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Johnson, love of Boston drive rooting interests

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There are people, good people, who love the NBA. They prefer it over the alleged amateurs who play college basketball.

Then there are those who just prefer the highly paid, usually underworked guys who get paid enormous sums for throwing a round ball through a round hole.

If that sounds a bit petty, it's because it's a bit petty.

Not born tall or keenly athletic ruined a perfect career dream. From the time yours truly made the eighth grade team at West Side Junior High, the dream was to win a state championship for Central High, then a couple of national championships for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Razorbacks and play 10 or so years in the NBA before retiring to teach school.

In all honesty, that dream bounced off my knee against East Side Junior High when teammate Billy Tannenberger got a defensive rebound and yours truly just wanted to get out of the way, so sprinting the other way seemed like a good idea.

Was it mentioned the reason your trusty scribe was even playing was because four Bearcat starters were on the bench in foul trouble, and coach Don Nixon had to go all the way to the end of the bench to find this substitute.

Long story short, Billy passed to me, one dribble and the ball bounced off my knee, a clumsy fall came next and the Bearcats ended up losing. It was suggested the next day by the assistant coach that my future was in Boys Club basketball.

Still, a love for the game has long burned in my heart -- except for the NBA, which plays far too many games to keep my attention.

That said, at this time of year there is more interest in the NBA as the conference finals start and head toward the NBA championship.

When it comes to pulling for a team there is specific criteria that is usually followed to the T.

Does the team have any Arkansas connections?

As for Boston vs. Cleveland -- which got underway Sunday with the Celtics making LeBron James look like a mere mortal (7 turnovers, 5-of-16 shooting) -- there was joy taken in the Celtics' win.

Neither team has a player from Arkansas, and most of the players probably think we are between Texas and New Mexico.

It would be easy to jump on the hate James bandwagon, but the only thing he's really guilty of is having been blessed to be tall, strong, athletic and one of the best to ever play the game.

The logic to pull for Boston was history. Joe Kleine played for Boston. He and Dana loved the city and team, and last year -- as it is this year -- Boston was a vacation destination for the Halls. Boston is a great city full of really friendly people.

So Boston is the pick. Regardless of how the series turns out, Brad Stevens should be the NBA Coach of the Year. This is the same Brad Stevens who led Butler to back-to-back NCAA championship games.

Boston won the first game with great defense, but the Celtics are missing top players Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving.

As for pulling for the Houston Rockets to beat defending champions Golden State, that was easy -- although beating the Warriors won't be, not with all the talent they have.

But Joe Johnson, one of the greatest players to ever come out of Arkansas, is on the roster.

More importantly, the wife was born in Houston and has numerous family members still there.

Besides, it would be nice to have something to discuss besides another Golden State-Cleveland showdown. After three years of seeing that, a little variety would be nice.

Sports on 05/15/2018

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