Weekly Countdown (cont.)
4 questions rescued from the spam
4. Do you think Yao Ming's latest foot injury will finally get him to give up his Chinese national team duties? What can he/the Rockets do to stop this recurring injury? Does he need screws put in his foot like Zydrunas Ilgauskas?
I don't see Yao walking -- or in his case limping -- away from his national team. At the same time, I can't imagine him being available to play for China this summer. An anticipated recuperation of 8-to-12 weeks from the hairline fracture of his left foot should sideline him into August, leaving Yao little more than a month before the start of training camp. It makes nothing but sense to give him a summer of complete rest in hopes of breaking his streak of four seasons blighted by injury.
3. I like seeing what the league does in regulating how certain situations are called by the refs, but what are they (or aren't they) doing about the consistency of calls being made? I know it's a league of stars, but one has to question the possible motives of the league when players are obviously given preferential treatment. How could a first-team defensive player (LeBron James) average one foul per game in the playoffs? I feel like it's pointless for me to even watch when it seems apparent the cards are stacked to have a Kobe vs. LeBron Finals to coincide with all the commercials featuring both of those players.
It has always been this way. The cries of preferential treatment didn't begin with LeBron; they date back to George Mikan and Bill Russell as well as Wilt Chamberlain, who never fouled out of an NBA game. (Moses Malone would break Chamberlain's NBA record by going 1,212 consecutive games before fouling out.)
For every one fan like you who may stop watching the NBA because of perceived star bias, a number of fans will tune in to see an NBA Finals of Kobe vs. LeBron, if it comes to that. Remember when Michael Jordan blatantly shoved Bryon Russell out of the way before hitting the final championship-clinching shot of his Bulls career? There are purists who view that as an incident of outright cheating, but a majority of fans call it one of the great plays in NBA history.
2. Which player among the (three surviving) Western Conference playoff teams do you think has the most chance of containing LeBron if they get to the Finals with the Cavs?
The answer to your question is Houston's Ron Artest, who has the size, strength and focus defensively to make things hard on James. He'll also have Shane Battier to provide a different defensive style against James for a few minutes.
You're asking a good question, Sean, but I think an even better question is: Which team can play the high level of five-man defense needed against LeBron? Because a five-man approach was applied by the Spurs and Celtics to limit him over the last two postseasons, and that's what it's going to take now. The answer is that I don't think any team is playing the lockdown defense that will be needed in the Finals. Again, Houston would appear to have the best chance defensively, but LeBron's improved perimeter shooting combined with the cast of shooters around him makes him the Cavs more difficult to stop than they were a year or two ago.
1. A non-playoff question, if you will. What is the Warriors' grand plan? Only a few years ago they were the toast of the NBA after upsetting the top-seeded Mavs in the playoffs. Now their former point guard is miserable in L.A. and the man who built the team (Chris Mullin) is out. Is there any reason for hope in the Bay Area?
Hope? Hope is without end for the Warriors. Hope is all you ever have. Every few years your team drafts well, puts out an intriguing group of young future stars, then something happens, the players go away, a new administration comes in and the cycle renews with new young players and on and on it goes. Hope is what this franchise is all about, and little else but hope.
3 cliche-busters from Stan Van Gundy
Ask the Orlando Magic coach a cliched question and he'll knock it out of the park like Albert Pujols sitting on a hanging curveball.
3. Did the Magic win Game 1 because they had more rest coming in than the Celtics, who had finished their seven-game series against Chicago just two days earlier?
"They did not look like in the last 16 minutes like there was much fatigue on their part," answered Van Gundy, who watched the Celtics make a big second-half comeback. "You wouldn't get less fatigued as the game went on. At least I don't understand how you would: I'm tired, but after I've played 30 minutes I'm not tired anymore? I don't think that would happen."
2. On making adjustments to what the Celtics might or might not try to do:
"Not that you don't think about what they might do, but it's not a matter of anticipating what they might do. It's being prepared hopefully for whatever may come. You don't want to be in a guessing game and say, 'Oh, well, we guessed wrong' -- and then lose. You've got to be prepared for anything that will come.
"The adjustment thing is a little overplayed. There [are] minor adjustments from game to game. But we pretty much know Paul Pierce is a pretty good player and they'll probably go to him. Ray Allen, they're going to try to get him shots. ... You can run a different play here or there, they may come and double-team Rashard [Lewis]' post-ups. You know the team's basic game. And neither one of us is going to do anything to the other team that you haven't seen before. I mean, I've got no revolutionary scheme here that I can throw out there that Doc [Rivers] and his coaching staff are going to be baffled with my genius because they've never seen this before. You prepare to try to do what you think is going to be best. Whatever you take away, you're going to give up something else, and you hope they can't capitalize on it. So there's no perfect adjustments or anything."
NBA Truth & Rumors