So, in case you haven’t noticed, a little league history was made this week…
But to avoid the temptation of turning this into a weekly homage to the Warriors (we really, really could), we’ve dug a little deeper to find the real NBA heroes on display this week. Well, the ones outside the bay area.
Here’s a quick roundup of this week’s biggest winners and losers:
Latvia: Home to Europe’s widest waterfall, Baltic-famous amber jewellery, and…You know, Latvians.
OK, without relying on Google, trying to list memorable things about the small European republic runs like a pub quiz round for geographic sadomasochists. That is, until now.
Let us introduce Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia’s next (also, possibly first) big thing.
The 7ft 3in rookie has gone from nobody to New York’s next big thing practically overnight. And even though he’s still only averaging around 26 per game, the 20-year-old is having a big impact on and off the court – something which goes some way to explaining their 8-6 record (last four in a row).
But ‘The Human Tap’ (trademark pending) had his breakout performance on Saturday night, putting up 24 points and 14 rebounds against the Houston Rockets. His shirt sold out the next day.
Remember when you booed him on draft day Knicks fans? No, he hasn’t forgotten either.
But don’t worry about it. There’s a new hero in New York – for now at least. Sorry Jeremy Lynn…
Honourable mentions: Golden State Warriors, Golden State Warriors Fans, Steph Curry lookalikes.
It all happened so fast…
Just a few weeks after looking like the Houston Rockets officially turned their season around, their tumultuous start took a turn for the worse. And, if you’re Kevin McHale, a lot worse.
The three-time NBA champion (as a player) and four-year coach of the Rockets received his marching orders on Wednesday, bringing his hugely-successful tenure to a disappointing conclusion.
In fact, McHale leaves as one of the franchise’s most successful coaches, departing with a record of 193-130 and the highest winning percentage in Rockets history at .598%.
Add to this a trip to last year’s Western Conference Finals, and playoff appearances in each of the last three seasons, and the decision becomes almost downright puzzling.
Three straight 20 point losses certainly didn’t help, but McHale’s firing seems to run deeper than that. And it comes down to two simple words:
It’s not known exactly what was said at the ‘player’s only’ meeting held a day before McHale was dismissed, but it certainly doesn’t seem like a rallying cry. The players had simply stopped playing for him – and the most expendable part was duly removed.
Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of his wife. It truly has been a terrible week for the McHale family…
Honourable mentions: Philadelphia 76ers. Possibly others, but mainly, the Philadelphia 76ers.