Thursday, April 24, 2008

Game 2: More of the Spurs

Game 2 was a tough loss. The Suns never should have lost game 1. A win in game 2 would have sent a message to the Spurs: Your in trouble! But now, the Spurs are giving that message to the Suns. Don't get me wrong, this series is far from over. All that has happened is the Spurs have held serve. They were expected to win at home. That is why they call it "home court advantage". The Suns now have to come home and do the same. Here are some points about game 2. Where is Leandro Barbosa ? He was 0-7 from the field, and didn't shoot a free throw. This is our fastest player and the one who needs to beat his man to the basket. Where is our 3 point shot? The Suns are so effective when the 3 point shot is going in. Nash penetrates, dishes it out to the outside...only to have our guys miss. The Spurs are able to control that outcome. There were reports that Nash was suffering from flu-like symptoms. Lets hope he is better by game 3. How are the Spurs getting so many easy lay-ups? The Suns need to put a stop to that. Do to the Spurs what the Spurs have done to us. I think that D'Antoni is feeling the heat for not having a deeper rotation. With Grant Hill hurting, there is no one that can step in. Lets hope that Hill can play better. In both games 1 and 2, the Suns have outplayed the Spurs in the first half. Are the Suns too tired in the second half? Did the starting 5 play too many minutes in the regular season that now they are beat in the second half? I think right now the Spurs are mentally tougher in the second half. The Suns need to overcome that. Playing at home should help. The Suns need to keep momentum going for the full 48 minutes. No more losing it at the end of the quarter/half. In game 3, we need to get a handle on both Parker and Ginobili. We don't have to stop them, that can't be done. But lets not let them get so many layups. Look for Stat to come up huge, and if Shaq stays out of foul trouble, he can handle Duncan. Game 3? Suns by double digits!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Come on Tim, just play the game and shut up

Game 1 goes to the Spurs. You got to give it to them, they fought back from being down the entire game. Tim Duncan played an amazing game. There were many times where I felt that the Suns were playing against 8 players (5 Spurs and 3 referees), but the bottom line is that the Spurs outplayed the Suns in the second half. It is my belief, that the refs could call a foul on every play. On every play, someone breaks the rules. Most are minor, only the major offenses get called. If it were not that way, we would see a slow, sloppy, drawn out game. So how do the refs decide which ones to call? Only they seem to know. You can only hope that the fouls they do call help control the game but do not change the dynamics of the game. This happened in game 1. This happens too often with the Suns. Shaq played only 3 minutes in the first quarter and less than 10 minute in the first half. Amare got into foul trouble early. When these players did play, they were unable to play hard on the defensive side. This is why the Spurs were able to pull this one off. Oh, and that Tim Duncan guy. The 3 point shot he hit in the first overtime to send the game into double overtime was one of the most amazing shots I have ever seen. It was the first 3 point shot he made this season. Unbelievable! If the Suns end up losing this series, chalk it up to this shot (Don’t Worry, I still believe the Suns will win the series in 6). The problem I have with him is if you were to ask him if he has ever committed a personal foul, he would tell you no. He whines and complains about every foul he is called for. If you watch him, sometimes he looks like he is going to cry. The problem is that too often, the refs listen. Duncan gets the “benefit of the doubt” more than any other player. Watch him next game, you will agree. Another problem I have is the “flopping”. It happens all the time. Kurt Thomas is the king when it comes to flopping. I saw him get “bumped” by one of the Suns players that he must outweigh by 50 lbs. Thomas flops, falls back about 10 feet and the refs call a foul on the Suns! Are you kidding me? He is just as bad as Vlade Divac, who made a career out of flopping. A few more observations: With the game being broadcast on ABC, you would think the commentators would be neutral. They are clearly Spurs fans. “Hack a Shaq”. This is a tactic that the Spurs used with over 6 minutes left in the game. What a bunch of cowards. It worked, however. Maybe in game 2 the Spurs will play the way the game was intended. Overall, this was a great game. Both teams played hard. The Spurs outplayed the Suns when they needed to and squeaked out he win. Steve Nash needs to score earlier on in the game and Shaq and Stat need to stay out of foul trouble. If the Suns can manage this (please refs, don’t take the big guys out of their element), the Spurs will be no match in game 2.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

There's hope to be had

Thursday was a busy day for us. Well, it seems that everyday is busy lately. But Thursday, Helena double booked herself in the afternoon. Not a big deal, she does it quite often. Usually she just handles it and I never am the wiser. But Thursday, she needed to take Tasha to her gymnastics class AND deliver a meal to a friend whose son was in the hospital. They were on opposite sides of town. She asked if I would be willing to help with one, so I chose the meal, thinking all I have to do is drop it off. No big deal. So there I was, 4:30ish in the afternoon, on the I10, trying to get to the 51, headed to 56th St. and Thunderbird. My average speed? 5 maybe 10 mph. To make things worse, Kyra had chosen to go with her mom (they always stick together!) so the carpool lane was off limits. I am a rules kind of guy (I have a personality profile my work paid for that says so) so the carpool lane was really off limits. As I got madder and madder at the many people who don't obey the car pool rules, I realized that it was also an alternative fuel lane. Now this didn't benefit me in any way, I was driving our Nissan (many of you know this car as our beat up clunker that my wife now drives on a regular basis). Along came a hybrid. Then another. Then another. There went a city car, not a hybrid, but natural gas. Dang it! There goes another single passenger gas burning car. (I know, I should let it go...) Another Hybrid! Now, I realize that it IS a lane for alternative fuel vehicles, but today, there was an abundance of hybrids. I don’t know how many I saw, but it was more than I used to. I also spotted about 5 of them when I got off the freeway on the way home between the freeway and home. There it is. It’s working. This go green thing might just be getting somewhere. With gas prices over $3.00 a gallon, it was wonderful to see so many. Helena saw 2 hybrids parked side by side. In the same parking lot! Good work Arizona! Keep it up!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sir Charles...thats Mr. Governor to you!

I was watching TV the other night. As I flipped through the channels for about the third time, I see that Letterman is talking to Charles Barkley. Now, Sir Charles always is worth listening to. He tells you how it is, at least how he sees it. This guy has more charisma than most people have in their little finger. So, when Letterman asked him about the rumor that he was running for Governor of Alabama, I was hooked. Crazy? Maybe. But he might just be able to pull it off (Scott, stop cringing). "Alabama, that's my home. I'm thinking about running for governor; they need the help." Maybe it’s not a publicity stunt. Maybe he really cares. His decision was received warmly by Joe Turnham, Alabama's Democratic Party chairman. Alabama's last Democratic governor, Don Siegelman, said Barkley has become a role model for many people and "would make an excellent candidate for high office." "I really believe I was put on Earth to do more than play basketball and stockpile money," Barkley said. "I really want to help people improve their lives, and what's left is for me to decide how best to do that." Siegelman noted that Barkley has the personal wealth to stage a strong campaign. "He's definitely going to be taken seriously," Siegelman said.
What about his platform? It can’t just be that he wants to be governor or because he can. Barkley told the school board members that poor children don't have a level playing field with wealthier students, because the poor children have to cope with more problems like crime, drugs and teen pregnancy. But he also admonished some black parents and their children. "There are too many black kids and their parents who do not value a good education," he said. "There are places where a black kid who is a good student and tries to speak correctly, you hear stuff like, 'He's trying to be white.' Well, I say, if that's true, we need more kids trying to be white." Don’t look now, but that sounds like some real issues. That may not work in many states, but it might in Alabama. Barkley is loved in Alabama more than anywhere else.
It is a natural transition for the public to want their famous athletes to be in office. They want to believe that the greatness exhibited on the court or field will transfer to the office they hold. There are a few examples that have worked: Bill Bradley (Basketball Hall of Fame and Senator from New Jersey for 18 years; Presidential Candidate in 2000); and Jesse Ventura (professional wrestling fame [whether or not wrestling is a real sport is a topic for another blog] and Governor from Minnesota). Ventura was a legend in his sport and loved by his home town. Sound familiar?
Barkley has been successful at many things. People can’t help but to love him. Alabama may be ready for him. He will have the backing. Money will be plentiful. Popularity does get you elected (Governor Schwarzenegger). In 2010, we may be calling him Governor Barkley.