Sky falls in Boston; Celtics don't notice
On the bright side for Lakers and Celtics fans yearning for that rematch, there's always 2010!
While Lakers fans worried about their faves' "issues," Celtics fans had to look up to avoid being hit by pieces of falling sky with Kevin Garnett shut down again, amid fears that he may not be 100% by the playoffs.
Kendrick Perkins says Garnett, who has dropped out of sight, is so distraught, he's "almost in tears."
Said Paul Pierce, suggesting Garnett may not even make it back: "If he comes back this year, or if he doesn't come back, it's about him getting healthy."
Meanwhile, the Celtics, who aren't close to being the best team but are way the toughest, have won eight of nine, with the loss by two points in Orlando.
Who imagined this? Oh yeah, everyone
Miami is 12-12 with Jermaine O'Neal after taking his $23-million salary off Toronto, which took it off Indiana, which spent years looking for a taker.
The Heat just noticed he doesn't rebound and is now studying the video.
"He wants to rebound," said Coach Erik Spoelstra, proving people can not only convince themselves of anything, but find video evidence to prove it.
"He's been extremely physical. He's been blocking out. He's been putting bodies on people. Now it's just a matter of finishing the play, chasing the ball down."
Desire notwithstanding, O'Neal tied for No. 4 on the team last month at 4.7 rebounds a game with Jamario Moon, who played 13 minutes a game.
We (heart) Vlade
With all-time good guy Vlade Divac's number retired in Sacramento, the Bee's Ailene Voisin recalled her favorite moments, including:
* Utah fans unfurling a banner that read, "Vlade Divac wears women's underwear," in the 2002 playoffs.
Replied Divac: "I don't wear underwear, anyway. Men's, women's, no. But I liked that sign the best."
* Commissioner David Stern, on Divac as pioneer:
"There was the old image of the European player who had no muscle and used to light up a cigarette at halftime. Vlade put an end to that. He waited until after the game to light up."
Trapped in Nellie's fun house: Nellie
With all the turmoil in Golden State suggesting a coming meltdown, Warriors Coach Don Nelson, who's either part of the power struggle, or obliged to act as its spokesman, said he's getting out too, after next season.
"I don't want to end up dying with my last timeout on the court," Nelson told In Denver's Chris Thomasson. "Time out and fall over dead. I want to enjoy retirement a little bit."
Now if he can just last that long.
The most impressive thing about Charlotte's sweep of the Lakers is that both games were on the road, or may as well have been.
Before last week's game in Charlotte, Gerald Wallace saw so many Lakers jerseys, he said, "I thought I was driving in L.A.!"
Bobcats Coach Larry Brown's fears came true when Kobe Bryant's two three-point baskets in a row fired up Lakers fans, but the home team was able to take its own crowd out of it.
The Lakers were highly appreciative and hope to win one for their fans there one of these years.
-- Mark Heisler