Reverting to form and an unexpected -- but deserving -- award winner
Magic in a rout, Bulls win easily, Lakers dominate Hornets.
Yeah, guess we’re not going to have high drama every night, are we?
Anyway, still lots to chatter about:
By the ambient light of the television, I think I saw Kobe Bryant look like Kobe Bryant last night, not some guy who was supposedly hobbled by a bad ankle or foot.
And I think I saw the Lakers look like the Lakers and maybe – just maybe – they realize the situation they’re in.
Look, if you want to go on a pure talent assessment, there is no one in the West today that can compare with Los Angeles. The Lakers are bigger than anyone, more experienced than anyone and have won more than anyone.
It’s really only they who can cost themselves a series before they meet the East winner in the final.
Oh, sure, Chris Paul can win a game or two or maybe even three but, truth be told, the Lakers are their own worst enemies.
When they are distracted, they are vulnerable. When they play like they did last night, they look like finalists.
They certainly have it in them to cough up another one and send the whole thing back to California for a seventh game but that’s more on them than it is on the Hornets.
I really hope a lot of other coaches were watching the Bulls-Pacers last night.
The game really turned when Tom Thibodeau went against conventional wisdom and put Derrick Rose back in the game in the third quarter despite the fact Rose had four fouls and maybe it’ll be a lesson to the rest of the coaches.
Rose had two or three three-pointers, a momentum-changing blocked shot on Roy Hibbert, I believe it was, and an assist as the Bulls regained control after frittering away most of a lead.
Normally, coaches would sit a guy with four fouls early in the third until the start of the fourth, the thought being you need a guy – especially your best player – down the stretch more than you need him midway through the third.
But that’s not always the case, is it?
Sometimes you can win games in the third quarter just as easily as you can in the fourth as the Bulls showed in their close out triumph over Indy.
Now, I know some would say it was the playoffs and circumstances dictated something other than the usual coaching strategy but what if a team did that two or three times in a regular season, won two or three more games than it would have? Don’t think that would make a difference?
I’m not even sure about the wisdom of taking key players out with two fouls in a first quarter – role players don’t really matter as much – but I do know that coaches need to take more “gambles” in the third with their top players.
I remember one time being in Phoenix in the D’Antoni-Nash era and Nash had picked up a fifth foul early in the fourth or even late in the third, the specifics are a bit fuzzy.
D’Antoni stayed with him, the Suns went on to win and, when asked about it, the coach said something along the lines of:
“Steve’s smart enough not to get a sixth and why wouldn’t I want my best player on the floor.”
Makes entire sense to me.
During one of the click around the dials, happened up on the start of the pucks game and I have to say this again:
No one that I’ve seen in that sport does pre-game intros and ceremonies better than the Montreal Canadiens.
The fire thing? Entirely cool.
Let’s get this quickly out of the mail:
Q: Hi Doug. Quick question, which occurs to me on Tuesday night as I watch Noah shoot techs on the flagrant against McRoberts. Is there a 10 second limit to shoot tech/flagrant free throws, as there is on regular free throws? Seemed like Noah took a long time to shoot his first (although it might have been within 10 seconds).
Kate C, Toronto
A: There is, indeed, but it’s one of those rules that’s so selectively enforced, it’s appalling. I want some of these refs who count to 10 to count down the rest of my life because I’d live forever.
I see crumpets on the counter and I know there’s tea in the cupboard so all I can think is I’m going to have some company when I’m down here working in the TV room in the wee hours of Friday morning.
At least it should give me some good fodder for that morning’s offerings.
And I guess, in my best fashionista, pop culture way, I best do some Royal Wedding reading today, no?
I’m not sure if all of you have heard – I do know some of the Irregulars mentioned it last night – but we of the PBWA gave our most prestigious award – the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award – to Ron Artest.
He got it last night before the game to honour his excellent work raising awareness of the issue of mental health, particularly among youth.
Yes, you would have made a kabillion dollars betting on Artest being honoured for “citizenship” after the 2005 incident in Detroit but I honestly can’t think of a more deserving winner this year.
This story is probably the best one out there on it, you can see that other think the same thing.
The NBA, as a whole, does such tremendous work, I think it should be the benchmark for other professional sports leagues.
I know this is a bit sappy and sounds like towing the company line but Basketball Without Borders, the NBA Cares program, all the stuff that individual players do truly is important work.
And we now return you to regularly-scheduled ramblings.
Hang on a sec.
Montreal wins the big Game 6 pucks match on Tuesday and they have to play Game 7 on Wednesday?
That kind of stinks, no?
Now having watched the Atlanta Hawks sleepwalk through Game 5 and knowing they have the ability to lose, um, focus for long stretches, I am under no illusions that they can close that one out against the Magic in six and I fully expect to be watching a Game 7 on the weekend.
The Magic are, despite the presence of that Howard fellow, something of a jump-shooting team and they have to be brimming with confidence off their Game 5 shellacking of the Hawks.
The big winners?
The league told us that regardless of what happens in Game 6 between Atlanta-Orlando, the next series won’t start until Monday so there’s all kinds of time to rest Derrick Rose’s ankle.
But there’s no rest of us, is there?
After a couple of crappy games – and the first IGBT Change Of Venue in our history – we’ll try to hit a homer tonight with Spurs-Grizzlies at 8:30 p.m. my time.
Be there, or be square.