Stars emerge and the lottery approaches
I (heart) Porter and since I’d rather take a skiff to Newark than Air Canada, I’m kind of glad this morning’s flight to the lottery is all set to go off the island.
But, before that …
Oh yeah, we all knew that Taj Gibson and Chris Bosh would be the guys were remembered most from Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final, didn’t we?
But isn’t it always that way?
Some rather unheralded player – and Bosh may be heralded but he’s certainly not LeBron James or Dwyane Wade – comes out and puts his stamp on a game and we all go, ‘holy crap, where’d he come from?’
Well, with Bosh we know, he’s at least partially heralded.
The other guy?
Not so much but if there’ve been two more incredible dunks in the playoffs than the one on Wade and the putback in the final minute, I sure haven’t seen them.
And it underscores the one major advantage the Bulls have over the Heat and the one thing that could give them the series:
A much, much, much stronger bench.
In Game 1, it was as big a part about Chicago’s easy win as was the Bulls ability to defend Wade and James pretty much one-on-one all night and if the Bulls keep getting that kind of production, it might be the thing that tips the series.
The Heat are horribly thin, especially in the front court, and if they don’t find away to compete better on the boards, they’re toast.
I fully expect they will and this series is far from over but that was an emphatic beating administered by Chicago and it had to put some questions in the minds of the Miami players and coaches.
I would hope that at some time in the future, news stories like this one about Phoenix president Rick Welts and the fact he’s gay wouldn’t cause such a ripple.
But they do, and that stinks.
I can’t pretend to know what went into the decision to make this public at this point in time and not a decade ago but I’m glad he did and glad he felt comfortable enough that he could.
Gays in male pro sports – on courts, rinks, diamonds, in front offices – is still something of a taboo topic and the more we realize it’s part of life, the better we’ll be as a society of sports fans.
The level of tolerance still isn’t there, and I don’t know it’ll ever get to where it should be, but the more people understand there are those among us who chose to live a different lifestyle and the quicker we accept them, the better off we’ll be a whole.
In the decade and a half that I’ve been covering the NBA, I am sure I’ve deal with all kinds of athletes, executives, scouts, whatever, who are gay and haven’t felt comfortable enough to live and open lifestyle.
Not that it would have caused me, or any of my right-minded colleagues, to act any differently but if it would have helped one kid struggling with sexual identity to feel more comfortable, it would be a good thing.
So, off to the lottery I go.
And that means by this time Wednesday morning we’ll know who is picking where and who’s all in the NBA draft and it’ll be ‘whoop-dee-doo, who are they going to pick’ time all over the world.
But here’s the thing: I think, so far, the top three in the draft have been clearly identified – Duke guard Kyrie Irving, Arizona small forward Derrick Wiilliams and Enes Kanter, the Turkish big man who sat out the last NCAA season because of eligibility issues.
A guard, a wing and a big on a team that could use a wing, a centre and a guard.
Let the debate rage.
My man KC says “the Thibodeau brainwash is in full effect” after the Bulls were talking about cleaning up some mistakes and that they could play better after the Game 1 clinic.
Don’t you love it when a coach gets so far in the heads of his players that even when they do exactly that he wants, they think they can be better?
And maybe that’s why Derrick Rose, who usually leads that chorus, is really the MVP of the league.
It’s always tough for a first year coach – especially a true rookie head coach who isn’t a former player and who doesn’t have the most magnetic of personalities – to get his team to buy into his theories, especially the best player on that team, and that Rose has do so willingly has given every reason for his teammates to follow him and made the Bulls what they are.
Maybe that’s why he’s the most valuable player in the league.
So, people far smarter than I remind me that the doofuses up in Ottawa (and I use that term in the most complimentary of ways) wants to know all about us, and how many of us there are.
I reminded a few of you of the importance of voting and how it was a responsibility you shouldn’t shirk so here’s a mention of the census and you should fill it out.
I think maybe the deadline’s past but if you fill it out, send it off and blame the delay on Canada Post, that’s an entirely plausible explanation.
Do it today, if you haven’t already.
How sick is Jose Bautista?
What’d he have? Four homers in five at-bats?
Makes one proud to cheer for the TOD. Almost time to drag the sorry carcass down to the ball yard and see what the fuss is all about.
Now, as long as they don’t go into Detroit and lay an egg, we’ll be quite happy.
I presume there aren’t a lot of fine dining joints to spend a Monday night at in Secaucus, N.J., but there has to be a sports bar with a satellite and a corner TV to get the Jays, right?
By the way, rib steaks on the Napolean work quite well, too. I’ve stored the rib recipes and tips for later, with stuff to write about the West and the IGBT to do, Sunday kind of got away from me.
Next time. Promise.
You’ve all seen the Dallas in six prediction, haven’t you, (it’s here) but I do expect the Western Conference final to be at least as compelling as the East.
It may not have the overall star power – Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki are one thing; James, Wade and Rose are quite another – but for evenly matched? This one should be good.
I do think the Mavs are too deep and too experienced and should prevail but I’m expecting a good one.
And because it’s all about me – as perhaps I’ve mentioned – having an NBA Finals where I can blow off a couple of off-day stories on Peja and Marion can’t hurt.