By Craig Kwasniewski
It's Monday, fire up the coffee and fire up another edition of MMPG:
1. Worst Coach in the NBA: Saturday night the battle was on, Doc versus Isiah, New York versus Boston, bad versus horrible. Just when I was about to give the "Worst Coach in the NBA" award to Doc Rivers as the C's blew a 20-point lead to the Knicks, Isiah Thomas rips the trophy right from my hands. Isiah put Starbury on Paul Pierce in the first few minutes of the 4th. The worst defensive player on the Knicks guarding one of the best scorers in the NBA... in crunchtime? Pierce scorched Starbury until a switch was made. Isiah made one single substitution the entire 4th quarter. Obviously, the Knicks collapsed after climbing back from a 20-point deficit, they had nothing left in the tank. But the clincher was with 2 plus minutes left, down 6 with the ball, a two-possession game, Isiah Thomas drew two technical fouls and got ejected. The C's hit both freethrows and... ballgame!
The title is yours, Isiah... at least until you play the C's again.
2. European Vacation: The Toronto Raptors have five European players and one American-born one who starred in the Euro-league in Anthony Parker. That's a lot of soft bigs with outside shooting touches, scrappy/flopping guards and ZERO clutch play. So what's the direction there, are they trying to market themselves as Euro-friendly? Should we expect cigarette night or crazy chick day or deodorant free zones in Air Canada Centre?
Or does the scouting staff just look for reasons to write off trips to Europe? Paris with the kids, write-off; Venice with the wife, write-off; Monte Carlo with the mistress, write-off.
3. Cavs - Wiz: Watching Agent Zero bomb the Cavs for 45 in the phonebooth arena was fun. The guy was nailing jumpers from all over the place and laughing at how hot he was. The Cavs even started doubling him at halfcourt with Anderson Varejao (and all 15 different pronunciations of his name... can't we just call him A-Vaj?) just to get the ball out of Gilbert's hands. The side bonus was a long-running "conversation" between Gilbert and Damon Jones. I NEEDED to hear that talk, can't we just have a cable NBA channel that skews to an older crowd? Something where there's no censorship and we get to hear Garnett drop 10 motherfucker bombs. Then we can mike up Damon Jones and really hear what he's saying to Gilbert. How could this hurt the ratings?
4. Coincidence? Future unemployed guard, Smush Parker throws down a nasty dunk the same game that Jordan Farmar goes down with an injury. Anyone who's seen the Lakers this year knows that Farmar is weeks away from taking Parker's spot in the rotation. Suddenly he has a "play of the week" dunk over Big Ben that woke up the Staples Center faithful. A Kwame Brown dunk over and on Andres Nocioni later in the game overshadowed what Smush did, but it was very impressive. With Farmar not breathing down his neck, will Smush's confidence return? Not likely... Smush, you still suck!
5. Quality Foreigners: I've been known to crack on Euro players from time to time, but the Chicago Bulls have done a good job at drafting foreign-born players. We all know how good Nocioni is, but I really like how Swiss-born Thabo Sefolosha played against the Lakers. His defense was frustrating Kobe, drawing the artist formerly known as Ocho into some gamesmanship to try to embarrass the rookie. In the 4th quarter, Kobe was constantly dribbling between his legs and showboating a little. Thabo didn't bite and held Kobe in check.
On offense, Thabo let the game come to him and found his spots on the court. Yes, I know two really bad clichés, but for a rookie going against Kobe, he wasn't going to get drawn into any one-on-one matchup. Instead he stuck to the team plan... which was the typically horrible chuck and duck offense, but at least he respects his coach.