When it comes to NBA halftime shows, TNT is tops.
Watching Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith go back and forth while Ernie Johnson tries to keep the show moving in the right direction is just great television. What puts the TNT crew head and shoulders above the rest is the ability to be entertaining and informative simultaneously.
I thought the show couldn't get any better. But with Chris Webber, an NBA TV analyst, in the studio, the show goes to another level. If the show with Barkley and Smith is like a double-double from In-N-Out, then adding C-Webb is like upgrading to a 3x3, Style.
(If you don't know what I'm talking about, the next time you're in California, Arizona, Nevada, or Utah, swing through an In-N-Out and try one of their burgers. I've been all across the country and have never had a better burger.)
Now that I'm done salivating, the trio was in rare form when they discussed Mark Cuban's comments toward Lydia Moore (aka Kenyon Martin's mom) after Game Three of the series between Dallas and Denver. Obviously, tensions were running high after the controversial finish that included an official getting his whistle stuck in his esophagus. And in my opinion, the NBA's apology about the call was a joke. Unless the ref got suspended from the playoffs or they were allowed to play the end of the game over, what's the point?
After the game, Cuban was steaming as he walked off the court. A fan supposedly yelled that Denver was full of thugs, and Cuban, who was walking past K-Mart's mom at the time, looked up and said, "And that includes your son."
(For a second, I thought that Cuban had said that stuff to Lydia Moore on Mother's Day, but I realized that Game Three was on Saturday, not Sunday. The scumbag journalist in me was very disappointed, because how perfect would that have been?)
As was to be expected, Martin said that he "would take care of it" before the teams got on the court for game four. It was a hot topic on TNT, and each of the analysts had a slightly different take. Sir Charles said that Cuban was his boy, but in this case, he was "100 percent wrong." Kenny felt like Cuban's comments said more about his character than anything he said about Kenyon Martin. Very good point.
Then they went to C-Webb, and his reaction was just priceless. He admitted that he was getting angry just talking about it. His point was Cuban's comment was not just a slam on Martin. More importantly, it insinuated that something was wrong with the mother because she had raised a "thug."
Barkley said that Cuban owed Martin and his mom an apology, but also said that he had to let it go. To which Webber responded, "I'm not his priest. I wouldn't tell a man how to handle something like that." He went on to say he would pray that K-Mart didn't do anything stupid or reckless, but clearly wouldn't have a problem seeing Cuban get his clock cleaned.
After the tension had settled a little bit, Webber said, "Don't even point at my momma like that." Charles responded that they "would've whupped his a--" if something like that happened back in the day. Priceless.
Tuesday night, TNT reported that Cuban posted an apology on his blog. Even though the apology seemed heartfelt enough, he still took the time to get in a little jab. In his blog, right after he apologized and admitted he was wrong, he wrote, "When the series comes back to Dallas, your family, and the family of other Nuggets players are welcome to stay in my suite, with my family." Of course, the implication there is that his Mavericks, who are on the verge of elimination, will win Game Five and send the series back to the Big D. After that little jab, I wouldn't count on it.
A couple tidbits from last night's Boston-Orlando game:
Can anyone ever remember a team losing two heartbreaking games back-to-back in a playoff series like Orlando has? They were less than five seconds away from taking a 3-1 stranglehold on this series, and now it looks like the Magic are done. Wouldn't be surprised if they won Game Six, but would be stunned they beat the Celtics in Boston for Game Seven.
I've got to wonder what Stan Van Gundy was thinking about last night. Down the stretch, he had J.J. Redick on Ray Allen. Why on earth did Courtney Lee not play more down the stretch? His defense is infinitely better than Redick's, and unlike J.J., Courtney can take the ball to the hole. After building a 14-point lead in the 4th quarter, the Magic went to their patented "let's jack up threes because we're up by double digits" attack, and it blew up in their face—again.
The other issue I had with SVG was the way he handled the rotation with Rashard Lewis, Tony Battie and Marcin Gortat. Knowing that "G" factor (as in goofy and gumpy) Brian Scalabrine was struggling with the flu, Lewis should have been on the floor every time Scalabrine was out there. Instead, Van Gundy countered with Battie. When Tony first got in the game, he seemed to think that the team was running the offense through him and jacked up three ugly jumpers.
On the other hand, you have Gortat, who posted a double-double in an earlier playoff game. Why not go to him early and often? He's proved he can get the job done.