So, if you happen to be a Louisville Cardinal fan and happened to be out and about last night and couldn’t watch in real time so you taped the Jazz/Rockets game to view later before bed or today, hoping that our main man in the Beehive State was able to lead his underdogs to another W in the Western semis . . .
. . . well . . . (Spoiler Alert!) fuhgettabout any prolongation of the series.
Buuuuuuuut, if you haven’t watched yet, just fast forward to the 3d Q, during which interlude, one Donovan Mitchell, former matriculator on the Belknap Campus, went . . .
. . . en fuego. (Or if you prefer the first translation Google spit out, en llamas.)
Donovan was, it ain’t hyperbole, Jordanesque. It was a fashion show of twists and swirls and crossovers and Eurosteps and reverses and banks and follows and deuces and treys. He tallied double deuces. Which, to put in proper context, was a greater sum for the period than the entirety of the home team, which just so happened to win more games this season than any other.
Plus he was dishing out no look dimes that were, dare I say it, Magical.
You can watch the highlights here.
Had he not been sidelined with a leg injury, sitting him for the duration, the Jazz might have pulled off the upset. But it was not to be.
Nor was any advance warning of the breakout rookie year for the former Cardinal. Who went for 20.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 3.7 apg during the regular season. Then upped his considerable game when standing in the spotlight of the playoffs with 24.4, 5.9 and 4.2.
All of which excellence and good fortune would be plenty enough to have the Red & Black Hoop Faithful puffing out their chests, if it weren’t for that other breakout dude, another former denizen of the Yum!, whose career arc is in serious ascendence in Celtic green.
Begosh and begorra, you go Terry Rozier.
For his first two seasons, Rozier seemed slated -- at best -- for a journeyman career as a third guard, making enough money to wean himself from those sugar sandwiches on white bread he was prone to eat due to finances as a youth. 1.8 ppg as a rookie. 5.5 ppg in his second season.
Then Kyrie Irving went down for this season, and Marcus Smart for most of the campaign, and the wunderkind of coaches Brad Stevens -- OK, he’s 41 but that’s a kid to me -- let Terry loose. 11.3 ppg in the regular season. During Boston’s run to the Eastern Finals -- which they hope to complete Wednesday evening -- Rozier’s gone for 18.3, 5.5 and 6.1, including that masterpiece when he splashed 7 of 9 longballs.
Which got me to thinking about that oft trotted out meme about Dean Smith being the only coach to hold Michael Jordan under 20 ppg. (By the by, Jim Nantz, it’s pronounced “meem” not “me-me.”)
Mitchell’s best year as a Card was 15.6 ppg, and he seemed tired as it wound down and ended with that whisper of a loss to Michigan.
Rozier averaged 17.1 ppg in his final stint as a Cardinal, but, like most under the previous regime, seemed ever under wraps. The single great play I recall is that last second assist to Russ for a game winner at Cincy.
So, is Pitino/Mitchell or Pitino/Rozier now a meme for us locals, like Dean Smith/ Michael Jordan?
-- Seedy K