Thursday, June 10, 2010
Behind The Scoreboard
Wooden’s mark indelible
In the NBA playoffs, it all came down to gravy last week when the Celtics squared off once again to duel with the Los Angeles Lakers for the title.
These teams represent the two most storied teams in the history of the NBA. The Celtics being the all-time leaders in wins of the championship variety and the Lakers closely trailing. This time around the Lakers are the defending champs. And the champs took the first game by a score of 102-89, which equates to a 13-point difference.
The Celtics vowed to do better in their next game although they were playing from their home court. One Boston player admitted that they would have to manage the game better and at the same time manage Kobe Bryant better. There was a lot of speculation about the route to take to insure that Bryant would not hit 30 points. He had not been held below that total in the playoffs and just when it appeared that he would not make the mark in game one, he ended up hitting 35.
On Sunday night the Celts came up with the remedy – get Bryant in foul trouble. Somehow they did it and the Lakers’ hot shot suddenly had five fouls with 11 minutes to go. L.A. lost its first playoff home court game in the last 13. The Celtics won it and tied the series 1-1. And how is this for a “would you believe?” Boston won by a score of 103-94. Kobe was held to 21 points, nine less than his playoff total, which measured the Celtics’ margin of victory. Go figure.
The series goes to Boston for the next three. NBA history shows that when a series is tied 1-1, the team which prevails in game three goes on to win at a 28-4 ratio.
When one talks of anything great in the world of basketball, one has to be reminded of perhaps the greatest collegiate basketball coach of all time. And just maybe THE basketball coach of all time. You don’t have to be a Bruins’ fan to know of John Wooden. Of all his years coaching he never had a losing season. He compiled a total of 664 wins versus 162 losses over his career span. He set a standard, which in all likelihood will not be matched. Wooden won 10 national titles, taking the last one in 1975, the year in which he retired. The coach died last week at the age of 99.
His mark on the basketball world, both collegiate and professional, will remain indelible for years to come.
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