It's Playoff Time, But They Started Without Me
April 30, 2012

Derrick Rose gets hurt, Rajon Rondo bumps an official, Andrew Bynum has a triple-double, and the Clippers mount a 27-point comeback. I didn't see any of it. With the Lakers not favored to do much, and the upstart Clippers fizzling out at the end of the regular season, I wasn't exactly geeked for the NBA Playoffs. Maybe this is a wakeup call.

I don't care about the East, so I probably wouldn't have seen the Rondo incident and the Rose injury (torn ACL-out for the rest of the season) anyway, but I certainly missed a good Laker game. Andrew Bynum had an Elmore Smith-like (remember him?) 10 blocks in the 103-88 win over Denver. I was surprised to learn that Bynum was just the second person (Hakeem Olajuwon) to have ten blocks in a playoff game. Bynum also had 10 points and 13 rebounds, for the Lakers first post-season triple-double since Magic Johnson in the 1991 Finals against Chicago.

As for the Clippers, I had almost forgotten they were playing. I turned over to TNT Sunday and they were down 14 to Memphis in the third quarter. Since the Clips were on the road, I wasn't much interested and never checked the score again, only to find out they came from 27 points down to beat the Grizzlies 99-98. According to one website I saw, the 27-point comeback is an NBA post-season record. And I missed it.

Hush, hush sweet Charlotte: The Charlotte Bobcats fired coach Paul Silas today after the team lost 23 straight to end the regular season. Because of the lockout, they didn't play 82 games, but the Bobcats' 7-59 record (.106) is the worst all-time, behind the Philadelphia 76ers 9-73 mark (.110) in 1972-73.

Going and already forgotten?: Last Monday, the Nets played their final game in New Jersey, which hasn't exactly rocked the sports world, but has generated some comedic interest. During his monologue, David Letterman did a segment called “Great Moments in New Jersey Nets History.” They showed a video of a made free-throw. Even ESPN got in on the act. During SportsCenter, the NBA panel of experts was to mention the Nets greatest accomplishments. One by one, they all just shrugged their shoulders. The Nets, which actually did make it to back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, are moving to a new arena in Brooklyn next year.

Play, dammit!: I understand the reasoning behind it, but the NBA really needs to do something about this. Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum did not play in the Lakers final regular season game Thursday at Sacramento. With their playoff seed already decided, coach Mike Brown sat the two stars to rest them for the playoffs. It's not just the Lakers, either, and it's not just at the end of the season. San Antonio coach Greg Popovich routinely sat Tony Parker and Tim Duncan on nights where they were coming off a game the night before. Again, I get that it is to rest the players, but fans pay good money to see those guys. Total B.S.

Center Ice: I'm running and trying to catch up with the Los Angeles Kings bandwagon so I can jump on. After the eighth-seeded Kings eliminated Vancouver 4-1 in the first round, they beat St. Louis 3-1 Saturday to open the NHL Western Conference semifinals. I watched all of the clinching game against the Canucks—the first time in I don't know when that I saw a hockey game in its entirety. I didn't watch all of Game One vs. the Blues, but I saw quite a bit of it. I know this, hot goaltending is always the key.

NFL Draft: Oh yeah, because that's all we heard since the Super Bowl, I almost forgot that the NFL held its annual draft last week. I watched the first round on Thursday (because there was no baseball on), but at least it wrapped up in a decent three hours. The draft continued without me on Friday and Saturday. It will be interesting to see whether Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III will turn out to be the better quarterback, and I hope it doesn't turn out to be like Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf in 1998.

Baseball's first month: Who would have thought that going into the final day of April, the Dodgers would have the best record in the National League, and the Angels would already be nine games out of first in the American League West? Other surprises include the Cleveland Indians (11-9) leading the AL Central, ahead of the Detroit Tigers (11-11), and the Baltimore Orioles are off to a 14-8 start. And even though the Washington Nationals were just swept by the Dodgers, the Nats are 14-8, tied for first with Atlanta in the NL East. Baseball fans in the beltway should be excited—the Nats and O's are both 14-8. But it's still early.

Going, going...?: Going into Sunday, all of us had as many major league home runs this year as Albert Pujols and Giancarlo Stanton combined. Stanton, with is new professional first name (his real name is Giancarlo, but he has gone by Mike) finally went yard to tally his first dinger of the year. Pujols still has not homered as an Angel (88 at-bats). The only other player with decent power who hasn't homered yet this year is Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen (82 at-bats). He hit 23 last year. I actually heard one announcer attribute Pujols' long-ball drought to the marine layer that sits over the L.A. Basin this time of year. It might be a little more than that.

Down on the farm: I forgot to mention this last week, but on my way home from visiting my mother in Palmdale, I stopped in Visalia to take in a minor league game. I like the park there, and I haven't been there in a several years. Visalia hosted Bakersfield, and I didn't know this until that night, but Bakersfield's manager is Ken Griffey Senior. He was only a few feet away from me when he was coaching third base, and we even had a friendly little exchange once between innings. Very cool.

Gold Sox corner: While 19 year-old Bryce Harper was making is major league debut for the Washington Nationals against the Dodgers with fellow phenom Stephen Strasburg on the hill for the Nats, former Gold Sox pitcher Anthony Bass of the Padres was dueling Tim Lincecum in San Francisco. Bass took a perfect game into the sixth inning, but with two outs, Lincecum singled deep in the hole at short and broke up the bid. The Giants won 2-1.

Tweet tweet: Starting tomorrow (May 1), I will be taking to the twitterverse. I'll be tweeting about the Gold Sox at least once a day until the end of the season in August. For all you tweety-birds out there, please follow me @goldsoxradio. I have no idea what I'm doing, so it could be interesting.

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