Saturday, May 2, 2009
Is it too late to change the rules and make it best of 13? I can't get enough. The Bulls-Celtics series has lasted longer than the Joey spinoff and has had more drama than an ad for TNT. Believe it or not, this series has now had more overtime sessions than that Syracuse-UConn marathon in the Big East tournament.
When the Bulls went up 91-81 with nine minutes left, I said to Trevor Sierra, "Looks like we get a Game 7." Boston then immediately launched into an 18-0 run to go up 99-91, and I texted Khair Sadrud-Din to lament that the Bulls had blown it. 3:44 and three overtimes later, Derrick Rose did indeed force a Game 7 with an amazing block on Rajon Rondo.
Ray Allen dropped 51 points, including nine threes, which ties the NBA playoff record (Allen took one more three--18--than the Bulls as a team); John Salmons became the third Bull to put the team on his shoulders and carry them to victory in this series (along with Rose and Gordon); Rose had 28, 8 and 7; "Big Baby" Davis couldn't be stopped; Joakim Noah was charged up all night and had a huge steal-and-dunk over Paul Pierce in triple OT ... the list goes on and on.
And just to add a little more spice to the Game 7 stew, Kirk Hinrich got a little testy (isn't that Ben Gordon's job? bah-dum-pssh) when Rondo chucked him into the scorer's table, and the refs had to prevent a fight. A veteran team trying to claw their way into Round Two as they defend their title vs. a young bunch of start-ups trying to prove something to themselves and the world--Saturday should be an awful lot of fun, and someone is finally going to get the last laugh.
On a side note, do NBA players go through some sort of swear word training before they're allowed to enter the league? I don't mean training to be respectful, I mean training to use swear words as often and effectively as possible. It seems like every time there's a closeup of a player, they're either celebrating a made basket with "F--- yeah!" or "That's right, motherf---er!"; lamenting a ref's call with "F---!" or "No f---ing way!"; or on the sideline screaming "Let's f---ing go!" NBA games really should be rated TV14 with that little "L" under it for "language." We're used to hearing that MLB needs to "clean up the game" with reference to steroids, but the NBA needs to clean up their game with regard to all that foul language. It's really f---ing inappropriate.
-Cubs pitchers lead the league in walks allowed. You can't win consistently when you give up that many free bases.
-What is wrong with Lou Piniella? Thursday's loss is on him, if you ask me. Because he:
1) brought in Marmol in the 8th instead of Heilman. Marmol walked the world Wednesday, and might still be getting over his injury. Heilman's been our best reliever all year, but remained in the 'pen until the 10th. Granted, he imploded, but that could be because he threw about 10,000 pitches in the bullpen before coming into the game.
2) pinch-hit Zambrano in the 8th instead of Hoffpauir or Reed Johnson. Um, Lou, we do have bench players. Feel free to use them. But worse:
3) Zambrano ran for himself in a 2-2 game, even though we have Joey Gathright on the bench. The Cubs stole three bases Wednesday, and Gathright could have come in and tried to take second with Soriano batting.
4) pinch-hit Reed Johnson for Mike Fontenot in the 9th, meaning Koyie Hill had to play 3rd base in the 10th, a position he hasn't played in years.
Then on Friday, Piniella pinch-hit Zambrano AGAIN. Does Big Z have some dirt on Big Lou?
-I pointed out recently (though not in this blog--you'll have to trust me) that Ryan Theriot's been swinging with a bit of an uppercut. That's not at all his game. He hits grounders through the hole and line drives, but not fly balls. I was listening to Friday's game and when Theriot lifted a fly ball with the bases loaded, I immediately assumed it would be an inning-ending flyout. But somehow Theriot managed to put enough oomph into it that he got the Cubs on board with this grand slam trend sweeping baseball this year. Just like we all figured: if you need a grand slam, just call on Ryan Theriot.
-Cotts had a good inning! Cotts had a good inning! I mean, he walked the leadoff man on four pitches, but he didn't give up any runs!