Warriors versus Utah Jazz Playoff Series I played with Derek Fisher for three years while playing for the Lakers and he is one of the most professional people I have ever met in any field. When I got to the Lakers Derek was going through a very serious foot injury and was on the injured list for some time. One time while he was injured we as a team were playing terribly. Before one of the games, Derek gave an impassioned speech while in street clothes and really tried to encourage the guys to take up their level of play a notch. Everyone in the locker room from Shaq to Kobe to Slava Medvedenko was all ears. Afterwards, Phil Jackson referred back to Derek as the emotional leader of our group.
Derek was always working on his jump shot. There were so many days when Derek would be there early at the gym with his brother feeding him passes and giving him feedback on fine-tuning aspects of his jumper.
Later that same season in the playoffs Derek had a monster game against the San Antonio Spurs and hit something like seven or eight three pointers in a blowout win for us. A few days later when we were watching the game film in our “warrior room,” Phil Jackson commented on how Derek had played so very well, and yet Derek did not get involved in any kind of self-promotion, or on-court antics that are so popular in the game today. Phil Jackson rarely was impressed with individual accomplishments, but he was keenly appreciative not only for how well Derek played, but how Derek Fisher carried himself while playing so well.
The Warriors vs. Jazz series is a great one. I was so happy for how well Derek played tonight for his team. I actually want the Warriors to win because I grew up about 30 minutes from Oakland and I know the Warriors team pretty well. Don Nelson was the coach of the warriors when I was in high school and I even worked at the “Don Nelson Basketball camp.” But above all, I’m just so happy that Derek Fisher’s daughter is doing well after her surgery. I hope that Dee Brown’s injury is okay and I hope that he’s able to make a full recovery. Detroit is my favorite to win the title.
Phoenix vs. Clippers Sam Cassel is my man, but the Suns will win game 7 vs. the Clippers on Monday night. When the Suns run, they are almost unstoppable. Sam Cassell has taken a very good team and with his leadership and shooting ability, and huge personality, Sam has made the Clippers great. Elton Brand may be the best running big man in the NBA, but trying to chase Shawn Marion up and down the court in a game 7 situation in Phoenix could wear him down. I really think that Shawn could be a world class 400 runner if he wanted to.
San Antonio vs. Dallas
Jason Terry was disspointed that he was suspended for game 6 of the series. I watched the “incident” where Jason took a little shot at Michael Finley at the end of a little pile up. To suspend Jason Terry for a game for something that was so small is tough. It’s one thing if someone grabs below the belt in the normal course of the game, as happened in the Denver series. But Jason and Michael and Manu were all in a scrum and they were just scrapping. Sometimes you react when you’re getting hit and you just do things in the heat of the moment. I definitely do not think that Jason’s actions were premeditated in any way. Here are some of Mark Cuban’s thoughts taken from an article by Art Garcia of the Star-Telegram:
“I had some choice words for the league,” owner Mark Cuban said. “It’s certainly not consistent with what the league has done in the past.”
“The league also said they didn’t know if the Finley pile-driver with his hip to Jason’s head while Ginobili was lying on him was intentional or not,” Cuban said. “So they couldn’t do anything about it. Finley went berserk like the world ended, while Ginobili was on top of Jason, staring at the whole thing, and didn’t even react.”
“Unbelievable,” Cuban said. “When it’s all said and done, this series could end up being talked about for all the wrong reasons.”
Detroit vs. Cleveland
I’m cheating a little bit here because it’s halftime of the Detroit Cleveland game right now and I’m sitting here watching it. I still think that Detroit is going to win this game. Flip Saunders is at his best in close game situations as are Rasheed and Chauncey and Rip Hamilton. I am picking the Detroit Pistons to win the NBA championship this season. I am also giving the “best beard” award to Zydrunas Ilgauskas.