The Golden State Warriors have tied their NBA playoff series 2-2 with the veteran San Antonio Spurs winning game four in overtime 97-87. Both teams have won games on the opponents’ home court. There is no question this playoff series is in the mode of ready, set, go! How did this unlikely Warriors team get on the Mark?
When the Golden State Warriors organization’s top brass made the decision to interview Mark Jackson for their head coaching vacancy they stepped out of the preverbal box. They interviewed a very good and knowledgeable ABC-NBA prime time analyst who was one of the best assist men in NBA history, but he had no resume as a coach at the high school, college or NBA level. Mark Jackson had no major coaching experience.
Mark Jackson is an ordained minister who along with his wife is a pastor of a congregation. Not your normal prerequisite qualification for a head coach in the NBA.
Arsenal welcome the newly-crowned FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic to the Emirates tomorrow in what is a crucial but also worth three points as any other Premier League match.
Wigan are fighting for their Premier League survival, so they need the three points just as badly as Arsenal do tomorrow, so there will be no shortage of attacking play. Roberto Martinez can piece together something looking like an attack when he needs to, and this will probably work out for Arsenal, too, as the Gunners tend to play more freely against teams who leave space rather than those who just play a 4-5-1 and stand tall. Wigan may also be a little tired from their cup win over the weekend, so Arsenal should have space to roam.
And roam they must. The three points are crucial to stay ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, and the goal is simple: win the last two games, and the 4th Champions League spot is in Arsenal's hands.
As predicted, Roberto Mancini has been sacked by Manchester City tonight. Despite the success he has brought to the Etihad, the powers that be have decided to pull the trigger. Mancini has a win rate only bettered by Sir Alec Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti.
Manchester City had not won a trophy for nearly 35 years until Mancini arrived, winning the FA Cup and then the Premier League title in successive seasons. However, that was not deemed good enough by the ridiculous Arab owners, who spend their country`s wealth whilst their countrymen starve in poverty.
It is hard to understand the logic of their decision when they had not won a thing until Mancini arrived. The new manager is expected to be Manuel Pellegrini, whose CV includes a spell at Real Madrid. It is hard to see what Pellegrini offers that Mancini did not, especially as Pellegrini has not won anything of note recently.
Today is just symptomatic of the disease that pervades the Premiership with arrant billionaire owners acting like feudal lords hiring and firing at will, whilst their fans are left surprised and confused about their position. No doubt all will be revealed next season!
The Chicago Bulls trail two games to one in their uphill playoff battle against the top-seeded Miami Heat. If the Bulls want to extend the series beyond five games, Monday’s Game 4 at the United Center becomes a must-win.
Beating Miami is always going to take a healthy dose of luck, but the Bulls can maximize their chances by following this formula:
1. Play smart
The action after the whistle has gotten more attention in this series than what’s actually happening while the game clock is running. The Bulls have instigated much of that chippiness—witness Nazr Mohammed’s Game 3 ejection—and the refs will be watching the home team for any opportunity to assess a technical on Monday.
Tom Thibodeau will need to preach “do as I say, not as I do” after getting slapped with a fine for complaining about the officiating, but somebody has to convince the Bulls to keep their cool. Physical play is one thing, but all the pushing and shoving in dead-ball situations only serves to shorten an already thin Chicago bench.
2. Don’t get beaten by the supporting cast
In keeping with the other tell-tale signs, today, I was on my way to the drive-through parade which starts at Old Trafford and ends in Albert Square, Manchester, when I immediately noticed that the huge banner that has been on the front of the building at Old Trafford has been removed.
What is the significance of that you may ask? Well, the player who is at the forefront of the banner is none other than Wayne Rooney. I have it on good authority from my United insiders, that the banner has been removed at the express request of Sir Alex Himself! There cannot be any clearer indication that Rooney`s days are numbered at Old Trafford.
In a straw poll in the Sun newspaper today, Manchester United fans were asked whether Rooney should stay or be sold. The answer was emphatic, with 73% saying that he should go! United fans are an especially loyal bunch, but they will only take so much. Rooney`s form this season has been appalling with below par performances, looking unfit and overweight all the time. Manchester United has won the title despite Rooney, not because of him.