L.A. Story: Not What You'd Expect
It's that time of year in the NBA when teams are either jellin' or their fans are yellin' for change.
Here are some stories catching my eye with less than two weeks left in the regular season:
The Lakers' Defense...Wait, did I really use Lakers and defense in the same sentence? I know their team 'd' is breaking down out top because Smush Parker has a hard time staying in front of anything, including a glacier. But it's still confounding how an icon like Phil Jackson, with his 9 rings and Hall of Fame rep, can't put a better, more cohesive, harder working defense on the floor than this one, which frankly just sucks. Phil gets $10 mil a year and that's the best defense he can come up with? I guess it helps to know the boss. And be dating his daughter.
The Clipper Resurgence...It shows what a team game basketball is, and how chemistry counts for so much, when a so-called career journeyman point guard like a Jason Hart can enter the mix late and his steady decision-making is key in helping turn a season around. With 7 wins in 8 games going into the coming weekend, the Clips are back to .500 and should end up in the 6, 7 or 8 spot. Odd, but the glamorous L.A. team is heading in the wrong direction while their less celebrated Staples Center hallmates are moving toward the right one.
Felt Forum, Here They Come: The announcement that likeable, articulate Billy Donovan will be staying at Florida was followed a day later by a second statement saying that his junior class is leaving as Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Taurean Green are all going to declare for the NBA draft, foregoing their senior seasons and a chance for a rare 3-pete. So Billyball is in place with no one left to play it. By the way, have you had a chance to listen to Donovan speak? This guy shouldn't be running something as pedestrian as a basketball team. He should be running the country.
Earth to KG: I like Kevin Garnett. In a non-romantic way, I love him. There is no one more dedicated, persistent or loyal to his franchise. But is his loyalty blind? KG has been in Minnesota for 12 years. I think they've been in the playoffs, but not far enough to matter, and now it's been three years right into the lottery. And at an old 30, Kevin's not a kid anymore, even if he looks like one in his milkman's getup as a Gator-Aid delivery man. That's what makes the following comments from him remarkable for either their sticktuitiveness or stupidity, you decide: "I was telling some friends the other day, my analogy is a house. I've helped build a house or I've built a house (in Minneapolis).[in Minneapolis]. It had old wood in it and I replaced it with special wood and it became a beautiful place. But now because things aren't working right, now you ask me to move out of something that I helped build. That's hard." Memo to KG: It isn't that hard. Pack up your family, call Bekin's, move to Malibu, where you already have a house, and I'm sure there's good wood there, too. Probably maple. Then, play for the Lakers. Problem solved. They'll still have a night for you in Minnesota, so everyone can have a good cry. But you'll have a chance to retire as someone other than Charles Barkley or Patrick Ewing, two other ring-less giants of the game who come immediately to mind.
Matzah Balls: The firing of CBA coach Micheal Ray Richardson wasn't a case of anti-Semitic bigotry. It's just ignorance. The former New York Knick who overcame lots of drug demons to become a coach in the NBA minor league, put his size-14 in his mouth, saying: "I've got big-time lawyers. I've got big-time Jew lawyers.
"They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean? Which I think is great," Richardson told the Albany Times Union. "I don't think there's nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they're run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they're run by Jewish [people]. It's not a knock, but they are some crafty people."
Predictably, Micheal Ray was tossed out on his tucchus. Now here's the truth is stranger than fiction kicker: He's apparently married to a Jewish woman, and their kids are being raised as Jews, so go figure.
Taxi, Please: According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, two unnamed Cleveland Cavaliers took a cab from their downtown Minneapolis hotel to the Metrodome for Monday's Twins-Orioles opener, then left a total tip of 50 cents for a $4.50 fare. I hope one of them wasn't Lebron, but why would he take a taxi to the Metrodome when he can just buy it?
Ted Green is Senior Sports Producer for KTLA Prime News and a former L.A. Times sportswriter