Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
Well for better or worse guys, the playoffs are in full swing. The series seem to be playing out according to the script anyone who follows the league has already written in their head, with the possible exception of the Bulls-Sixers matchup (for obvious reasons of course). But even if these playoffs are staying within the lines, they are still using different colors than anyone could have predicted. This leaves me scratching my head, and so as I am prone to doing, I’m embarking on the task of trying to make sense of the most recent action as I write.
Hit the jump for the rest of Jordan’s piece…
Have We Ever Seen So Many Stars Hurt Their Team?
At this point I’m ready to give the East to the first team whose star doesn’t severely impact their ability to win by making some form of extremely questionable decision. We are all aware of Dwight Howard’s sudden need for back surgery after Stan Van Gundy outed him to the press for trying to get him fired. The fiasco has very possibly killed not only Orlando’s title chances, but likely their chances of even making it out of the first round.
Then we see Rajon Rondo bump a ref. Or, if Rondo is to be believed, lose his balance and then bump into a ref. Which I totally believe. Because it’s not like Rondo has ever done anything questionable to a referee, like throw a ball at them. Rondo is renowned for his even temper and sound judgment. Except for the part where he really isn’t. At all. Granted, the Celtics managed to pull out the win while he was gone, thanks to Paul Pierce’s heroics and Doc River’s always stellar coaching (Go ahead. Click Mark’s write up. You know you want to.), but still, Rondo is not a rookie anymore. Even if he were, I figure “don’t antagonize the ref” is taught pretty early in most Little Dribbler leagues. Unacceptable.
Amare Stoudemire’s punching of a fire extinguisher after the Knicks’ second loss to the Heat was certainly not acceptable either, even if it was a little more understandable. But the end result is even worse. At least a game out for Amare, probably more than that. It does bring up an interesting point though. On one hand, if a player doesn’t win for long enough in this league, or doesn’t always look engaged, we tend to say he isn’t a killer or doesn’t want it bad enough. But when guys want it so bad they slice their hands on safety glass or bow up to a ref, we call them headcases.
To a certain point I can’t blame guys for making erratic decisions, but geez, you really couldn’t pick a worse time to crack up if you tried. Unless you’re Lebron James in the NBA Finals.
Speaking Of The Heatles, Is Everything Breaking Their Way Or What?
They get to face the Knicks with no Jeremy Lin and a hobbled and now cut up and likely absent Amare Stoudemire, and with Rose’s injury, a potential Chicago matchup just got a lot easier. I’m halfway expecting for Kevin Garnett and Joe Johnson to get it a fight next game and somehow kill each other. I’m no conspiracy theorist (letters to David Stern aside), but how much more can legitimately happen to try to get the Heat into the Finals again? Has any team ever been this lucky?
But I can tell you what this might wind up causing: people looking at this title differently if the Heat do win it all. Can’t you just hear everyone in New York already saying next week “We’d have come back in the Garden if Amare hadn’t freaked out.”? Same thing with any potential Bulls series. God help them if they make the Finals and have Manu Ginobili get injured or James Harden start displaying PTSD symptoms from Metta World Peace’s murder attempt.
But, as with all things Heat, this is part of the microscope that they have basically invited all of us to view them under. You don’t talk up seven titles without getting your fair share of people trying to shoot holes in the armor. By the time it’s said and done, they will need to win seven just to prove to anyone that they are half as good as they think they are.
Please Let Derrick Rose Still Be Derrick Rose When He Comes Back
Let me admit to you guys something. I haven’t been watching basketball from birth like a lot of people who bother to start writing about sports. I can’t wax poetic about Allen Iverson or Motivated Shaq. I got into basketball mostly as a joke to troll local Spurs fans when Cleveland made the Finals several years back, not knowing I would wind up loving it more than any other sport.
That being said, Derrick Rose has been one of, if not the most, entertaining player that I have ever seen play, and I’ll bet even most of the people who have been watching much longer than me could agree with that statement. His career being derailed by an injury would be absolutely tragic by that thought alone. Add in the fact that he is by all reports one of the nicest and most humble guys you could find in a professional sports league, and I may actually shed tears if we never get to see him explode to the basket for another circus lay-up again.
So come on guys. Do me a favor. I don’t know what religion any of you are, and I honestly don’t care. Just pray to Jesus, Buddha, Zeus, Obi Wan Kenobi or whoever you have to that the guy comes back alright. If he doesn’t, the Basketball Gods have surely failed us all.
Jordan Akin wonders what one would offer up as tribute to the Basketball Gods. Game-worn jerseys? Fresh new Jordans? You can school him on roundball theology on Twitter @jakin1013, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.