Sunday, April 15, 2007

Oden's not a Celtic yet!, the Cavs make it a two-game season

First of all, let me start with Greg Oden.....hold the phones, he's not going pro just yet. He still may enter the draft, but it appears as if good old dad may have been doing a little arm-twisting-through-the-media on his son.

As I mentioned yesterday, Oden Sr. told an Indianapolis newspaper that his son is going pro. He also said that Mike Conley Sr would be his agent.

Fast forward to today, and the news reports say that Oden is "still 100% undecided". Conley Sr even tells the Associated Press that he is NOT Oden's agent, but wants to be. Here's the kicker...this is Conley Sr's money quote;
"I talk to his mother every day, and I talk to (Ohio State coach) Thad Matta every day, and if Thad Matta and his mother and I don‘t know, then how can anyone else know?"

That right there tells me that Oden's father wants him in the NBA right now, and he decided to run to the media to push his son along a little bit. I've been doing a little research, and this is the first instance I can find where Oden's father has spoken to the media on behalf of his son. Previously, the only people I could find speaking on Oden's behalf were his mother, Thad Matta, and Mike Conley sr.

Dad, you got some 'splainin to do.


Meanwhile, in the land where people have already legitimately decided to join the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers last night found themselves in a game where they couldn't afford to sleepwalk. They found themselves in a game where if they lost, they could kiss the 2nd-seed goodbye. They found themselves in a game against a weak team who had beaten them the last time they met at The Q.

They found themselves in a game....for about 3 minutes. Then it wasn't a game anymore.

The Cavs jumped out to a 9-0 lead. The lead stretched to 13 points late in the 1st quarter. By halftime, Cleveland had doubled-up on Atlanta, 56-28. The Hawks never got closer than 25 after that, and the lead grew to 37 at one point (94-57).

And now it gets VERY interesting. The Cavs and the Bulls are tied for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, and both only have two games left. Chicago wins the two-team tiebreaker.

The Cavs two remaining games are at Philadelphia and at home against Milwaukee.

Philadelphia is eliminated from playoff contention, and until recently were playing with desire. But over their past 9 games they have been shown where they belong. They played 5 teams staying home for the playoffs. They won all 5. They played four teams advancing onward. They lost all four. This is a game Cleveland should win.

Then comes Milwaukee. Without Michael Redd. At The Q. WITH Michael Redd (and his 27 ppg) in the lineup, the Cavs have defeated Milwaukee 109-99, 95-86, and 94-92. Now they face us without him. The Bucks are 10-30 on the road, and the Cavs are 29-11 at home. I'm not overly concerned.

Chicago's schedule is not nearly as favorable as ours is. They've seen the last of the United Center (until the playoffs start and....hopefully....Miami comes to town for Game 1). They're at Washington today, and at New Jersey on Wednesday.

Washington is struggling. They lost 10 of their last 13 games, besting only Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Atlanta. But of all those losses, only one was a bad loss. Every other game was within reach in the final minute. They don't have a Gilbert Arenas to push them over the top in the final minutes, and it shows. Chicago should win this one, but the Wizards are looking for motivation. A big win today and they can ride a little wave into the postseason. Plus, a win means they'd face Toronto in the playoffs, a fate they'd much rather have than seeing the likes of Cleveland or Chicago. And again, it's in Washington. The Wiz are 26-13 at home, and the Bulls are 17-22 on the road. If the Bulls play like they have been playing lately, they should win easy.

Then comes New Jersey. The Nets are not yet in the playoffs, but they will be unless they have a final-week disaster. Their magic number to get in is one. But they are looking to avoid the 8th seed, where they will have to face Detroit in the first round. They need that 7th-seed, and they're only a game up on Orlando. They will need this game as much as Chicago will, and I'm not sure they're happy about the 31-point pasting the Bulls laid on them a month ago. They're looking for payback, and they may get it on the last day of the season. And if I was facing an angry team (who needs to win) that has Vince Carter and Jason Kidd on it, I'd be worried.

The ball is in Chicago's court. They control their own destiny, but the road is not an easy one. The pressure's on the Bulls.

Again, this is why I love this sport.