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April 21 - Best Team in New York?

The Yankees? Not based on what we’ve seen so far.  The Mets? Only when Pedro pitches. The Jets?
Not until they can kick straight.  The Giants? Not yet.  The Rangers? Isles? Devils? Who were they?  The
Knicks? Not even the best basketball team in their building.

I hate to say it.  But it’s true, certainly for the winter sports season.  The New Jersey Nets are the best
team in New York.

The Nets showed the heart of a champion, winning fifteen of their final nineteen games, to clinch the
final playoff spot in a tie-breaker with Cleveland.  The Nets, who beat Boston 102-93 in the clincher on
Wednesday night, will open the NBA playoffs against Shaq and the Heat on Sunday.

Vince Carter won’t get much consideration for the NBA’s MVP but there’s no question that his
acquisition for Alonzo Mourning, a pair of Williams, and two first round draft choices turned the Nets
season around.  He didn’t play for the Nets before Christmas and still set a club record for most 30-
point games,
including twelve of them in the final 19 games.

Jason Kidd did what he has done every season since he came to New Jersey – get the team into the
playoffs.  Kidd had only eight rebounds in the clincher over Boston, and thus fell just shy of his ninth
triple-double of the season.  No matter. Nobody else in the league enter the final day of play with more
than five.

Richard Jefferson hasn’t played for more than three months, yet the Nets overcame his loss.  If he can
make it back for the playoffs, the Nets will have a shot to pull one of those rare 8 vs. 1 upsets.

The 42-40 Nets finished 17 games behind the first place Heat. No team has ever won an NBA series
against a team that finished more than 17 games ahead of them; if the Nets can beat Miami they’ll tie
that record … and maybe even earn a bit more consideration as the best team in New York.

Of course it might help the Nets if they could sell out their building more than twice in a season.

Unrelated Thoughts:

Gary Cohen on Wednesday’s Mets broadcast after a Mike Matthews strikeout.  “Matthews… Matthews…
Matthews”.  I guess he misses hockey too.

The NHL apparently won’t use scabs if they don’t have a deal with the players in time to start next
season.  Commissioner Bettman issued this statement on Wednesday. “"What we have said
consistently is, we're planning on having a season. That doesn't change. We're planning on opening on
time. That doesn't change. What we're making clear, though, is the circumstances under which this will
come about: We're still planning on going forward, we're still planning on opening a season on time, but
we're making clear that we're not going to open on time if we don't have a new CBA with our players."
Yawn.  This news comes during what should be the best two weeks of the hockey season – with up to
56 playoff games in a fourteen day period.  

It’s hard to believe that after this fall there won’t be “Monday Night Football” on ABC.  The Jets, who
played in the very first Monday Nighter, against Cleveland in 1970, will also play in the last, as they face
New England on Boxing Night [December 26th]. ABC’s final telecast, at least for now, will be the Super
Bowl.

East Coast vs. West Coast – I was in Arizona recently, which doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time
and is thus three hours behind New York during the summer months.  Worst part of being on the Left
Coast: no late games. Everything’s done by 10:00.