by Lang Whitaker

Before we go anywhere else, I’d like to give thanks to reader Tim in England for this email alerting the SLAMonline community to an important television programming note…

I caught an advert on TV the other night and thought I’d share it with you as I thought it might raise a smile. I thought I recognised the face; from a quick search it looks like I’m right:

“A 19-year-old who plays poker and smokes two packets of cigarettes a day, He Ping Ping has the appearance of a man much older…”

How’s that for a golden insight? I don’t know if you’ll be able to get hold of the episode somehow over in the States, but hopefully the show will contain more info into the world of Ping Ping. I can’t promise I’ll be able to catch it tonight but I’ll see what I can do. I’m sure there are other Linkstigators out there who will!

First, thanks for the heads-up, Tim. Now, if anyone catches this show today/tonight, I’m eagerly awaiting a report, please. This is the show The Links has been unexpectedly preparing for forever. And if this show talks about Mr. Ping Ping’s global reach, they better use a screenshot of The Links.

Anyway, about last night…I was two-waying throughout the game with our N’awlins correspondent Aggrey Sam, who was at the game taking notes. In between trying to assuage Aggrey’s anger toward ESPN Deportes, we were marveling over the play of Tim Duncan. Yes, I picked the Hornets to win the series, and their loss is my first miss of the Playoffs. But I found myself rooting for San Antonio last night, because as a basketball nerd, I so respect what they do. Did you see the way they ran like the first dozen possessions of the second half through Duncan? And how he always either found the open man or made the right decision? He didn’t always score, but he always seems to do the right thing. And as I told Aggrey, after staying ahead of the entire League all season, last night CP3 finally looked a step slow, from start to finish.

I don’t have a lot of time to write much of anything today, because we’re grinding out SLAM issue 120 (we were supposed to be done last Friday, actually, but that doesn’t explain why I was up at 2:30 last night writing a sidebar to the cover story). Anyway, today we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it no longer looks like a train headed directly for us. Except for the special issue we have to put together starting tomorrow. Fun!

As for the Conference Finals, I’m going with Boston and San Antonio. I think the C’s have finally figured out how to win in the postseason with this team (let Pierce handle the scoring and let everyone else play D and rebound), and as good as the Lakers have been, I just think the Spurs are hitting their stride right now. They looked so good last night in Game Seven, from the way they spaced the floor to the decisions everyone was making, that it’s tough for me to pick against them.

Gotta run…