Basketball Thursday: Cats Go Red, Suns Shine, Celts Torn & Frayed

Cross Pollination Continues. Oregon Nike coach Dana Altman confirms what we’ve expected all along. Smooth talking John Calipari has proven himself yet again — as if it weren’t already common knowledge — that he’s college hoops’ most convincing schmoozer.

Phil Knight assistant/ World Wide Wes disciple Kenny Payne is reportedly leaving the Land o’ Sneakers to join UK’s staff.

Which means that in this dark and bloody ground, where Red dudes and Blue dudes do not abide, there shall be a Cardinal in the Bluegrass as counterpoint to the Cats at the Yum!.

Strange times, these. Maybe the schools should both change their colors to purple, which is what you get when mixing red and blue.

Payne was always one of my favorite U of L players. I remember the first time I saw him play, before his frosh season in a summer league at Bellarmine. He was throwing them in from 25-30 feet. Arching rainbow shots. Beauteous. I’ve said it before and now repeat. I think coach Denny Crum was reluctant to allow Payne to shoot from as far out as he needed to. The kid had some range.

Still my man became a member of the 1000 point club, which won me a ten spot from my pal Sportsby.

As much as I want us all to get along on this U of L/UK thing, this intermingling just feels odd.

Meanwhile in Cardinalville . . . it’s another unsettling off-season. Preston Knowles seems to have gotten himself into an untoward situation.

And we still don’t know what the deal is with Steve Masiello and those Derby tickets. Other than The Rick has sent the Johnny Drama manqué on his staff out to represent the hoops program on these Cardinal Caravan dog and pony shows.

Celtics Reeling? Of course, they are.

Big Baby Davis staggering across the court after being decked by a Dwight Howard elbow was the perfect metaphor for the Eastern Conference final series, which is now a lot closer than just three days ago.

I like the Rolling Stones’ analogy, that Boston is Torn & Frayed. Yes, I’m playing the alarmist, you Beantown fans. I’m saying the situation looks dire for your team that’s still up 3-2 in the series.

The squads are now playing every other day and the Garnett/ Pierce/ Allen triumvirate is looking more Methuselahian by the minute. Unless the league steps in and gives Kendrick Perkins a pardon, he won’t be eligible for Friday’s game. Groggy Davis is questionable. And Nate Robinson doesn’t seem like he can play Mighty Mouse, soaring in, singing “Here I come to save the day . . .”

Boston started looking beatable in Game Four. Orlando found some Magic and pounced.

All of which is to say, we got us a series.

It’s a good thing. That true and final end to the hoops season is drawing ever closer.

Are those Suns Rising or Setting? I remember a film in elementary school about the constitutional convention maybe, or another of those gatherings America’s Founding Fathers attended. After signing the Constitution — or, maybe the Declaration of Independence — the actor playing Ben Franklin looked at the chair he’d been sitting in, which had a sun at the horizon on the back.

Then he made some prophetic assessment of the situation, commenting about it being a rising sun rather than a setting sun.

Which, of course, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Western Conference Finals. Other than as a shaky analogy to keep you hopefully entertained.

The point is this. We’ll find out tonight if the Suns are rising or setting? If ten-strong Phoenix can shut up Jack Nicholson and the rest of the Hollywood cognoscenti in the Staples Center, they might be able to close out the LA LA Kobes over the weekend at home in the Land of Apartheid.

That zone D and boffo bench play seem to have the Lakers on their heels.

If only my man E5 were contributing . . . sigh. At best, he’s only #11 in Alvin Gentry’s rotation.

Anyway, as in the East, we got us a series.

Meanwhile at the Ballyard . . . U of L’s nine continues to roll. They blasted West Virginia in the Big East tourney opener. Up next, always tough St. John’s.

And the Red’s next big thing, Cuban Aroldis Chapman, is scheduled to start tonight for the Redbirds, er, RiverBats, oh yeah, Bats, tonight at Slugger Field.

Speaking of phenoms, we can only hope that Stephen Strasburg, baseball’s next great pitcher, is still hurling for Syracuse, when the Chiefs come to town in August.

– Seedy K

One Comment

  1. Mark
    Posted May 27, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Stephen Strasburg, most likely baseball’s next great pitcher, is scheduled for his first major league start against the Reds in June. He’s the real deal. So far…

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