1) 2009-2010 Tarence Kinsey Award
Back in the 2006-2007 season, my fantasy basketball team was in trouble, and it was the end of the season. I ended up picking up a guy I never heard of but who had been playing well. His name? Tarence Kinsey from the Minnesota T-wolves. The 6'6" SG Kinsey ended up averaging 18.9 ppg, 4.1 rebs, and 2.23 steals per game between March 24th and April 18th of that season. This amazingly unexpected production powered my team to the finals of my fantasy basketball season. Thus, when any person I've never heard of before goes ballistic during the last month of the season, I decide to give them the "Tarence Kinsey award."
This year, a new player has torn things up for my team, like never before and has certainly reached Tarence Kinsey status. His name? Anthony Tolliver from Golden State. He's a 6'9" guy from Creighton who plays Forward and Center... AND shoots 3s. Since February 27th, he's averaging 14.1 ppg, 7.9 rebs, 1.55 3pts/game, 0.86 steals, 0.90 blocks. My favorite game was on March 22nd, when he had 25 points, 12 rebounds, 2 3pointers, 3 steals, and 2 blocks against the Phoenix Suns.
2) The troubles of Bulls Coach Vinny Del Negro
Coach Del Negro almost got fired in the middle of the season, after blowing a 35-point lead to the Kings and being out of playoff contention for long periods of time. Notably, management then decided to dump out 2 of the top 7 players (Salmons, Tyrus Thomas) in cost-cutting moves to position the Bulls to pick up a player this summer. The Bulls still have Deng, D. Rose, and J. Noah and have hung around in the playoff chase... then came an epic collapse this past Friday. Then, ESPN ran a bizarre story over the weekend... and how Del Negro and President John Paxson don't see eye-to-eye. Essentially, J. Noah has plantar fasciitis and for health reasons, the team instituted a 35-minute cap on his minutes. However, on Friday night, the Bulls got into an OT game, so Del Negro wasn't going to insert Noah back in the game. The person who ended up stirring up the pot in this situation? It was assistant coach Lindsey Hunter (yes the former player!). Apparently, Lindsey Hunter asked the Bulls' GM who called Paxson during the 4th quarter, who relayed word back to Hunter to... PLAY NOAH MORE THAN 35 MINUTES. When Del Negro received the message though, he decided to stick to the limit, but apparently, Paxson is not pleased at this.
3) Games to Watch the Next 4 Days
With the NBA season winding down, the only teams that are trying right now all happen to be out West... with a few in the East. Here are the races still being contested that are worth mentioning:
-Celtics vs. Hawks (Hawks up 1 game) to get the 3-seed
-Raptors (w/o Bosh) vs. Bulls (even) to get the 8-seed
-Dallas, Denver, Utah, Phoenix (separated by 1.5 games) battling for the 2 through 5 seeds
-Ok City, San Antonio, and Portland (separated by 1 game) battling for the 6, 7, and 8 seeds... and most importantly to avoid playing the Lakers. I think the Spurs and Ok City are capable of winning at least 1 playoff series... but only if they avoid the Lakers.
There are some interesting matchups the next few days (season ends Wednesday 4/14):
1) Chicago vs. Toronto - 6PM Sunday
2) Ok City vs. Portland - 10PM Monday
3) Boston vs. Chicago - 8PM Tuesday
4) Denver vs. Phoenix - 10:30PM Tuesday
5) San Antonio vs. Dallas - 8PM Wednesday
6) Phoenix vs. Utah - 10:30PM Wednesday