The craziest thing about Sunday night's Celtics/Knicks game, other that Amar'e Stoudemire dunk where he went around Kevin Garnett and over Jermaine O'Neal so fast that as the ball went through the net it looked as if the feed from TNT skipped a frame or two, was that Ronny Turiaf was playing crunchtime minutes in the playoffs against the Boston Celtics on the road. Not only that, he was playing extremely well (okay, except for that layup he botched, but Ronny's known for feisty defense, surprising blocks and tipped rebounds to teammates, not his touch around the basket).
Such is life for the Golden State Warriors, who ended their season in a slightly cheerier, but still playoff-free, fashion. Life for Turiaf, who was traded with Anthony Randolph and Kelenna Azubuike for David Lee, means starting for the Knicks at the position Larry Riley says is his top target for an upgrade this off-season (no word on if Andris Biedrins was following the Warriors latest press conference from Latvia).
Last weekend contained the best group of first round Game 1s in recent memory, with minutes played by not just Turiaf, but Jamal Crawford (who scored 23 points), Marco Belinelli (who started for the Hornets), Josh Powell, Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, C.J. Watson, Derek Fisher, Al Harrington, Matt Barnes, Joe Smith, Brian Cardinal, Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy (the only ex-Warrior who didn't get off the bench in his playoff team's first game).
This isn't to say the Warriors shouldn't have let all those players go. Without the DunMurphy trade the Warriors would be looking at a 17-year playoff drought, 20 years since winning a playoff series. But in a year when the Warriors bemoaned their lack of depth, so many pieces that were deemed not the right fit seemed to contribute at least something for other teams (well, except for Dunleavy, who was utterly terrible in his 12 minutes on Saturday against the Bulls, although he made up for it with a good performance off the bench on Monday).
The Warriors are changing their ways, with Danville native Bob Myers the first major Joe Lacob hire from outside the company coming to town this week. Keith Smart was given notice during the welcome-Myers press conference that he should take a nice vacation now to dull the pain of his inevitable firing, since the Warriors aren't in any hurry to make a decision but they'll come to one soon enough. And a team that's now testing some of the most advanced statistical metrics available has to be on a better path than they were, right? Warriors fans are hoping the new owners and Assistant GM not only take advantage of all the technology they can, but that all this extra information will prevent them from tossing aside more valuable pieces in the future (Reggie Williams, anybody?), due to their value being diminished because the team as a whole wasn't good enough to play in the second half of April.
Playoffs?!?! Don't talk about -- playoffs?!?!
- But we have to! The Sharks faced a struggle in Game 1, down a defenseman and looking shaky throughout the third period and overtime, but then Kyle Wellwood centered the puck to Joe Pavelski and SCOOOOOOORRRRRRREEEEEE!!!!!
- After the Sharks barely won that game, the Kings enjoyed a 4-0 romp in Game 2, and we're left with what should be a very, very long series.
- The Niners were rumored to have made a contract offer of some sort to Alex Smith. No developments on that yet, but Roddy White of the Falcons sure had a lot to say about it. I think I've heard Roddy call into KNBR and complain about Alex a couple times. His Twitter feed sounds familiar, at least.
- The A's still can't field all that well (Daric Barton's fielding in particular has been shockingly bad), but their pitching has been as good as one could have hoped (better, in the cases of Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill). However, Dallas Braden hit the DL on Monday with shoulder pain, pain he said he'd never felt before. Paging Dr. James Andrews! (I don't know that for certain, but that's usually the course of action in cases like these.)
- Braden's on the front page of the Oakland Athletics' brand new radio station. Haven't checked out their new format yet, but a little competition's always a good thing. In sports, and in sports talk radio.
- The soft-tossing lefty starter on the other side of the Bay hit the DL as well. Barry Zito, who sprained his foot badly enough on Saturday to have it immobilized in a boot for the next two weeks, is set to miss a month according to Bruce Bochy. Now that his only good quality these days (his durability) isn't there, Zito's Giants tenure may get even more awkward than it's been since that unforgettable spring before the 2007 season when he came in with completely different mechanics than before.
- Nate Schierholtz hit a home run in the first inning on Monday night that reached the third deck at Coors Field, which marked the first time positive Barry Bonds stories were told since before the trial. If you haven't seen the farthest home run a Giant will probably hit all season, here it is. Not shown: Aubrey Huff's hilarious wide-eyed, open-mouthed reaction in the dugout.