Thursday, April 23, 2009
Behind The Scoreboard
Last week’s column had already been strung up to dry by the time Dr. David Beckley (president of Rust College) had returned from the Final Four and dropped by The South Reporter office. For the last few years, David has brought a memento back from the collegiate finals for yours truly. I really appreciate the gift and gesture, but there is a nagging feeling that he is just “trying to rub it in.” Thanks, David, I’ll remember you when (and if I ever) go to the Super Bowl.
And speaking of remembering, do you think maybe the Boston Celtics perhaps forgot that they are the defending NBA champions? The Celts had been one of the league leaders all season. The only two teams which overshadowed them at any point were the L.A. Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. We are not jumping the gun here. This is not a Celtics’ writeoff. From this quarter, same as last season, they are going to have to be dealt with. We all know that Kevin Garnett is oak ridden right now, but the Celts still have a lot of shamrocks left.
Near the end of the season, the NBA fan base was clamoring for LeBron James and the Cavaliers. Cleveland responded and wrapped up the Eastern Conference title at about the same time that Kobe Bryant and the Lakers grabbed the plum of the West. And when it comes down to East versus West, the nod seems to favor Cleveland and the Lakers. The three leaders all had 60-plus season wins.
But remember, the first rounds of the playoffs got underway just this past weekend and the temperatures started to rise almost immediately. There were at least four “clock busters” recorded in the first two days of play. There could have been more but those are the ones which yours truly are completely aware of. It was distributive. Two in the East and two in the West. Is there an omen in there somewhere?
The history-maker was the contest on Saturday between the defending champs and the rejuvenated Chicago Bulls. It was not a runaway, blowout or anything like that. But the impact of the overtime win was earth-shaking. First, the Bulls had never beaten the “House of Auerbach” in any playoff game since they adopted the new moniker. Second, it was their rookie of the year contender who showed that it could be done.
The great British bard said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” True Bill, but could it shoot a basketball like Derrick? You all remember Derrick, don’t you? Spent some time down the road making the Memphis Tigers’ future bright. And now making Chicago say, “Jordan who?” It is far from over, but I think everyone knew that this Rose was going to be a thorn in someone’s thumb.
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