All right, so maybe the mid-season acquisition of Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington had more to do with the Bay Area's Golden State Warriors making the playoffs Wednesday night for the first time in 12 years.
But since we made fun of the team's fortunes in this space last fall, we believe it's only fair to point out that the success comes after a 10-year naming-rights deal inked by software powerhouse Oracle. The company's name and logo adorn the arena in Oakland, and will get some prime-time air during the opening round of the NBA playoffs, when the Warriors take on the league's best team, the Dallas Mavericks.
Oracle founder Larry Ellison has a long history with the sporting world, and most followers of the company would agree that this is a man who doesn't like to lose. Sure, the Warriors sneaked into the playoffs as the Western Conference's eighth and final seed, but this has been a snake-bitten team for so many frustrating years. And it swept the season series from Mark Cuban's Mavericks, who otherwise dominated the league. Given Ellison's penchant for acquisitions, maybe that strategy rubbed off on the team, which will try to become only the third eighth seed to topple a No. 1 seed.