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Bob's Corner: It's Miller time ... in LA

BOB'S CORNER: Our man at the coalface in the birthplace of basketball - the USA - Bob Craven, has been busy this week with so much going on. This week's report has WNBA, NBA, NCAA, entertaining history and a lot more as he searches for those items to keep our readers amused and uptodate.

CURT Miller, a two-time WNBA coach of the year, has left the Connecticut Sun after seven seasons to coach the LA Sparks. 

Miller was also the Suns' GM for the past six years and led them to two trips to the WNBA Finals, including this year when they lost to the Las Vegas Aces in four games in the best-of-five series. 

In LA, he will replace former Laker guard Derek Fisher (below), who was fired as coach and GM after a 5-7 start to this past season.  Even though Miller did double duty in Connecticut, the Sparks have said they will also hire a GM during the offseason.

Interesting anniversary:  In 1976, identical twin brothers, Tom and Dick Van Arsdale played together in a game for the Phoenix Suns. 

They were the first brothers who played on the same team at the same time in the NBA, but they were not the only ones ever. (There are at least 8 others who played since their glory days in the '60's and '70's.) 

One of my favourite basketball stories is about the Van Arsdales.  They played for different teams almost the entirety of their pro careers, so they often would play against each other.  One of those times, they arranged to meet in a neutral room at the stadium where they were playing, and they swapped uniforms at halftime.

Each brother played the second half for the other brother's team, and neither team nor their teammates were aware of the switch until years later, when they read about it in an interview they gave. 

An interesting side note is that one of the brothers had a great offensive first half in that game, while the other was average at best.  After they swapped uniforms, the brother who had the great first half, also had a great second half - for his brother's team. 

THE Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is having a great start to this season. 

The Bucks are the only undefeated team left in the NBA, and he is playing as if to prove he is one for the ages.  In his past two games, he's scored almost 90 points, and on the season is shooting 70 per cent from the field overall, and 50 per cent from behind the arc. 

He also became Milwaukee's career free throw leader, surpassing Sidney Moncrief.

Another doing well is Canadian (via the U. of Kentucky), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, of the OKC Thunder. 

In his most recent game, he became the first ever to score 30 points, dish out eight assists, and collect three steals and three blocks while shooting 100 per cent from the charity stripe and from beyond the arc. 

My thought here is who has the time and energy to even think of this stuff, much less take the time to research it all?  (Although, after reading *Boti's memoir, I might have an answer to that question.)

PRIOR to this past week, no LA Laker had ever gone 0-of-11 or worse from the field in a game since 1965.  Note to Russell Westbrook:  Hold this brick, please.

And I noted this exchange recently on the set of TNT's "Inside the NBA:"
Charles Barkley:  "Gregg Popovich, one of the greatest coaches ever, said something to me one time ... "
Kenny Smith:  "Stop eating?"
Shaq:  "Don't go to Krispy Kreme?"

NBA #1 draft pick, Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic, recently became the first #1 pick ever to score 20 or more points in his first five career games. 

Orlando has lost all five of those games - they and LBJ's Lakers are the only teams yet to win a game this season.

The surprising (so far) Portland Trailblazers just lost their first game of the season, after starting off 4-0.  It's the first time they've started off a season at 4-0 since the 1990's.

THE University of Connecticut's women's basketball team has had not one, but two major setbacks - and the season hasn't even started yet. 

Former national player of the year, Paige Bueckers, will miss the entire season after surgery on her left knee, and their #1 incoming freshman, forward Ice Brady (I did not make that up), will now also miss the entire upcoming season after surgery to repair a dislocated right kneecap.

BEN Simmons is a starter and playing a starter's minutes for Brooklyn, but, oh, how the mightly have fallen, at least offensively. 

It's obvious now that the Nets are using him mostly for defence, assists and rebounding.  He has yet to score in double figures this season.

Tonight must have been the ultimate embarrassment for him. Near the end of the first quarter in tonight's game, he cut to the basket from the left side near the top of the key, beating his man who got lazy on D and the help defence, got a nice feed from Kevin Durant near the hoop, and then launched an airball of a lay-in attempt from about a metre from the rim, and then tipped the ball out of bounds.

On October 8, 1997 (amazingly in retrospect, it was 25 years ago this month), Dee Kantner and Violet Palmer were hired as full-time NBA referees, marking the first time in major pro sports history that females would officiate regular-season games in an all-male league.

*Still available in all good bookstores!

Oct 29

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.