NBA General

Around the Rim: Quick turnaround doesn’t hurt the Spurs in Game 1

The Spurs were slam Duncan the Jazz
in Game 1.

1. Spurs continue to dominate Jazz in SA
The Utah Jazz took a beating in the second quarter of Game 1 against the Spurs in the Western Conference finals on Sunday and Jerry Sloan’s boys were never able to recover as San Antonio went on to take the opening game 108-100. Game 1 marked the first time that Utah had made it to the conference finals since 1998, and it showed as the club had the bewildered look of a team in unfamiliar surroundings (all except Derek Fisher, of course). San Antonio, on the other hand, appeared to have the routine down as they calmly executed their offense through Tim Duncan who finished with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds (27 pts, 10reb) for the tenth straight playoff game; that’s just two shy of Shaq’s all-time record. This is the fifth time in nine seasons that the Spurs have made it to the finals out west (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007) and they are hoping that their fifth appearance will help to eventually yield their fourth ring. The Jazz have now lost 17 straight games in San Antonio in a streak of futility that lasts back to 1999.

2. T-Mac needs a new coach to hold him down

We all basically knew that the droopy-eyed Jeff Van Gundy had probably coached his final game on the Houston Rockets bench and on Friday the club fired him. Now, with four seasons under his belt, Eddie Jordan from the Washington Wizards is the longest tenured coach in the NBA except for the two guys in suits on the sidelines of the West finals. It’s funny that Van Gundy would get fired considering that Tracy McGrady said that if the Rockets lost their first round series to the Jazz it would all be on him. Guess the fellas in the front office weren’t quite ready to fire T-Mac. Wonder why? Anyways, don’t feel bad for JVG; like a cat, he landed on his feet after the Rockets tossed him out. In fact, Van Gundy spent his first day off from coaching by calling the Spurs/Jazz Game 1 on Saturday for ABC.

3. Brotherly love
The NBA is all about symmetry. So, if one Van Gundy brother gets fired then the other one is probably about to get hired. It’s like cowbell; the NBA needs more Van Gundy. Stan Van Gundy appears to be the leading contender for the head coaching vacancy in Indiana where Rick Carlisle was given the boot after the Pacers failed to reach the playoffs. But Stan has options; after spending Friday in Indy with the Pacers, he will be out in Sacramento today for an interview with the Kings. Looks like Ron Jeremy Stan Van Gundy will be back on the sidelines by next season, and he should be after the job he did in Miami. Hell, if it wasn’t for Pat Riley’s enormous ego, SVG just might have been the first Van Gundy brother to grab a ring.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Deron Williams @ San Antonio 42 min, 34 pts (FG: 13-23, 3FG: 2-5, FT: 6-7), 7 reb, 9 ast, 1 stl

Buzzer Beater: Tonight starts the fifth straight conference finals for the Detroit Pistons as they graciously welcome LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavalier companions over to the Palace for Game 1. And don’t think for a second that either of these teams has forgotten exactly what happened during their series in last year’s playoffs. The Cavs had Detroit on the brink of elimination after winning three straight games to go up 3-2 but, unfortunately for Cleveland they were playing an experienced, veteran club who wasn’t willing to just go away. The Pistons would go on to win the final two games and shockingly eliminate LeBron from the postseason. Both teams have improved significantly last year, so while the series might be tweaked from a year ago, you can still expect to see a pair of clubs not giving an inch in this conference championship. Don’t sleep on the East; this should be another down to the wire series with these two growing rivals.

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