Thursday, May 26, 2011
Behind The Scoreboard
One of the very enjoyable fringe aspects of this job is the occasion to slip into small nostalgia trips down memory lane.
I ran into Donnal Ash in Potts Camp last week and he is looking as tan and lean as a Texas cowhand. And he is always ready and willing to talk sports.
He, too, had only praise for the Grizzlies and thinks that the Eastern Conference has a pair of fine representatives in the Bulls and Heat. He especially likes the way in which the league MVP (Derrick Rose) is playing. If you recall, Ash preceded Don Randolph as superintendent of the Marshall County School District, but before that he coached basketball at Holly High, taking the Hawks to the championship game in 1982.
And while there is a different slant on who of the final four will claim the rings, all like Ash, attest that this is one of the best playoff series ever. Never mind that some of the most fearsome teams have already bowed out. Other lesser known teams, players and coaches are grabbing the spotlight.
Before these playoffs, probably no one could have told you who Erik Spoelstra or Tom Thibidou are. The former is the head coach of Miami Heat and the latter (Coach of the Year) leads the Chicago Bulls. Right now the two are locked in a duel with the tally going into this past Sunday one game apiece.
Minister Bridge Muhammad believes that the eventual winner will come out of the Eastern Conference. As much as I respect what Chicago has done this season and its steady rebuilding the last few years, I can’t be that generous. I don’t see the Bulls getting past the Heat. The reason is obvious – the Bulls’ one top gun is Rose. The Heat has three fast guns with a fourth one waiting in the wings. Don’t read me too fast. I am not ready to crown the rest of King James’ court. The Heat will indubitably make it out of the East but next year will be their year.
The Bulls, Heat and Mavericks all have titles under their current names – the Oklahoma City Thunder nary a one (to play on a favorite word of Jed Clampett). Like the Grizzlies, you have to give them their respect, but they can’t be expected to last against the Mavericks. Dallas has a solid team with a big tractor doing most of the heavy lifting. Dirk Novitzki is demonstrating an ability to take over a game at will.
Anyone who hits 24 consecutive free throws in an NBA playoff game certainly has my vote – the Mavericks for all of the marbles.
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