June, 3, 2010
By Kevin Arnovitz
- Rob Mahoney of Hardwood Paroxysm parses what we mean when we talk about the redemption of Ron Artest: "He’s gone from liability to frivolity to necessity, and there isn’t even a whisper of the Malice in the Palace. We’re to the point where it’s about basketball again with Artest, and that’s more than time healing all wounds. It’s Ron’s defense on Kevin Durant reminding us what got him here in the first place. It’s his awkward drives reminding us of what we could have missed had Artest not rediscovered himself. It’s a game-winning tip-in that Ron nailed because he ran all the way across the court to be in the right place at the right time, and put himself in a position to help out Kobe Bryant. He didn’t redeem a franchise, or a fellow star, or a fan base. He never had to. All he had to do was redeem himself, and that’s Artest’s crowning achievement of these playoffs, championship or not."
- M. Haubs of The Painted Area reminds us that several of the Celtics' Finals victories over the Lakers were, at the time, upsets. In the 1968 conference finals, Philadelphia fans were chanting, "Boston's dead," before an aging Celtics team stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to reach the NBA Finals.
- Bob Costas narrates the introduction to the 1991 NBA Finals.
- ESPN Los Angeles' Dave Miller describes the Celtics' "loaded" defense: "It simply means bringing a weakside defender to the strong side of the floor, giving you an extra defender to stop the ball, and it arose based on the following presumption: NBA players like to hold on to the ball and create shots on their own more than they like to trust the flow of an offense."
- Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus counts three major differences between the 2008 and 2010 Finals -- two of the three favoring the Lakers.
- The worst of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry includes a rough 1984 Finals for Magic Johnson and Johnny Most telling his audience that Kurt Rambis crawled out of a sewer.
- David Stern tells Colin Cowherd that the 9 p.m. and 8 p.m. eastern tip-off times for Finals games aren't a problem: "I guess you don’t live in California for much of the year then where an 8 o’clock start is a 5 o’clock start there. I’ll say this to you and then we can argue about it some. Number one as the game goes on in the evening, the ratings go up. Number two, our playoff games have been, in some nights, almost all nights really, have been leading the categories 18-34, 18-49. Not just against other cable networks, but against all networks. Despite the disruption that you say we’re causing, we are developing fans. And when they’re 18-34, they’re NBA fans whom our sponsors depend upon our games to reach."
- Greg Oden lost his best friend, Travis Smith, three years ago. Oden tells Henry Abbott that the tragedy of Travis' death brought him closer to Travis' father: "Oden now calls Travis' dad, Jimmy Smith, one of the most important mentors in his life. Much of their bond comes from the long conversations that came after Travis' death."
- Kevin Durant is with family and James Harden in Shanghai. The Cheesecake Factory hasn't opened a location yet in Asia, so the Durants opt for an upscale Italian joint: "As far as the food goes, I love Chinese food and I want to try some new things over here. As long as it doesn’t make me sick! James has never been here so it’s been cool to take it all in with him. My dad’s here, too, and when we arrived to Beijing the other day we all went out to eat at this really nice restaurant called Domus."
- How should the Trail Blazers define success this offseason?
- Wizards' head coach Flip Saunders can still stroke it. And Kyle Weidie thinks John Wall should be added to the short list of people who can eat for free at U Street landmark Ben's Chili Bowl.
- Between workouts, DeAndre Jordan is previewing Eminem's soon-to-be-released album and enjoying a pedicure.