The two Pats, plus the battle of the two teams Shaq left as LA meets Orlando in the 2009 NBA Finals

Nice to see Patrick Ewing back in the NBA finals, even if it is as an assistant coach instead of as a player for the New York Knicks.

It is even nicer to see Stan Van Gundy get to the NBA finals, after “Pat the Rat” unjustly stole his coaching duties and eventual NBA title in Miami.

I think we’ll take your Dwayne Wade from you as our 2010 retribution, Mr. Riley.

What do you think Shaq has to say now that his two former teams in Orlando and Los Angeles are back in the NBA finals without him?  Someone’s going to win a chip without him, but I think Orlando would be even more appreciative of it than LA, who has had more glory in recent years than Orlando, my former town.

I remember the drama that ensued upon O’Neal’s departure, Shaq had a problem with the scrub newspaper people associated with the Orlando Sentinal at the time (scrubby hacks such as Tim Povtak, who is even more of a Knick hater than Charles Barkley).  When the time had come for O’Neal to leave, he said of Orlando, “in Orlando I was a big fish in a small, dried up little pond, in Los Angeles, I’ll be a big fish swimming around with other big fish.”

When Shaq left it completely demolished any basketball spirit the city of Orlando had built since the Magic were an expansion team.  They had built this beautiful building right next to Interstate-4 called the “Magic Fanatic,” where Scott Skiles’ brother worked.   As a direct result of Shaq leaving for LA, that place went out of business and became office space over the years.  Then a few years later, there was the Grant Hill / Tmac debacle.  I’m not happy about the Knicks never making the playoffs, but I’m happy for the people of Orlando, because they have kept the faith and now they’re back in the finals with Dwight, Turk and Rashard–plus they did it without their all-star Jameer Nelson.

Otis Smith is hands-down my vote for GM of the year.  They finally got rid of that hockey idiot of a GM and put someone in that really knows what he is doing.  I hope Walsh does the same for us now that he is running show at 2 Penn Plaza.

Thabeet Could Help D’Antoni’s (Flawed?) System

New York Post’s Marc Berman writes on Donnie Walsh’s affinity for a true mistake eraser, Hasheem Thabeet.  The comparison starts at Rick Smits and stretches as far as Dikembe, with a little bit of Manute Bol thrown in to top it off.

I was thinking, with all the emphasis on offense, we could use a guy that is a defensive natural.  Of course Thabeet will not be there at #8, but isn’t there something we could work out with Memphis to move up to #3?  If not, it’s looking like Stephen Curry in a month from now will be the next to sport the orange and blue for the New York Knicks.

Deja Vu Ew

Oh no, not again, Ewing please!

You’re not even a player on the team, don’t guarantee stuff you have zero control over!

Two “win or go home” game 7’s on today should keep things interesting.  The Lakers-Rockets are to tipoff at 3:30pm, while the Magic-Celtics game is slated to begin at 8:00pm tonight.

Today we shall see if the NBA is scripted or not–watch out for those not-so-rouge referees, the right-hand representation of David Stern’s playoff preferences.