Nba Playoffs

Coast To Coast

May 03, 2009|Mark Heisler

Bulls vs. Celtics: Best there ever was?

Why can't the Celtics and Bulls play best of 99?

I'm not buying "greatest series ever," for this series. To me that means "moments that will live forever," like the 1970 Finals with Jerry West's half-court shot sending Game 3 into overtime, the Knicks coming from 16 points behind to win Game 5 after Willis Reed went down, and Reed dragging his numb left leg out for Game 7.

This was the best series ever, with the most competitive, entertaining and heroic basketball ever crammed into an NBA best-of-seven.

Four games went overtime, with one triple OT and one double OT. The winning margins were two, three, 21, three, two, one and 10 points.

Boston's Ray Allen and Chicago's Ben Gordon made so many game-tying threes at the end of regulation and in the first and second overtime periods, fans watching were actually laughing.

Ordinary basketball, like that played in the other series, paled in comparison. Let's just say, can you imagine sitting through Miami vs. Atlanta?

If you can, they play Game 7 today on ABC. Good luck.


Meet the Bulls

Maybe Kobe Bryant knew something when he tried to get traded to them last season?

Actually, this is almost a new team, built around Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon, not Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng. With John Salmons and Brad Miller, who came from Sacramento at midseason, and heretofore-lost Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah, they just announced themselves as one more young Eastern power no one figured on.

Best of all for the Bulls, Gordon's amazing shot-making may finally persuade them to re-sign him.

Gordon looked gone as an unrestricted free agent after two years of futile negotiations for an extension.

The Bulls had long since compiled a list of reasons not to max him out: smurf, doesn't guard, doesn't pass, doesn't want to come off the bench, wants too much money.

This just in: He's also unbelievable.


More things that changed

Allen Iverson started at point guard for the East in the All-Star game, but it may be a while before it's anyone but Rose, who averaged 20-6-7 in his postseason debut, or Boston's Rajon Rondo, who almost averaged a triple-double at 19-9-12.

If Allen, who scored four points in Game 1 and averaged 27 the rest of the way, wasn't a Hall of Famer before, he is now.

Paul Pierce was already a Hall of Famer, but after talk that he was tired, or had already packed it in, he averaged 23 the last five games.

The Celtics, who needed reserve help, found a player in the unlikeliest place -- their bench -- as Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who came on late in the season, broke out in this series, averaging 22.


In other action . . .

As if. I couldn't care less about anything else that happened in the NBA last week.

In a truly scary development, Bulls Coach Vinny Del Negro tried to get the league to suspend Rondo, who got tangled up with Hinrich in Game 6 and threw him off.

The league took no action.

On the other hand, say Rondo had given Hinrich a little two-handed shove that showed up well on videotape.

Anything could have happened, with the legalists in New York capable of destroying the village in order to save it, and have (see: 2007 Amare Stoudemire suspension, turning the postseason into a dead mackerel, with the worst Finals TV ratings ever, on merit).

Memo to David Stern:

Suspend players for a week of next season! Suspend them for a month of next season! Suspend them all next season!

Just keep your cotton-picking mitts off these !@#$%^%$#@! games! They aren't yours! They're ours!

It takes six months of mind-numbing regular season to get to this, and then you're going to wreck it with some retroactive ruling you made after running the video back and forth in super-slo-mo, according to some arcane rule you barristers just passed?

I just thought I'd mention it.

-- Mark Heisler

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