If you read just one thing today, make it the great piece on Lamar Odom from Sports Illustrated by Lee Jenkins.
THE HAPPIEST Laker is the one whose father was addicted to heroin, whose mother died of colon cancer when he was 12, who attended three high schools, had his first college scholarship revoked before the fall semester of his freshman year, became a subject of three college investigations, declared for the NBA draft, tried unsuccessfully to pull out of the draft, was picked by arguably the worst franchise in sports, violated the league’s antidrug policy twice within eight months and after finally getting his life together, went home to New York City for an aunt’s funeral and wound up burying his 6½-month-old son, then getting robbed at gunpoint.
“That’s my book,” says Lamar Odom. “That’s my movie. It’s a big bowl of gumbo.”
That is why I and many others are rooting hard for him to succeed. Here and in everything he does.
• Plenty of talk in Lakers land about home court advantage (now suddenly called just HCA). I don’t think HCA in the Finals is as big a deal as some do, because of the 2-3-2 format it is simply not cruicial to have it unless you can’t win a lick on the road (and the Lakers have proven this season they can win on the road anywhere). I think it could matter in the Western Conference, save that the Lakers basically have it sewn up. And I don’t buy the “look at game six from last Finals” argument, because I don’t think those Lakers were beating those Celtics either way. It exacerbated what happened in game six, but it was not why the Lakers lost. This year, the Lakers and Celtics are different teams.
• The Lakers had the rare two days off between games on the road, and the team had a choice — spend the free day in Chicago or Oklahoma City. Actually, is that really much of a choice?
• Best line of the day comes from Gilbert Arenas on if the rumors are true that he is coming back to the lineup on Saturday: “It’s only true if I play on Saturday. If I don’t play, it ain’t true.”
• The Houston Rockets are now second in the Western Conference, and are 15-4 since McGrady shockingly ended his season due to injury (who could have seen that coming?). The Rockets beat the Spurs in SA yesterday. The question is, are they for real this year? Could they win a seven game series against Utah or San Antonio? I think they may be more set this year than previous years — if Artest does not try to take over the offense.
• By the way, I suck at college basketball predictions. Apparently. Out of 151 in the FB&G pool, I am a pathetic 130. After the first weekend march mustache (day0ungster) has the inside track.
• I’m not a big sitcom guy, but Big Bang Theory is a new favorite.