A GRIP ON SPORTS
Are the NBA playoffs still going on? Anyone say anything stupid recently? Any lawsuits filed? Any games end with bad calls? Read on.
• The questions may be rhetorical – I do know the answers after all, all of them being "yes" – but there is a bit of honesty behind the humor. I don't know about you, but I've sort of ignored the NBA playoffs this year. Up until now. It seemed a foregone conclusion the Heat and Pacers would meet in the East finals, the Spurs and Thunder out West. And that has come to pass. What a shock. There is no professional sport these days with less parity than the NBA, so there is little reason to watch until the semis or finals. Even now, however, I would be shocked if Miami doesn't win the title again. The Heat have the best player – LeBron James, of course – and the best team – even if it is getting older. The Spurs play better together than anyone else but seem just a bit too old to win. The Thunder have the second-best player, and this year's MVP, Kevin Durant, but they also have Russell Westbrook, who is guaranteed to do three or four stupid things each game to submarine OKC's chances. (That's OK by me; I am in that "anyone-but-Oklahoma-City" camp of former Sonics supporters.) And then there are the Pacers. The NBA's most maddening team. An incredibly hot start to the season was followed by the strangest stretch run in a while. Even though Indiana played about .500 basketball for much of the latter part of the season, the Pacers won just enough games to earn the top seed in the East. And that means they would host a game seven against Miami. If their series gets that far. Let's hope it does. Then I might even watch.
• WSU: ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has a Q&A with new Washington State offensive analyst (whatever that means) Graham Harrell, a former NFL and Texas Tech quarterback. ... Larry Scott stood outside the new football stadium in San Jose and made official the change in the Pac-12 championship game. At least he didn't wear a goofy-looking hard hat.
• Gonzaga: BYU has picked up another transfer in its never-ending quest to catch the Bulldogs.
• Preps: The district softball tournaments around here always seem to have an upset or two and this year was no exception. Chris Derrick has the story of the titles won by Shadle Park (3A) and CV (4A). ... Tom Clouse previews this weekend's prep baseball playoffs in Washington. ... Coeur d'Alene fell in the state baseball tournament opener in Boise. ... Greg Lee was at the first day of the District 8 track and field meet. ... Jim Allen was at the 2A district title soccer match (pictured), won by defending state champion Cheney. ... The state 4A and 3A participants in golf were decided out at MeadowWood yesterday. Correspondent Steve Christilaw has the story. ... We also have a roundup of the tennis action.
• Mariners: No game yesterday, which gave everyone a chance to figure out if Brad Miller will ever get another hit. ... Supposedly the M's don't have much in the way of alternatives since Nick Franklin has been turned into an outfielder or a pitcher or a mule or something. ... Baseball's infield defense has shifted some lately.
• Sounders: Zach Scott (pictured), a Gonzaga graduate, has been designated as the new "Mr. Sounder" by head coach Sigi Schmid. Does that come with some sort of monetary award or a sash or something? ... Obafemi Martins, passed over by Nigeria in the World Cup, has different goals now. ... A familiar voice will be back in the broadcast booth this weekend. ... Both San Jose and Seattle will be without key players. ... Want to know more about Clint Dempsey? I'm not sure that is possible.
• NHL: The machinations between the NHL, the NBA, Seattle and the rich folks involved in trying to bring all of it together is getting more and more complicated. Art Thiel tries to make sense of it, but I'm not sure that is possible.
• It sure was beautiful on the golf course yesterday. Even when I was three putting, it was beautiful. Even when I was topping balls into the junk, it was beautiful. Well, no, then it got a little stormy. But the day was nearly perfect even if my score wasn't. It was, however, just the first round of the year. There is plenty of time for things to get worse. Until later ...