For What it's Worth---Cooling the Heat


No Derrick Rose, no Kirk Hinrich, no Luol Deng, no problem for the Chicago Bulls who rip away home court advantage from the Miami Heat and suddenly make things interesting in the NBA East. The Bulls scored the last ten points of the game, Nate Robinson—who’s flourished in the absence of Rose had seven of those ten and became the first player in the last 15 years of the playoffs to have eleven points and six assists in a quarter.

Who is Jimmy Butler and what is he doing wreaking havoc on LeBron and Dwayne Wade last night? He’s a small forward out of Marquette and he’s the first player in eight years to play every minute of three straight playoff games. As an eight point a game guy, the fact that he had 21 with 14 rebounds was an added bonus. I’m not saying the Heat are in trouble, but it’s ‘easier’ to beat Lebron three times in nine days than it is four times in 12.

What are the odds?

Both of the conference top seeds nearly went down on Monday as Golden State had San Antonio on the ropes behind 22 points from Steph Curry in the third quarter alone. His 44 points and 11 assists represented one of the best performances of the playoffs, but it went for naught when, inexplicably, Manu Genobli was left wide open for a three with under two seconds left. The two-point double overtime win was fortunate for the Spurs who, like the Heat looked rusty coming off long layoffs. I don’t expect the surprises to continue, but it certainly made for interesting viewing last night.

Damage control---

Kansas has moved quickly and firmly on the Ben McLemore affair. McLemore’s AAU coach Darius Cobb has admitted taking $10,000 dollars from an aspiring agent to sway McLemore towards turning pro. Cobb has released statements saying the KU knew nothing of the payments, but that may not matter. It’s not McLemore who has to have received payments—but any representative of McLemore---that could land Kansas is some trouble.

That trouble wouldn’t be anything probationary in nature, but, depending on the timing of the payments, the eligibility of McLemore during the season could be called into question. If that becomes an issue, the Hawks could lose wins, their share of the Big 12 Championship etc. But that’s a worst case scenario—the fact of the matter is that the NCAA doesn’t have the power of subpoena over the principles in this case, so no one is legally bound to talk.

The run ends---

The Royals ended a four game win streak by scoring only one run for James Shields yesterday. ‘Big Game James has been great even while the bats around him have been balsa. In four of his seven starts he’s gotten two or fewer runs of support from his mates who are usually seeing the opposition’s ace. Still, his 2.52 earned run average should have him better that the 2-2 record he sports.

MVC All-Sports---

Wichita State is running away and hiding with the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy. The Shockers have a decent chance at seven team championships before it’s all said and done and that doesn’t count the single best run in MVC hoops in 34 years with WSU’s run to the Final Four.

Wichita State has won six of the last nine All-Sports Awards in the Valley and have claimed the honor a Valley record 18 times, a number they’re about to improve on.

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