On last night’s TBS telecast of the Pacers-Heat playoff game, play-by-play man Marv Albert was trying to lay out the upcoming schedule of games for the rest of their series and got confused as to what day it was. Analyst Steve Kerr quickly and deftly offered up the “tag line” the network has been known to use in promoting the Association’s post-season…“You know Marv…40 Games In 40 Nights.”
Some NBA thoughts at this point in the playoffs…
1. I just saw a quote this morning. It is from former U.S. (Utah) Senator Robert Foster Bennett:
“A desire to be in charge of our own lives, a need for control, is born in each of us. It is essential to our mental health, and our success, that we take control.”
This made me think of LeBron James.
During that Indiana-Miami Game 2 last evening, it was a good thing James is a “five-tool” guy because he was literally playing all five positions. The “talent” he is surrounded with on South Beach (aside from Dwyane Wade and the currently injured Chris Bosh of course) is arguably worse than he had in Cleveland. Yet, there he was…playing end-to-end basketball and showing no end to his God-given physical abilities. He finished with a stat line that only three other players have accumulated in a playoff game over the last twenty-five years. 28 points, 9 rebounds, 6 steals, 5 assists.
His last shot attempt from the field was with 3:35 left in the game.
How can that be?
LeBron, if you want to be forgiven…if you want to be loved…take control. Take charge.
2. Speaking of taking charge, we have the annual yakking again about players flopping to draw a call. I have read in a number of cases people feel the NBA officials have too much on their plate to try to determine when someone is embellishing contact. I guess NHL officials don’t…
As I suggested back during one of my college b-ball posts, if we hadn’t complicated the charge call in basketball none of this would be difficult at all to call. I know in my day we wore knee pads, but we also had no issues with making charge calls. Your feet were planted and your body was directly in front of the baller. If he ran over you…charge. If you were moving in any way…block. When we started allowing the defender to float along with the ball-carrier, we carried the complexity of the call to a whole new level. Go back to the old-school rule for charging. I think you’ll then find those NBA zebras will be able to pick out floppers from fallers…and don’t tell me they can’t separate who’s faking it on establishing position down low. If they can’t figure that out, maybe the league needs to get some new blood at that position rather than all these thirty-year “veterans.” Make it a personal foul, award free throws and the ball back…and start keeping track of embellishment calls like technicals.
Once someone reaches a threshold to be determined, have them flop down on their bench for a game or two.
3. The regular-season ratings are in and they are up. Interest is high. Anything to do with the fact the season started at Christmas instead of Halloween? A number of high-profile players have been injured both in the regular and the post-season. There are those who will pin this on the compressed schedule. I think most fans “join” the NBA on Christmas Day anyway. I’d like to see a shorter regular season with the advantage of being planned out well in advance. David Stern rightly pointed out in an interview the other day existing contracts with television partners, arenas, cities, etc. are all based on the “full” schedule. Let me channel my inner Allen Iverson here. “Contracts? We’re talking about contracts?” I am sure the NBA can find their way to a reduced season if they could be convinced the revenue hit on a fewer number of games can be offset by more ad dollars if audiences continue to grow…especially the youth demographic. No, I don’t think a smaller season will actually happen. But I also don’t think this one caused any more injuries than if they had practiced and played their usual three-fourths of a year.
You don’t think being on a court three-fourths of a year increases the possibility of injuries?
4. I don’t know how many folks saw the moving screen foul call on Boston’s Kevin Garnett at the end of their Game 2 playoff against Philadelphia. There has been so much discussion along the lines of, “You don’t make that call in that situation.” People (outside of Boston) seem to agree there was indeed a foul…but there is little agreement as to if it should have been announced as such.
If you saw any of Game 7 between the Clippers and the Grizzlies, you could apply that statement to the full forty-eight minutes.
Let’s agree that a foul is a foul no matter what. That makes it easy for everyone to work with. And if you have to blow the whistle every five seconds from the opening tap, so be it. Players will get it…eventually. The NBA should not be like the offensive line play in the NFL…where holding occurs every down and the league just shrugs its collective shoulders and calls the most egregious ones.
The LA-Memphis finale was a debacle. It looked like…well…offensive line play in the NFL. People channel surfing probably thought they had stumbled upon an MMA event without the octagon.
A foul is a foul. Any other way…is just foul play.