NBA News and Notes for April 29th (Updated 8:03 PM)
* The biggest news of the night has to be the Atlanta Hawks taking two in a row at home from the Boston Celtics, to go back to Boston tied at two games apiece! Joe Johnson was simply amazing in the fourth quarter, hitting incredibly difficult shots and also getting to the basket with stunning ease. Josh Smith had another great game, combining with Johnson for all 32 points the Hawks scored in the fourth quarter (Johnson 20/Smith 12).
The Celtics played well, but the Hawks just played out of their minds in the fourth quarter (which the Hawks entered down ten points).
* Our old friend Larry Brown is returning to coaching, taking on the Charlotte Bobcats (as everyone knows, Brown is a huge UNC guy). The Bobcats have a number of players that Brown should love, particularly Gerald Wallace, so I think this may be a good fit, and leading the Bobcats to their first-ever playoff berth is certainly a better final legacy than his terrible Knick tenure.
* Our other old friend Pat Riley has quit as the Heat coach, but will stay on as president of the team. Erik Spoelstra will become the youngest NBA coach at 37 years of age. Since he is a Riley apprentice, I figure he’ll do a fine job.
* There were two series clinchers tonight, with the Magic eliminating the Raptors and the Lakers completing their sweep of the Nuggets. The Nuggets really need to rework that offense – it looks terrible, and they have too many talented offensive players to be that bad on offense. The Raptors are going to be interesting this offseason – what will they do with Calderon?
* Quick history question – did Michael Jordan complain when the Bad Boys used to abuse him? Brendan Haywood, in complaining about Lebron complaints about the Wizards’ hard fouls, seems to believe he did not. I’ll admit that I do not recall him ever doing so, but that was about twenty years ago, so I may be misremembering. I don’t recall him complaining about the Riley Knicks’ style of play, either, but again, I could just be forgetting.
EDITED TO ADD * I can’t believe I forgot to mention it, as it was one of the major reasons I put up this bit initially, but why doesn’t the NBA have a “flopping” foul? The NHL has a diving penalty, and that’s the exact same thing. A foul if you flop, plus a fine if you get called for five flopping fouls, plus a suspension if you get called for six – I think that would both A. be feasible and B. be effective in curtailing the amount of flopping in the NBA. What say you all?