The NBA playoffs are over. Golden State got knocked out Tuesday night by a less-than-compelling (even if Derek Fisher's daughter has retinoblastoma, they still play a ho-hum brand of basketball), though talented Jazz team. Phoenix was legitimately jobbed by the refs, first by letting Nash get smacked around (face, balls, whatever) despite playing his heart out, and then by suspending Diaw and Stoudemire for game 5 (which ended up being a gritty effort by the Suns in front of the home crowd. Kurt Thomas played the game of his career and but was clearly overmatched on the defensive end). In game 6, it looks like the series has taken its toll on Nash with uncharacteristic turnovers. Still, he hit big shots late and played with unparalleled passion. Its like that line from Rudy: “if I could put your heart in Lebron’s body…”
In the last week Ive gone from being indifferent to the Spurs to hating them. Duncan’s quiet superstar thing is tired and Manu Ginobili is every soccer-loving Euro-trash flopper I hate, and as Bill Simmons wrote Wednesday, Bruce Bowen may be one of the cheapest players of our generation (although j'aime Tony Parker toujours!). Unfortunately, the 2007 NBA Champion Spurs do everything right. And I mean everything. Their D is tenacious and closing the series at home, Parker and Ginobili both scored 30+ and Duncan was a block short of a triple-double.
Back East, LeBron James has been taking a lot of flack. In game 5, I dont think he broke a sweat (it was tough to tell though; the bartender didnt feel like seeing if the game was on in HD) in their shot at a home elimination game. Sure the Nets grabbed a big lead in the third, but the two teams went a combined 4-32 from the field in the 4th! Arent they all professionals?! That sounds like an opening round of the Special Olympics wheelchair tourney (too harsh?). This should be Bron-bron's coming out party, the stage is set, there's nothing else going on in the East. After the game, he said that he had more important things than basketball to worry about, namely his family. His girlfriend, who is eight months pregnant with his second son, was taken to the hospital at halftime. As he was sitting press conference he didnt know what was wrong with her. I’ll give him a brief pass on that because we all gots to take care of our baby’s mommas.
Last night in game 6, Bron did put up 23-8-8 as the Cavs closed out the series on the road. Really he was most conspicuous by his absence when their 15 point halftime lead disappeared as he rode the bench with 4 fouls.
Lebron's biggest problem is that his stated goal is to become a global icon. Only he's been told he would be one since he was 12 years old. MJ got cut from his high school basketball team. Gilbert Arenas wears 0 because thats how much his college coach told him he would play. He signed a $90 million dollar Nike deal while he was still in high school. He's got no fire in the belly.
The FJP is pleased to welcome a new sports editor on Monday.