Balls: Clippers, Rockets don’t deserve another round 

If NBA commissioner Adam Silver has a kind bone in his body, then he'll invoke his for-the-good-of-the-game powers and spare us Game 7 of the other Western Conference semifinals series tonight. That's right, just tell the Warriors to proceed directly to the NBA Finals and be done with it. Because neither the Houston Rockets nor the Los Angeles Clippers deserve to play them.

In Game 6, the Clippers were minutes away from the first conference finals berth in their sorry history, only to have Lob City morph into Gag City again. The other team in Los Angeles was blown away in the fourth quarter, 40-15, when pretty much everyone except Chris Paul treated the ball as if it were a hand grenade. Why, Clippers superfan Billy Crystal was so distraught, he threatened to give his season tickets to Jack Nicholson after the game.

Earlier in the series, the Rockets followed the lead of James Harden, the alleged Most Valuable Player candidate. Harden has been in a pouty mood ever since Stephen Curry was named MVP only hours before the series opener, so it's no coincidence the turnaround began with him on the bench in the fourth quarter. Wonder what Harden supporters Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant and Mark Jackson have to say now.

JUST ASKIN': So if the Clippers and the Rockets perform the Heimlich Maneuver for 48 minutes, does anyone win the series?

SELFLESS LEE SCORES POINTS : While Draymond Green did the darn near impossible in the conference semifinals — actually was quiet for a few days — David Lee stepped up with some productive minutes off the bench.

C'mon, you haven't forgotten David Lee already.

Lee was a four-year starter before Green took his job early his season, a move that had a lot to do with the Warriors' success in the regular season. At 32, he could have went all Dwight Howard and demanded a trade or gone through the motions to force one. That's what former All-Stars do in this league, right? Instead, Lee bit his lower lip, vented his frustrations in practice, made the guys better around him and waited his turn.

"I'm not complaining about anything right now," Lee told Balls the other day."This isn't about me. This is about our team getting to where it needs to get to. I'm playing a role in that, and that's all you can ask."

That kind of selfless attitude pretty much sums up the person and the team, doesn't it?

HAPPILY EVER AFTER?: The more Lee increases his trade value, the theory goes, the easier it will be to move the final year of his six-year, $79.5 million contract. And that translates into an expanded role for him somewhere and greater salary-cap flexibility for the Warriors in the near future.

Lee makes a pretty good buck these days, so there's no need for sympathy cards here. Still, there are easier jobs in sports than for a career 15-point, 10-rebound guy to be a bit player late in his career.

"The most difficult thing — ask anyone in this locker room — is when you're out there for two or three minutes and know that you're coming out," Lee said. "There's no way to get in the flow of the game. When you're out there, you're cold and everyone else hasn't even broken a sweat. But with a little more time these last couple of games, I've felt a lot better out there.

"My whole focus is going in and bringing energy. Everything else kind of takes care of itself."

PUT AWAY THE VIOLINS: The Stanford marching band was banned from away games for next season, the result of rules violations that ranged from alcohol and controlled substances to hazing and sexual harassment.

The good news is, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has extended scholarship offers to the guilty parties.

YOUR WELCOME, COMMISH: Bet NFL dictator Roger Goodell felt a whole lot better when he saw that headline next to his picture in the New York Daily News the other day.

"Balls In His Court."

YOUR TURN: "I just finished reading your rant regarding Barry Bonds. When you devote space in your column for the removal of Gaylord Perry from the Hall of Fame and removal of Ty Cobb because of his vocal racism, then you will have my respect." — Joseph Neri, San Francisco

(The Boston Red Sox aren't worried about Bonds' collusion charge in the least. They already had a big Monster in the outfield.)

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to and you may get your name in the paper one day.

Pin It

Speaking of...

More by Paul Ladewski

Latest in Balls: Paul Ladewski

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation