NBA General

Around the Rim: Portland gets a breath of fresh air

The next Jail Trail Blazer?

1. The West just got even better
It was one of the more shocking lotteries in recent history, as neither Memphis nor Boston grabbed either of the top two picks, a.k.a. Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, despite being the worst teams in the league, but instead it was a pair of Northwest Division clubs who changed their fortunes. With just a 5.3 percent chance of winning the whole shebang, the Portland Trail Blazers grabbed the top pick while Seattle ended up with a heck of a consolation prize. The beauty of this is that these two kids will grow as rivals for at least the beginning of their careers as they compete for the same division title every year. Unfortunately they will have some stiff competition for the crown as Utah, Denver and Minnesota all reside in the Northwest. But the real losers in this year’s lottery are those pathetic Grizzlies, Celtics and Bucks who put up some horrid regular season records but still had the statistical advantage slip through their fingers, giving their fans no reason to attend any home games in the next few years. That really sucks for those guys but our “kick to the crotch award” goes to Atlanta who came so freakin’ close to grabbing a franchise cornerstone but instead is going to have to settle for the La Toya Jackson of the draft. (Full lottery results)

2. Spurs dominate again

Like in Game 1, the Jazz put together a late run but they couldn’t escape from San Antonio with a victory as the Spurs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the West finals behind a 105-96 Game 2 win. Tim Duncan continued his run of playoff domination as he finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds while Tony Parker dished out a career playoff-high 14 assists to go with his 17 points. Utah had better hope that their home crowd gives them some added umph because the Spurs are starting to make this look way too easy. Sure, Carlos Boozer (33 pts, 15 reb) and Deron Williams (26 pts, 10 ast) are getting it done on the blue team but at this point it is a two man show against a cohesive unit. Sorry, but without some help from the role players, this is going to be a quick and easy series for the West crown.

3. Another Denver delinquent
Ron Artest might have found a new home after pretty much wearing out his welcome in Sacramento by being involved in several incidents with the law since arriving. So, what whacked out coach would possibly be willing to take a ride in the Artest demolition derby? Why, George Karl of course. Yup, the Denver Nuggets are looking to add rapper extraordinaire “Tru Warier” Artest to their bad boy lineup of Kenyon “Microfracture” Martin, Allen “Practice” Iverson and Carmelo “Sucker Punch” Anthony. We’re guessing that Artest would fit right in with this crew and we’re also guessing that in typical Karl fashion he wouldn’t be able to handle his malcontent cast and end up blaming the Nuggets management for his poor compilation.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Tim Duncan vs. Utah 38 min, 26 pts (FG: 10-15, FT: 6-8), 14 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl, 5 blk

Buzzer Beater: Well it sure didn’t take the Rockets very long to find a replacement for Jeff Van Gundy after the front office decided to give him the boot on Friday, because Rick Adelman is expected to be introduced as the new coach on Wednesday. It should be a good fit; Houston definitely needs a veteran coach who can properly utilize his tools and Adelman has proven that he can win. Hey, this guy got some great mileage out of Vlade Divac for cryin’ out loud; surely he can turn Yao Ming into a beast. And if you don’t think Adelman desperately wants to win a ring then just remember that he has the highest winning percentage (.610) of any coach who doesn’t have a championship.