New National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver wasted no time in putting his stamp on the league. Faced with a growing chorus of players, fans, politicians and common citizens, Silver banned Los Angeles Clippers’ Owner Donald Sterling for life.
Sterling was also fined $2.5 million which in the grand scheme of things is small potatoes considering his worth is nearly $2 billion. It’s widely believed that Sterling will be forced to sell the team but based on his past, he won’t go quietly into the night. I expect a long, drawn-out process in the years to come unless he just decides it isn’t worth it.
Some are speculating that the franchise could fetch as much as $1 billion in a sale.
While I applaud Silver’s forceful action, it isn’t a day to celebrate. Yes, the NBA is ultimately better without Donald Sterling in it, but the damage has been done. Sports were often thought to be safe harbor from this kind of bigotry despite random cases in the past. This situation illustrates that we remain far from where we need to be.
Brooklyn (+3.5) at Toronto, Series Tied 2-2 – I have to give the Toronto Raptors some credit. I really thought after the game three loss that they were in trouble and would fold under the playoff pressure. The young Toronto team finished off the Nets with a 12-4 to end the game to even the series and take it back home for tonight’s game.
For the Nets to grab game five Deron Williams has to be better than four of twelve shooting. He scored just 10 points in game four and was 0-5 from three-point land. My gut feeling is that he plays significantly better tonight.
While both squads shot almost an identical 41% from the field, the difference ultimately was from the charity stripe. Toronto went 19 of 23 while the Nets were just 19 of 29. I think this is where the veteran leadership in Brooklyn kicks in; take the Nets and the 3.5 points.
Dallas (+6) at San Antonio, Series Tied 2-2 – I just don’t have a feel or this series. Just when I think the Spurs are ready to dominate and move on, the Mavericks come firing back. Even after a 20-point lead in game three, the Spurs still let it slip away but were able to pull out the victory.
Both teams were almost identical in the three-point shooting department in game three as they each hit on just 29% of their long-range shots. Ultimately the difference was better field goal and free throw shooting by San Antonio. If I’m Gregg Popovich, I’m concerned about Tony Parker. Again he struggled from the field and didn’t even attempt a three-point shot.
Parker’s poor shooting was offset by a 46-28 advantage in the paint and that’s something the Spurs must repeat. I like San Antonio to win, but I really like the Mavs getting the six points.
Portland (+5.5) at Houston, Blazers Lead 3-1 – If Rockets’ coach Kevin McHale was fighting for his job when the series was tied 1-1, then what must he be fighting for now? Granted the Rockets have dropped two overtime games, they’ve still lost three games total and one more ends a season that many had figured to be going much longer.
Houston had excellent balance in their scoring and dominated the paint to the tune of 68-30. While Portland didn’t exactly have the balance, they did have LaMarcus Aldridge who has dominated the series.
The Rockets were very good at home this year and they have to ride the crowd to a victory tonight but I really like Blazers getting the 5.5 points.