Originally Published: Apr 14, 2010 10:45 AM CDT
The LA Times reports today that Phil Jackson has already started working the refs. The Lakers and OKC Thunder play in the first round of the NBA Playoffs beginning this weekend.
Yeah, by the calls he gets, he really gets to the line a lot, I'll tell ya," Jackson said Tuesday. "There's a couple plays in the last game where I was pretty curious how he got there."
Durant leads the NBA in scoring (30.1 points a game) and free-throw attempts (10.3 a game). By comparison, Kobe Bryant's best season ever in free-throw attempts was 10.2 a game in 2005-06.
The Times reports that Jackson called Durant a "special player" earlier this season, but, well, this is the playoffs, so Jackson began the mind games several days before the Lakers faced the Thunder.
The paper points out that Jackson isn't alone in his thinking, finding an unusual partner in Boston forward Kevin Garnett, who recently cursed when asked about Durant after the Thunder's 109-104 victory over the Celtics.
"I thought we was playing Michael Jordan tonight, the way he was getting the whistle," Garnett said. "Durant damn near shot more free throws than the whole team."
On another note.dont be surprised if the highly-promoted NFL draft coverage on ESPN effects the game dates of the OKC/LA playoff games. The first round of the NFL draft will be held next Thursday night and will be televised live and in prime time for the first time.
OUs Sam Bradford is expected to be the No. 1 overall selection and four players with OU or OSU ties could go in the top 7, five in the top dozen and six in the first round.
One high-ranking Thunder official told me last night that he believes the draft will probably stretch out the scheduling dates of the first round series between OKC and LA with Game 1 expected to be played Saturday or Sunday in LA. Id expect to see the NBA and the networks to schedule the Lake Show in its Sunday afternoon time slot.
Elsewhere.sources tell me former OSU QB Zac Robinson returned last night from a trip to Philadelphia where he met with Eagle Head Coach Andy Reid, the OC and QB coaches. The Eagles have dual-threat (triple-threat if you consider off the-field issues) QB Michael Vick on the roster and just traded a way Donovan McNabb to Washington.
Ive always felt Robinson could be a versatile asset to an NFL team but used more as a safety type than a prototypical NFL style QB. But he has insisted to me since last summer that he has plans to play only one positional in the NFLQB.
Elsewhere II....I saw Sam Bradford playing golf at Oak Tree National in Edmond last Friday with former OSU star and current PGA Tour player Ricky Fowler. Even though Bradford has golfed very little recently having had shoulder surgery and a busy schedule, he scored incredibly well.
Oak Tree National is one of the toughest courses in the world. The par 71 Pete Dye design was recently renovated and the updated course rating soared to 79.3.
On day with wind gusts around 20-25 mph and from the back tees, Fowler told me Bradford shot 76. An OU coach said Bradford told him he shot 77. So you can tell that whatever the true number, it was remarkably good.
Wonder if thats one reason Mel Kiper believes Jimmy Clausen is better than Bradford. Perhaps his logic in part is that Bradford will spend too much time golfing rather than focusing on football. Whatever his thinking, Mels never been so wrong on a kid.
Someone asked me if I thought Bradford would have a chance to keep up with Tony Romo on a golf course. With all due respect to the low-handicap Dallas QB, after playing with Bradford and seeing what he did last week at Oak Tree, Tony would need some pops from the former Sooner Heisman winner.