It won't be a magical homecoming at all
You think there’s a little extra juice to the Lakers game in Orlando tonight?
Yeah, first game back for Dwight Howard and while I haven’t seen examples of Magic fans being quite as venomous as, say, Raptors fans in some circumstances, I’ll be quite interested in seeing the reception Howard gets this evening.
He prolonged it by waffling between wanting to go and wanting to stay; one day he’d say all the right things, the next there’d be a leak from “someone close to Howard” expressing a desire to bolt as soon as could.
He had an epiphany at the trade deadline a year ago, or so he said, and then had back surgery to end his season not too long after.
He was, for years, the happy-go-lucky face of the franchise, a smiley jokester who took the Magic to the NBA Finals but he has become so much less right now, it’s shocking.
He ripped Orlando as a team “full of people nobody wanted” in a TV interview last week (he did wisely backtrack on that) and thought his team was “overlooked” when he was there.
But thing I don’t imagine anyone can ever forgive him for?
He cost people their jobs.
Stan Van Gundy is an excellent coach and he got fired in large part because of the Dwightmare of last season (although that might have been a blessing in disguise); other front office people were let go as the saga unfolded.
No, Howard is the worst of worst in this era of entitled players who don’t think before they speak and who seem to carry one with nary a worry about the impact their actions will have on others.
There was a time when I thought Howard was pretty cool, he had fun playing the game, was a dominant physical force and the true face of a franchise. Heck, there’s no way they build that gorgeous arena in Orlando if not for him.
Now? Now he’s a poster child for what was wrong with the NBA and players wrangling their way out of city with no regard for what they’ve leaving behind.
I just wish the game was on TV so I could see the initial reaction because I know something about fan anger, wonder how it would stand up to what we’ve experienced here?
Now, in this age of the tweeter, wouldn’t it be cool if the white smoke over in Italy started with a hashtag?
Just after I write this, San Antonio crushes Oklahoma City and I start checking into direct flights from there to Miami in June.
And, of course, there are none.
But in the reverse jinx kind of world I live in, I have now practically guaranteed an Indiana-Clippers final.
Now, I’m a day late to this one, sorry about that, but we’ve all seen the rather incredible DeAndre Jordan dunk over Detroit’s Brandon Knight the other night, right?
(It’s here if you haven’t)
Yes, it was quite something but, of course, in this day and age of instant analysis and comment, Knight was in for some ridicule and embarrassment after being leaped over in what might be the dunk of the year.
(Personally, I think the dunk of any year has to be done by one player, not as part of some lob, but that’s just me).
Anyway, I don’t quite get why anyone would want to mock Knight, actually. He tried to make a play and do his job, probably knowing full well the futility of trying to leap and block the shot.
I think the guy (who badly sprained an ankle last night to cap off what had to be the worst 24 hours of his career) should be lauded for what he did, not ridiculed.
But I guess that’s just me.
So, you want to know why the HOTH were off yesterday?
They needed a day, by contract.
Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this before but the new CBA dictates that players get 16 full days off each season and, trust me, it’s hard to schedule them.
You’d think that Saturday – after they had flown back from the west coast – would have been a “day off” since there was no practice but, no. Because they landed back here after midnight it was considered a work day.
Same thing if, for instance, they play a Tuesday-Wednesday road back-to-back and don’t play again until the Sunday: The Thursday couldn’t be a “day off” because they land after 12 and no matter that they wouldn’t practice on that day anyway, it doesn’t count towards the 16.
And if they don’t get them? Well, let’s say the league’s fine coffers are enhanced; I heard one story about a coach getting fined $25,000 for having too many full contact practices in training camp when a player rep kind of ratted him out.
Anyway, there’s some stuff you might not have known.
Hang on a sec!
Netherlands beat Cuba to advance to the next round of the World Baseball Classic?
Bert Blyleven must have really had the old yakker going.
Not having a real rooting interest in the tournament any more now that Canada’s on the sidelines, I’m all about Netherlands now.