Bold moves and boring old ball games
You know, it’s usually players who make their names in the post-season with big games, big plays and big moments.
Think we saw last night a coach do the same thing.
There was something of an ominous feel to the decision by Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks to stick with four backups and Kevin Durant for the entire fourth quarter of Game 2 against Dallas, wasn’t there?
Especially when the Mavs made that late run, didn’t you keep wondering when he’d at least go back to Westbrook, who may be one of the more polarizing guys in the playoffs this year, but he’s also the started and perceived best point guard on the team?
But you have to give Brooks credit for sticking with his gut and his backups and letting them finish off a rather impressive victory that makes the series a whole lot more compelling now.
Of course, you wonder about fallout as the series progresses – what happens in Game 3 down the stretch, how will Westbrook (who has a tendency to dominate the ball even in the happiest moments) react – and with a team as young and unproven as the Thunder in such circumstances, that has to be an issue to think about.
Coaches, as you know, tend to get too much credit and absorb too much blame in the opinion of some but you have to give Brooks credit for making a somewhat bold statement and putting himself out there to be second-guessed ‘til the cows come home.
If the Thunder go on to win this thing, people may remember the final quarter of Game 2 as the defining moment and it was a coach, rather than a player, who made it happen.
Seriously, Five Guys burgers are almost making me forget that we should have an In And Out Burger in one strip mall and a Steak ‘N Shake in one down the street.
The news kind of flew under the radar the other night, judging the lack of responses around these parts.
But how about Amir having ankle surgery that might take three or four months to recover from?
Yes, they said he’d be ready for training camp – if it starts in October or late September as it usually does – and that’s good enough, I guess.
But why wouldn’t he have had the work done before next week, or closer to June 1 as it was suggested by someone to me this week?
Why not get it taken care of, say, May 1 after seeing specialists right after the season ended?
I am sure there are people in the organization who are not the happiest of campers about the decision to wait and they will be watching closely to make sure he’s ready to go when the bell rings next fall.
A wee digression brought to our attention by a fine Irregular from the left coast yesterday afternoon.
We can all agree that the Olympics are a pretty good TV show, no? At least that’s what I’m told since I’m usually at the Summer Games and don’t see much, and the Winter Games fall during the NBA season and don’t really attract my attention.
Anyway, news yesterday the iconic sports executive Dick Ebersol’s walking away from NBC in an issue of contract talks with the parent company Comcast should be of big note to those who watch at least some of the Games on the various NBC “platforms.”
I wouldn’t be a big fan of the “plausibly live” aspect of the American broadcasts – I’d much rather see the CBC live stuff – but there is no doubt that Ebersol’s fingers were all over it, they shaped the coverage and the Olympics, I don’t think, will never be the same on television again.
Not a bad legacy, is it?
And the other thing that may end up being troubling is big networks seem to be shying away from a lot of sports and any change my lessen the amount of live, big events shown on network TV.
Hmm, no games tonight?
Whatever is a fellow to do?
The traditional Astros-Jays rivalry is renewed here (wonder if Nolan’s pitching? Or may be Mike Scott) and all kinds of other weird and wonderful matchups begin.
Yes, things like Cubs-Red Sox and Yankees-Mets have some allure but, really, does anyone get excited about inter-league play any more?
Aside from being blatantly unfair since teams in the same division of one league don’t play the same opponents from the other league (and don’t get me started on the whole DH-no DH thing), whatever magic there was when inter-league play first came around is long gone.
Maybe it’s time for the whole thing to be mothballed, or at least cut back to maybe one weekend a summer, two at the most. It seems that every three weeks or so we’ve got these odd series that don’t fit.
A bit of a list, a ranking, and a dip into the mail all rolled into one:
Q: Hi Doug - Since people are already showing signs of draft selection fever (DSF), I thought it was a good time to ask this question. Of the North American sports that have entry drafts (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS), in which sport is it easiest (for lack of a better word) for a #1 draft pick to make an immediate team impact? I know there are all sorts of unknowns associated with this question but thought I would throw it out there.
Andrew S, Toronto
A: Sure, there are all sorts of unknowns thrown into the equation and there are exceptions that pop up every year but let’s talk in basic generalities here.
I’d rank them like this from the top down:
Maybe because there are so few, and so few players on each team that make impacts, it has to be at the top of the list, no? And it’s why a blown high draft pick is a huge blow.
I know you can find gems in the 12th round or 9th round or 22nd round (does that Jerry Lewis Telethon of a draft go that deep?) but it strikes me the top half of the first round is dominated by guys who are either great or washouts.
The impact is probably just at the very top of Round One because they draft pimply-faced 17-year-olds, don’t they?
It takes forever, doesn’t it, for even the top three or four guys to even get to the bigs?
They have a draft? Hmm. Who knew?
Okay, one more for the seamheads who might not have read this.
If this Griff column on the young man who died yesterday and his impact on the TOD Heroes Of The Night Romero and Arencibia doesn’t get to you, I fear for you.
So here’s the deal.
I’ve got a stupid early flight tomorrow (think 6:10 a.m.) and with nothing on tonight I figure tomorrow should be a mail day so we can get all sorts of gems out of Miami tomorrow for Sunday as we get into full-on Eastern Final mode.
That means this is your last kick at the mail bag can.