1. King sized stage fright
Everyone seems to be pulling for the Cavaliers in the finals but we’re not hearing too many people bet against the Spurs in the series and in Game 1, San Antonio showed why. The Spurs cruised to an easy 85-76 victory in which the Cavs were close at times but never challenged the former champs. Of course, it’s going to be tough for Cleveland to win a game against anyone when their being led in scoring by Daniel Gibson (16 points). With all the LeBron James talk that has been shoved down our throats since Game 5 of the East Finals, the young King didn’t look anything like MJ or Magic or Bird or any other legend for that matter. LBJ finished with just 14 points on 4-of-16 shooting that included a dismal 0-for-7 first half and Bruce Bowen gets to accept a majority of the credit for that. Cleveland can not win when James plays like he did but the Cavs are really going to be up a certain, smelly creek without a paddle if Tim Duncan and Tony Parker continue getting everything they want offensively. Parker had a game-high 27 points as his interior penetration (Huh-huh; we said penetration) carved up the Cleveland defense like a Thanksgiving turkey. And Tim Duncan was, well, Tim Duncan; do we really need to say any more than that?
2. Orlando tells Donovan to go to hell
It was getting pretty sticky in Orlando after Billy Donovan did one of the fastest 180 degree turns in the history of professional sports. But the Magic are ready to forget all about ol’ what’s his name and quickly solidify their young club with a committed head coach. And even though it cost `em a second-round pick, Orlando got their man in Stan Van Gundy; hopefully SVG sticks around a little longer. Donovan might be kicking himself in a year or two when Dwight Howard develops an offensive game and begins ripping off division and, possibly, conference titles. Van Gundy has got to be pinching himself when he looks at his new roster; his boys might be young and raw but their potential is almost unlimited. And you know that those players are going to hold a grudge against Billy the Kid for this slap in the face. Opposing centers should beware if Howard starts playing with a chip on his shoulder.
3. It’s time to put the Super back in front of Sonics
Seattle finally landed a GM but he’s no grizzled veteran at the helm of an NBA ship, in fact he’s just a 30-year-old kid. Sam Presti is now the man in Seattle and he’s gonna have his hands full right off the bat considering that the Sonics are minus a head coach at the moment. In addition to that, they have the enviable task of making the second selection in the NBA Draft at the end of the month. But what has our wheels turning is that this kid might just be ballsy enough to make some noise with his current high pick. The most interesting scenario we’ve heard is Seattle trading the second pick (a.k.a. Kevin Durant) and Ray Allen to the Lakers for Mr. On Again/Off Again, Kobe Bryant. Then again, he could decide to cut ties with Rashard Lewis and bring in a complimentary player to play alongside Allen and Durant (we’re not jumping the gun are we?). Or they could always just stay pat with what they got if Lewis decides not to get swept away in the free agent waters. About the only thing we do know is that Seattle is on their way up, no matter what moves they decide to make.
Game 1’s MVP: Tim Duncan vs. Cleveland 39 min, 24 pts (FG: 10-17, FT: 4-5), 13 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl, 5 blk
Buzzer Beater: Listen, LeBron James is a freakin’ amazing player and he has the possibility to become on of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of sneaks, but these constant references to Michael Jordan are driving us up the wall. And finally, we repeat, finally, someone stepped up and said what everybody already knows. “I’m not going to compare him to Michael Jordan,” said Gary Payton on the Best Damn Sports Show. “There will never be a Michael Jordan in basketball again.” Hey, we like trying to compare guys from different eras as much as anyone but this whole Jordan thing has just gone overboard. And it’s not just with LBJ; Kobe Bryant gets the same stupid comparisons. Just leave it alone already and don’t try to categorize these guys anymore. Actually, if James or Bryant ever reaches the six ring plateau then we give you permission to label them lil’ Michael to your heart’s content.