I’m still not convinced that the Miami Heat are a powerhouse in basketball. I don’t see them playing team basketball. They don’t make the extra passes. Instead, they isolate either Wade or James. Where is Bosh? On the other side of the ball, the Boston Celtics had no inside game. None. Jermaine O’Neil was invisible. They lost the rebounding war, which they had to win. Rondo is the spark for the Celtic but with only one arm, he was not effective. Pierce had to step up his game. He needed to be on the boards, score and dish. He needed 25 or more points and 10 or more boards. He wasn’t close to either.
Behind Boston much of the season. Behind Boston much of the game.
Not only has the Miami Heat caught the Celtics — they have officially gone past them, and into the Eastern Conference finals.
Vanquishing the team they couldn’t beat for so long with a 16-0 run to end the game, Dwyane Wade scored 34 points, LeBron James put the Heat up for good with a 3-pointer with 2:10 left on the way to a 33-point effort, and Miami topped Boston 97-87 to win their East semifinal series Wednesday night in five games.
James added a game-sealing — more aptly, a series-sealing — 3-pointer with 40.4 seconds left, then turned and posed for some fans who screamed in delight. (more…)
The media loves a point-counterpoint. They love bad versus good. They love rich versus poor. Any time you can paint a story as two extremes they start salivating. Now we have Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal versus President Barack Obama. There is a magazine article in which there are supposed to be some disparaging comments about Barack Obama, Joe Biden and his cabinet members. Frankly, some of the comments were juvenile. It is almost as if they were speaking off the record or they thought that the reporter was in a coma. President Obama has a complex decision to make — fire Stanley McChrystal in the middle of an offensive in Afghanistan, which could disrupt the military and its chain of command or keep the general and risk losing face with the military. Personally, I think it depends on the assessment of the Afghanistan war. If the offensive is meeting its goals then I would keep the general. If the offensive has been a huge waste of time, money and manpower then I would trash the offensive and fire the general. This is not an easy decision. No matter which President Obama goes on this one, look for the conservative media to bash him one way or the other.
Judge Martin “Marty” Feldman of the US District Court in New Orleans is making news. (I don’t know whether he is called “Marty” for short. Of course, Marty Feldman was a great comedian, best known for his performance in Young Frankenstein.) This Feldman has overturned the president’s moratorium on drilling in the Gulf. The Obama administration will appeal.
Many people are now picking up on Rep. Joe Barton’s apology to BP as the Republican Party line rather than a rogue personal statement. As I’ve said many times, Republicans are very disciplined. They’re not known for emotional outbursts. (I think that Joe Wilson’s You Lie outburst at the President was planned.) When they say something, it generally has been thought about and approved on many levels. Republicans are outraged that a corporation would be asked to clean up something that they caused. There’s a reason that the Superfund was allowed to dry up by the Bush administration. Corporations were supposed to pay fines for their transgressions, fines collected and placed into the Superfund. The Bush administration stopped collecting fines. Without fines there would be no Superfund because in their minds making business clean up what they messed up is a bad thing.
I was too disgusted after the NBA finals to actually talk about them. I wasn’t disgusted that the Los Angeles Lakers won. I was disgusted that instead of watching a basketball game, I watched a professional wrestling match. In spite of frankly my having gotten nauseated throughout the game, I feel compelled to congratulate Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson (arguably the greatest coach of all time) and the Los Angeles Lakers. I would only ask that in the off season, point guard Rajon Rondo learn how to shoot free throws. Is that so hard?
Michael Jackson died approximately one year ago (it’ll be one year on the 25th). Some are confused about the fact that he has left a mixed legacy. I am not confused. I grew up with Michael Jackson. I had all of the J5 albums. I saw the J5 when they came to Dallas in 1970. Michael was 11 but they said he was 8. I was 9. Michael Jackson was a complex person, just as many of us are complex people. He was a great humanitarian and one of the best entertainers to ever live. He also slept in an oxygen chamber, had a zoo complete with a tiger and chimpanzee and he had problems with personal relationships with adults and children. I love him as an entertainer. Whenever I see his Emmy award-winning performance of Billie Jean at the Motown 25th anniversary special or his performance of Man in the Mirror at the Grammys, I get goosebumps. In spite of my utmost respect for his musical talents, I’m not sure I would leave my grandson with him for more than a nanosecond.
In my mind, the golden age of the NBA occurred in the mid-’80s. It had two great dynasties going at each other. The Boston Celtics led by Larry Bird and the Los Angeles Lakers led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson. If you were a true fan of basketball, you loved both of these teams. They were magnificent in action. The Los Angeles Lakers were more of a wide-open, fast-break team. The Boston Celtics ran a slow, deliberate half-court offense. They both played good defense. They both could rebound. Los Angeles could slow it down and run a half-court offense. The Boston Celtics could hit an outlet pass and fast-break with the best of them. There were both truly poetry in motion.
This brings me to the debacle that we saw in Los Angeles two days ago. I just don’t understand a professional basketball team shooting 33% from the field. This isn’t baseball. It looks a lot like wrestling. Basketball has been turning into the WWF for the last 10 years. The sport seems to have less to do with speed and skill than it does with endurance and power. Whenever the scrum underneath the basket resembles rugby, there something wrong with the game.
When you look at the box score from Tuesday night, you see that the winning team, the Los Angeles Lakers, shot 42% from the field (awful). They shot 90% from the foul line. The Boston Celtics shot 33% from the field and 60% from the foul line. The Celtics only shot 10 free throws the whole game. This is pitiful. In my opinion, this does not reflect “good” defense. Instead, I think it reflects a sad problem in the NBA. Now, don’t think that I hate the Los Angeles Lakers or love the Boston Celtics. It is neither. I really don’t care who wins the series. I just want to see good basketball when I turn on my TV tonight. That’s it. Can we do that?
I should mention that the final game in Boston was equally as bad on the Lakers’ part. Kobe Bryant has been criticized throughout his career for not being a team player, but in that crucial game five, the team simply collapsed. Everybody on the Lakers looked to be sleepwalking except Kobe Bryant. Nobody was getting rebounds. Nobody was hustling. They were awful.
So, tonight, I’m hoping for less grabbing and pushing. I’m looking for more crisp outlet passes. I’m looking for somebody to run some semblance of offense. I’m looking for wanting to make more than one pass before shooting. In essence, I’m looking for basketball.