THE BIG HURT - Even the most optimistic of the Lakers fans did not expect them to defeat the Spurs. Most of them realized that the team would be the victims of a sweep. After all, Kobe was injured and could not play, so the Spurs were assured of a 4-0 victory.
However, the Lakers have a long and proud tradition. This means that they don't give up, but that they will fight to the end, with every fiber in their being. Everyone knows that the Celtics and the Lakers may lose, but they never, ever quit.
Game four turned out to be a new low in Lakers history. Dwight Howard raised the white flag of surrender. It appears that he lacked the courage to see it through. He has built up his muscles, and he likes to refer to himself as Superman. If that is who he is, then the Spurs must have brought their own Kryptonite. Howard may be a good man, even a very strong one. However, in my opinion, he is not and will never be what the Lakers thought that he was. There are those who say that Howard is a great talent, and that the team can build their future around him. My unsolicited advice is that they get rid of him, then get a real NBA coach, and get back on the road to greatness.
Kobe Bryant appears to be desperate to remain in the limelight. In his 17 years in the NBA, he has subject that his body to an incredible amount of wear and tear. For most people, this would be an appropriate time to start a new career. But the odds are that Bryant will quickly rehabilitate himself, and try to play basketball for at least two more years. In the meantime, he is likely to break the world record for sending the most Twits.
The Clippers are in deep trouble in their series against the Grizzlies. Each team is loaded with talented players. However, the Grizzlies appear to be more disciplined and determined. Their coach, Lionel Hollins is as tough-minded as they come. Sometimes the Clippers are tough, and sometimes they are not. Most of the time, the disciplined team will win. You can look it up. Vinnie Del Negro seems like a nice man who is a hard-working coach. However, and this is regrettable, he does not appear to be totally in control of his team, and that is likely to be his downfall. Especially, when Phil Jackson is in the neighborhood.
NEW COACH IN TOWN - Reggie Theus is the new head basketball coach at Cal State Northridge. So, within three years, or sooner, look for the Matadors to be ranked among the Top 25 teams in the country. Theus had great success at the little-known New Mexico state and got them into the NCAA Tournament. He temporarily derailed his career by accepting the head coaching job for the Sacramento Kings. This is an organization without any real talent, and with questionable ownership. This is where coaches go to die. Having survived that, he can look forward to a brighter future.
Some years ago, I was in a restaurant with family and friends from New York. Reggie was also there and he was having his lunch. One of the ladies saw him and remarked to me, "that is the most handsome movie star that I have ever seen." I told her that she was looking at basketball coach Reggie Theus. We, or she, asked him for his autograph. He gave her one, and he was very gracious to all of us. "Now", she said, "I feel that my trip to California has been worthwhile." Watch out for those Matadors! Note to Steve Alford and UCLA: While Theus was in New Mexico State, they did not lose to Harvard. They did not play them, but if they had, they would not have lost. He is from Inglewood, and he was a college basketball star for Jerry Tarkanian's powerful UNLV's Runnin' Rebels.
THE RIFLEMAN - This is probably not the best nickname for Seth Curry, the shooting star of the NBA's Golden State Warriors. But I will use it, until someone comes up with a more appropriate one. He is the best three point shooter in the NBA today and possibly in its history. He is small, he is fragile, and he looks like he should not even be on a high school basketball team. However, his accuracy in making three point shots is currently unmatched. He not only makes them with great regularity, but he makes them easily. He is currently trying to shoot down the rugged Denver Nuggets, and at 3 - 1, that job is almost done. He has everything that he needs, except for a proper nickname. Something like, Magic, the Mailman, Downtown Freddie Brown, the Iceman, or Dr. J. Please help us with this.
THE NFL DRAFT - USC's Matt Barkley and Robert Woods would likely have been drafted in the first round, if they had come out last year. Did their overconfidence from that successful season make them underestimate the effort that would be required from them in the future?
GENDER ISSUE - NBA player Jason Collins made an announcement that he is Gay. He is the first NBA athlete to go public with this issue. He has the inalienable right to be who he is, and I wish him good luck with his career and his life.
MAGIC JOHNSON - Now that the season is over for the Lakers, perhaps he can use his motivating skills on the Dodgers. So far, after all of the money that was spent in acquiring players, they are a big disappointment.