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An NBA playoff guide nearly as fast as Joakim Noah

Wherever you’re going it’s safe bet thJoakim Noah Bulls’ two-time All-Star center will beyou there. | Paul Beaty/AP

Wherever you’re going, it’s a safe bet that Joakim Noah, the Bulls’ two-time All-Star center, will beat you there. | Paul Beaty/AP

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Updated: April 26, 2014 6:01PM



With the NBA playoffs underway, Couch Slouch hopes to erase the yearlong pain of accepting that the San Antonio Spurs — with the best team and the best coach — gifted the Miami Heat last season’s championship.

I was stupid enough to predict LeBron James would never win a title in South Beach — my 897th errant prognostication since the fall of the Soviet Union — so watching the Heat win it all back-to-back was almost as demoralizing as watching my first two marriages go belly-up back-to-back.

Still steaming at the Spurs, here’s my 24-second guide to this year’s NBA playoffs:

◆ Let us celebrate the Bulls’ Joakim Noah, who makes Charlie Hustle look like Robinson Cano. Little-known fact: The Energizer Bunny is based loosely on the life of Noah. His motor never shuts off; he could go 0-for-7 from the field every game and still be his team’s MVP.

If I were 10 feet from a porterhouse steak and he were 75 feet away — and neither one of us had eaten in three days — he would beat me to the T-bone every time, which, I’ll grant you, might be more a reflection on my lack of speed than on his competitive juices.

◆ Who let the Wizards’ Randy Wittman into the postseason? He might be a fine person and a fine leader, but Wittman has had the misfortune of associating with some rather dismal franchises in his eight-year NBA head coaching history. With the Cleveland Cavaliers, he had a 62-102 record, with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he was 38-105, and before this season in Washington, he was 47-84 with the Wizards. He often wakes up in the middle of the night to call a timeout because he thinks he’s behind by 15 points.

We hope he enjoys his two-week-long stay in the postseason.

◆ I’m going to say this one time and one time only: Leave Blake Griffin alone. As a Clippers fan — I’m also a Lakers fan, but right now that can’t even get a D-list wannabe to look at you in an L.A. singles bar — I am tired of everyone off the court talking about what Griffin can’t do and everyone on the court clocking him and cheap-shotting him. He was one of the NBA’s best this season, averaging 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.

The Warriors’ Klay Thompson recently derided Griffin as ‘‘a bull in a china shop,’’ which, from where I’m sitting, is preferable to being a piece of china in a bullring.

◆ Coaching in the NBA might be easy, but keeping your job is hard. First of all, it’s NOT easy — what, you want to be calling out plays for J.R. Smith eight months a year? As for staying employed, look at the precarious state of Mark Jackson, who has led the Golden State Warriors to 47-35 and 51-31 records the last two seasons and somehow is in danger of getting fired; the Warriors were 23-43 in 2011-12.

The NBA is so tough that back in the day, John the Baptist could’ve led the Orlando Magic to an 81-1 record and still been beheaded.

◆ Hey, how long can I stay mad at the Spurs? They’re the classiest act in sports. If I had children — I have stepkids, who treat me like a substitute teacher — I would want Gregg Popovich to be their godfather, Tony Parker to be their uncle, Tim Duncan to be their mentor and Manu Ginobili to be that goofy youngster down the street who schools them on life, teamwork and Argentinian food.

◆ Somehow, the Toronto Raptors finished with a 48-34 record and the No. 3 seed in the East. I love the Raptors as much as the next guy, but if their starting five — Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas — walked into my home, I’d figure they were there to check my sump pump.

◆ The Eastern Conference playoffs sort of remind me of the Powerball lottery. You know when the Powerball climbs to, like, $300  million and folks start lining up around the block to buy tickets? The Wizards, Bobcats and Hawks are those people — they have about a 1-in-a-very-blue-moon’s chance of winning the NBA title but they figure, what the heck, let’s go for the gold!

◆ Actually, this just in — Warren Buffett is offering $1 billion to the Hawks if they win the NBA title. The Hawks made the postseason while losing 23 of their final 36 games. If the regular season lasted any longer, they would’ve missed the D-League playoffs.

Ask the Slouch

Q. They played the Masters without Tiger Woods, and Tim Tebow’s playing career seems over — how much longer can ESPN survive? (Mark Cohen; Gibsonia, Pa.)

A. Well, ESPN created the SEC Network for Tebow to work as an analyst, so I assume the Tiger Network might not be far behind.

Q. Weren’t the Romans obsessed with sporting events just before the empire collapsed? (Bob Parker; Fort Pierce, Fla.)

A. Indeed, the Emperor Romulus was on hold with Time Warner Cable the day the empire fell.

Q. Shouldn’t the Cubs’ new mascot be a bear-skinned rug? (Jim Droppa; Indianapolis)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail asktheslouch@aol.com. If your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!



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