An ode to the organist + ALL the NBA latest
Suns, Celtics, Kings, Pistons and Mavericks and lots of All-NBA and lottery talk touching on numerous other teams ... all featured in our latest compilation of around-the-league notes
A few important words before we get to the around-the-league stuff ...
The New York Knicks play a Game 6 on Friday night in Miami that they must win to continue their season.
If they can't win it, to heap even more stakes onto the occasion, it means that I have heard the last of some of my favorite sounds until October.
Regular readers familiar with my ever-nostalgic bent will not be surprised to learn (or read again) that I delight in the organ music played at Madison Square Garden. Combined with the Knicks' raucous fans, it makes for the best soundtrack in basketball for me.
The only acoustics in the same league, on this scorecard, flowed from the Los Angeles Lakers’ vintage mix of Lawrence Tanter's regal voice on the public address system combined with Dieter Ruehle's organ stylings in concert with the Laker Band.
I know I am stubbornly old school, with annoyingly a more apt word choice for some younger readers, but I can't help it. An arena without a prominent organist will always sound wrong to me.
A Knicks playoff run that has featured five home games already, by contrast, has delivered many memorable melodic helpings this spring from famed MSG music director Ray Castoldi.
(I haven’t been to Atlanta since the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, but the Hawks’ Sir Foster is another key figure in the league keeping organ devotees entertained.)
I spent my first four seasons as an NBA writer in Los Angeles, including two on the Laker beat, so every return trip to (the building I insist on calling) Staples Center is a homecoming. Yet there's undeniably something major missing with a live organ no longer part of the game-night equation there.
Fun fact: The actual organ at MSG and (OK, fine) Crypto.com Arena is the same in both buildings. The Roland Atelier AT-900 in Los Angeles, however, rests in darkness during Lakers games. I'm told that the Lakers, starting this season, have relied on organ sounds that emanate from a keyboard.
Which just doesn't sound the same.
Onto the notes …
This edition of This Week In Basketball, as always, is a sibling to #thisleague UNCUT ... my twice-weekly NBA podcast alongside Turner Sports' Chris Haynes.
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Dot Dot Dot (🏀 🏀 🏀)
🏀 With a no-show in an elimination game for the second successive spring, Phoenix zoomed faster than it expected right to the top of an ever-growing list of teams — straight into the Milwaukee/Dallas/Portland/Toronto tier —ushered into a critical offseason likely to feature considerable change.