Honey I shrunk the Kobe
Coming soon to a theater near you: "Honey I Shrunk The Mamba."

The Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers learned an important lesson last night: It's really, really tough to not lose when you let your opponent shoot nearly 63 percent from the field, including an incredible 75 percent (24-for-32) in the first half. That 63 percent shooting is an NBA Finals record, by the way. Quite a turnaround from Game 1, when Orlando shot a worst-in-the-shot-clock-era 29 percent. The Magic were so hot, especially in those first 24 minutes, that the Lakers' hands would be covered with blisters if they'd actually been in anybody's face. Amazingly enough, L.A. still could have won the game, if not for...

Kobe Bryant: Let's face it: The Lakers got Mamba'd last night. Kobe obviously wanted to steal the show, only he ended up trying to do too much. Bryant was indeed a bad, bad man during the first quarter, when he hit seven of 10 shots and scored 17 points in the final 5:41 of the period. But after his first-quarter tour de force, Kobe missed 11 of his final 15 shots...mostly jumpers of course. Not that it mattered, though, since he also blew six of his eight layup attempts (two of which were blocked) and bricked five of his 10 free throws. Oh, and did I mention that he committed a game-high 4 turnovers. The league's supposed best closer went 2-for-6 in the fourth (missing layup and a trio of three-pointers). He only went to the line once in the last 12 minutes, and he missed one of two. Said Kobe: "It was a bad night."

I can't help but wonder why Kobe is shooting the hell out of the ball when Pau Gasol has been scorching the nets. In this series, he's shooting better than 62 percent from the field (23-for-37) and almost 90 percent from the line (17-for-19). Last night, Pau went 9-for-11 from the floor (3-for-3 on dunks, 3-for-3 on layups and 3-for-5 on jump shots) and knocked down five of six of his freebies. None of the Magic know quite how to stop him, even the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. And yet it seems Kobe would rather try to win on a steady stream of contested jumpers than defer to his big man. A cynical person would say that it's not only important for Kobe to win the title, but also to be the Finals MVP while doing it. As it is, Pau has been the better player in this series.

Meanwhile, Kobe was actually going after his teammates last night for what he saw as THEIR mistakes. As Adrian Wajnarwoski explains: "He shot his teammates disdainful glares when they failed to get him the ball, and he berated Andrew Bynum(notes) in timeouts and did his damndest to hold down the Magic. This was one of those nights when it was hell to be a teammate, when 17,461 screaming fans found an ally in No. 24 on the Lakers. Kobe was on the edge, the brink. These Magic scare him, but so does the understanding that these championship seasons can be so fleeting. It makes him a nightmare of a teammate this time of year. He was beyond unpleasant with his teammates Tuesday night; he was downright nasty."

Why does someone so unquestionably great and single-mindedly devoted to winning continue to revert to such schizophrenic behavior even after over 1,000 career games? It's a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma. Cortez commented on a possession that epitomizes the dual nature of the man I once dubbed "Dr. Bryant and Mr. Kobe":

As another example of that sentiment take the final shot of the half in last night's game.

The Machine was wide open on the wing off a beautiful down screen (which clearly must have been drawn up in the huddle) when Kobe did his usual "ignore my open teammate" nonsense and chucked up a contested jump shot (note: he was probably fouled but that is besides the point).

Why not throw the ball to Sasha and get him a clean look for the easy three and help get his confidence up?

I can (sort of) deal with the "down a basket with 5 second left so I'll ignore my teammates" force-ups but some of these decisions are idiotic.

I would bet that the primary reason he does it is to show the defender he is better than him (and for the most part he is) despite the defenders maximum efforts.

"Making the right play" is of secondary importance. Just so happens that he is highly skilled so he wins his fair share of games.

My (and others) contention is that he would probably win a few more if he cut down on trying to live up to his 'Black Mamba' persona and kicked the ball to his shooters as opposed to his usual contested jump shot arsenal.

...unless he knows something we don't about the abilities of his teammates.
Phil Jackson and the L.A. defense: The box score reveals something rather bizarre: Orlando attempted only 14 three-pointers. As Ben Q. Rock pointed out at the Third Quarter Collapse, that's a season-low for the Magic. The Lakers couldn't seem to figure out a way to defense the Howard-Turkoglu pick-and-roll, even though they probably have mountains of scouting video of that play. It's strange they never figured out an adjustment. Of course, it can be pretty hard to do that when your opponent is shooting out the lights. As Kobe said: "We lost this game on the defensive end."

Stan Van Gundy: So Rafer Alston (20 points on 8-for-12 shooting) played most of the game (as he should have) while Jameer Nelson got reserve minutes (as he should have). I guess Stan finally figured it out...it only took him (and cost his team) two games. I'll never understand his "If it ain't broke, break it" attitude in L.A., when he forced Nelson into the game (and major minutes) at the cost of Rafer's confidence (not to mention his shooting form).

But wait, there's more. Dan B. sent me a brain cookie from Ric Bucher's Twitter: "Gotta love SVG. 4Q he yelled: 'You've got to fight!' Then went mute. Then slammed his clipboard. Then swatted Hedo on the ass. Timeout over."

The doom and gloomers: It's amazing how many times I've heard or read this morning that the Magic are in trouble because they had an historic shooting night and still barely won. Now normally, that's something I'd be pointing out except for one thing: Orlando barely shot better than 40 percent in Game 2 and were one missed layup (or, depending on your point of view, one blown goaltending call) from winning that one. Besides, the Lakers shot 51 percent themselves...a mark that probably would have been even higher without Kobe's remorseless gunnery.

Lacktion report: Chris took a quick break from celebrating the hiring of Paul Westphal in Sacramento to send in a lacktivity update: "For the Lakers, Sasha Vujacic annoyingly missed a shot and fouled once for a +2 suck differential in 3:10, while DJ Mbenga painted up a tune in a 17-second Mario! Stan Van Gundy's sorcerers of stress sent out Marcin Gortat in celebration, as in 4:42, he fouled once, tossed a brick, and took a rejection for a +3 that also was recorded as a 2:0 Voskuhl."

Bizarro coaches: One of the much-discussed officiating gaffes in Game 2 occurred when Pau Gasol didn't get called for goaltending on Courtney Lee's last-second alley-oop at the end of regulation. It was pretty clear that Pau touched both the net and the rim, but the refs swallowed their whistles. According to rule No. 11, section I-A (i) of the NBA rulebook, a player shall not "vibrate the rim or backboard so as to cause the ball to make an unnatural bounce." That no-call literally cost the Magic the game. (Although, in all fairness, it was only one of the many things, no-calls and otherwise, that led to Orlando's defeat.) Of course, as Kelly P. pointed out in an e-mail, that might have been a make-up no-call for Dwight Howard's rather spectacular "blocked shot."

At this point, NBA fans are well-used to embarrassingly bad officiating. Frankly, I'd be more surprised by a perfectly officiated NBA game (or even a "well officiated game") than if I woke up and found out that someone had stolen one of my kidneys. But here's where things get weird: Phil Jackson admitted that the call got blown. Said P-Jax: "It's called basket interference. Even if you hit the net supposedly in the process that's part of it, but that rule is kind of archaic. It isn't called in this day and age as much, but when we were in high school—that was something a high school ref might call, basket interference. ... According to the rules, [the call] was not [correct]. It wasn't made." Whaaa...?! Who is this guy and what did he do with Phil Jackson? Back in the day, Phil was well-known for his razor-sharp wit, which he used to stick it to the media and his opponents. He used to clash with Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, and he once made a motivational team video that made Jason Williams out to be a neo-Nazi and compared Rick Adelman to Hitler.

Things got even stranger when Stan Van Gundy, who's no stranger to wouldn't take the bait: "Look, I'm not going to get into a call. Calls didn't decide that game. I don't think his (Gasol’s) hand being there or not being there had anything to do with the shot going in or not. You're just not going to get a complaint from me on that call." Wow. Somewhere Bill Simmons is muttering to himself, "Remember when teams used to hate each other? I miss those days!"

Reebok: Did you know that Marcin Gortat has some Michael Jordan-themed ink on his right calf?

Gortat tat

This fact recently came to the attention of Reebok, who for reasons unknown actually have some ink of their own...in the form of Gortat's signature on a shoe contract. Reebok asked him either to wear higher socks to cover up the tattoo or to apply makeup so it will not be noticed through the rest of the NBA Finals. No, really. But I don't think Marcin plans to comply.

According to the Polish Hammer himself: "They called and said I had to do something about it, but that ain't going to happen. I've been wearing it 4-5 years now, and it helped me get to the NBA. They didn't say anything about it when I signed the contract, so it's not going anywhere. I don't think they are paying me enough to take it off. ... I've heard from other people that even other players, if they don't know my name, they know I'm the big white guy with the Jordan tattoo. I like that. Reebok will have to get used to that."

Oh, one last thing. Gortat apparently wants to trade in "Polish Hammer" for a new nickname: The Odom Stopper. "I promise you, he won't score as much. He won't get as many rebounds if I'm out there against him. Other guys on our team have to stop Kobe Bryant. I have to stop Lamar Odom. I can do that. I'm supposed to come off the bench and stop him. If I do that, it will give us a better chance to win." (For the record, Odom finished with 11 points, 2 boards and 4 fouls last night...but not because of Gortat, who spent all but 4:42 on the bench.)

Shaq: His season-long one-man war against Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy peaked with his Twitter attack on them before Game 1. But now, regardless of whether the Magic win or lose the title, Dwight has done something The Big Twitter Bully never did: Avoided getting swept in his first NBA Finals. Oh, and his Finals record with the Magic (1-2) is also better than Shaq's (0-4). So much for The Big Cranky's "Everything he's done, I've invented" comment.

Charles Barkley: Makin' fish.

Labels: , , ,

37 Comments:
Anonymous Medrawt said...
Not really Worst of the Night material per se, but I wanted to highlight the first half announcing shenanigans surrounding Dwight Howard's favorite films. He, apparently, named three favorite movies: Menace II Society, Friday, and Finding Nemo.

(1) The guys rather predictably ripped on Howard for copping to loving Finding Nemo. Whatever.

(2) Whoever was responsible for the associated infographic declined to name Menace II Society, either because they didn't want to grapple with how to spell the film's name or because David Stern was pulling the strings. So even though the guys were discussing three, films, we only saw the names of Finding Nemo and Friday, which leads to...

(3) The greatest moment of June so far, and yet also the most predictable: Jeff Van Gundy taking a beat, and then asking, "What is Friday?"

Blogger dunkfu said...
No bawful for the Magic blowing a 9pt lead in the 4th and barely winning, really? They shot lights out, skip to my lou was skipping, Kobe was playing bad, Gasol and Odom weren't getting the ball enough, Magicians had their moving picks picking, the Hedo's Arm clear outs weren't being called and the Magicians barely win and there is no bawful in that? Not even just a little?

"Why not throw the ball to Sasha and get him a clean look for the easy three and help get his confidence up?"
- Seriously? Have you not seen Sasha shoot lately?

"one missed layup (or, depending on your point of view, one blown goaltending call) from winning that one."
- Don't forget the other blown goaltending call on Orlando where Dwight blocked a shot while his hand was going up through the basket with the net draped all over his hand. CLEARLY he altered the shot, however do you really think Gasol altered Hamilto... err I mean Lee's shot? I don't think he did.

Also, concerning the Magicians being so close to being up 2-1. I agree that's it's far from doom and gloom for Orlando however, don't forget the Lakers are also only a few missed Kobe free throws and/or a blown touching the ball in the cylinder call from being up 3-0.

Blogger Cortez said...
It was pretty clear that Pau touched both the net and the rim, but the refs swallowed their whistles. According to rule No. 11, section I-A (i) of the NBA rulebook, a player shall not "vibrate the rim or backboard so as to cause the ball to make an unnatural bounce."

Does the description of the [Pau/Lee] play actually even violate this rule? There's two conditions to the rule

#1 Causing the rim /backboard to vibrate.
#2 Causing an unnatural bounce.

Phil Jackson was probably commenting on this specific play to intice VanGundy into harping on the refs.

"Remember when teams used to hate each other? I miss those days!"

I prefer to remember the days when the lead player of championship-level teams was well-known equally for his passing abilities as well as his 'killer' instinct.

Blogger Cortez said...
"- Seriously? Have you not seen Sasha shoot lately?"

Yep. Which is exactly why a WIDE OPEN shot off a clean pass from your team leader is the perfect remedy to his sub-par shooting thus far.

This is versus his "I've got to hurry up and launch this so I can earn my minutes" shots he's been launching thus far.

...or keep him chained to the bench.

The only thing he is good for in this current Lakers format is SHOOTING.

Some may think he is good for defense also but those people would be wrong. He may be good at looking like he is playing defense but like my son defending me with his perfect stance (similar to Fisher) he is highly ineffective.

His little 'what foul?' dance after every obvious blocking foul is cute though.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
You misspelled 'Rich' Buecher's name, had another typo in the same section and needed a word added before the Dr. Bryant and Mr. Kobe thing. Also, how about you further address the Gatorade Conspiracy. Does it still exist?

Anonymous Wormboy said...
1) Feeding Howard in the post: Dwight Howard cannot initiates poorly from the post! Glad to see that SVG recognized this important fact a full 13 games after the rest of America. last night, Howard usually got the ball while moving, and made his impact otherwise. The results were a much more efficient game for Howard, eh?

2) Kobe reverting to form: 'Nuf said. Just further proof that, Spike Lee's sickening fawning notwithstanding, Kobe is and always will be a dick, and the smiling camaraderie is a sham.

3) Announcing teams felating Kobe: "How could the Magic shoot 75% and still barely be leading? Must be Kobe! Morons. Uh, no, not unless the Lakers are also shooting 75%. More likely is a combination of Laker offensive rebounds and Magic turnovers. No matter how great a ballplayer is, you need increased shot attempts to compensate for such a FG% differential.

Yet another reason to hate the match made in Hell that is ESPN+ABC. Culdn't we just have TNT cover the entire playoffs?

Blogger stephanie g said...
Remember in the future to call Dwight Howard the Man of Steal, especially if the actual Man of Steel (Shaq) is involved.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Buck Nasty:

That's the "G" Conspiracy nowadays.

/facepalm

Anonymous Karc said...
I'm giving a WotN to the Orlando arena, who are playing with fire the way they handled the game.

1. They had the little girl come out to sing the anthem. They are now 5-0 in the postseason when she sings the banner. Me thinks she's working the next two games. Some might call it an honor. I call it child exploitation.

2. Nick Anderson before the starting lineups. I honestly thought the Magic were losing at that point. How funny that it's Byrant who ends up bricking 5 free throws in a four-point loss. Try that again Orlando, and see what happens.

3. The Orlando PA announcer. At least twice late in the fourth quarter, as ESPN is coming back from break, I could clearly hear something close to this, "Magic fans, we REALLY need you to get and CHEER on the team." The game is tied at 99 with 2 minutes to go in a must-win game. Did he really have to tell the fans in Orlando to get excited and anxious? They can't be THAT dumb.

4. The person in charge of confetti at the end of the game (with .2 left on a useless foul by Byrant). Mike Breen said it. The premature celebration essentially iced Rashard Lewis at the free throw line. Or, that would have been the excuse if he bricked both free throws and LA somehow hurls a miracle shot. At least the high school interns assigned to mop-up duty got some national TV time.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
dunkfu said: "No bawful for the Magic blowing a 9pt lead in the 4th and barely winning, really?"

No. This is the Finals, and I expect games to be close. Seemed like the Lakers thoroughly outplayed Orlando in Game 2 and almost lost. I didn't bawful L.A. for that near choke job.

"They shot lights out, skip to my lou was skipping, Kobe was playing bad, Gasol and Odom weren't getting the ball enough, Magicians had their moving picks picking, the Hedo's Arm clear outs weren't being called and the Magicians barely win and there is no bawful in that? Not even just a little?"

Regarding the moving picks...has Pau Gasol stood still on a single pick this series? Hell, this postseason? But I treat moving picks the same way I treat traveling: I tend to ignore it unless it's involved in a major, game-changing moment.

As for Hedo's arm clearouts, I've been omitting those for the same reason I haven't been busting on Trevor Ariza's constant muggings of Hedo when he's handling the ball. It's like watching Scottie Pippen molest Mark Jackson in the 1998 ECFs all over again. But the refs are, for the most part, letting these things go, so, as long as they're semi-consistent in how they call it, I'll look the other way.

"Don't forget the other blown goaltending call on Orlando where Dwight blocked a shot while his hand was going up through the basket with the net draped all over his hand."

I didn't. Which is why I referenced it in the post, provided a link, and even put quotes around "blocked shot" to indicate that Dwight's block was bogus.

"I agree that's it's far from doom and gloom for Orlando however, don't forget the Lakers are also only a few missed Kobe free throws and/or a blown touching the ball in the cylinder call from being up 3-0."

That's why I didn't bawful the blown 9-point lead. Other than Game 1, when the Magic clearly shriveled in the hot lights of their first Finals, these games are turning on a handful of key plays, which is what you want when watching two teams fight for a championship.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Buck Nasty -- Thanks for the help. But you know, if you e-mail me directly, I can correct the mistakes without looking like as much of an idiot. I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous Karc said...
Oh, and another WotN to Vitamin Water for immediately throwing LeBron James under the bandwagon. One of the ads during the game had a picture of Kobe Byrant and Dwight Howard for Vitamin Water. I guess sleazy marketing moves are justified when it's selling a healthy product.
Oh, wait. http://teamsugar.com/541747

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
I'm not going to say that I don't care about you Bawful, but I will say that I think that embarrassment is a part of the learning process.

It's not hate, it's just...stickler-ism.

One day, you will stop having typos, and that day will be the day that I stop posting these things. Although I guess you could just read the comment, deny it, and make the corrections. Whatever works.

Anonymous La Dolce Vita said...
"Kobe reverting to form: 'Nuf said. Just further proof that, Spike Lee's sickening fawning notwithstanding, Kobe is and always will be a dick, and the smiling camaraderie is a sham."

I'm not a Kobe fan by any means, but the guy is human- sometimes he's in a good mood (especially when things are going well), and sometimes he's pissy (usually when he or his teammates are playing poorly). Do you really expect him to be smiling when he's exhausted, can't get a jumper to go down, and down by 9 in the fourth quarter of the finals? Give the guy a little bit of a break.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Karc said: "I guess sleazy marketing moves are justified when it's selling a healthy product.
Oh, wait. http://teamsugar.com/541747"

[Spits up my vitamin water in shock]

Buck Nasty said: "I'm not going to say that I don't care about you Bawful, but I will say that I think that embarrassment is a part of the learning process. It's not hate, it's just...stickler-ism. One day, you will stop having typos, and that day will be the day that I stop posting these things."

I see. Well then, I guess Clippers fans must have huge, throbbing brains from all the learning processes they've enjoyed over the years.

La Dolce Vita said: "I'm not a Kobe fan by any means, but the guy is human- sometimes he's in a good mood (especially when things are going well), and sometimes he's pissy (usually when he or his teammates are playing poorly). Do you really expect him to be smiling when he's exhausted, can't get a jumper to go down, and down by 9 in the fourth quarter of the finals? Give the guy a little bit of a break."

You have a point. However, all indications over the years have been the Kobe is not a particularly good teammate, and his relationship with his teammates tends to vacillate between "cold, distant, aloof" to "monstrous." Which isn't totally surprising. A lot of the game's great players could be assholes. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, a.k.a. "The Patron Saints Who Saved Basketball," busted something hard on their boys when things weren't going well. (I'm an unabashed Bird fan, but I've never totally forgiven him for saying "Kevin [McHale] doesn't want the ball on the road in the fourth quarter" back in the 1988 playoffs.) Michael Jordan punched out Will Perdue and Steve Kerr, and regularly tormented teammates during practice, both in Chicago and Washington. Kareem was an arrogant ass and lightened up a little only after playing with Magic. Bill Walton openly derided teammates even as he struggled to stay on the court. We all know Shaq's history. So on and so forth.

Kobe is a great player. An all-time great, even. Yes, I said it. But Kobe the person is (for many people) almost totally unlikable. Which is fine, because he doesn't have to be liked to be successful, as he has proven repeatedly over the years.

That said, Kobe -- nor anybody else in this league, yesterday, today or tomorrow -- isn't going to get a free pass for dickery just because he's in a tough game.

Blogger Hillsolo said...
Bawful had said enough about Kobe, but still not all. Not only Paul Gasol was dominating inside, Lamar Odom was also having his way that no one could stop him.

I kept screaming at the TV, "get the ball inside!!!", well, Kobe shot it every single time. Why? WHY??? What disgusted me even more is he's acting like winning the champion is all about him "Me! Kobe! No one else", he kept critizing teammates to make sure they work to win for HIM. Did I mention he's a horrible team defender? He had shown that at the end of game 2 regulation. And why the hell shooting the ball with 3 defenders around him??? There would be say... at least two of them were wide open? Odom was also waiting for the ball right in front of him... This guy just ignore all of his teammates. You can really tell someone's real character at this type of situations.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
McHae. There was no need for that attack. I'm in tears.

But to be clear, I think it's more like sports autism. Clippers fans can be intelligent in every day life, but then something goes horribly, horribly wrong when they watch basketball. They start thinking, 'Hey, those Clippers are a fine team, no place to go but up!" Years later......we see what has happened.

P.S. I can't say I have a huge throbbing brain, but I could point out something else that has those features......

www.hiyoooo.com

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Whoever said that Kobe is just gunning for Finals MVP is most likely right on the money.

Pau is by far the Lakers most EFFICIENT player, and he isn't forcing ANY shots; just playing his game. Would it not be outside the realm of possibilities for him to win Finals MVP if he averaged 20/10/5 on 60+% shooting? What if he demanded the ball and took 30 shots/game? Is it not possible that he could average 35/game on 50% shooting with considerably more foul shots? If this guy was selfish, he'd be a stat machine.

I think that Kobe is terrified of this possibility. If he doesn't get Finals MVP, he's going to hear it from somebody (probably Shaq... and Basketbawful).

So the question is: does Kobe do it "his way or not at all"? Or does he start making smart basketball plays that lead to team victories? Game 1 is over and done with. The last 2 games have been super-close, and this is how they should be from here on in. It's going to take good basketball to close out either team in this series.

Can Kobe do it?

Oh, and uh, Vitamin Water went the way of gatorade in the 90's. It used to be a good product with no high fructose corn syrup and only about 50 calories per 20oz serving. It HAD vitamins and electrolytes (besides just sodium chloride) Then it got popular, and the Coke marketing machine decided that they needed to sell it to the masses, so they pumped it full of fructose and made it into flat Coke.

Remember the old gatorade? It was salty, bitter, and not tasty, unless you TRULY WERE thirsty. Vitamin Water used to be much thinner and refreshing. Now both products are just bottled corn syrup that leave you bloated and unsatisfied. And it's marketed as a "sports drink".

Drink it up suckers.

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
Hi Bawful,

I want 2 things from you

1) A picture of Kobe doing the Kyle Korver 2 hands on my chest prancing elf defense on the break away after Pietrius stole the ball from him.

Here is the pic of the steal so you know which play it is.
Here is the steal
http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3714/gallery/im:urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,getty:20050301:nba,photo,7e0f9a2e25cb315fad646fc3d5bfcbbc-getty-88095582cc120_nba_finals_ga:1

Here is the result, notice Kobe NOT IN THE PICTURE
http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3714/photos;_ylt=AsRdjxdAPz0sX4Eu10b4Y2bSPKB4#photoViewer=urn%3Anewsml%3Asports.yahoo%2Cgetty%3A20050301%3Anba%2Cphoto%2Cca9547292f401d94eaca1a243bfac8b3-getty-88095582cc116_nba_finals_ga%3A1

2) The replay of Kobe's reaction when he went 1 of 2 from the free throw line. They replayed it like 5 times. Kobe is apparently so great that they replay his missed shots over and over.

Please get on it
Thanks.

Blogger fkis said...
regarding the goaltend comments, I thought hollinger had a pretty good take on it:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-090610

"Of course, Jackson wouldn't let that go without also tweaking the officials about Magic center Dwight Howard going through the rim to block a shot by Gasol earlier in Game 2. It's to his benefit to make the officials as aware as they can be about goaltending violations, since shot-blocking leader Howard is far more likely to commit a violation than Gasol."

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Was I the only one to see when Dwight grabbed his dick with both hands when he was complaining about a call? (Actually he grabbed his shorts, but it looked like he was tugging on his dick.) I think it happened some time in the second or third quarter.

Anonymous Karc said...
Not sure if this is a stat curse, but LA is already planning the parade...

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/06/downtown-la-contemplates-a-lakers-parade.html

Seriously, the Magic have been riding the "disrespect" card the entire postseason. They weren't supposed to beat the defending champions, they weren't supposed to beat the team with the best record in the NBA, and now they aren't supposed to beat a team that's already planning the victory parade three games into the series. If Orlando wins in a blowout in Game 4, a riot in LA is fine with me. Silly politicians.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
LOL PAU has been LA's best player so far???
Dude you are SO pathetic, it's not even funny...
Playoffs are all about wins, LA would not have won game 1 w/o Kobe, and plz don't say he shot the ball too much, he shot close to 50% if I remember correctly , the magic were practically giving him wide open jumpshots, and Kobe knocked them down. Game 2, the magic made their adjustments and LA got contributions from pretty much everyone. Total team effort. Pau may get many single coverage opportunities b/c of Kobe attracting so many defenders but game 3 was a forgone conclusion what with Orlando shooting such a ridiculous percentage, you honestly can't win like that. Pau is my fave PF in the game, but his biggest weakness overall is not his "softness" per say, but his inability to demand the ball in situations where he needs it; he does not look for his shot aggressively on a consistent basis. He bitched about not getting enough touches during the playoffs but many ppl said that wz absurd, Kobe was willing to give him the ball in critical situations, just watch the denver series where pau tried to set a screen for kobe(again NOT looking for his SHOT damnit!) but kobe impatiently told him to gain position down low. It was only AFTER kobe told him to do so that pau got position down low, kobe fed him the rock and pau scored. Pau is the 2nd best player by nature, he is clearly not the alpha male that kobe is. The best overall player in the finals has still been Kobe,he has the most responsibilties for his ballclub and though he may have had two sub-par games for his standards, he clearly delivered the win in game 1. Game 2, you can argue that Odom wz the player of the game, but Kobe kept the Lakers close and he made many mistakes but was composed enough to pull out a win. Game 3, the lakers would not have even been close if not for Kobe having to keep them in the damn game in the 1st half. plz let's not try to be too blatantly biased shall we?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I don't have much to add since Mr. Bawful pretty much took all the words out of my mouth. I said yesterday I expected Orlando to win, but to be honest that game was a lot more competitive than I would have figured it would be, and I'm still confused as to how the Lakers really had a legit shot to win it after the Magic shot like that while Kobe was having such an off night. Game 2 notwithstanding, I can't help but feel that's a bad sign for the Magic's future. Either way, I think the Lakers will win Game 4 and then probably lose Game 5.

Kobe did play like an idiot last night, but the guy actually is fairly smart. I think maybe his emotions get the best of him and it makes all logic go out the window in the heat of the game or something; but if you look at how he's followed up these types of games in the playoffs this year, it's typically been with an incredibly smart and efficient performance in the next game. Look at how he only took 13 shots in a big Game 5 win in the last series following a blowout loss to the Nuggets in Game 4, for instance. The reality is that Orlando's not gonna shoot like that again in this series, and if Kobe just plays smart basketball tomorrow then it's going to be really hard for the Magic to win. The Lakers haven't lost back to back games in the playoffs so far, and I'm doubtful that they'll do so now.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Not sure if this is a stat curse..."

It's not.

"Seriously, the Magic have been riding the "disrespect" card the entire postseason."

That's because a large percentage of professional athlete are also whinny little bitches with fragile egos.

"They weren't supposed to beat the defending champions..."

Anyone who was/is touting beating the Celtics without Garnett as "defeating the defending champions" was/is either delusional and/or has a vested interest in the NBA TV ratings.

"they weren't supposed to beat the team with the best record in the NBA"

Says who? Probably the same cast of characters listed above.

That Cleveland team (as noted on this very site many times before it bacame popular to say so.) has more holes in it than Spongebob.

"Silly politicians."

More like prudent politicians. Orlando is toast.

Major event planning in the 2nd largest city in the USA can't hinge on the desire not to create bulletin board material for the other team.

Ah yes, the vivid memories of the Bulls finals opponents winning an early playoff game and declaring their season saved and decrying the major "disrespect" only to inevitably get crushed by a far superior team with far superior players.

Anonymous big tuna said...
"Did I mention he's a horrible team defender? He had shown that at the end of game 2 regulation."
that was ariza who should've switched off onto lee on the screen, then kobe stays on the guy at the FT line. not sure how that makes kobe a horrible team defender

just as kobe deserved his accolades for good-hoggery in game 1, he deserves to get ripped for his brain farts in the 4th q last night. odom was rolling and gasol was making some huge plays when he had opportunities to be part of the team; maybe kobe had his 05-06 goggles on and saw kwame down in the post instead?

looking over the box score i see a DNPCD for redick. we might be onto something here captain SVG, just maybe...

Anonymous Xerxes said...
Bawful ... Wanted you to see this (the LAST line) ...

Szczerbiak said the Magic looked more like the team that eliminated his Cleveland Cavaliers from the Eastern Conference finals when they beat the Lakers 108-104 Tuesday night.

“Shooting 63 percent from the field and playing well especially on the offensive end of the floor—making 3-pointers and scoring down low,” he said. “We were trying to devise every scheme known to man and we just couldn’t stop them.”

These words of self-pity from Wally SZCZERBIAK ... No wonder Cavs lost ...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Anonymous said: "LOL PAU has been LA's best player so far??? Dude you are SO pathetic, it's not even funny..."

Nah, I'm gonna have to disagree with you there. Pau has been playing hella efficient, mistake-free basketball. So far in the series he's averaging 21 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks a game while shooting 62 percent from the field and 90 percent from the line. He's playing good D and giving his defenders nightmares.

Kobe's obviously playing well -- but not great, not by his standards. His scoring efficiency is much lower than Pau's (45 percent from the field, 75 from the line). He's committed a Finals-high 12 turnovers in three games. (Pau has three TOs in the series.)

But moreover, Pau continuously makes the right basketball decision. I can't think of many instances where he's done something boneheaded, whereas there have been several times in the past two games where Kobe has looked off teammates, forced passes, yelled at his teammates (even when the mistake was his, like in Game 2 when he looked like he was going to force a shot then passed to Shannon Brown at the last second...only Brown was breaking to the basket to fight for the board), etc. He's faltered down the stretch in both Games 2 and 3. Don't forget that Pau scored 7 points in OT in Game 2 to spark that win.

Wild Yams said: "Kobe did play like an idiot last night, but the guy actually is fairly smart. I think maybe his emotions get the best of him and it makes all logic go out the window in the heat of the game or something; but if you look at how he's followed up these types of games in the playoffs this year, it's typically been with an incredibly smart and efficient performance in the next game."

I agree with you, and that may indeed be the case again. We'll find out in Game 4. But that's what's so maddening about the guy. Why does he have so many of these games were he reverts to his Black Mamba persona before figuring out that smart basketball wins basketball games? His personality shifts would give Dr. Jekyll a headache.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I will say, in fairness to Kobe, he has shown a lot of growth from 05-06; and even as poor as he played last night, he really doesn't play like he used to any more. For example, when he was going off in the 1st quarter I realized that if he was the same guy from a few years ago, he'd have started really trying to see just how hot he was by firing up threes as soon as he got the ball, and he would have done that for probably 5-6 consecutive possessions. He always used to do that when he sensed he was as hot as he looked last night, like he would push it and just say "what the hell, I wonder if I'm hot enough to hit a 30 foot three with 20 seconds left on the shot clock." Sometimes he would hit those shots (like in the 81 point game), but even if he'd miss, he'd still keep shooting as if he wouldn't be satisfied that he was no longer hot till he'd missed 3-4 of those crazy, ill-advised shots in a row.

So he is still maddening in the way he can go outside the game plan, but he is definitely showing some signs of improvement.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
"So he is still maddening in the way he can go outside the game plan, but he is definitely showing some signs of improvement."

I agree, and in fact I've stated both on this site and to you over e-mail that I think this is Kobe's finest season ever...in terms of playing team-first ball. That said, the fact that he hasn't totally figured it out after 1,000+ career games is pretty crazy, as is the fact that he still sometimes loses it in bigtime games. As he did last night.

Blogger Timothy said...
Kobe was absolutely awesome in the 1st quarter last night. That goes without saying, but I went ahead and said it anyways. The thing is, as he was taking and making impossible shots, I just kept saying, "go ahead, Kobe, you're so hot, keep taking those shots." I'm not a Magic fan, but I bet on them last night. When Kobe is making shots like that, he looks like the best player to ever lace 'em up. However, it was painfully obvious to anyone who watches him on a regular basis that he was going to continue to force his shots, and chuck up 40% shots. It is impossible to stay that hot for an entire game taking those types of shots. Not to mention the amount of energy he uses up to even get those shots.

I'm not sure what else Pau Gasol has to do to show that he is the key to closing the Magic out. Howard STILL doesn't expect Gasol to use his left hand. Howard doesn't play against anybody on a regular basis who has that type of arsenal. I expect Phil Jackson to finally see the big picture here. But I guess we'll soon find out...

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - Totally agree. He's shown improvement, but you're right that it really is nuts that a guy who has not only played as much ball as he has, but who is also known for not only being a smart individual but who is also known for endlessly studying game tapes has still not figured this kind of stuff out. He's often praised as being arguably the game's most fundamentally sound player ever, so it's really just shocking that his mental approach is so deficient. With all the work he's put in, he should be the game's most efficient player, but instead he's often closer to the other end of that spectrum, and last night was a prime example. Let this be a lesson in how much ego can undercut even the most supreme preparatory efforts.

As I said above, I do think he'll probably recognize the foolishness of his approach in Game 3 and you won't see that tomorrow; but it just begs the question why if he can clearly notice these things (see Game 5 of the WCF), why is that sort of thing only a temporary breakthrough for him? Why can't he ever seem to build on that? Oh right, cause of his ego.

Blogger chris said...
As cool as it is to see the Kings finally have a real coach for the first time since Adelman, I can't help but also think...

it would have been awesome to see Kurt Rambis get hired, so that The Clothesline could be endlessly referred to over and over again, complete with retrospective clips!

CAPTCHA: "lumbwali," i.e. "lumbwali Sczerbiak," said the King Crab!

Blogger TRob said...
"Why can't he ever seem to build on that? Oh right, cause of his ego."

BINGO. This has proven to be the Achilles Heal of Kobe ever since he broke out from the giant shadow of Shaq.

Its the same reason for his very poor statistics on last second, game deciding shots. He has to take the last shot, to a fault. His reluctance to pass when double or triple teamed in that situation has made him easy to defend on last second shot. This was obvious in game two.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Wild Yams said: "With all the work he's put in, he should be the game's most efficient player, but instead he's often closer to the other end of that spectrum, and last night was a prime example."

That's one of the things that confounds me about the guy. He's never shot as high as 47 percent from the field (his career-high is 46.9). Looking back at greats from earlier eras -- Bird, Magic, Jordan, even guys like Barkley, Malone, Stockton, et al. -- once they reached their primes and had more or less mastered most aspects of the game, you would watch their shooting percentages hit the low 50s as they became more efficient with their shots (except for Barkley and all his damn threes...dude would have hit nearly 60 percent of his shots for his career if he hadn't chucked up so many triples). Simply put, Kobe attempts too many difficult shots too regularly (typically contested jumpers). To his credit, he makes quite a few of them and maintains a respectable shooting percentage. But as good as we all know he is, there's no reason he hasn't been a 50/80 guy.

Anonymous Karc said...
LA Sparks join the Mercury on the sellout train.

http://sports.espn.go.com/wnba/news/story?id=4235122

Kind of surprised that they only do it for the home games. Sparks may end up being the most popular team in the WNBA. And by "popular" I mean "completely insignificant."

Anonymous gebwel said...
hey,we're still waiting for the pics of kobe with his gay-elf defense on pietrus breakaway and howard grabbing his crotch

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