian team in the NBA (National Basketball Association) did not make the playoffs this year.

The New York Knicks haven’t been in the playoffs for seven years—but they’re in this year! New York fans are excited. Many experts are concerned they won’t do very well in the playoffs, but despite a difficult season they ended strong so they may rally. Plus, they signed superstar Carmelo Anthony mid-way through the season so that will help.

The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship the last two years. The Miami Heat, particularly, is going to try to take it from them this year. They have former Raptor Chris Bosh as well as Lebron James, who is considered to be one of the league’s best players.

But the Lakers still have many of the same players as last year and they’re looking good; so once again, they’re going to be tough to beat.

Interestingly, one of the players on the Lakers (reserve guard Steve Blake) recently came down with the chickenpox. Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease. Most of the Lakers don’t have to worry about catching it, but several of the players haven’t had chickenpox before (having it once makes you less likely to get it again), including superstar player Kobe Bryant.

It’s fairly unusual for an adult to get chickenpox, which is usually a children’s disease, and it can hit adults much more seriously. It will likely take a couple of weeks before we’ll know if anyone else has contracted the disease on the team.

With files from Gordon Enright and James DiFiore.


Writing/Discussion Prompt

Many Toronto fans were upset last year when Chris Bosh left the Raptors and went to The Miami Heat. They were disappointed because he was a star player in Toronto who scored a lot of points and got a lot of attention.

When coaches are creating a team, some believe that it is important to get one or two ‘star’ players. Other coaches hire people with lesser-known names who they think will become ‘stars.’

Consider both approaches. Which do you think is more successful? If you were making your own team, how would you pick your players?

Reading Prompt

During playoff season for any sport, including basketball, many people are ‘glued’ to their television sets. They don’t want to miss a single shot, penalty or point!

Are you passionate about watching a certain sport? If so, which sport? Why do you love it?

If you aren’t interested in watching sports, do you have another interest that you are passionate about? Explain why you love this activity and why it is important to you.


Express personal thoughts and feelings about what has been read (OME, Reading: 1.8).


Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).


Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Collective Nouns

Nouns are people, places or things. A collective noun is a group of people or things, such as crowd or Canada. Highlight all of the collective nouns in the article and explain why you think they are collective nouns.