Man on the prowl

Being the best means getting the award for being the best
Good call, award voters. Ben joins Dikembe Six More Names as the only guy to win DPOY three times (and the finger wagger won it four times). He gave the standard "this is a team thing" speech, but you know he's proud to have it for the third time in the last four years. Now that I'm done praising one of my favourite players, let's rag on some other ones. Shawn Marion was fifth? Uh... I know the guy is playing out of position and that he's pretty good at defending PF and SF, but fifth? I think that's a little off. Don't get me wrong, I think he's one of the twenty best players in the league, but he's not in the top five (or ten) in defense. Shaq 8th? Uh... nah. In non-ragging, It's too bad AK47 played so little. Maybe next year, Andrei. Tayshaun at 7th is about right, nice to see he was recognized.

Funny how the New York Post is reporting this one. Is Jackson really going to go to NY where he has little to no control with personnel, no cap room for years and a weak roster? Is Jackson really going to go to LA where he hates Kobe, the roster is messed up and was recently fired? Unless they lobotimized Phil recently, the answer to the previous questions is, "No".

Big hole in the Van Gundy who doesn't look like Ron Jeremy's pocket
I understand why they fined him a bunch, it's not like Stern is going to take kindly to league employees launching a conspiracy theory, but a hundred grand? That seems a little excessive... and is the biggest amount a coach has ever been fined. It's not like JVG can't pay it, but still... it's harsh. But then, aside from Starbury kicking the cameraman, pretty much every punishment in the league this year has been harsh. I hope it helps cut down on similar events for next year... I bet Stern hopes for the same thing.

The team in DC almost coughs it up
If it hadn't been for a certain pair of Chicago shooting performances, I think they would've coughed it up. Let's start with the better player. Ben Gordon goes 1-13 for 8 points from the field... what the hell is wrong with this guy? I know Bibby had an even worse 1-16 recently, but he has plenty of other guys on his team that can fill it up. Gordon is one of the lone effective scorers on his squad and can't be doing this in games that wind up being fairly close. The other one wasn't as painful for the team, but... Jannero Pargo goes 6-17 for 18 points. Pargo's not bad for a fringe guy, but he shouldn't be taking that many shots in a game four unless the team is down 3-0 in the series. On the flip side, Hughes shot 3-16 for the DC squad. Normally I'd be bitching about this too, but somehow, Juan Dixon took 15 shots and had a PPS of 2.33. That's all that needs to be said there. Outside of that, Chandler manages a Fortson-esque 15 FTAs on 6 FGAs. Always find it funny to see that kind of statline.

T-Mac almost saves the day...
... and would've if he'd seen an open Ex-Piston Barry. Don't get me wrong, that he managed to place the free throw correctly, grab the board and get off a shot (even though it was from 23'8" instead of 23'9") is incredible, but he could've done just a tad more. Barry looked like he was open on the wing but the ball didn't reach his hands. Oh well. As for the actual stats of the game... not much to say. Yao was a beast again and the teams were pretty similar in performance overall. Great game, I hope games 6 and 7 are similar in goodness.

Some love and "Can you believe a guy with a rebound rate of 24.1 made $880,000 this year?"
Of course, I'm referring to Reggie Evans. As for the other part, I was asked to provide some love for the Sonics (and I've barely talked about their series since I've seen so little of it) so I'll be doing that now. In game four, Jerome James continued his wacky play with a night of 7-11 shooting, 17 points, 8 boards and 4 blocks. I'm starting to hope this guy's turnaround is for real. Obviously other free agent to be Ray Allen's huge night was the attraction, but I'm more interested in seeing what happens to JJ. The Sonics need to lock these two and that magnificient rebounder mentioned in the subtitle before July 1st. Otherwise, it's back to under .500 for Rashard, Danny and Vlad next year. Hm, that didn't sound like much love, did it? Alright, let's try again. If they do bring back Allen, Evans and James (the last one is still to a lesser extent at this point), get Vlad healthy for all year, keep Fortson's temper under control and teach the guys how to play some defense, the team could very well be a contender again next year. Even if they manage to pull off three or even the middle two tasks, it could be rolling good times for the coming years over in the Northwest.

HOUR LATER UPDATE: It's come to my attention that despite what Hoopshype reads, Radmanovic is a restricted free agent after the year (I've even referenced that he's up for being an FA myself previously, as a reader pointed out). Thus, he's a signing priority as well. Also, I can't believe I forgot about Jason Williams' recent acts. Even though it's not mentioned in the article... honestly, "You ain't writing nothing homeboy!" is one of the best lines I've ever heard. Obviously the guy was being an ass, but you have to figure that he's pretty pissed off. Memphis is running into trouble. Swift and Watson are FA's, Williams did this, something is up with Wells... time to start working it, Logo.

Welcome back my friends, the show's about to end
Just like "Karn evil nine", it has to end sometime. Sometime is equal to tonight for Philadelphia. Yes, the city that hasn't had a major sports championship since Doctor J was kicking it in 1983 will still be without one from a basketball standpoint. I'm not going to put up a score prediction... all I'm saying is, it's going to their 20th victory in the playoffs under Larry Brown. Bring on the Pacers (or maybe Celtics).


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