F ish Tales
By MARK FISCHER
NBA Playoffs are here .. .
0 * ,give them their due
Sure, it was opening day yesterday.
Sure, it's Masters time again.
But there's still plenty of time to catch 'baseball
fever"-161 games in fact-and golf's going to be
with us all summer as well. -
Not so with pro basketball, which won't be
around in a month or so. So now, with the playoffs
well underway and the action getting hotter with
every game, it's time for every true sports fan to
turn his or her eyes to the sport which combines
speed and strength, grace and skill, and in-
dividuality and teamwork like no other.
"Well, if the game is so great, why write a
column like this in the first place?" you may ask.
"People should be drawn to basketball anyway!"
Unfortunately for hoop lovers everywhere,
though, many critics believe the NBA simply isn't
that great anymore. For various reasons, many
former fans have become disenchanted with the
"There's no teamwork in the pros," one will
"The refs always let the home team win
anyways," blurts another skeptic.
"You only have to watch the last three minutes
to know what's going on in those games," another
adds with disdain.
However arbitrary these comments may sound,
there may be some truth to them-at least when
they are made in reference to the regular season.
But when you're talking about the playoffs (which
we are) the criticisms just don't hold water.
To begin with, teams which don't play as a team
don't go very far. Just ask the Knicks, who cer-
tainly had the talent (Campy Russell, Ray
Williams, Bill Cartwright, and co.) to beat
Chicago, but ended up losing to the Bulls in two
straight because they couldn't or wouldn't work
the ball around enough between themselves to get
good shots. They didn't bring up any memories of
Knicks of the early 70's, at any rate.
Secondly, the refs are usually at their best
(largely because only the best refs are called on to
work) in the playoffs, in which the home team
doesn't always win. Houston's elimination of for-
mer champ Los Angeles, which lost two at home
against the Rockets, is a prime example of the lat-
And finally, just watching the last three minutes
of a playoff game is like just watching the last
three minutes of Gone With The Wind. Either way,
a lot of masterfully produced action and suspense-
filled drama will be missed. It may be stretching it
a bit to compare a second or third quarter take-off-
at-the-foul-line slam dunk by Dr. J to Clark
Gable's (Rhett Butler's) famous "Frankly I don't
give a damn" line, but it is true that both add
much to their respective audiences' pleasure, both
are classics in their own right, and neither takes
place in the last three minutes.
Now that you're psyched up again for the NBA
playoffs, it's prediction time. In the East, it'll be
Boston over Chicago in five, and over Philly
(which takes seven games to beat Milwaukee) in
seven. In the West, look for Phoenix over Otis Bir-
dsong-less K.C. in six, and over the surprising
Rockets by the same. The Sixer-hardened Celts
will then burn the Suns, 4-2, in the finals.
Bivouac goes on vacation
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Now $99.95 (Reg. $125.00)
Detroit 6, Toronto 2
Oakland 5, Minnesota 1
New York Yankees 10, Texas 3
New York Mets 2, Chicago Cubs 0
Montreal 6, Pittsburgh 5
Los Angeles 2, Houston 0
San Diego 4, San Francisco 1
Minnesota 9, Boston 6
(Minnesota leads series, 2-0)
New York Islanders 5, Toronto I
(New York leads series, 2-0)
Golfer Don Pooley prepares to retrieve his ball from the collar of Ron Shmid,
Duke University golf coach, where it landed during the par three
preliminary to the Masters Golf Tournament.
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