My Golden State Warriors begin the playoffs today at 5:30 against the Sacramento Kings. In case you haven’t been paying attention, that’s not a typo, and I’m not on drugs — at least I don’t think so. The Kings made the playoffs this season for the first time in 16 years, a longer drought than even the Warriors at their shittiest. Their 48 wins entitled them to the 3 seed in the Western Conference and home-court advantage over the 6-seed W’s, who sleepwalked to an unprepossessing 44–38 record.

Only one 6 seed has won the NBA title: the 1994–95 Houston Rockets, defending champs who struggled through a mediocre regular season but simply Refused to Lose when it came to the games that mattered. Could that happen again? Sure, why not? I’m not betting against it, and neither should you. It never pays to underestimate the heart of a champion.

I’ll probably go back to writing regularly about the playoff this year, though I know that some of you are definitively disinterested. This is because Stephen Curry just turned 35 and his running mates Klay and Draymond are both 33 now. The good times aren’t going to last forever.

Which reminds me, today is also the 18th birthday (observed) of my cat Johnny, who’s been a semi-regular character in this blog since the beginning. A beast of magnificent proportions in his prime, he’s now slowing down and thinning out — but that has been going on for a while, and may go on for a good while more. Here is a cat who has seen a lot of playoff basketball in his day:

Today he got a bath and a blow-dry. (He tolerates the former, rather likes the latter.) Tonight he will get some roast chicken. (It’s not being cooked only for him, but I’m not going to tell him that). If you can think of any other ways to indulge an elderly feline, I’m all ears.