Can we pause for a moment and bow our heads in a moment of silence for the passing away of the regular season? This isn't a fond farewell, mind you. It is a merciful end. With the conclusion of the regular season, we can also waive good bye to the near-endless stream of excuses.
See you later "we're not healthy right now." First of all, the team looks pretty healthy to me and at this time of year every other team has bumps and bruises and tired legs. Anything can happen at any time to anyone, but they head into the playoffs as healthy as they're ever gonna get.
Bye bye "this is an older team." Lots of veteran teams win Championships. In fact, you'll find that the playoffs typically will expose young, upstart teams in favor of the veteran teams that were counted out just months earlier. Besides, the long layoffs between games allow for tired legs to heal up and for coaches to make adjustments (that veterans are better equipped to implement). If you are still relatively spry enough to get a top 4 seed, then you probably aren't going to check into the retirement home in the playoffs.
Take a hike "these games just don't mean as much." The time to flip the switch is now (if you can still find the switch in the haze this team has been playing in for months). Cue the dramatic music and super-close-up shot of some player's nostrils. A deep, bass voice rumbles "win or go home." (or some other such motivational cliche) The team has been pointing to this time of year for the whole season. I hope it lives up to what they've been promising.
Yeah, I won't miss the excuses. Time to replace them with motivational platitudes. "Win or go home" is a good one, but I think I prefer "put up or shut up."