Recommended reading is for NBA die hards is a piece by Steve Marsh entitled “The Death of Ricky Rubio: Heartbreak in the upper Midwest” that is now on Grantland. The article is rather lengthy, yet it’s not information heavy, nor is it tedious in any way.
Furthermore, the piece has something very few examples of sports journalism—or any journalism for that matter—has: Perspective. With references to Hemmingway and Fitzgerald (and a great quote from him especially), and the author’s real life, “The Death of Ricky Rubio” came to me as a shot in the arm desperately needed.
Otherwise, in this sorry excuse for a lead, I need to talk the Masters. Celebrating Easter with my family, I followed the golf going on through my phone—until, of course, I got wind of the playoff between Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen.
Then, it was inside to immediately turn on the television. American pride was at stake here, and I’d be ashamed if I missed that; we all needed to support the cause, and get that green jacket to an American instead of yet another South African.
So after a nightmare of a tee shot, the room began to doubt and lose hope in Bubba, but then the miraculous shot on 10 happened, we all knew what was about to come: The writing was on the wall, and the rest was just destiny…
Sorry—yet I couldn’t resist; NBA talk forthwith
The Lake Show.
The Lakers beat the Clippers (as predicted by this columnist), now owning the all-important tiebreaker, yet they’ve slipped a hair, losing their last two contests afterward: One in which the artist formerly known as Ron Artest led the way in the first half, Kobe took over in the second, but they still lost to the Rockets; and another without their fearless leader, and Pau Gasol netted 30 points and grabbed 13 boards, yet they still lost to division rival Phoenix.
Things aren’t exactly hopeless; LAC, however, has moved within a half game of the leaders of the Pacific Division, so caution needs to be administered. That, or better basketball needs to be more common for LAL, because with three games against the Spurs looming—two of which are on the road—and contests hosting the Thunder and Mavs on back-to-back Sundays, the Lakers better play better basketball if they expect to end the season strong and head into the second season on a positive note.
The Race to Eighth.
The East is more interesting in this regard, for it’s basically three teams that are so close this will come down to the final week of the season, but you could say that about the West, also, so maybe I’ll need to bring up a different reason.
In the West, the race to eighth is between Denver, Utah and Phoenix—and all are playing decent basketball as of right now. Denver leads Phoenix by a game and Utah by a game and a half, but the way Phoenix is playing, they appear to be hungry for the playoffs, more so than Utah, and I’d pick Phoenix if I even cared about the eighth seed in the West, but I don’t. Forgive the honesty.
My fascination with the East is due to a free fall from Philly; they just cannot get their act back together now when it’s most important. The Sixers are in the middle of a four game slide, losing seven of their last ten, and the Knicks, having done the exact opposite of Philadelphia in their last ten, in fact, moved into the seventh seed—most likely for good.
The team charging (and for whom this writer is rooting immensely) would be the Milwaukee Bucks, winners of their last four ball games. If the trend holds, the 76ers could be the second team from the City of Brotherly Love to fade at the end of the year, miss the playoffs, and return to the drawing board during their offseason with more questions than answers.
What the Future Holds.
The Suns travel to Minnesota to battle the bruised and battered T-Wolves on ESPN2, so check this contest out, yet keep your eyes on the bottom line to watch the teams from LA; they’re both going for season sweeps on the road: LAL against the Hornets and the Clips versus the Grizzles.
(“Walk right out into a brand new day!”)
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