Tags Posts tagged with "Flip Saunders"

Flip Saunders

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Lakers, Championship, Celtics, Timberwolf, Phil Jackson, Kevin Garnett, Flip Saunders, Fired
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Photo: 360b/shutterstock
The other day someone said to me, “Who do you want to win the championship…the lakers or the celtics?” That’s one of the hardest questions I could answer, but the truth is that I want the Lakers to win. I am a Timberwolf first and foremost, but I gave three years of blood sweat and tears to Phil Jackson and the Lakers. I have to pull for my old team even though I do want Kevin Garnett to get a ring.

I cannot believe that Flip Saunders was fired. I cannot believe it. This man can flat out coach and while I hope that the Pistons have success in the future, let’s not forget that Flips tenure as head coach of Detroit took the Pistons deep into the playoffs every year. Coaching is not an exact science and it’s not easy at the NBA level with mature and grown men all of whom have strong competitive natures. I wish Detroit well, but they lost a gem with Flip.

My summer is going well. I enjoyed watching Kobe tonight. It’s nice when you see someone care so much about what they do as Kobe cares about his profession. Phil Jackson used to put us in the video room and show us film. “Fellas…like it or not, what you see on the game film is what the fans see….this is your livelihood. It should be important to you.”

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NBA, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Paul P., Detroit Pistons, coaches
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America, and is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world. Photo: 360b/shutterstock
I knew the Boston Celtics were going to be good this season, but we haven’t seen an NBA team go 20-2 for a very long time. Tonight Kevin Garnett and Paul P. and the rest of the Celtics play against another great team in the Detroit Pistons. If I didn’t have a game of my own tonight, I would be watching the Detroit vs. Boston game. Flip Saunders knows Kevin as well as anyone in the league and Kevin Garnett may know most of Detroit’s offense like the back of his hand. Needless to say, it’s going to be a great matchup.

I guess they are putting microphones on NBA coaches for nationally televised games. That is the buzz I’ve been hearing around the league. I am really surprised the networks and the coaches decided to do this. I just want to know who at the TV network has the job of listening in to the coach the whole game and trying to figure out what they can put on the air and what they can’t play. In addition, most coaches have their right hand man that they talk to privately back and forth during the game. To draw some sort of parallel, think about someone having your family miked up for a week. To me it’s tough to imagine that. In fairness, the leauge does promise that it won’t use material that is too over the top, but that means the only thing they’ll be able to play on TV is the real generic stuff which isn’t too interesting anyway.

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Phoenix, Clippers, Sam Cassell, Elton Brand, NBA, San Antonio, Dallas, VS., Jason Terry, Michael Finley, Mark Cuban, Detroit, Cleveland, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Filp Saunders
Talking about Teams, about players, there matches and there results Photo: shutterstock.com
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.

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30th Birthday, Basketball Game, California, Tim Duncan, San Antonio, Road Trip, Wolves, Shaquille O'Neal
January 28, is going to be my 30th birthday. Photo: shutterstock.com

This coming Saturday, January 28, is going to be my 30th birthday. On that day, we’ll be in San Antonio to play the Spurs. I will get to defend Tim Duncan at times. Not the best birthday gift I’ve received, but it comes with the territory. I guess turning 30 is a milestone in one’s life, so I’m going to take a few paragraphs and reminisce on a few birthday memories.

My most memorable birthday growing up came during my senior year of high school in California. We had a basketball game that night against one of our rivals, which we ended up losing in overtime. To make matters worse, I sprained my ankle during the game. When I drove home after, the lights were off and everything seemed empty. As I limped into the kitchen, I realized it was a surprise party that my parents and younger sister had planned. Most of my teammates were there along with a bunch of my other friends. The thing I remember most was sitting there with my foot in a bucket of ice water talking with my teammates late into the night.

One of my hardest birthdays was my very first year in the NBA. I wasn’t used to all of the travel and I had to get up early on road trips and deliver practice gear to everyone’s room. I think I was exhausted at the time from the many games and the late night flights. I just remember lying in my hotel room in New York thinking, “What the heck am I doing here.” I think I got bronchitis that day too, because I ended up taking a bunch of medication for it a day or two later.

When I was with the Lakers, Shaquille O’Neal hosted the whole team in Orlando for Thanksgiving one year and gave us a tour of his house. When we got to his bedroom he told all of us, “Man, when I first got to the league, I had all the latest electronics and remotes all over the place.” Then pointing toward a shelf on the wall he smiled and said, “Now I’ve got diapers.” Shaq and his wife Shaunie have a great relationship and it was fun to be there to hear such a great line from a great guy.

One of the front office people with the Wolves emailed me and asked, “Where did you think you’d be when you turned 30?” The honest truth is that I thought I’d have a drawer full of diapers by now and be sitting at home with my wife and a few kids. But marriage and family haven’t happened yet, so instead I’m still single and I have to figure out all of the electronics on my own. On our current team, just about half of the guys are married. It makes for an interesting dynamic in the locker room to hear about a child taking their first step on the one hand and then on the other you have the young guys just a few years out of college that are living the singles life.

I guess more than anything else, I’m grateful that I’ve lived this long already. It’s been 30 great years so far, and I’m looking forward to the next 30. My grandpa always tells me what a gift it is to be alive. There are a lot of people that don’t get to be 30 years old, so I’m just happy to have made it this far.

This week is going to be a little bit emotional. An old friend, Flip Saunders, is coming to town with a Detroit Pistons team that is playing at a very high level. In my opinion, Flip certainly has done a great job with them and has already locked-up the coaching spot for the Eastern Conference for the All-Star Game. With that said, we also have a job to do. Our goal is to derail the Pistons and show them what kind of a team we are.

Have a great week.

-Mark

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NBA, Business, Flip Saunders, Basketball, NBA Head Coach, Phil Jackson, National Basketball Players Association
Talking about Flip Saunders, Players and practices. Photo: shutterstock.com

If there’s one phrase about the NBA I never liked it’s this one: “It’s a business.” Unfortunately as players and coaches we know the phrase is true. We know that we can get traded, released or let go. This week the organization made a business move and relieved Flip Saunders of his coaching duties. I think that all of us players feel partially responsible and we’re very sorry to see Flip gone.

Flip coached me for a year and a half and during that time I learned a tremendous amount about the game of basketball. I reached Flip on his cell phone right after practice when they announced he wouldn’t be our coach and we had a good talk. He said he was going to find the positive in the situation and enjoy spending time with his wife and kids. Believe me, there are only a few people out there that have what it takes to be an NBA head coach. You have to know how to handle and communicate with today’s athlete, which is no small task. You must know the X’s and O’s and be resilient. Flip has all of those qualities and he is passionate about the game. I’m looking forward to the next time I see Flip so that I can thank him in person for a great two years.

Every coach is different. I still remember my rookie year in the NBA with Los Angeles losing our home opener. After we all got to the locker room, Phil Jackson walked in and said, “The dogs bark and the caravan moves on… practice at 10:00 tomorrow.” Then everyone just got up and wrapped ice on their knees and stepped into the shower.

Kevin McHale will coach us from now on. Mac (as everyone calls him) will be different than Phil and Flip. I think as far as the offense goes, Mac is going to run a lot of the old Boston Celtics’ sets which rely on setting hard picks, making crisp passes and throwing the occasional “dribble weave” into the mix. The “dribble weave” is where a post player dribbles the ball toward a guard, hands it to him and then knocks the living daylight of the guard’s defender with a screen. Prior to being named head coach, Mac always worked out with players after practice and taught us post moves. I think the transition should be smooth.

All-Star Weekend is here already and Ervin Johnson (player representative) and Kevin Garnett will be going to Denver in different capacities. Erv will go to Denver to help out with negotiations between the owners and the National Basketball Players Association, while KG will be appearing in his eighth All-Star game. Hopefully the owners and players representatives can make progress in working toward a new collective bargaining agreement to avoid what hockey is going through right now. Erv is someone who is always involved in helping others. He loves to do things in a quiet way to help out folks and he’d probably hit me with a forearm to the chest if I told any of the things he’s done (just kidding). Let me share just one thing: Erv rounded up donations from our locker room and from players on other teams, in addition to digging in his own pocket, to help pay for the NBA chaplains from each team to attend All-Star Weekend in Colorado.

Hopefully you are enjoying this journal. If you have any questions you want me to answer, you can send them to me on my website: www.madsen35.com. Have a great week!

— Mark Madsen