Now that he's back for the playoffs, I get to remind you that Shaq is a never-ending source of amusement (Via Andy Gray's SI Vault)
Okay, you all should be familiar with most of the storylines heading into the playoffs. We gave you a full first round preview yesterday. And of course, these will be the opening games, so we won't really have anything new to report on that front. So in lieu of giving previews for this weekend's games, I'll just post the schedules for your reference at the bottom of this entry. But first, let's go over some of the news items you may have missed:
The salary cap is going to stay higher than we expected Okay, yes, the cap IS being cut after this season, but it's only being trimmed a little. You know what this means, right? Yep. More mediocre players will receive undeservedly large contracts. Oh how I love you, incompetent NBA teams. Oh, and the Heat will probably get to hold on to D-Wade now. That's kind of big news.
The Nyets like to party hard Shocking! Scandalous! The Nyets players like to "down tequila shots with a bevy of hot blondes in the early hours" the night before a game! Of course, when you've only got a dozen wins the entire season and have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs since two days after opening night, does it really freaking matter? It actually makes perfect sense to me. Wouldn't they want to get drunk to forget about the fact that they play for a dreadfully bawful team and have to live and play in New Jersey? Okay, maybe they're not even technically in Jersey a lot of the time, but close enough. (Speaking of New Jersey, read this article.)
Besides, they're just following the life lessons of Andrew WK. How can you argue against that? Party hard, my friends.
All this video needs is some Vaseline and we're approaching Starbury territory. (Thanks Basketbawful reader Preveen for the link)
Injuries suck. Lurch AK47 tweaked his calf yesterday and will be out for three weeks. Ouch. Meanwhile, Brandon Roy is not immune to the Frail Blazers curse. Poor Portland. They lose half of their team to injuries throughout the season, but still manage to make the playoffs... only to lose one of their best players to knee surgery. It just seems so appropriate, but it's still sad. At least he can go hang out with Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla while he heals.
Kim Hughes fired After an 8-25 performance as interim head coach of the LA Clippers, Kim Hughes has been kicked to the curb. No replacement has been named.
In all fairness, it's perhaps unrealistic to expect any coach to magically improve the Clippers. They are, after all, who we thought they were. No coach could have take B-Dizzle, Chris Kaveman, Blake Griffin's Destroyed Knees, and Steve Novak out of the Western Conference basement this season. However, is it that hard to make yourself look good after replacing Mike Dumbleavy?
If you are Kim Hughes, apparently that answer is "yes, it IS hard!"
After seeing the following quote, it makes a little more sense: "I was surprised,'' Hughes said in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon with ESPNLosAngeles.com. "It's not that I have my head in the sand. It's just that I'd hoped, maybe wished, I'd get the summer to come up with a game plan and come back for training camp." Ah, foolish blind faith, you never let us down!
And besides, aren't the Clippers doing Kim Hughes a favor by letting him leave their organization so soon?
Eddie Jordan fired In a move that should surprise absolutely nobody (other than Kim Hughes, perhaps) Eddie Jordan has been canned by the Philadelphia Seventy Suxorz. As a result, next year will see the eighth coach in ten seasons. With that kind of track record, we pretty much knew that the Sixers would let Eddie Jordan go like Sully in Commando.
Be sure you check out the link to the ESPN story on the Eddie Jordan firing. It has a great sidebar detailing Eddie Jordan's sub-43-percent coaching record, showing his wins and losses each season. However, again in the interest of fairness, the teams he coached before his latest gig were the Purple Paupers and Bullets. Ouch.
Lionel Hollins gets to keep his job The Grizzlies finished under .500 at 40-42 and missed the playoffs, but that was a 16-win improvement over last season. They were even in playoff contention until they folded like a lawn chair late in the season. Considering how woeful the team was prior to Z-Bo's resurgence (which was probably just an abberation), I suppose this is more than enough to avoid having to start walking around in the NBA's never-ending game of coaching musical chairs.
LeBron runs his mouth, Shaq continues to be ridiculous Once again, a story that is mostly about LeBron proclaiming something. (Basically he says Joakim Noah is good, but he's going to get crushed in the playoffs. While most likely true, this is still a classic overly-cocky LeBron quote) However, the one thing that makes this article worth reading? This fantastic description by Shaq:
O'Neal said he will not be limited by his injury and that his thumb will be protected by a "fake thingy, jammy, thingy."
Bosh gets the hell out of basketball purgatory Toronto Again, in a move that should surprise absolutely nobody, Chris Bosh and his broken face are leaving town. Bosh says he doesn't know where he will go. He also noted: "It's kind of a confusing feeling. It's disappointing. It takes a lot of energy out of you. I just don't know what to do." Jeez. With the way he's talking, you'd think he sheepishly sent Bryan Colangelo a text message like a 15 year old breaking up with his girlfriend to let him know he was gone.
Knee-Mac doesn't want to admit he's washed up Remember all those columnists and talking heads that practically fellated Tracy McGrady after his vintage 26 point performance comeback game earlier this season? Kinda funny how they all just ignored Knee-Mac by the end of the season as he finished the season averaging just 8.2 points per game. Look, it's hard for a baller to accept that his body just can't perform like it once did. (Do you really want to look at yourself in the mirror and realize you're softer than a marshmallow resting on a pillow?) But Knee-Mac is very obviously at that point. You can only keep rubber band ligaments and papier-mâché bones going for so long. And it sounds like he might be close to understanding that. He claims that if he can't get into shape and regain his form by the end of summer, he'll retire. For some reason, I just don't see him following through with that promise. Or he'll just really lower the bar for what he considers having good basketball skills and a healthy body.