Perhaps you’ve noticed the proliferation of fines being levied on players and coaches for publicly criticizing officials this early in the long playoff season and it’s apparent that’s ticked Mr. Stern off now end.
He’s hit Stan Van Gundy and Matt Barnes and Phil Jackson and Rasheed Wallace and we’re less than a week into the post-season as the commish tries to fill the charitable coffers in the league office.
(And we live in inflationary times, don’t we? What used to be a $25,000 is now $35,000 and while it’s still a snippet of what a guy makes, it’s a pretty substantial total).
Anyway, as you can read in this post from Scott Howard-Cooper, Stern lays out the logic behind the rash of fines and does come across as someone very unimpressed with the whole matter.
Now, you know me and officials: I think they do as good as job as they possibly can, I think NBA basketball is the hardest professional sport to officiate out there because you could conceivably blow a whistle on every possession and some common sense has to prevail, and I don’t for a second think there are any hidden agendas being preached from the head office on down.
This whole “working the officials” thing, where coaches try to plant a seed with fans who’ll get rambunctious hoping it has some impact on the crew that works the next game really bores me.
It comes across as petulant whining and I don’t think it ever really works so on this issue, I’m squarely on the side of Mr. Stern.
We are finding out that all the little tweaks that teams make during a playoff series can work and it’s been rather fascinating to watch.
Having to face the same team night after night after night after night puts a premium on coaches who can make adjustments that work and we’ve seen a bundle that have made series more competitive than originally thought.
And most of it has to do with defensive assignments and the next time to hear one say, “we made some adjustments during the game (Hello, Jay!)” you’ll know what they’re talking about.
In the Laker-Oklahoma City game – which was an excellent, excellent game all around – the Thunder went primarily with Kevin Durant on Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter and it worked wonders.
In Chicago, the Bulls tried all kinds of different looks on LeBron James during the game – Joakim Noah had a shot, some did James Johnson and Luol Deng – and while James got his, the other Cavs never really got going and Chicago did turn LeBron into a jump shooter for most of the night, which is what you want to do with him.
The Suns, in Game 2, switched up coverages on Andre Miller after he’d exploded in Game 1 and it might have been the difference.
Just kind of interesting to watch the changes teams make game-to-game in a playoff series and it’s now going to be interesting to see what the effected teams do to counter what’s been done with them.
Right. The mail.
Last call to click here and send some queries in; looks like a deck/patio day/weekend and I don’t mind having something to putter around on as I pass the time.
Is there anything more over-blown and over-hyped and over-analyzed as the NFL draft?
Three freaking days? Prime time TV for one round?
Really, that’s ridiculous, isn’t it?
No, I have no idea what happened to the in-game blog and maybe someone can give me some answers this afternoon.
Sorry to the irregulars who were there but the comments stopped coming about 10:20 p.m. – unless you all went to bed, by all means I’m sorry – and it seemed rather silly to sit there and type to myself.
But we’ll be back Monday and maybe things will work.
You know that TV commercial for the Mexican beer, the excellent one that’s got Maximilan Schell (I stand corrected, it's an actor by the name of Jonathan Goldman as The Most Interesting Man In The World?
Well, when they come to do one for The Coolest Man In The World, we saw him briefly on TV last night.
Yannick Noah would get my vote without a doubt.
Dude was a brilliant tennis player and an even more popular crooner; his first ex-wife is a former Miss Sweden, his second ex-wife is a former fashion model and his current wife is a TV producer.
And apparently everyone gets along, it’s one big happy, very extended family when it’s time to celebrate things and the guy just exudes cool.
I first ran into him in Indianapolis covering one of Florida’s Final Four appearances and seeing him last night in all his coolness just made me think.
Anyway, that’s got nothing to do with anything, I guess; but it does give you something to read.
Getting back to basketball, how impressed have you been with Phoenix the last couple of nights.
They lose a tough one at home to open the Portland series but rebound to win two in a row easily and I’m thinking that series may not have any legs past Game 5 on Monday.
And that could be huge for the Suns, who get a pretty good draw throughout the post-season.
With their fantastic finish, I think they were something like 24-3 down the stretch of the season, they managed to get the No. 3 seed and, sure, they may not home court in the next round (they will if San Antonio takes out Dallas) but at least they won’t have to face the Lakers in the second round.
And for a team that’s on the older side – see Nash, Steve; and Hill, Grant – getting rid of a first-round opponent and getting some rest while the Mavs and Spurs beat each other up in a series that looks like it’s going to last a little while is going to be huge.
So, let’s get ready for a Los Angeles-Phoenix Western Conference final, shall we?
Maybe not, but it’d be cool.
Okay, there seems to be long-neglected yard work in my immediate future and then maybe an afternoon of nice relaxation. Have fun, folks.