16 December 2013
Did the Indiana Pacers’ emerging superstar Paul George invest in a warehouse of Kryptonite?
Just asking…because of that vicious dunk in last year’s playoff series…as well as their game last week. If you missed it, down the stretch in last week’s Fan Night game on NBA-TV between the Pacers and the Miami Heat, the world’s number one player, LeBron James:
– missed a driving layup over Roy Hibbert
– got one blocked
– got called for traveling in the midst of another drive
– air balled a three-pointer.
Meanwhile, George was draining threes and leading the Pacers to a comeback victory. Chapter 2 of their 2013-14 rivalry will be on Wednesday.
II. New York, New York – or Nowhere to Go, Pt. 2
The greatest and, for my money, most entertaining NBA rivalry for most of the ’90s was between the Knicks and the Pacers, who met in several heated playoff series matchups during this time period. Now the Pacers are back at the top of the conference while the Knicks are about a biscuit away from the bottom – and their cross-river rivals, the Nets, are just a game better off.
In my last column I laid out a scenario where embattled Knick coach Mike Woodson would not only keep his job, but win coach of the month honors after guiding the team to a 10-4 month. Halfway into that stretch of games, they are 4-3…probably not what they would have hoped for, but Woodson remains employed. If they were really going to make any noise the season, they would go 6-1 in the remaining seven to make my prediction come true.
It’s funny how one or two wins by either of these teams gets the NYC media ready to crown them…until they lose another couple.
III. West Side Story
Recently the Portland Trail Blazers’ asked, via Twitter:
Is it too late to join the Eastern Conference? Asking for a friend.
You gotta believe there are a bunch of teams in the West (such as the Kobe Bryant-returned Lakers) that would apply for a temporary transfer if they actually could. As of this writing, 11 of the 15 Western Conference teams are at or over the .500 mark, whereas only 3 of the 15 Eastern Conference teams are…which brings to mind the concept of tanking, the idea that certain general managers have intentionally put together teams that would be unable to compete for a playoff spot in order to be in the position to draft some of the outstanding collegiate players projected to be available next spring.
When you look at the records of the teams in the Eastern Conference, you are forced to come to this conclusion: You can’t even try to tank in the East. The roster you thought unable to compete might win the Atlantic Division.
IV. Deion’s Safe At Home
First, congratulations to “Famous” Jameis Winston, the winner of the 2013 Heisman Trophy!
Now…I seriously doubt anyone will ever accomplish the feat that Deion Sanders did back in the day, hitting a home run for the Yankees and returning a punt for a touchdown for the Atlanta Falcons within the same week. Contracts and organizations would probably fail to allow that nowadays…but that said, I saw a pinpoint throw Jameis made from right field in a Florida State baseball game to throw out a runner at third base, and I’m led to think perhaps he ought think about that game with the little ball. And perhaps that should also go for Russell Wilson, whose MLB rights (along with Winston’s) are held by the Texas Rangers.
I know Wilson is a star NFL quarterback who many feel will be playing in the last game of this season, and Winston just won the Heisman, but if they happened to check out the transactions column in their local papers during the last few weeks, they would have seen that the New York Mets have signed the 40-year-old pitcher Bartolo Colon to a two-year deal. This after losing the soon to be 42-year-old LaTroy Hawkins via free agency to the Colorado Rockies.
There is a great possibility that neither Wilson nor Winston will be playing pro football at the ages of 40 or 42. And yes, there is no guarantee that they would remain in MLB to that age…but certainly one’s baseball career is less likely to end via injury at an early age.
V. The Grandy Man
After trashing them repeatedly in this space, I must congratulate the Mets for their signing of outfielder Curtis Granderson, a free agent that the Yankees chose not to pursue in terms of re-signing. I know they were upset because Curtis has struck out a lot during the past few seasons, but perhaps they forgot that he led the American League in homers during 2011 and 2012. Now that Robinson Cano has gone cross country, some of those 80-some odd homers might have come in handy. Anyway, kudos to the Mets for trying to get back to relevant.
VI. Just What The Doctor Ordered
After all the insane talk of heads rolling, incompetency, impeachment, and repeal of the Affordable Care Act…also known as Obamacare…the enrollment numbers are way up now – and in the states with the state-administered “exchanges,” the numbers are through the roof.
Obamacare – which Republicans hate…although it is quite similar to the plan in Massachusetts successfullyimplemented by their own 2012 presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney – is here to stay. So the right-wingers will have to find something else to latch onto…
VII. Santa Claus
Leave it to the crew on the FOX air to find something…host Megyn Kelly’s assertion that Santa Claus is definitely white. I would suggest that had Ms. Kelly gone to see Tyler Perry’s just-released “A Madea Christmas,” she might have come to a different conclusion.
Then again, Madea is a fictional character.