Saturday , Apr , 10 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

19th edition – 04/10/2004

I was almost half way there. Two down, two to go. The dream was close to becoming a reality…well…that is until Tennessee FAILED ME. Now all I can do is hope for a 3-1 record and wait…wait until next season…again.

19th edition - 04/10/2004None of my favorite basketball teams have ever won the championship in the same calendar year. Not once. And can I tell you it drives me crazier than Ron Artest. Just once before my time on earth is up I would love see that happen. Is that too much for the basketball gods to grant? This year I sincerely thought my time had come. After NONE of my squads got it done last year, I had a feeling that things were going to go my way the next time around. With the Lakers acquiring Gary Payton and Karl Malone, UConn being the preseason favorites to cut down the nets, the Lady Volunteers armed with the senior leadership to finally overcome that obstacle known as Diana Taurasi, and the Sparks reclaiming the top spot following their post-season collapse against the Detroit Shock, my confidence was at it’s apex. Well, slightly. I guess deep down in my heart, I knew it was going to be EXTREMELY difficult for Tennessee to win the title if they had to face Taurasi and the Huskies. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, I love the UConn men’s team, and despise their women’s squad. Geno Auriemma gets on my nerves.) But still you never know… Right? Remember Villanova in 1985? It could happen again… Right?

Wrong. The Lady Vols got dismissed and my dream for a perfect season went down the toilet. And I thought the stars were aligned in my favor, especially after the UConn men’s team won by the skin of their teeth against Duke. Curses! Well, like I said, all I can hope for is a .750 finish (Go Lakers and Sparks!) and wait until next year to see if my Final Four will allow me to bask in the glory of such rare feat. Wouldn’t that be a shining moment?

AS THE LEAGUE HAPPENS

* The Orlando Magic and Tracy McGrady decided it would be in the best interest of the player and team if he called it a season to rest his sore knee. I think that’s just a covert scheme to assure that they get the most ping-pong balls in the draft lottery. Can’t blame ‘em for trying.

* For Sacramento King fans to boo Chris Webber as he struggles to help his team win is pretty wack. The guy just returned from KNEE SURGERY and MONTHS of rehabilitation. One would think so-called knowledgeable fans would understand why he isn’t playing up to their expectations.

* I think we can give the Cleveland Cavaliers the hook, because they’re finished.

* Who would’ve thought that the Milwaukee Bucks would be in the playoffs and the Philadelphia 76ers wouldn’t?

* When the Hornets move to the Western Conference next season, I hope they understand what they’re about to get into. If they think the way they’re playing now is going to work, they’re in for a hideous awakening.

* Who’s a better shot blocker Theo Ratliff or Emeka Okafor? Nothing gets by those cats, not a single thing.

* As of Saturday, the Clippers have lost TWELVE straight games. Maybe someone should remind them that even though their season is OVER, technically, it isn’t.

* Let’s face it; Candace Parker winning the McDonald’s High School All American Dunk Contest shouldn’t really count. Sure she made all her dunks, but it was the same dunk! At least the guys had variations in their attempts.

* Welcome back Caron Butler. I’ve missed you.

* What’s got into James Posey? And whatever it is, I hope the Lakers get some for Devean George.

* During the tournament, I saw a clip of Mateen Cleaves celebrating Michigan State’s victory in the championship game in 2000 that lasted longer than his recent stint with the Cavs.

* I don’t really know what to make of David Stern’s proclamation that Michael Jordan will be a team owner in the near future. Where did that come from, and why does it matter…especially now?

* Wally Szczerbiak celebrates EVERYTIME he scores a basket…what a clown.

* I’m not sure who’s going to fix the Raptors, but I guess the organization felt Glen Grunwald couldn’t. And I’m guessing they feel the same about head coach Kevin O’Neill.

* Speaking of Kevin… Shout out to Kevin Johnson, one of my favorite players ever. I just wanted to say that.

The playoffs are coming. Everybody ready?