Friday, May 24, 2002

Continuing yesterday's stories, John Smallwood writes that apparently the sports world is not ready for an openly gay player... Rich Hofmann explains why he prefers the NHL playoffs to the predictable variety offered by the NBA post-season tournament... Dick Polman makes his contribution to the Why-The-Red-Sox-Are-Cursed Library of Literary Works... Phil Sheridan reports on Correll Buckhalter's surgery to repair his torn ACL, and says the grass will be greener in the Eagle's new stadium... Ashley McGeachy Fox and Phil Jasner report on Speedy Claxton's surgery.

Peter May writes about the offense that the Nets borrowed from Princeton... For anyone interesting in wagering on Game 3 of either conference finals matchup, here are the Vegas odds... Steve Bulpett says the unexpected run of the Celtics is doing wonders for the bottom line (which certainly can't hurt come free agent signing time in the summer). Bulpett also says that nostalgic fans who might be looking ahead to a potential Lakers-Celtics matchup (a la 80s) are probably watching a series that more closely resembles those battles right now (with Jason Kidd playing the part of Magic Johnson, and Byron Scott playing, not himself, but Pat Riley)... Bob Ryan responds to Kenny (Don't Call Me A Role Player) Anderson's comment regarding the expected adjustments the Nets will make ("Let's see how they respond"): "Yeah, let's."

Marty Burns answers readers' email questions, discusses whether the Kobe Bryant food poisoning was an "inside job," and reveals that NBA players receive a $93 per diem when they travel on the road, as stipulated in their collective bargaining agreement... Mitch Lawrence thinks the Nets will have to bring their A game in order to win in "The Jungle"... Lucious Harris is complaining about the C's aggressive defense. "They bump you off the cuts, they're grabbing you, holding you, you've got to get them off." Gee, the last time I heard a team complaining this much about the other team's defense in the eastern conference finals, it was George Karl and his whining Bucks. Right before the 76ers sent them home for the summer. Speaking of whining, Kenyon Martin took the opportunity to point out to official Ted Bernhardt that Pierce was a "[expletive] cry baby." As Phil Mushnick would say, charming... Steve Serby says that Boston residents should "hide the women and children. The Yankees are coming, the Yankees are coming." Michael Morrissey gets in an uncalled-for jab at Philadelphia fans, who he says are "notoriously tough on everyone from Santa Claus to hometown star Kobe Bryant." When are the uninformed media going to do their homework and learn that "LA boy" did not grow up here, that he was pampered at an early age in Italy, and that he only spent his high school years here (in the affluent suburbs at that)?

NBA.com provided this preview of Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers are already crying foul (literally) in this series. Speaking of his star center, Phil Jackson said, "He was completely taken out of his game in the process of making foul calls." Shaq had this to say: "There is only one way to beat us. It starts with C and ends with T." Is there a more pathetic picture than to see poor victimized Shaq whining at a foul call? Seriously, refs could call 3-second violations on him at both ends of the court on nearly every possession. Oh, but he's the one that's victimized by the officials, right?

The Indy Star's C. Jemal Horton says Larry Bird's involvement in the NBA would be a good thing, but that he doesn't believe Charlotte is the right place. Horton admits he is a former Charlotte resident, and as such, is perhaps a bit biased. He offered this stingining (no pun intended) criticism to the "fans" who abandoned the Hornets because of their distaste for their owners: "You're either a fan/supporter of your local NBA team and players. Or you are not. Period." Mark Cuban threatens to perform unelective surgery on one reporter who dared to publish a story regarding his fiancee. That article contains a link that includes a transcript of the phone conversation between Cuban and the writer. The page also includes an audio clip of just about the entire conversation. Couldn't there be a celebrity boxing match between these two instead of between Minute Bol and Refrigerator Perry?

Star Wars: Episode III won't hit the theaters until 2005, but George Lucas has already hinted that the movie will be very "dark." Samuel Jackson, who plays Jedi Master Mace Windu, apparently asked Lucas: "My only request is I don't get shot in the back by some 'droid. Hopefully, there'll be somebody standing there in front of me that's worthy of killing me. Either Darth Vader or him and a combination of Siths."

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Shira Springer finally gets Jim O'Brien to admit his team has played zone defense this year. "Maybe it's more a zone than man-to-man. I don't know what it is, but it's what we play. Let's put it this way: If we have a zone, it wasn't designed to be a zone. Now, if it has become a zone, and that's what people think it is, then maybe that's what it is. But it wasn't intended to be a zone." Quick, somebody tell Jackie MacMullan... Speaking of Jackie, she offered this feel-good story on Eric Williams over the weekend. In addition, MacMullan provided this translation of Kennie Anderson's post-game comments following Game 1.

Peter May offers his conference finals predictions, as does the rest of the Boston Globe staff. Michael Holley is the lone guy to pick the Kings, and Dan Shaugnessy is the lone guy to pick the Nets... Speaking of Shaugnessy, over the weekend, he reported that Rick Pitino has been admiring the Celtics post-season run from afar... Peter May talks Larry Bird's interest in bringing an expansion franchise back to Charlotte, a story first revealed by Peter Vescey on NBC over the weekend... Michael Smith says the closes thing the Nets have to a Pierce stopper is "three people in stripes with whistles." Smith also reports Chris Wallace called Tony Battie his "Chevrolet MVP" in Game 2... Bob Ryan writes that an ugly win is still a win... Steve Bulpett gets this great quote from Rodney Rogers: "It's just funny how all of us got traded to the East and all of us were one, two and three in the conference. It's like, what the hell was Phoenix thinking about?" Speaking of Rogers, Chris Wallace should be warned: according to Marc Berman, the Knicks have put him on their free-agent shopping list for the summer.

Marc Berman says Kenny Anderson was gloating after Game 2 with his remarks about rookie Richard Jefferson. The Nets "won the first game, got all geeked up, that rookie over there Jefferson is talking all that nonsense.... Where was he tonight? I didn't hear from the young fella tonight. Come bring your game in Game 3. Stop talking and play ball." Paul Schwartz says that Keith Van Horn thinks he's not getting any respect from the officials ("I felt I depended a little too much...on getting some calls from the refs I thought I should get but I didn't get.")

Allen Iverson was late to Camden last Friday. He was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Riversharks' game, and was caught up in traffic on the Ben Franklin Bridge. Of course, leave it to Howard Eskin to make a federal case of the incident. The guy's a little late for a cameo appearance, and all of a sudden it's time to trade him for Allen Houston and Latrell Sprewell again. Get a clue Howard... Ashley McGeachy Fox talked with Iverson after he showed up, and writes about the new company that he recently formed, ABK Music Group... Rich Hofmann catches up with Magic Johnson as he prepared to speak with a group of entrepreneurs.

Stephen A. Smith says it's time for Mr. Robinson to retire to his neighborhood... Smith is out in California covering the Western Conference Finals... Bill Lyon says it's a sad thing that the Nets and Celtics are playing in the conference finals while the Sixers are sitting home for the summer... On-the-court success for the Celtics has led to Wall Street success as well. Incidentally, the Celtics are the only NBA team to appear on the stock exchange. ''Each playoff home game can generate in excess of $1 million in profit for an NBA team.'' Perhaps that explains why Comcast-Spectacor was a bit reluctant (and slow) to refund 76er playoff deposits. That's a lot of money to have to give back... Peter Vescey gives kudos to the C's front office, and dismisses reports that the 76ers asked permission to talk to Eddie Jordan, in case Larry Brown should reconsider his employment situation over the summer... Phil Mushnick hates everybody.

Bill Simmons reviews the NBA playoffs, and reveals whose stock rose and dropped. He believes Celtic owner Paul Gaston needs to patch things up with Larry Bird and have him make a FleetCenter appearance. "How can they not play this trump card during the Nets series? Between Larry, Red, Russell and Gino, the Nets wouldn't have a chance." He echoes my opinion on "that damn Lenny Kravitz song ... my ears are bleeding ... make it stop ... FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MAKE IT STOP," as well as decries the current state of officiating in the NBA playoffs ("they just stink")... In a bizarre unfolding of events, Mike Piazza declares he is not gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that...