Thursday, April 26, 2012
Behind The Scoreboard
Too close to call
I think that it is only fitting and proper that this humble reporter sways just a bit from the current flow (NBA) of basketball to pay homage to a true legend of the game. True, this particular coach never coached a day in the NBA (the “big league”), however, there are probably a lot of admirers who would state that she could have.
Pat Summitt, the renowned leader of the Tennessee Volunteers’ women basketball program, announced her retirement last week. There had been speculation that the change was forthcoming but the exact time was unknown. As Coach Summitt said in her usual classy style, “There is never a right time, but there has to be a time and that time is now.” The famous coach won’t be far from the game, having picked up the title of “coach emeritus” of the Lady Vols. I am not so sure that even UCLA’s legendary coach earned this title. Coach Summitt has more wins than any coach in collegiate history, men or women.
The New York Knicks had a coaching change some games ago after “Lynmania” took hold. It could be termed a mutiny of sorts. Head coach Mike D’Antoni lost some stature with the players and was replaced by assistant Mike Woodson. The Knicks clinched a playoff spot and are second to Boston who has locked up the division. There was only one slot left in the Eastern Conference and going into Saturday night it appeared that Philadelphia had the best shot. All three divisions have been clinched by Boston, Miami and Chicago.
And while we are on the Knicks, they were shocked by the team which King James left behind. The Cavaliers, cellar dwellers in the Central Division, woke up and thumped the Knicks 98-90 last Friday night. The Knicks said that there is no reason to panic at this juncture and attributed the letdown to the clinching of the playoff berth.
As was intimated in last week’s column, the Griz were still grinding and solidified their fifth seed. However, they have a chance of advancing farther. No, the division title is already owned by the Spurs but they could even ascend to number three with a little more help from their well, “friends.” For instance, the Spurs beat the Lakers on Friday and Griz downed both the Bobcats (Friday) and the Trailblazers on Saturday. Both the Northwest and Pacific were still up for grabs in the Western Conference until the Thunder took the Northwest. And no matter how they perform in their last two games, the Griz will still have to face either the Clippers or the Lakers in the first round. The Clippers have been playing well and we all know what Kobe can do.
I am aware that I am not painting a very rosy picture for our Griz but excluding the Celtics, the point separation among the Division leaders is two points or less. And that makes it too close to call at this point.
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