Some random thoughts while I watch Orlando demolish Chicago on TNT…
*Late last night I finished watching the Magic/Bird HBO documentary “Courtship of Rivals”. I must say that this was one of the finest sports documentaries I’ve ever watched. There was so much to like that I really didn’t have a favorite moment or clip, but a couple that stood out were the pieces of footage they had of the two players on Team USA from the 1978 in the World Invitational Tournament and the clip where Magic is talking about his HIV announcement and the phone call that he got from Bird to check in on him. I couldn’t stop smiling during the old-school highlights of those two trading no look passes as college kids and had to wipe my eyes a couple of times when Magic is talking about “knowing who your friends are”. If you haven’t seen it already, find a way. It’s worth the 90 minutes.
*I’m a bit late on commenting on this, but bye, bye Mike Dunleavy. In some ways, I feel bad for Dunleavy as he had to work for Donald Sterling and was tasked with building a winner with the Clippers. Kind of oxymoronic. However, Dunleavy had his shot and multiple chances with this team and just continued to make mistakes. And he really should shoulder a lot of the blame since he was in complete control for these last couple of years. I think the injuries hurt him this season (who knows how a healthy Blake Griffin changes the Clips’ fortunes), but in the end you have to make due with what you got and find a way to make it work. I mean, when you give away Camby – a guy that said he wanted to play for you – and don’t get much in return, that really doesn’t inspire your team to try for you.
*I really want the playoffs to start already. I know the Lakers aren’t playing their best ball and that you’d like to be peaking as the second season begins, but I long for the dedicated game plans and the adjustments that the coaches make to dissect a specific opponent. Championships are won based off those adjustments and we have one of the best in business (Phil Jackson) at finding the wrinkles that can be exploited against the opposing team.
*With all the talk of the Lakers faltering offense, I miss Tex Winter. That was one man that would give it to the players exactly how he saw it.
*I know that some disagree with Hollinger’s power rankings and the formula used to determine them, but I find them useful. I remember when the Lakers were atop those rankings early in 2008 when no one thought that the Lakers were really a contender. We ended up in the Finals (there was also the season that San Antonio was atop the rankings for a long period the year that Dallas won 60+ games – the same year that Dallas lost to the Dubs in the playoffs as the number one seed). I mention the rankings because in the midst of Dallas’ win streak I was searching to see how high Dallas had climbed. I mean, when Utah went on their run a few weeks ago (a hot streak that is still going on, mind you) they climbed all the way to #1. So, Dallas must be high now too, right? They’ve won 13 games in a row! Nope, they’re 13th. Dallas has been winning, but their scoring margin is low and they’ve won a lot of close games in this streak. Just something to be aware of and chew on.
*As I type this, the Warriors are playing the Blazers. However, two days ago the Dubs faced the Hornets. In that game, the following players did not suit up due to injury: Monta Ellis, Raja Bell, Kelena Azubuike, Andris Biedrins, Rony Turiaf, Anthony Randolph, Brandon Wright, and Vlad Radmonovich. That’s an entire 8 man rotation with real talent that could compete in this league. A team with that rotation could probably earn a playoff seed in the East. I knock Nellie a lot, but he’s missing some pretty good players right now.