Saturday, April 21, 2007

I find myself wondering whether Pat Riley wants to win basketball games. Things looked bleak for Miami when Shaq went to the bench with his fifth foul at the 8:35 mark of the 4th quarter. They certainly did not look like they were going to get a whole lot better when D Wade joined him after he was called for his fifth with 8:26 to play. One would have thought that things were going to fall apart for the Heat at that point.

Unfortunately for Scott Skiles and the Bulls, their road to victory was made considerably more difficult by one man. It was Antoine Walker, and the Bulls had no answer for him, as he led the Heat back to within two points with 5:17 to go in the game. Thankfully for Bulls fans, Pat Riley decided that it was time to bring Shaq and D Wade in off the bench at that point. Here is the full game play-by-play, in case you're interested.

I realize that Wade and Shaq absolutely must be on the floor at crunch time. I was looking forward to their return. I just don't think Antoine needed to go to the bench with his twenty when Shaq and Wade had been on the bench for three minutes of game play and three of the Heat (Eddie Jones, Udonis Haslem and Jason Williams) who also played important minutes had managed to combine to score fewer points than Antoine.

By the way, I would pay money to see Eddie Jones do Shakespeare before I paid money to see him play basketball at this point. I understand that Pat Riley has a man-crush on him, but enough is enough. He was done like dinner in the last days of the Clinton administration. Maybe Antoine would have scored more consistently in the regular season if he'd played more minutes. Just a thought. I am also working on the theory that he might have scored more consistently had I watched more of his games. But there was work to be done on the Bears bandwagon, and injuries from which to recover after each time it piled up into a trestle.

Chicago promptly went on a quick 5-0 run, until Shaq picked up his 6th, and Toine returned. Antoine didn't score another point, but finished with 20. His 3 point shooting on the day was pretty good, and he was perfect from the freethrow line for a change. And I would say that his defense did not suck quite as much as the other Miami players' effort on that end of the floor.

Antoine, on the off chance that some one in your entourage reads this and can pass it along, please stop playing hard. You have no right to remind Celtic fans that you were the last person that really wanted to win in a Celtic uniform. Stop showing up Danny Ainge. He does the best he can, and it's not his fault that he cannot run a basketball team. Stop making Bill Simmons look bad for saying that you're moving like Fred Sanford these days. It's not his fault he's a tool, and people seem to prefer his wife's writing to his. He and J Bug or Joe House or Fist Magnet will always have the time they routed Norv Turner from a $10 blackjack table.

And above all, stop playing hard because it encourages the lunatic fringe that wish Ainge had never traded you. Just think, on a day when the Red Sox played the Yankees, I watched the Miami Heat play a basketball game because I like Antoine Walker. If only we lived in a free country, then a grown-ass man could eat what he wanted and watch what he wanted and hope that Charles Barkley runs for President in peace.

You need to see this clip from the Detroit-Calgary game. I know I rarely talk about hockey in this space, and then it's usually college hockey, but this is strange. I am almost speechless. I've never seen a goalie get a game misconduct. I'm sure it's happened before, I just don't want to do the leg work since it's Saturday afternoon and googling hockey was pretty low on my to-do list for today.

It caught me by surprise because I haven't been following that series with much interest. I assumed that Detroit was up 3-1 based on the fact the fact that the score was 5-1 at the time of the incident and the Flames were that frustrated. I didn't realize the series was deadlocked at two wins apiece. There's still a game to play, that ought to be interesting.

I am going to watch the New Jersey game tomorrow afternoon, so I may have a thing or two to say about it. If there are any compelling moments, I may be doing some more writing on hockey as the playoffs progress. I do like the sport, it's just that I have no energy to hate the Bruins with so much devoted to hating the Red Sox and the Danny Ainge era of Celtic basketball.

Here is my conservative prediction for tonight's NASCAR race under the lights in Phoenix: a semi-literate moron will win. Of course since that cruelly insensitive epithet covers the entire spectrum of NASCAR drivers, I have a 100% chance of being right. And let me tell you, it feels good, for a change.

And it looks like the meek are going to inherit the earth today in Fenway, or at the very least a baseball victory. It's not every day that you can defeat a pitcher like Jeff Karstens. Red Sox Nation has a lot to hang its hat on today.

PS - There is a Springsteen reference somewhere in today's post. I wonder if you can spot it and tell me the song from which it came.

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