Due to my hectic and evil schedule, I manage to start watching the game at 43-35, Magic.
2nd period, 2:46 remainingRandom thought #1:
The idea of this series getting knotted at 2-2 is making my mouth water – not like it would if this were the CELTICS-Lakers, but it would be nice to see the Lakers at least struggle a bit. It’s like being a Red Sox fan. Just as important as winning is the Yankees NOT winning. Same applies for the Lakers.Random thought #2:
From watching the opening of game 3, I noticed they’ve added Paul Pierce to the “Champions” Finals montage. But it looks like he’s holding the Finals MVP trophy (Now the Bill Russell Award…Awesomeness) and not the Larry O'Brien. Still, cool.2nd, 2:22 remaining
Howard with big-time left-handed hook. Mark Jackson correctly identifies it as “big time,” but does not say “Mama look out for that man,” or whatever the hell he always says.2nd, 1:50 remaining
Howard goes to the right hand hook from a few feet further out. Mama, watch that man. Big time. Get out of my way. Hold the onions. Hide the children. Close the mall.2nd, :11 remaining
Howard tries an identical right-handed hook. Air ball. It reminds you that this dude is just not naturally gifted at the offensive end – aside from cleaning up missed lay-ups with authority.2nd, :8.9 remaining
Jackson, about Howard: “He’s putting on a clinic.” Mark Jackson lives in cliché-land. Or at least has a vacation home there.Great commercial watch:
LeBron-Kobe puppet commercials. Awesome. The only thing that angers me about them is that I didn’t think to spoof them
. One new spot shows LeBron lifting weights, counting reps…"2007, 2008, 2009 2010…yeah” the puppet nods “2010.” THAT must make Cleveland feel great – the commercial practically promises LeBron is leaving. Or at least appears to hope for it. Comments Mark Jackson: "Cleveland getting no respect whatsoever. Mama look out for that man."ABC Halftime
Magic Johnson states the reason for the Magic lead is the Lakers are “just playing. They have no gameplan.” Uhm, there’s a backhanded diss of Phil Jackson if I’ve ever heard one. Or maybe that was the forehand.
Halftime teaser shows Dwight and Bill Russell giggling. I don’t know what they’re laughing about, but it’s gold. Not KG-Russell gold, but gold. I swear, you put Bill Russell with anyone, and it’s cool. Except if it’s, like, Bill Russell and Screech from Saved by the Bell
. Or Brian Scalabrini. In fact, let’s say this, Scalabrini is the anti-Russell – put him next to anyone, and that person becomes instantly NOT cool.Query:
What would happen if Bill Russell and Brian Scalabrini were put together for a promo? Would the spot where they’re standing turn into a swirling vortex of time-travel-inducing black hole like what the red matter did to planets in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek?
If you haven’t seen that movie yet, by the way, you’re missing out.Feature:
Dwight talks to Russell. Nice reminder of the KG-Russell piece last year. Seriously, let’s make sure Bill Russell is featured in every Finals series until he dies, or doesn’t want to do it anymore. The man has earned it, and always delivers the goods. Speaking of The Goods...
Russell’s defensive advice to Howard “Always jump straight up.” Good advice, Bill. Sadly, in today’s league, you’ll regularly get called for a foul doing that.
In the piece, Patrick Ewing, Russell, and Howard are on the sideline at practice. Ewing admires Russell’s ring and says “gotta get me one of these” and Howard mumbles something like “Gotta do somethin’ out there [to get one]” and gestures to the court. Dwight mumbles this half-heartedly, perhaps because as he's saying it, he must realize he’s dissing Ewing’s trophyless career. Lots of unintentional dissing going on tonight. Let's say something shitty about Dan Marino and complete the Trifecta.
Sorry, Mr. Ewing. You’re going to have to try for that ring as an assistant coach. It’s the same ring as the players get, but the league injects the center stone with the scent of abject failure and perpetual frustration.3rd quarter
Hmmm, the Lakers are in foul trouble in the Magic’s building? Unusual.3rd, 9:45 remaining
Ariza steals, gets a breakaway layup, pulling the Lakers to within 10. Ariza gives an “I’ve been fouled” look even though he went to the hole uncontested and untouched. It’s like all NBA players are trained to gripe on every play. Must be in the player orientation manual.
Howard misses another hook. If he could regularly create his own shot, he’d be frightening.
Kobe and Ariza threes – Lakers to within 5. Time out Magic.In-game interview snippet:
Kobe’s comment about Ariza: “He’s crafty.
” Kobe makes this compliment in the most condescending way. It’s like he’s talking about his son or something. We know you’re the best player on Earth, Kobe, relax – you can say nice things about other players without us forgetting how awesome you are.3rd, 7:11 remaining
Turk called for a foul on Ariza. Crap call. 54-50 Magic.3rd, 6:42 remaining
Good Laker ball movement, Ariza with another 3. Eleven points by Ariza in 5 ½ minutes. Impressive. Isn’t this a contract year, Trevor? Maybe the Celtics can steal him….3rd, 5:41 remaining
Derek Fisher runs into, then grabs the leg of Rashard Lewis. Ball out of bounds. No foul, Laker ball. Interesting.3rd, 5:17 remaining
Nice floater by Alston. No, he wasn’t taking a crap.3rd, 4:54 remaining
Bynum’s 4th foul is a joke, so much so that Howard thinks the foul is on him. Officiating in this league should be defined as comedy. The only thing I can assume is that refs made the call on Bynum because he shoved Howard out of the way for an earlier rebound three seconds before the actual whistle. Still.Orlando Magic “Second-rate Celebrity” watch:
Chris Tucker, Rihanna, and Tiger Woods – which of these three “Stars” is really a star? Hint:
He plays golf (maybe Chris Tucker plays golf too, but that would be pure coincidence).3rd, 3:34 remaining
Odom gets hammered by Howard going to the hole. Curious no call.3rd, 2:17 remaining
J.J. Reddick ties the game at 61 with a wicked ball fake and a three.
3rd, 1:53 remaining
J.J. Reddick undoes his great play with a lame try-to-lean-in-for-a-foul-call jumper. No call, no basket, no charitable feelings for the inconsistent Reddick.3rd, 1:28 remaining
Kobe rips a rebound out of Dwight’s hands (legit), Howard bear hugs Kobe (foul called, fine), Kobe tries to elbow Dwight. Commentators actually say the following: “That would normally be a technical, but there are no technicals in the Finals.” Nothing this simultaneously true and pathetic has ever been spoken in the history of mankind.3rd, :25 remaining
Breen notes that an “anti-ref chant” has begun. I can’t make out what the crowd is saying, but if it’s anti-ref, I agree with it wholeheartedly.
Lakers outscore Magic 30-14 in the 3rd. Yikes.Great commercial watch:
A new “Where will amazing…” commercial unveils Dr. J’s under-the-basket lay-up from a rare opposite baseline camera view. Awesome. Not quite “Larry stole the ball” awesome, but awesome.4th quarter4th, 11:35 remaining
Kobe alley-oop to Odom puts Lakers up 69-63.4th, 10:52 remaining
Breen and Jackson are saying get Nelson out, put Alston back in. Did everyone on Earth but Stan Van Gundy (hereafter SVG) know that putting Nelson back into the lineup would ruin the team’s chemistry?4th, 10:39 remaining
Pietrus rakes Gasol across the face while driving, sends Gasol to the floor in obvious pain. Foul on Gasol. NBA refs are fantastic.4th, 9:54 remaining
Odom fouls Turkoglu on a three with the clock running down. Turk makes 2 of 3. Lakers, 71-67.4th, 9:35 remaining
After a breakaway steal, Pietrus blows an open layup, getting all discombobulated by Ariza’s high-speed defensive approach. Made him look like he should be playing in high school. In fact, Breen et al thought he slipped on a patch of wet floor or something...until the replay. Nope. He just bricked it - bad.
Yes, Pietrus actually missed this shot.4th, 9:09 remaining
Howard called for an offensive foul while establishing position. Legit. He whacked Gasol three times hard before they blew the whistle.Bad Commercial Watch:
Mice riding in a car. Still don’t know what it’s advertising, and don’t care.4th, 6:55 remaining
Moving screen on Gasol. No replay shown to confirm that the refs smoke crack. The only closeup is Gasol saying “Bad Call” or “Bullshit.” Verdict: Close-ups on Gasol inspire nightmares.4th, 6:40 remaining
Farmar hangs on Howard’s arm to prevent a dunk. Good play for a guy his size to stop the score. During the regular season, this is a Flagrant 2. Howard hits both freethrows.4th, 5:38 remaining
Pietrus with a huge and-1 against Kobe. Timeout. 75 all.4th, 5:06 remaining
Turk misses two frees. No arc or savvy. I thought he shoots well….?
4th, 4:18 remaining
Nelson feeds to Howard for a dunk. Finally Nelson shows some worth.4th, 4:01 remaining
Kobe drives. Furious over no call. The boy cries wolf. Again. I once saw Kobe drives and whines
in concert at Soldier Field. They were awesome. And they love to do endless encores every time they play.4th, 3:19 remaining
Turk misses another freethrow. Twelve charity stripe misses by the Magic. Think this will come back to haunt them?4th, 3:02 remaining
Nelson feeds Howard again with a bullet pass for a dunk and 1. Hold the lettuce on that “Nelson is ruining the Magic’s chemistry” verdict. You can practically smell Alston’s fury on the bench. Magic 81-79. Howard hits free throw. He’s more solid than Turk at the line right now, which is a tad surprising.4th, 2:28 remaining
Ariza hits a HUGE three with the shot clock running down.4th, 2:08 remaining
Turk nails a three back. Magic 85-82.4th, 1:34 remaining
Turk’s floater puts the Magic up by 5. He’s very ugly when he grins and sticks out his tongue in celebration. He could benefit greatly from being a stone-faced assassin.4th, 1:14 remaining
Blocking foul on Nelson, who drops in front of Kobe. Legit call.4th, :32 remaining
Kobe with a nasty-good no-look feed to Gasol for the dunk. Magic by three.4th, :11 remaining
Turk feeds Howard down low (Turk missed seeing that same open pass on the previous play). Kobe pulls Howard to the floor to prevent the basket. During the regular season, that’s a Flagrant 2, three months in prison, and a mandatory hour in nipple clamps.
Dwight misses both free throws. Ew. Maybe that smell is the Magic’s free throw shooting and lack of Finals experience, not Alston’s rage.4th, :4.6 remaining
Fisher hits a three to tie the game. SVG makes yet ANOTHER huge stupid defensive mistake. Teeny, tiny Nelson out there on D? It didn’t help that his 3-point defense smelled like poo as well. How many odors are the Magic going emit tonight? Oy, Stan. Make it a free throw shooting contest. Foul Fisher before he lines up for a three. I can’t believe how many professional basketball teams allow this to happen.Final play of regulation
Pietrus doesn't notice Howard under the basket with Kobe on him. He takes an off-balance shot and misses. The Magic have just blown another golden opportunity to win a Finals game in regulation. I predict here and now that the Lakers will be going up 3-1 tonight. You can’t give Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Micheal Jordan, or Kobe Bryant two chances. You will lose.Overtime
Lewis three, Kobe two. Magic 90-89.OT, 3:54 remaining
Howard misses a contested lay-up. Now Dwight Howard
is a player you can give two chances - hell, give him three. He’s not elite yet. Remember, Patrick Ewing
is his mentor. Nuff said.OT, 2:38 remaining
Howard misses another lay-up. See?OT, 1:57 remaining
Kobe misses his second jumper, BUT refs miss a forearm foul on Pietrus. Know why? Because Kobe didn't crumble to the floor and curl into the fetal position. No wonder these players feel the need to overact.OT, 1:27 remaining
Lose ball foul on Fisher. Legit. Gasol (in front of Howard) went flying on the play, but he flopped. The right call was made, as Fisher was trying to push Howard with all he had. Howard just didn't move anywhere because he weighs 750 pounds.OT, 1:01 remaining
Ariza rebounds a missed Laker shot. Doesn’t look like he reestablished both feet back in bounds on the play. But what do I know? I’m not an NBA ref. Replay shows only one foot reestablished inbounds. Breen, Jackson, and JVG are oblivious.OT, :46 remaining
Lose ball foul on Nelson. Legit. Nelson wrapped Gasol’s arm and pulled him down.OT, 31.3 remaining
Lakers with ball. Kobe elbows Nelson in the chin. No call. Fisher hits a three to put the Lakers up three. It appears my pickup basketball cohorts are right – offensive fouls really shouldn’t be called under any circumstances. Huge play. On the other hand, maybe Nelson flopped. I know that when people elbow me in the face, I try to sell it by spitting teeth and bleeding. Ok, Nelson won't need facial reconstruction, but it was a clear hello-meet-my-elbow-bitch by Kobe. Huge play.OT, 21.6 remaining
Turk takes a bad, off-balance three. Gasol grabs a breakaway lay-up to put the Lakers up five. Gasol is happy and doing that jump-celebrating thing with his teammates. I hate the jump-celebrating. That needs to go. P.S.> Happy Gasol is not as ugly as a happy Turkoglu, but it’s close.
"Yay!"OT, :3.4 remaining
Lakers have the game in hand and the ball, which is passed to an open Gasol beneath the basket. Pietrus sprints in and slams Gasol full force with both hands. Gasol hits the dunk and the two jaw at each other. Flagrant on Pietrus. Watch this play closely. It’s the grandest illustration of what is wrong with the NBA. Forty times a game, you will see players get hit with one-tenth the force of that hit and fall like a pile of toothpicks. But here, Gasol knew the game was over, so an acting job wasn’t necessary. It would be nice if all games could be played that way all the time.Conclusion:
Uh, this is over.
"Note to self: Revise sign."
The Magic have put up a nice fight, and could easily be up 3-1, but they’re not, because they can’t finish games, not against the best, anyway.
And the Lakers are the best.
Let three countdowns begin:
- A Celtics / Lakers rematch in 2010. May both teams be healthy and fully stocked, because that’s the war I want to see.
- Phil and Kobe’s ascendancy over Red and Shaq, respectively.
- My week of nausea and depression. At least the Red Sox are 9-0 against the Yankees this year.
Congrats to the Lakers. It’s only a matter of time before you win it all.
And yes, I’m trying to jinx you.
Labels: 2009 NBA Finals, Evil Ted, Game 4, Live blog