NBA Playoffs, Sterling's Absence, RIP Dr. Jack Ramsey

Steve Dykes

The Playoffs continue at a fantastic level, the Sterling mess gets worse, Jack Ramsey dies, and other notes from our favorite league.

A terrific weekend of basketball concluded with another overtime in the Rockets-Blazers series.  It was so good, I actually stayed awake for it.  Let's recap yesterday quickly:

The Wizards took a 3-1 series lead over the Bulls with a 98-89 win that wasn't really that close. The Wizards got out to a 14-0 run as Chicago's offense was, as it sometimes is, MIA.  The Bulls made a couple of runs through the rest of the game, but Washington answered each time, usually with Trevor Ariza threes and/or transition baskets.  The Wizards were up 20 after three quarters, and cruised from there as the Bulls made it cosmetically closer in the 4th quarter.  There are things to like about this Wizards team, which won without the suspended Nene, who will be back for game five.

The Raptors evened their series with the Nets with a game four win in Brooklyn thanks to a fourth quarter in which they held the Nets to 12 points. Prior to this one, it looked like the Nets had some modicum of control of the series, but the thing is: sometimes they look as old as they are.  They just didn't have anything left late in this one, and the Raptors took control of a slow-paced, poor shooting contest.

The Clippers at Warriors game four was obviously overshadowed by the Donald Sterling fiasco, and in truth, the Clippers did not look focused. The Warriors took advantage, making everything early and running out to 39-24 lead after a first quarter in which Steph Curry made five three pointers.  It was never really a contest after that, as the Clips tried to cut into the lead a few times, but never got particularly close before Golden State pulled away. Meanwhile, Donald Sterling was not in attendance after speaking with the commissioner, but his wife apparently disavowed her husband's comments to ABC, though not on air. An odd situation, given that the comments were made to his mistress, and they have been married for something on the order of 50 years.

Kevin Johnson, former star point guard and current mayor of Sacramento, was brought in by the Players Association to represent them in the matter, as the Association president, Chris Paul, is directly involved and otherwise occupied. He made it clear, both publicly and, apparently, to Adam Silver, that the PA wants this handled aggressively and quickly, and that the players want a voice.  We'll see where this goes from here; game five is scheduled for Tuesday in L.A.

Finally, the Blazers beat the Rockets in the third overtime of the series to take a 3-1 lead heading back to Houston for game five. The Rockets seemed to get on track in the first half, as Chandler Parsons shook off his slump, and they took a 10 point lead into the locker room. But the Blazers responded in the 2nd half behind their four primary scorers, all of whom scored over 20.  Mo Williams hit a huge three off a turnover and offensive rebound late in regulation to give the Blazers a lead, but a Dwight Howard dunk tied it up.  In overtime, it was back and forth until a couple of untimely Rockets turnovers and a huge Batum three gave the Blazers the breathing room they needed to hang on.

Three games tonight:

Heat at Bobcats
6:00 pm Central
TNT

The Heat look to close this one out in four. By far the least dramatic first round series we have. You can bet Miami is happy about that.

Hawks at Pacers
7:00 pm Central
NBA TV

The pivotal game five in this series that is tied at 2-2.  The Pacers have looked nothing like a number one seed, and are a bit lucky to even be tied. They had better find their game soon.

Spurs at Mavericks
8:30 pm Central
TNT

Monster game for the Spurs as they trail 2-1 after the Vince Carter game winner in game three. They don't want to go down 3-1, and need a win in Dallas. I expect them to come out at the top of their game; whether the Mavericks can match them is the question. Should be a great one.

Notes:

  • Hall of Famer Jack Ramsey, former coach of the Trail Blazers and long time television and radio analyst, died last night at the age of 89. He led the Blazers to their only NBA championship in 1977.
  • Jordan Adams, the UCLA guard, has decided to enter the draft after earlier announcing he would return to school. My guess is that someone got to him and assured him that there are a lot of teams who love him and that he is assured of a first round selection.  I wish I had confidence that Flip would take a serious look.
  • Phil Jackson met with Steve Kerr about the Knicks coaching position. It appears that remains on track.
  • Meanwhile, silence on the Wolves coaching front. I haven't heard anything about candidates or interviews since the Adelman retirement presser.
Today in history

1253: Founding of Nichiren Buddhism in Japan 
1521: Treaty of Worms; Ferdinand named Archduke of Austria
1686: First volume of Newton's Principia published
1788: Maryland becomes 7th state to ratify Constitution

Today's musical birthday is Kim Gordon, born in 1953. Longtime member of Sonic Youth.



Open up your Monday.




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