Tuesday, May 03, 2005It's FANNNNNN-TASTIC
Anyone got change for a million?
Not a good night for Jeff Van Gundy at all...First he gets fined $100,000 dollars for his comments on how Yao Ming is "refereed" differently and suggested that lobbying from Mark Cuban was the cause of it (and how happy is Cuban to know that HE got in someone's head like that) [Dallas Morning News]. The fine seems severe until you realize that Van Gundy said an actual referee called him and told him as such. [KRT]
Van Gundy, to his credit, refuses to back down. And Yao, who seemed genuinely touched by his coach's defense, offered to pay half his fine. That's also illegal. But David Stern's comments in USA Today were definitely strong to say the least. [Link]
"You can't say the league is biased, there are specific instructions, I have proof but I won't cooperate," Stern said. "That's at the lowest possible end of the banter. And the investigation's not over.
"After Houston has finished its run, even to the Finals, he's going to have to satisfy us on a number of fronts," said Stern, who added that if Van Gundy continues to say things like that, "he's not going to continue in this league."
Van Gundy didn't appear to be shaken by the Commissioner's words and believe me if he thought the league had it out for Houston before...just wait. Even ESPN's Marc Stein says this one is far from over [Link]
"I didn't see anything wrong with what I said," Van Gundy said. "But certainly, obviously, for a statement like that to come out, he obviously differs. ... That's all right."
Now, I have to admit, this is very much Van Gundy. The man will go to any length to stick up for his players (see Mourning foot dragging incident). He's a pure basketball guy, he doesn't care how bad his combover looks, he doesn't care if his suit is wrinkled. He only seems to want the respect of the 12 guys on his roster.
So I think it would've been nice for the Rockets to play a little defense last night. Instead, despite a monster game from Yao, the Rockets lost their third game in a row to the Mavericks [Houston Chronicle]. T-Mac was 6-for-19 and for the third game in a row he's not hitting his open looks.
As for the rest of the night's action.
The Wizards tied up the series with the Bulls at 2 thanks to a 106-99 win last night at home [Sun-Times]. The home team has won all four games in this series and they have mostly been blowouts. The Bulls were down by 28 last night before making a comeback. The Wizards success has come from strong bench play from Etan Thomas and Juan Dixon (35 points last night)
The Spurs took a 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets thanks to a super game by Tim Duncan (39 points, 14 boards) before fouling out. Once again the Nuggets just didn't have the mental game to hang with San Antonio. Kenyon Martin and Andre Miller struggled with fouls all night. A better review of the game is on the MVN Spurs site [Link].
Overall the Spurs will need some bench help. Someone outside of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili needs to contribute double-digit points, especially while Duncan still isn't healthy.