|Bowen's bouncing baby boy finally arrives|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 09 June 2007 14:34|
T Center to practice for Game 2 of the NBA finals.
Bowen's wife, Yardley, gave birth to the couple's second son, a 6-pound, 11-ounce baby boy named Ozmel. The newest member of the Bowen team - he has a nearly 2-year-old son named Ojani - arrived at 9:19 a.m.
``My wife is doing well and the baby is well,'' said Bowen, who was in the delivery room for the birth. ``What a gift during quite a time.''
The Spurs last won the NBA title in 2005, and Ojani Bowen was born a few months later. Bowen is hoping the arrival of his second son means another championship is on the way for San Antonio.
``I hope that's prophetic,'' he said.
Meanwhile, Cavaliers star LeBron James, who is being guarded by Bowen in this series, is awaiting the birth of his second son any day - maybe any minute.
``I'm expecting,'' James said. ``Well, I'm not. That would be kind of weird.''
James' girlfriend, Savannah Brinson, is due on June 17, but James doesn't think she'll make it that far. In any case, there are no plans to induce the delivery to avoid any conflict with the best-of-seven series.
``She's just going to play it by ear,'' he said. ``Whatever happens, happens. We're very excited about it, and we can't wait.''
NATIONAL PRIDE: Zydrunas Ilgauskas no longer has most of his tie-dyed T-shirts, but his passion for Lithuania basketball remains.
The Cleveland Cavaliers center no longer plays for the national team, but spoke proudly Saturday about his homeland's accomplishments.
``When you come from a small country, we only have 3 million people, the only reason we're known around the world is for the basketball,'' Ilgauskas said. ``We have amber, that's about it. So basketball is the only thing that made that country famous.''
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Lithuania had its own Olympic basketball team for the first time in the 1992 games. The Lithuanians beat the Unified Team, made up mostly of Russians, for the first of their three straight bronze medals.
Ilgauskas said his favorite player on that first team was, naturally, another center, Arvydas Sabonis. Ilgauskas added that he had ``a lot'' of the tie-dyed shirts inspired by the Grateful Dead, who sold them to help cover some of the team's expenses.
And he pointed out that Lithuania remained successful long after Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis, the stars of that era, retired.
``We're a small country, somehow we just keep popping up and popping up,'' Ilgauskas said. ``The tradition level of the basketball, it's all we play basically. If they're not good enough to play basketball or they want for better things, they become doctors or lawyers.''
HORRY'S STORY: Robert Horry never had to go through the Chicago Bulls dynasty on his way to six NBA titles. And if he had met Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the rest of the Bulls for a title, which of his teams would he have wanted to bring with him?
``The year we beat Philly in the finals, because we were rolling so tough that year I don't think anybody could have stopped us,'' Horry said Saturday.
That was the 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers, who went 15-1 in one of the most dominant postseasons ever.
``I don't think anybody could have messed with us,'' Horry said. ``No Bulls, no Sixers, no Lakers. That team was pretty good.''
And it's a team people in San Antonio remember well. The Spurs had the best record in the NBA that season at 58-24 and met the Lakers in a highly anticipated Western Conference finals. But it was no contest, as Los Angeles swept the series.
Their dominant postseason is the reason Horry thinks those Lakers deserve more respect. They swept Portland, Sacramento and San Antonio, all 50-game winners.
``I don't think that team gets enough credit for how good we were, because we clicked at the right time,'' Horry said. ``The teams we beat were no slouches. You go back and look at the teams we beat, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, we rolled through everybody.''
Horry won two other titles in Los Angeles, two in Houston, and added one two years ago in San Antonio.
WHAT IF, WHAT IF: If Jason Kidd had signed with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003, life might be a lot different for Tony Parker.
And if, a few years before that, Tim Duncan had signed with the Orlando Magic? Life would be a lot different for the Spurs.
``It was probably a lot closer decision than people even think or even know,'' Duncan said of his near move to Florida. ``But it's worked out the right way, to say the least, and I can't even go through all the factors that went into making the final decision to come back here.''
Duncan, who won NBA titles with the Spurs in 1999, 2003 and 2005, mentioned one reason he stuck around, however.
``It was the people and the organization here at the Spurs that I was used to, and not only the players,'' he said. ``Of course David (Robinson) was here, and that was great. ... But even beyond that, the staff, the coaches, guys I was comfortable with, guys I enjoyed being around is probably what swayed it in the end.''
CLOSE CALL: Spurs backup point guard Jacque Vaughn chuckled when reminded of a funny - and nearly disastrous - moment he had in Cleveland a few years back.
While he was with the Atlanta Hawks in 2001, Vaughn made a steal near midcourt against the Cavaliers, and as he drove for the basket, he looked up just in time to see an unsuspecting ball boy mopping the foul lane.
As he approached the rim, and the kid, Vaughn was able to gently push him aside before shooting.
``I had three things in mind,'' Vaughn said Saturday. ``I didn't want to break his neck. I didn't want to turn my ankle and I wanted to make the layup. Somehow I was able to do all three.''
Vaughn said he and the youngster, who still works for the Cavaliers, share a laugh over their run-in whenever they see each other.
``That was unbelievable,'' Vaughn said.
DRIBBLES: Country singer and Grammy winner LeAnn Rimes is scheduled to perform the national anthem for Game 2. In Cleveland, blues guitarist Ben Harper is slated for Game 3 and former American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks, will have anthem duties for Game 4. ... The Spurs are 13-6 in the finals and are 3-0 in finals series, joining the Chicago Bulls (6-0) as the only two teams never to lose in the finals.
AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney and Associated Press Writer Elizabeth White contributed to this report.