Chumpservations, Vol. 31: NBA post-season edition

Mom.V.P.

Durant MVP speechI’ve got a mom.

For better or for worse, I’m the kind of man I am today because of her.

Apparently Kevin Durant is too.

In perhaps one of the most moving MVP Award acceptance speeches we’ve ever heard, Kevin Durant not only singled out each one of his teammates individually to thank them, he later addressed his mom in the audience, calling her “the real MVP.”

He singlehandedly belittled every other son’s Mother’s Day present as not too many of us had an extra MVP trophy laying around to give to our moms.  Thanks, KD.

In all seriousness, in a world where professional athletes run amok, Kevin Durant is a pleasant reminder of what kind of people are still out there in this world.

When LeBron announced he was “taking his talents to South Beach,” critics called him egotistical.  Never mind the fact that his “announcement” raised three millions dollars for the Boys and Girls Club.  Most fans preferred the way Durant notified us he was staying in Oklahoma City: with a simple Tweet.

Durant may never have the titles LeBron has.  He may never amass the MVPs.  But he’s got one thing LeBron doesn’t and that’s the humility to give a speech like the one he gave last Tuesday night.

 

NBA: New York Knicks at Golden State WarriorsA Marked Man

Now on to other basketball matters…

What in the world was Golden State thinking?

I’m no Warriors fan.  I am totally impartial.  No dog in this hunt.  But to fire Mark Jackson, just because they said they would if they didn’t make it out of the first round, is asinine.  That being said, Golden State fans should be used to this by now.

Basically every player in that locker room, including their megastar Steph Curry, said they loved playing for the guy.

They had just come out of perhaps the most emotionally charged first round playoff series in NBA history.  (Thank you, Donald Sterling.)  They had lost their starting center to a rib injury before the series, stacking the odds even further against them and in all honesty, the Clippers they lost to were probably the better team.

So now they start from scratch with the hottest prospect on the market, Steve Kerr, but one who has zero head coaching experience.

It’s no wonder Golden State fans boo team owner Joe Lacob as consistently as they do.  Chris Mullin came to Lacob’s rescue the last time fans ran him through the ringer.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens now that the man who led them to 51 wins this season is back in the broadcasting booth…. or perhaps elsewhere?  (Please stay tuned for the rumor I’m about to spread below.)

Warriors’ brass is just like every other in the league: delusional about how good their team actually is.  While this may have been the best team their franchise ever assembled (yes, better than the TMC teams), that doesn’t mean it was capable of winning a title.

In one of the most awkward press conferences ever, GM Bob Myers gave the patented, and rather vapid, it was time “we moved in a different direction” speech.

We’ll soon see what direction that is and if Kerr is the man to take them there.

 

Wade and LanceSay Goodnight To The Bad Guy

ESPN is at it again.

Before the Heat-Pacers series could even begin, the website ran with the headline “Stephenson wants Wade’s knee to ‘flare up,’” fanning unnecessary flames of bitterness into a series that really needed no more hype.

Lance Stephenson was asked a simple question.  He gave a simple answer.  When asked about having to match up against Dwyane Wade this series, Stephenson simply said he was going to be as aggressive as possible to put pressure on his opponent’s aching knee.

He wasn’t wishing him ill will.  He just knew that he needed to attack Wade in order to be successful.  As usual, ESPN chose to make the less-marketable Stephenson sound like the villain.

One of these days, the network will stick to simply reporting the news.  I guess we shouldn’t hold our breath.

From the looks of it, after Games One and Two, I’d say Wade’s knee looks just fine.  I guess Stephenson wasn’t wishing hard enough.

 

VogelJusti-fired

Oh, and one final thought.

Speaking of firings, did anybody doubt the Heat would prove they were mentally tougher than the Pacers in this series, a feat which only took them two games?  Not only does it pay to be experienced but it also helps to have two of the league’s best players on the floor, something the Pacers are far from having.

This Heat team had been 1-7 their last two regular seasons in Bankers Life Fieldhouse but they were also 7-0 in the playoffs after a loss.  Something had to give.  If you guessed that was Miami winning Game Two in Indianapolis, give yourself a pat on the back.

So what do the Pacers need?  More mental toughness.  That’s why former Pacer Mark Jackson is the perfect man to replace the inevitably fired Frank Vogel.

Nothing against Vogel.  He’s done a great job coaching this team (in the regular season) but in press conferences I watched prior to this series, he seemed like a man who had already admitted defeat.  The Pacers’ deer in the headlights look reflects their head coach.  Not pressuring the ball down by six with less than a minute to play in Game Two may have cost him his job.  Nobody said stopping Wade and James was going to be easy but allowing them to take uncontested shots is unacceptable.   Paul George going 4-16 in a must win game won’t help Vogel’s cause either.

Larry Bird has played second fiddle with these Pacers far too long and all of the mistakes mentioned above make Vogel’s firing far more justifiable than Jackson’s.

I’m not saying this will happen (yes I am) but if I were a betting man (which I am), I’d bet Larry Legend sits down with Mark Jackson to have themselves a little conversation about the future of the Pacers and how, together, they can finally knock off a Miami Heat that next year, will have a little more tread on their tires.

If they don’t, they most certainly should.

17 thoughts on “Chumpservations, Vol. 31: NBA post-season edition

  1. I know it’s asking WAY too much, but why aren’t there more Kevin Durant types in our world… Not only should God bless him, we all need to take a good look in the mirror and learn from this young man…

  2. Chris ,

    I’m sorry , but as much I love Kevin Durant , he has now made it extremely difficult for me to raise the bar the bar any higher , in terms of showing my Mom how much I really appreciate her . I mean , she all but wanted to hang my @ss , when I told her that I enlisted into the Royal Marines (British) and then spent the next decade serving the country all over Europe , North Africa and further afield , having seen military action in Ireland and around the Horn of Africa .

    Do you believe that the Thunder can overcome an 0-1 deficit against the Spurs after Monday night’s loss by Durant and his teammates ? Game two is tonight and that ought to be fun .

    Phil Jackson put all of his eggs into one basket , in banking on Steve Kerr seeking to become the next head coach of the Knicks ? Now look at where he’s at ? No head coach and absolutely no guarantee that ‘melo wants to stay in New York . That’s like having your options for a lap dance , filled with overweight strippers .

    It takes a village to raise a child , but several idiots have simply ruined the image of the NBA

    tophatal

  3. The NBA much like the NFL and MLB is filled with hypocrisy , bigotry and most definitely racial intolerance . Now what ? Guys like Mark Jackson , Rich DeVos and Donald Sterling are simple @ssholes who have very little respect or common decency .

    Sterling epitomizes that idiocy , concerning his remarks and Magic Johnson . Albeit , with his remarks concerning members of the Jewish faith , he took things to a whole new level , that may well be greatly admired by those who share the same opinion . Now still try and convince me, that the country (US) has still progressed along the racial divide ?

    tophatal ….

  4. Nice post. I guess you already know I supported the firing of Jackson. One of the things that gets overlooked is how unprepared the W’s were at times. I think some of it was Jackson’s unwillingness to listen to his assistants, which are the guys working with players one on one a lot. I have no idea how Kerr will do. I did like this interview with Jim Barnett, the Warriors broadcaster who is about as positive as any announcer I’ve ever heard… http://www.bayareasportsguy.com/jim-barnett-on-warriors-coaching-change-i-think-they-made-the-right-decision-quite-frankly/

  5. Good Chumpservations.
    KD is an actual good guy. Turns out he totes his bible in his backpack. Turns out that unlike some of the religious zealots that love to use that same bible as a tool, KD reads and absorbs whats in it.

    Stephenson is a player on the rise. He’s talented and skilled but has that chip on his shoulder that will allow detractors to paint him as the villian. ESPN is creating ratings by playing those things up…can’t blame em for trying to make a buck on that. Besides, any network that employs Olberman has no interest in simply reporting the news.

    Jackson seems a perfect fit for Indy. From my understanding, Marks departure from GS had more to do with him bumping heads with the front office than upholding that pledge. Either way, I think he deserved to stay based on what he did there, but that’s life. He left with a buttload of money and he’ll get another opportunity soon enough so it’s not the end of the world for him

  6. Dwin…

    So far so good for Durant. Pretty incredible speech.

    I just wanna see what his future holds in the NBA.

    It seems to me that LeBron has a strong hold on championship-winning these days, at least while he’s got Dwyane Wade by his side.

    But Durant just seems like one of those kind of guys who’s too good NOT to win a championship.

    I guess time will tell.

  7. Can’t wait for Game Two tonight, Al.

    As you very well know, I’m as guilty as everyone else when it comes to overlooking the Spurs. Clearly, OKC misses Serge Ibaka in the middle but his absence alone doesn’t account for the near 20 points they lost by in Game One.

    The Spurs are a machine and OKC is going to have to pull out all the stops against them. That means KD proving he’s unguardable at all times.

    I would like to know how close Phil Jackson and Steve Kerr actually were to signing a contract together but honestly, that Warriors gig is far more attractive than the Knicks at this point. I like how Kerr said that he and the Warriors “just clicked.” Yeah, I bet they did. Who WOULDN’T want that job?

    Don’t you think Mark Jackson would be a great fit in Indy and furthermore, don’t you think Vogel’s gone if they lose this series?

  8. You’re a lot closer to the situation than I am, Chap.

    Just seems like a gamble to me.

    Rookie coaches can all thank Phil Jackson who stepped into the Bulls with a great basketball mind but had no NBA head coaching experience. What he did after that is stuff of legend.

    But is Kerr the next Jackson? I’m not too sure about that.

    I’ve never been much of a Mark Jackson fan but I would like to see this have a happy ending for him. And in the process, perhaps he learned a little about how to deal with others.

  9. Bleed…

    So in other words, we won’t be seeing KD and Tebow hanging out on Sunday afternoons together? That’s too bad. KD could probably teach him how to throw a football. Would make for a good reality show though with probably not much cursing.

    I like Stephenson too. Tough cat, a take no shit kind of guy that every team needs if they want to knock off a champion. That being said, after playing lights out all game, he can’t just score two points in the fourth quarter. We’re about to see how ready for prime time that kid really is. We’ve already seen it with Paul George.

    I love Mark Jackson to Indy. The only problem is that he and Bird are so strong-headed, I’m not sure how that situation will work out.

  10. Mark Jackson’s comments on Michael Sam sealed his fate. Even if they knocked out the Clippers. Paraphrasing MJax concerning the gay Sam, “I know what’s right and wrong.” That does go well when one or more of your superiors are gay.

  11. Bets…

    By no means am I defending Jackson’s statements (I hadn’t even heard that) but I don’t think that’s why he was fired.

    Chris Broussard said the same thing on ESPN and he still has his job.

    Had Jackson beaten the Clippers, he’d still be employed, homophobic, old school Catholic or not.

    We’re coming into an age of understanding and misunderstanding, where people are, and are not, allowed to say how they feel.

    I think a lot of this is causing us to lose perspective on what’s important and that’s probably because we have so many different views of what “important” is.

  12. All of this talk about the Thunder running away with the West this season was simply comedic and the statements I’ve read within your site makes it all the more comedic . Clearly fans are jumping on that bandwagon for no other reason than Durant .

  13. I believe both Vogel and Brooks are safe for next season.
    Chris, after I first posted about MJackson’s tenous situation @GS it drew doubts from you. Now after the fact you state that he would still be employed if they beat the Clips. My source in the Bay Area shortly after I broke it to you said that he’s gone regardless. Hey, players love coaches that shun practices and don’t institute basketball’s versions of 2-a-days. Besides, Marc is the best analyst on TV, bar none.

  14. Al…

    I think somebody will take the fall if they fail to get past the Heat again. It’s not gonna be George. It’s not gonna be Hibbert. Isn’t it the coach’s responsibility to teach his players maturity?

    I don’t think Vogel’s job is as safe as you think. The Pacers already have five home losses in these playoffs. They only lost six home games all year! Whose fault is that?

    And damn, man, the Spurs. Just brutal. Scotty Brooks better come up with some adjustments quickly.

  15. Bets…

    Wow, he would have been fired had he beaten the Clippers? Things must’ve been pretty bad there. Again, I don’t know that he and Bird could ever coexist. I just think it’d be a good fit.

    And like I told Al above. I don’t think Vogel’s job is as safe as you guys think it is. To be the best, you gotta beat the best. And he hasn’t done it yet.

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