The Princesses...Katie and Jazzie
Greetings from the Hoodwood, where not one but two princesses make the day of your humble scribe.
NBA: Winners and still champeens
To the chagrin of the basketball that loathed the Heat, the LeBron James led squad successfully defended their NBA title with a rollicking pair of home court wins. Game six was all but decided late and the Heat fans looked to be streaming for the door, the NBA was beginning to rope off the American Airlines Arena floor in anticipation of the Spurs closing out the game. Problem was that the Heat rallied smartly in the last half minute of regulation to force overtime. The key shot being a breathtaking three from the corner from Ray Allen who was channeling his Jesus Shuttlesworth with that shot. The Heat kept the Spurs from stealing the game late in regulation and Chris Bosh make a crucial block of Danny Green at the buzzer in overtime (No that wasn’t a foul and had they called it, there would have been some fire). You could see the Spurs looked like a beaten team, they had a ten point lead to start the 4th and was up by 5 as late as :30 to play. I thought it funny to see the fairweather Heat fans scrambling back to the arena in a vain attempt to bum rush the door to get back in and being denied entry. I learned long ago not to leave games early and have no sympathy for those that decided to hit the road early. Ill discuss this more in depth in a bit. But the Spurs looked like the assassin that had the target in their sights and missed their shot. They had their shot and blew it and despite giving it a solid go in game 7 just seemed like a team that was spent. Tony Parker was sidelined with a bad hammy most of the game and wasn’t the explosive guard he normally is. Manu Ginobili just seemed like he was out of it all together. The only one holding the fort in a valiant effort was the redoubtable Tim Duncan who looked as if was going to try to will the Spurs to the title by himself at 37. With the game still very much up for grabs in the 4th quarter, Duncan went to one of his bread and butter moves with that running baby jump hook in the lane, he missed it and missed the subsequent follow tap off the boards. The look on Duncan’s face after the Heat snared the board after the misses told it all, the Spurs again squandered their last best chance to snag the game and ultimately the title in a winner take all 7th game. The Heat pulled away late to win their 3rd title in franchise history. The person that really needed to be lionized was one LeBron James who was again named the Bill Russell Finals MVP with a 37 point 12 board performance in the clincher. His triple double in game 6 was needed in staving off elimination. The folks that said that James didn’t have the clutch gene were deciding if they wanted Spicy brown mustard or hot sauce with their words. James just came through like a champ and then some. I thought that many people would finally give James his due for not only coming through but coming through in the clutch when the money was really on the line. For some reason however, it seems like the opposite is on the line. It seems like people liken James to A-Rod in MLB. Though A-Rod has a title of his own winning with the Yankees in 2009 many people knock A-Rod as a cheater and a fake superstar, Im still mystified by the continued vitriol toward James. Gracious in victory he didn’t jump on the scorers table, he was giving dap to Tim Duncan and Pop and was a classy champ. He took a bit of a dig at the haters who seem to get more and more annoyed with his winning now.
NHL: Hawks win it with a flourish
I was right in calling the Stanley Cup one of the classic series in its long storied history. Only one of the games were more than one goal differential and that was due to a late empty netter, but after splitting the first four games the Cup was seriously up for grabs. A tight taut game 5 saw the Hawks hang on for a 3-1 lead and the image of the frustrated Milan Lucic smashing his stick upside the empty Blackhawks goal after the empty netter scored by Dave Bolland just sticks with me. Nevertheless the Bruins looked to be in sharp shape after taking a 2-1 lead deep into the 3rd period, would we have a 7th game for the Stanley Cup Finals too? I was giddy with the prospect but the Hawks had other ideas, after pulling their own goalie for a 6th attacker with under 1:30 in game 6. Unlike the Bruins, the Hawks cashed in their chance and tied the game. The Hawks then scored the Cup winner a scant 14 seconds after the equalizer, sending a majority of the TD North Center crowd into agony. It was a thrilling ending to a Cup finale that captured the imagination of the country. The problem was that the first two games, arguably the best games were on cable. With the final four games on network TV the NHL hindered its showcase event. It was a great series nonetheless with the rugged Patrick Kane being only the 4th American born player to garner the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, as the hirsute Blackhawks skated about with their 35 pound, 3 foot chalice I wondered how long it will take most of these players to fiend for a razor and cut their mountain men like facial hair.
Why You don’t Leave
A personal observation. I hate fairweather fans, those that are ready to head for the exits the minute that something goes wrong in a game or the home team. Princess Katie and I took in the Reds-Pirates game last Thursday and it was a seriously hot afternoon, we spent the first two innings listening to a whining female complain that the day was too hot but she was just totally enthused that she was skipping work, but that’s neither here nor there. As the game progressed I noted that in the later stages of said game, that with the Reds falling behind (a game that they would ultimately lose) I noticed a host of people scurrying for the exits with a couple innings still to play. Princess Katie turned to me and asked. “Daddy, where are the people going? The game isn’t over, what if the Reds come back and win?” They didn’t that day but I always hearken back to a brutal lesson I was taught about leaving a game early. In 2000, me and a buddy of mine a fellow Cincy alum took in a late season contest between the Bearcats and Southern Miss. The Bearcats fell behind 24-7 and with the game being played in November at a crisp 35 degrees at kickoff and getting colder as the afternoon progressed I grew discouraged and suggested that we depart. Getting a ride back to my home, we both listened in delight and some dismay as the Bearcats scored 20 points in the games final 11 minutes to rally for a 27-24 win. We sat in my apartment parking lot and listened as Bearcats play by play man Dan Hoard said “For those that were here and left, shame on you for not believing in the Bearcats. Shame on you!” I swore that day I would never leave a game early again. I have left games before the final gun when the game is all but salted away but I don’t leave games in the 4th quarter like I did then and am always well dressed for a cold game.
PHAT DAP/HEAD SLAP
To Brian Shaw who looks like he will finally get the call after all. Shaw who seemingly kept getting passed over for one coaching job after another in the last couple years in spite of being the most touted name of the up and coming assistant coaches finally got a gig. Shaw gets the head coaching jobs in Denver and takes over a solid young team that won 58 games last year but parted ways with its long time head man George Karl a couple weeks ago. Shaw is more than ready having learned at the elbow of Phil Jackson and Frank Vogel two of the NBA’s best coaches. Here hoping Shaw will continue to excel as the head man as much as he did as a solid player and gifted assistant.
To one of my favorite golfers, the usually unflappable Bubba Watson who had an uncharacteristic meltdown at 16 in the final round of the Travelers Championship on Sunday. It wasn’t that Watson had a triple bogey on the par 3 it was that fact that Watson blamed everyone but himself for misreading the shot that would ultimately put the ball in the water then a too long shot over the green. Watson started the hole with a 2 shot lead but left it 1 down after shooting 6 on the Par 3. But Watson bitched out his caddy Ted Scott for the club selections and blamed him for the poor shots. The caddies make the selection but its up to the golfer to make the shot Longtime pro Ken Duke was ultimately the benefactor of Watson’s miscues on 16, as he claimed his first tour victory in a playoff. Slap to Watson who should have been looking in the mirror for blame on missed shots not a caddie.
Thats the View from the Hoodwood, until next post fellow Sports Fans!