After six weeks recovering from a shoulder replacement operation, I'm back to blogging just in time to say a few words about my Warriors who are in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1975, the year the Warriors won it all with Rick Barry et al, coached by Al Attles. I'm predicting the Warriors will do it again, beat the Cavs, and bring the Championship back to the Bay Area.
So what will be the key to their success. In my humble opinion they must limit the scoring of Shumpert and Smith and not allow Tristan Thompson offensive rebounds and put-backs. James and Irving can't do it alone, no matter how marvelously they play.
After watching the Rockets series, I'm enthusiastic about the growth in confidence of Festus Ezili. I'm also pleased, although not surprised, with how Harrison Barnes has stepped up. They are hitting their stride at the perfect time.
Let's hope Klay Thompson is ready for the first game. The way Steve Kerr has been using this tandem has been extremely effective. Klay's absence will hurt. But if it has to happen, I doubt Kerr will change the makeup of the second unit that he relies on to rest his starters. So, it will probably be Leonardo Barbossa's job to start in place of Thompson. I'm guessing, but it makes sense. The Brazilian flash is capable and experienced.
Since I've been out of commission, I'd like to say something about the "Hack a Whoever" strategy used so much during these Western Conference playoffs. First, it is shameful that players can't learn to shoot at least 65% from the line. These men are making millions of dollars and can't shoot accurately from 15 feet with no one guarding them. Is that ridiculous? And Howard keeps smiling. What's up with that? Is there no one among the various teams inflated coaching staff who can teach freethrow shooting? The NBA should not change the rules to accommodate lousy (lazy) freethrow shooters. Either that or eliminate the freethrow entirely. Common foul over over six, award two points and give ball to opponent. Foul in the act of shooting. Award the two and give the ball back to the team that was fouled. I'd hate to see this happen. But you can't eliminate the intentional foul as a strategy so a couple of refuseniks can't or won't learn to shoot from the line.It drive me carzy to watch guys like Howard, Jordan and (unfortunately our own terrific center, Andrew Bogut) step to the line and see the fundamental form mistakes they make. Almost everything they do in the process of shooting is WRONG, from the position of their feet on up to their fingertip release. WRONG. How about this? For every percentage point at the end of the season under 65%, these guys donate $10,000 dollars to the charity of their choice?
To close, I've got something to say about Saint Mary's great Matthew Dellavadova of the Cavs accused by some to be a dirty player. I was thrilled to hear Shaq and Sir Charles stick up for Delly, a kid who plays "balls out" for every second he's on the floor and that means diving for lose balls. I'm proud of my Saint Mary's alum. Not one coach in the NBA would pass up having a tough-minded defensive point-guard like Delly on his team.
Final note: With Coach Gentry going to the Pelicans, how about hiring the recently fired Monty Williams. He's a terrific coach, that is if some smart team doesn't hire him for a head job.
Ode to the Warriors, Watching Their Quest for Victory
One small change and the line reads: God luck,
Timing, and the stars. This morning I'm still seeing
Curry's three float through the sky of the arena
Reminding me of a lesson in geometry:
Of the circle - that from foot (the flat plane of release)
Travels in silent degrees over the moon into the hoop.
I am watching it with my arm in a sling
Having had my shoulder replaced with titanium,
A smaller science, in my mind, than the one
Curry, and his teammate, Thompson,
Use to make mathematics fun.
As far as my titanium shoulder will allow,
I raise my arm to salute the Splash Brothers
And their teammates, three out of five,
Bogut, Barnes, and Green
And all the other players off the bench,
No small part f the equation called team.
And raise it up again through pain
To honor the others: players and coaches
Gentry, Adams Walton, and Kerr for his skill
That were it not intense, looks much like joy..
Something so old inside me called desire
Yearns to play again, to shake of years,
Travel through the television screen
and be six-six again, called undersized,
like Draymond Green snatching rebounds,
Playing beyond our skills because we will it,
Because we know that timing gives us wings.
And wherever they are, the old Warriors,
Nate and Rick, Al and Jeff, I wonder, if like me,
They're watching these new Warriors, seeing
how Luck, timing and the stars triangulate.
I'm loving i, to sit back and watch Victory
Happen with the flick of Curry's wrist.
What my musings are all about...
Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.
The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.
The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.