Thursday, June 12, 2008
Behind The Scoreboard
Coaching moves and NBA finals
While most of the basketball world was anxiously (and nervously), awaiting game two of the much ballyhooed series between the Celtics and the Lakers, some franchises (at all levels), were taking care of some housekeeping chores.
The Phoenix Suns announced that they were settling on Terry Porter to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Mike D’Antoni. Steve Kerr (remember him?) stated that he and Porter had found themselves on the same page. Kerr and Porter were teammates in San Antonio. Porter was the assistant at Detroit. It’s great to have friends in “hire” places. Of course, it is not cute when it is time to fire.
John Calipari, cagey coach that he is, has proposed the addition of a former Harlem Globetrotter to his staff of assistants. Orlanda Antigua will have (when approved) primary duties of director of recruitment.
Could this mean that coach Cal is going to have his newest assistant looking for players who can perform some of those Globetrotteresque stunts? Hey, you know Cal, he is long on innovations.
Lastly, the Chicago Bulls decided on Friday to pass on asking Doug Collins to return. Collins, who led the Bulls in the late ’80s, has a 25-year friendship with Jerry Reinsdorf. There were not a lot of details released about the consideration, but both say the feeling was mutual. At this time the Bulls are still looking for a head matador.
The Lakers and Celtics completed game one and it did not disappoint. One would think that Boston’s Doc Rivers either read the book “Patton” or saw the movie a couple of times. The Celtics attacked for 48 full minutes. At no time did they go into a “freeze mode.” Even when star player Paul Pierce doubled over in pain and had to be carried to the locker, and was followed short seconds later by center Perkins, the Celtics did not relent.
Pierce rejoined the lineup a few minutes later, braced knee and all and quickly hit a pair of treys. One had a bonus attached. Perkins came back right after and appeared no worse for wear and tear, which would prompt Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson to suggest that Pierce was not suffering as much as was thought. Jackson didn’t come right out and say that Pierce was faking, but hinted that it could have been theatrical.
The Celtics, who have lost just one game at home in the playoffs (to Detroit), polished off the Lakers 98-88. They met again in Boston on Sunday for game two. The Lakers got off the block early but then let the Celtics run away with them and the game.
In the third quarter if Pierce shook the most vaunted defense in the NBA, Leon Powe completely dismantled it. Then for reasons unknown, Powe went to the bench and the Celtics stopped attacking with fervor. Kobe Bryant seized the opportunity and with help from a couple of cohorts brought the Lakers back to within four points after being down by twenty-four.
The Celtics escaped with a six-point victory, but they can’t afford to allow such comebacks when the series flips to L.A. on Tuesday (of this week).
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