Michigan State coach Tom Izzo managed to do a fairly good job of remaining quiet throughout the days when he considered moving on to the NBA to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers. With all the speculation that surrounded the Spartans coach, I’m sure some frustration built up over the nine days in which he was undecided about his future. Amongst all that was written about Izzo, one article seems to have really struck a nerve. That article — titled “It’s Too Late For Tom Izzo To Return To Michigan State” — was written by Detroit News columnist Lynn Henning. Henning was present for the Tom Izzo press conference on Tuesday night, and the coach let him know how he felt about his reporting. Check out the audio of Tom Izzo and reporter Lynn Henning arguing for ten minutes during the coach’s press conference to announce he’s staying:
The Wall Street Journal has conducted an interesting little study that examines the amount of belly-aching the players have done in the 2010 NBA Finals. Some of the numbers are actually pretty surprising. Maybe it’s just because Celtics-Lakers is such a heated rivalry, but there seems to be more complaining about officiating in these NBA Finals than there has been in the past. I know, NBA officials take a ton of heat now — especially in the post-Donaghy era — but this year it has been noticeably bad.
The fact that Boston has two players (Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace) that are one technical away from a suspension has to say something. What it probably says is that the Celtics cry to the officials more than your usual team, and that is indeed what the Wall Street Journal found. Check out “The Whining Index” that they came up with by studying the first five games of the NBA Finals:
Realizing how valuable it is to have a quality NBA team in town, the city of Miami and the Heat organization is bringing out all the stops to try and ensure the team remains playoff-quality. At first it was the Heat organization creating a website and billboard saying “We Want Wade.” Then, they threw a surprise birthday party for pending free agent Udonis Haslem. Now, Jorge Sedano of 790 the Ticket and the Miami Herald alerts us that Miami-Dade County is considering a name change in honor of Wade.
According to Sedano, the county commission will hear a resolution from Commissioner Joe A. Martinez that will change the name of Miami-Dade County to Miami-Wade County from July 1st-July 8th which is the first week of free agency. You have to love the efforts of the county and the Miami Heat organization. Give them credit — clearly these people are working every marketing angle possible and proving to the key players that they understand their value and appreciate their talents.
Even if Dwyane Wade’s already said he’s committed to remaining with the Heat and he’s out recruiting fellow free agents, it’s always nice to be courted and feel wanted. The Miami Heat have done their part. The county’s chance is next. After that, Wade can re-sign and maybe another max contract to an All-Star will follow. Sounds like Miami is making every effort to turn their basketball team back into a title contender.
In 1969, the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA Finals series that went seven games. Lakers guard and 14-time All-Star Jerry West was named the NBA Finals MVP — in defeat. It was the first time the league issued an award for a Finals MVP, and the only time a player on the losing squad has ever be given the honor. Ironically enough, as the same two rivals face-off once again for an NBA title, we could find ourselves in a similar situation for the first time in over 40 years.
I’m not saying the NBA Finals are over and Boston should start celebrating; the Celtics have pushed LA to the brink of elimination, but the series now returns to the Staples Center for Games 6 and 7 (if necessary). What I am saying is that if the Finals were to end after Game 5, Kobe Bryant would have to be named the MVP of the series. Let’s have a look at the average stats of the MVP candidates through the first five games, not including Shrek and Donkey:
Kobe Bryant 30.2 (PPG) 6.0 (RPG) 4.4 (APG) 2.0 (SPG)
Paul Pierce 19.0 4.6 3.4 0.6
Pau Gasol 18.8 10.0 2.6 0.8
Rajon Rondo 14.2 6.2 7.4 1.6
Kevin Garnett 15.6 6.0 3.2 1.8
Ray Allen 14.0 3.0 1.4 0.4
Rajon Rondo has made a habit of creating highlight-reel plays in the 2010 NBA Playoffs. The play against Orlando when he dove for a loose ball was a perfect example of what can happen when the point guard combines his incredible athletic ability with full-tilt hustle. Last night, Rondo made another hustle play at a huge point in the game. Check out the video of Rajon Rondo’s tip-in against the Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, courtesy of YouTube user rondo9celtics:
Phil Jackson told his players in a fourth-quarter huddle that the Celtics know how to lose games late. If not for Rondo’s efforts, he may have been justified in what he was preaching. This particular video is a bit dramatic, but it shows how the Celtics point guard came out of nowhere to make a play on the ball. It also shows that he was fouled by Lamar Odom on the play. It’s plays like this one that have the Celtics in a position to win their second title in three seasons.
Video Credit: YouTube user rondo9celtics
I have mixed feelings about posting this video. On a fundamental level, I don’t think our TV cameras and microphones should be inside huddles and locker rooms for teams because it’s an invasion of their privacy. I don’t like it but I live with it. On the positive side, thanks to ABC’s access we caught a snippet of Lakers coach Phil Jackson mic’d up during the final minute. Trying to motivate his players as the team was down by five, Jackson took a shot at the Celtics. Here’s the video of Phil Jackson telling his players the Celtics know how to lose games late:
Phil could get criticized or laughed at by Boston fans for his comments during that timeout but that would be unfair. Think of the circumstances: he’s the coach of the Lakers and trying to give them confidence and encouragement so they can come back in the game. What else is he supposed to say? By the way, the Lakers may have had a chance at the comeback if Ron Artest hadn’t missed both his free throws, failed to foul Rajon Rondo on the layup, and then fouled Ray Allen over Rondo. Not saying it would have happened, but at least they would have had a better shot.
Video Credit: YouTube user MojoHoopsTube
This is the type of story that you have to see to believe. After all, I’m the person that still can’t get used to the idea of 250 pound tough guys in the NFL getting pedicures. I’m sure Ray Allen will just tell us that his kids were messing around with him (assuming he as any), but that’s still crossing a line to me. Here’s a picture of Ray Allen wearing green nail polish on his toes prior to Game 4 via NBA.com and The Big Lead:
Ordinarily I’d say that a guy who sets a Finals record with eight three-pointers made in a game can do whatever the heck he wants, but this takes Jesus down a tiny notch in my book.