The Cavaliers were gracious enough to grant me a press credential for Sunday’s game, and as a result I had an opportunity to speak one on one with Anthony Parker and Jawad Williams prior to tip-off. Below, after a recap of sorts, is my conversation with Anthony Parker. Look for my chat with Jawad Williams tomorrow, and a Leon Powe update later in the week.
The Cavaliers started out so hot on Sunday night that after LeBron hit a three pointer with 3.9 seconds left in the first quarter to give himself 23 points for the period and his team a 26 point lead (46-20), Daniel Gibson and Jamario Moon put their warm-ups back on and signed autographs for most of the 2nd quarter.
Or maybe that was pregame. But they could have, because even though the Clippers would eventually cut a lead – that once reached a ‘diff’ of 31 when Jawad Williams hit a three with 5:30 left in the second quarter – all the way down to 11 early in the fourth, it was over before the second period ever started. Baron Davis played tough throughout, and the Clippers fought some with Kaman sidelined, but they still lost handily even with Mo and Delonte missing in action. Truth is the Clippers never really recovered from the record setting uppercut that came their way in the form of 13 out of 17 three pointers made by the Cavaliers to start the game…that’s 76.5% from three point range for the first half if you’re scoring at home.
Catching Up with Anthony Parker:
One of those guys that had a hand in the three point barage was Anthony Parker, who’s not yet been named to the three point shoot-out despite being amongst the leaders in that category all season. I had a chance to speak with AP about that, and his career overseas (which ended in 2006) on Sunday prior to tip-off, and our conversation’s below…
StepienRules: Can you talk about how far you’ve come in your career, in that it wasn’t too long ago you were playing all the way over in Israel for Maccabi Tel-Aviv, and now here you are as a starter on the team with the best record in the NBA?
Anthony Parker: Well, starting 13 years ago in Philly, and, you know, not having a great time of it my first round in the NBA, then going overseas and having a great time, playing at a high level, then coming back and falling into this opportunity, its been great. I don’t think that I look at it as I’ve come so far in that I was in Tel-Aviv and it wasn’t good, and now its better here, but it is a different experience, and to be back in the NBA and have this opportunity at this age, I certainly didn’t think that I’d have this chance.
StepienRules: You wear the number eighteen in tribute to your days overseas. Can you talk to me about that?
Anthony Parker: The number eighteen in the Jewish faith it means ‘chai,’ which is a symbol for life and good fortune, and when I came back to the NBA, I didn’t want to just choose a meaningless number. A lot of the numbers I would have taken were taken already, and so I thought that it was a good way to carry what happened in Israel with me, and kinda say thanks to all the fans, and the country as a whole, while taking those memories with me to the NBA.
StepienRules: Do you still stay in touch with any of those guys you played with in Israel?
Anthony Parker: Yeah. We still stay in touch and talk, I still have a lot of friends overseas. Some still play for Maccabi, and some play for other teams, but you know we had such a strong bond and whenever you have a championship team you develop a closesness on the court, but we also had a close-nit group off the court. As a result, we have friends all over the world now which is a great experience for me.
StepienRules: Is there a part of you that wishes you were named to be in this year’s three-point contest?
Anthony Parker: Well we’ll see, I would love a shot at it. Its something that I’ve never done, and always watched growing up, so it would be very exciting to be in it. But you know, we’ll see what happens.