Thursday, June 8, 2006
Monkey off Mavericks’ back, finally
There has been a lot of movement lately, from all angles and heights, even starting at the White House.
There have been moves and reassignments. But those did not create the stir that Katie Couric did when it was announced that she was leaving NBC for CBS.
And unless you have been vacationing (ex incommunicado) in Outer Mongolia, you have been a party (willing or unwilling) to this proposed transition. The hubbub has abated somewhat but will probably renew itself once the 90-day crossing period is over.
As captivating as that news was, it did not hold the limelight against the happenings in the NBA last week. The Heat disposed of the Pistons in spectacular fashion, leaving not one shred of a doubt as to who was the king of the Eastern Conference.
Their history making will continue on June 8 when Miami goes for its first NBA title.
Coach Pat Riley used the right strategy in games four and five, giving Shaq decreased playing time and ensuring that he was well rested in case there was to be a seventh game. O’Neal really turned it on, hitting 28 points to lead the floor.
The Heat had other options if Shaq didn’t come all the way through. The Wade, Payton and Williams combine was as effective as ever. Gary Payton just might be in the right place at the right time, finally, to claim his long-sought, finger jewelry.
The Mavericks claimed their share of history by also going to the championship series for the first time. Their owner, Mark Cuban, made the comment of the week when he stated, “The monkey on the Mavericks’ back for over a year just jumped off and ran out the door.”
Is that classic or what?
The Mavs will have the momentous task of keeping Shaq at the charity stripe where he will do the least damage.
Conversely, the Heat will have to double and triple Dirk Nowitzki when he is on the offensive end of the court. This is going to be very, very interesting.
Reflecting on the movement thing, there was another exodus from NBA long before Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric deposed Tom Brokaw and Jane Pauley. Barbara Walters started that one, bolting to ABC.
A short time later, comedian Redd Foxx left.
When asked why, he said, “I left because Barbara Walters left.”
Any comment, Al, Matt?
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