Execution? Give us a break LeBron, please

Bobby Curran
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Friday - February 22, 2008
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The best you can say about NBA All-Star weekend is that nobody got shot. And I suppose that there is little harm in the made-for-TV aura of the surrounding events. Dwight Howard was actually entertaining in the slam-dunk contest, an event that has long outlived its usefulness. But the entire show has everything to do with celebrity, and very little to do with basketball. You wouldn’t mind so much if the announcers accepted the all-star game for what it is - an individual skills showcase - but the constant attempts to make this seem like a real competition are beyond ludicrous. And when LeBron James (who I really like and think is great for the league) talks about the East team winning because they “executed,“the silliness reached its zenith. There wasn’t a shred of defense played by anyone. I’ll be glad when the league’s second half is under way.

Last Saturday saw the under-manned Rainbow Warriors overcome a 14-point second-half deficit to knock off conference leader Utah State at the Stan Sheriff Center. That had to be the finest moment in Bob Nash’s season.

The grit and intensity demonstrated by the Hawaii players was magnificent to watch. Riley Leuttgerod exemplified the blue-collar effort with 16 points, six steals and five assists, Leuttgerodt was one of five Rainbow Warriors to score in double figures, helping to overcome another fabulous 27-point performance by WAC Player of the Year frontrunner Jaycee Carroll. The upset by Hawaii creates a logjam at the top of the conference with five teams separated by two games, with the Rainbow Warriors among them. There are only two chances to see this Hawaii basketball team at home - they’ll play Idaho on Feb. 28 and Boise State on March 1.

I took my family to Les Murakami Stadium for the finale of the Rainbow-Vulcan series. What a difference the new Domo Turf makes. The only dirt or clay on the field is the pitcher’s mound and the batter’s box area. The basepath area of the infield and the warning track in the outfield look like dirt, but are actually colored turf.And UH baseball is one of the great bargains in sports recreation. I paid seven bucks for my wife’s ticket and three for my older boy; the younger was free. That’s a good deal. And it looks like the team has enough talent to challenge for a WAC title.

Another terrific bargain is this week’s Hawaiian Airlines/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Boys and Girls State Basketball Championships. The boys begin Wednesday at McKinley and Radford with Division II at Moanalua and Pearl City. Championships are at Blaisdell Arena on Saturday. The girls start on Tuesday at Farrington and Kaimuki with Division II featured at Kalani and Aiea. The girls will play their championship games at the Stan Sheriff Center on Friday.

Congratulations to Rainbow Wahine softball coach Bob Coolen who racked up his 600th victory as his team won the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic. “Coolen The Gang” are nationally ranked once again.

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