This and That
Each week I'll give my thoughts on the world of sports:
• We will have a new champion in the NBA. The reign of the Celtics ended Sunday night as Orlando didn't blow another big lead in Boston. Stan Van Gundy's team was terrific from three-point range and guys like Hedo Turkoglu really stepped up. You knew it was going to be tough for Boston with Kevin Garnett on the sidelines. Give Doc Rivers and company credit for getting this far despite injuries to Garnett and Leon Powe. The young Magic pulled through and next up is a showdown against LeBron James and the Cavaliers. It will be exciting to have two young superstars like James and Dwight Howard in the spotlight.
• The Lakers finally put away the Rockets Sunday in a wild series. It seemed like the last few games the homecourt meant everything. Kobe Bryant didn't have a big game Sunday, but the Lakers didn't need it. Will someone tell me which Andrew Bynum will show up in the Western Conference finals? Denver will be a tough opponent for Phil Jackson and company. George Karl has done a terrific job and the addition of Chauncey Billups gave Denver a leader. Carmelo Anthony will be fired up for this. It should be an intriguing series.
• Has anyone noticed that the Yankees are starting to get on a roll? It is all about confidence and the last three games, the New Yorkers have come from behind and found ways to win. Different people have come through with late-inning heroics in the current series against the Twins, including A-Rod, Melkey Cabrera and Johnny Damon.
• You have to give a salute to Toronto's Roy Halladay and Kansas City's Zach Greinke. Both are off to tremendous starts so far this season, making the decision for the starting slot in the All-Star game intriguing. I know it is early, but both Halladay and Greinke have been almost unbeatable.
• Rafael Nadal is a huge favorite to win the French Open. That said, Roger Federer sent a message that he is far from out of the picture. Federer beat Nadal in Madrid in the finals of a French warm-up event.
• It is disappointing to hear more and more about Manny Ramirez and his 50-game suspension. He let his teammates down, manager Joe Torre and the entire organization as well. We will have to see what happens when he returns. Hopefully he will have learned from this situation.
• I was so touched by the support of college coaches and pro athletes that paid their own expenses to attend the Dickie V. Gala in Sarasota, Fla. last Friday. I can't thank them enough for making the gala a huge success. We raised over $1.1 million for the Jimmy V Foundation to help further cancer research. Jimmy V's dream was to beat this dreaded disease and we are moving in the right direction. There were so many celebrities dedicated to this cause, making Sarasota the sports capital of the world. Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan gave special speeches as honorees and there were a number of courageous individuals with their own cancer stories that made appearances.