Coming soon- a series of really important announcements (no, I'm not pregnant again).
Until then....more sports talk.
We take things seriously here at High Above Courtside. Sure, we missed 2 Sundays in a row. It happens. So, to make it up for you, we're starting early. Besides, we have all sorts of juicy sports stuff happening this week.
- Round 2 of the NBA playoffs are just about all set. Boston and Indiana have a game 7 to play, and the Bulls/Wiz are awaiting Game 6. No huge shockers thus far, but let's see how things worked out:
- Phoenix treated Memphis like the bear treats the rabbit, as they say in Maine. Which is not well. 4-0, and the Grizz were falling to pieces afterwards. Need I remind you that this ends all chances for a Griz-Wiz final.
Bonzi Wells was the less famous person asked not to bother showing up anymore. C'est si Bon never had a series of ugly scenes with the Tzar, and they simply told him to get to steppin'. When your team falls apart like the Grizzlies did, getting sent home before a playoff game doesn't even get you a sound byte on the news.
Especially with White Chocolate around. The less dangerous Jason Williams had some kind of beef with a local reporter, but he took it to that next level. Beyond refusing this scribe his own interview, JW proceeded to steal the reporter's pen. Concerned that the reporter might try to work from memory, JW then shouted him out of an interview with another player- at one point, using the term, "Homeboy"...which may or may not be a racial slur when used in white/white confrontations.
The Griz are a true piece of work. They have Pau ("That's right, no `L' there, ma'am.") Gasol, Shane Battier, and Stromile Swift- who is so injury-prone, his fellow Grizzlies run back nd check on him if the team bus hits a really large bump. I'm not making that up, either.
Phoenix did the obligatory stomping of the 8th seed, and we'll look into their future soon enough.
- Sacramento abdicated to Seattle, 4-1. This was the inevitable end result for the Kings, who dealt away longtime mainstay Chris Webber last February. They still have a good squad, and the team has all next year to forge a new identity around Bad Brad, Peja, and the Bib.
The Webber trade isn't a Shaq trade, where the old team fell into the Lottery while thenew team won the Conference. Philly and Sac City both went out 4-1. Call it a draw.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again....the Kings seem so Northern California with Webby gone. As Reggie Theus once said, "Sacramento is not California." As Sacramento residents say, "Enjoy that 9 month winter, Massachusetts!"
- San Antonio did in the Nuggets, 4-1. Denver won the Worst Draw award, getting the battle tested Spurs as their round one appetizer. I expected a tougher series, but sometimes the issue settles itself differently than I forsee. Prognostication is difficult- Nostradamus was wrong 70% of the time, and he's the franchise player.
Denver got Carmello Fever last summer. They gave up a few picks to get Kenyon Martin, who didn't take it to that 20-10 level they need from him. He was overmatched against Duncan, but the trade was still a solid one. Denver has young, prime talent, and George Karl still has about 14 months before all the players tune him out....or 14 minutes, if he wears the throwback over the turtleneck again.
We'll get to the Spurs later. You may have noticed a pattern here. Round two previews may be in the Sunday Sports.
- Dallas and Houston are having a Texas war that would have been a really sweet football game back in the Earl Campbell era. They are 3-3, and game 4 is TTTC (too tough to call). I favor Houston, but I had a nice time there, and I'm biased.
- We already mentioned the Philly curb-stomping at the hands (feet?) of Detroit. AI was too much for them in one game, but the rest were simply too much D for the Answer.
Again and again....just when Philly thought they had the Answer, Detroit changed the Question.
Chris Webber should move into Iverson's basement, and play pickup ball with him all summer. These two need to develop some Chemistry, and I don't mean using AI's buddy's Meth lab. If Webber and Iverson can combine their talents effectively, they have young talent around them that can begin to win seriously. They'll be paying enough for that team next year, and the potential is there to easily win the Atlantic.
With a resurgent Boston and two teams that made moves that took them into the playoffs in what ended up being some tight races, the Atlantic should be a hotly contested title next year. Remember...Lebron hasn't made the dance yet. Someone will have to cede a spot, soon.
- New Jersey played their hearts out just making the playoffs. Vince Carter simply put the team on his back in April, but he couldn't get them past Shaq Daddy and Dwayde.
Vince managed to become a good guy this season. He was an absolute dog earlier, and his reputation rivaled that of Gary Bettman in some parts of Canada.
All that changed when he went to New Jersey, which would upset most people who didn't formerly hail from Canada. He gained a lot from playing with Jason Kidd, who threw him passes that Skip To My Lou could only wish he knew.He had a long talk with his wife, Ersatzia, and she helped get his head on straight.
Funny how a wife and Kidd straighten out even the most foundering career. VC, Kidd and Jefferson should be fun to watch for 82 games next year. They look to have an interesting summer coming up, as well. They need big men like WNBA players do.
- I don't want to jinx Boston, so I won't make any commentary on the 3-3 series thatgoes back to the Gaaahden (let the record show that I neverstopped calling it that...and my accent doesn't really do the dropped "r" thing well).
- What a treat the good people of Chicago and DC are getting. Starved for all these years, they not only get back in the playoffs, they get what looks like a great series. Chicago surged ahead 2-0, but the Zards came back 3 times dope....including a treeeeemendous game winner but Gilbert "They're all my" Arenas.
I always had a soft spot for DC. While they were from a time before I developed any sophistication towards the game, I do have dim memories of Ruland and Mahorn.
Those two- who both would have been adored had they played in Boston- were brutes, and they wouldjust smash people inside. The Celtics were no less physical, and you can guess how it turned out. For fans of Johnny Most, every Ruland game was a big fat line of cocaine. Objective journalists aren't supposed to use terms like "scum" and "yellow (this was pre-Ming) bastard," but Johnny was on a whole other tip.
If you've ever heard the surge of excitement in his voice during the "Havlicek stole the ball" game....imagine that same rise in energy used in anger, and applied after, oh, thirty thousand Marlboros and twenty long years of talking non-stop for 48 minutes in a row. Ruland and Mahorn- twin sons of different mothers as far as Most was concerned- and Washington in general used to simply set that man off.
Occasionally, the Celtics and the Bullets stopped fighting to play a little basketball, but the series could have been a dictionary entry for what we used to call Eastern Conference basketball. Every game was Crack Baby Ugly, and I grew to learn that you didn't get out of the Eastern Conference without the ability to kick some ass when needed.
That's why you have to like the Washington/Chicago series. Two young teams having a seven game war develops that kind of rivalry, and both teams are full of kids (at least the one that kept their high school lottery pick). Any ugliness here just may be revisited again and again in Playoffs future, to the delight of those who remember the Past.
- Detroit and Miami, who look to be the Conference Finals in whatever round they meet, both get a cozy rest while their second round opponents slug it out in 7 game wars. That's why the regular season counts, kids.
In other news:
I caught a little of Darlington's NASCAR race. I didn't see who won, but I did learn a few facts.
- The race is held under the lights because they didn't want to run it on a Sunday.
- Back when it was the Rebel Classic or something, the winner used to have a man in full confederate regalia jump up on the hood for a victory lap....which, unfortunately, didn't end up charging an infatry regiment sitting on Little Round Top. The blacks in attendance loved it, I'm told.
It's never funny when a promising young athlete like Kellen Winslow II is involved in a motorcycle accident....unless your sources have provided you with a videotape of the KWII contract negotiations.
Of course I have the link. Send thekids to bed before you fire this fatty up, though.......those Poston Brothers can curse like a sergeant: