Pau slapparoo

The first quarter brick-a-palooza: I'll let Fran Blinebury of sum this one up: "Who dropped the WNBA into the middle of The Finals? The Lakers (6-for-20) and Magic (4-for-14) combine for the lowest scoring first quarter in the history of The Finals. It was enough to give you horrid flashbacks of that 78-73 egg laid by Utah and Chicago in the Jazz' Game 4 in 1997." For some historical perspective, the previous low was 32 points after the first quarter of a Celtics-Lakers 1969.

The Orlando Magic: Thanks to an inspired performance by Rashard Lewis (34 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists) and a strong second-half from Hedo Turkoglu (who finished with 22 points), the Magic nearly stole Game 2 in L.A. But "nearly" wasn't nearly good enough, as they put the "suck" in "succumb" during the overtime session before losing 101-96. In those final five minutes, Orlando committed 3 turnovers (2 on their first two possessions) and shot 3-for-8 from the field. Still, the overtime fail aside, there are plenty of other reasons the Magic pissed this one away...even beyond their over-reliance on jump shots.

Courtney Lee: The rookie logged less than 12 minutes and finished with only 2 points (1-for-3), 2 rebounds and 2 fouls. But Stan Van Gundy still had enough confidence in the kid to put him in for the last play of regulation. And what a well-designed, perfectly executed play it was! Until Lee got involved, that is.

This was actually Lee's second boner to end regulation, since he also clanged a layup with 10.5 seconds left (although truth be told, he probably drew enough contact from Lamar Odom to justify a couple free throws). I have to say, that's a pretty tough spot for a rookie to be in, two clutch-time shots in the NBA Finals. But that doesn't change the fact that he missed 'em both. And those misses might have (in part) cost his team the game AND any realistic chance at winning the series. After all, since the NBA went to the 2-3-2 format in 1985, 11 of 12 teams winning the first two games have gone on to win the championship. Ruh roh, Raggy.

Still, Lee (quick correctly) doesn't feel as though the entire burden of losing should fall on his lanky shoulders. "We didn't lose the game just because I missed the layup. We could have won the game." And while it's certainly true that Courtney isn't THE reason the Magic lost, Stan Van Gundy's comments after the game were, well, yeah. "Hedo made a great pass, and we missed it. I just don't know what else to say about it. It was a great pass, it was right there, and he missed it." Way to feed your rookie to the wood chipper there, Stan.

Orlando's free throw shooting: They "only" missed seven freebies -- and Dwight Howard was 7-for-9! -- but there was a stretch near the end of the third quarter into the beginning of the fourth where they blew five in a row: Marcin Gortat gonked two with 1:38 left in the third (and the Magic up 59-59), Jameer Nelson bricked a couple with 11:41 to go in the fourth (with Orlando ahead 65-63), and then Hedo Turkoglu misfired on one with 10:41 left in regulation (when the score was tied at 65-65). Saying that "If the Magic hit even one of those, this game doesn't go to overtime" is a gross oversimplification. But still, those were five critical misses. Just add 'em to the laundry list of "What Ifs" the Magic are taking back to Orlando with them.

Dwight Howard: Hey, 17 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 4 blocks...that's not a bad day at the office. But Howard also had 7 turnovers, mostly due to forcing a lost post "move" against the Lakers' aggressive double-teams. Not that he was able to make much of anything happen against single coverage when he got it. Even worse, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year seemed dazed and confused when trying to defense Pau Gasol in the post. Doesn't it sort of feel like he and Kevin Garnett won two different awards?

The Magic backcourt: None of Orlando's guards played well last night. NONE OF THEM. Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, Mickael Pietrus, J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson combined to score 17 points on 6-for-26 shooting, including 1-for-12 from three-point range. Credit the Lakers defense, but some of those threes were W-I-D-E open. (Alston in particular was so alone on two of his triple attempts that they could have played that sad piano music from the Incredible Hulk TV show.) They had only 7 assists between the five of them, which is only three more than Dwight Howard dished out by himself. Hell, Rashard Lewis -- who's never been accused of rampant playmaking -- had 7 on his own. Basically, the Magic backcourt has utterly and rather dismally failed so far.

Kobe Bryant: Yeah, he had a team-high 29 points, but he also had a co-game-high 7 turnovers. Oh, and he failed to live up to his rep as the "game's greatest closer" in overtime, when his contributions looked like this: Missed a 22-footer (4:13); gave up an "And 1!" to Dwight Howard (3:19); hit an 11-footer (2:17); committed a turnover (0:42). Of course, his "meh" overtime (other than the made jumper) might have been an extension of his final possession of ego-ectomizing block from behind by Hedo Turkoglu:

Officiating: I hate harping on the officials, but Kobe Bryant got pretty big helping of benefit of the doubt in the fourth quarter last night. Mickael Pietrus' fifth foul was absolutely ludicrous (he didn't touch Kobe, and Dwight cleanly blocked the shot), and after Pietrus fouled out, Hedo got whistled for a personal on a play in which Kobe simply fell down on his own. Bryant was awarded four big free throws off these plays, and of course Pietrus was pushed toward another foul out. Talk about your 2006 NBA Finals flashbacks. There's really no excuse for calls that bad. And trust me, these are only highlights. There were plenty of bogus calls throughout the game, going both ways, every way. I can't stand it.

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Blogger Unknown said...
you mean 'worst of game 2'

keep up the good work! great read.

Blogger Cortez said...
"There were plenty of bogus calls throughout the game, going both ways, every way. I can't stand it."

Pretty much sums this topic up.

Let the record show that Bryant was asking for a GOD-DAMNED FOUL(!!!!!!) on that great block by Hedo at the end of regulation when that silly bastard should have been driving hard to the basket for the aggressive lay-in.

(Side note: Shouldn't personal integrity go hand in hand with being a "winner"?)

...or the (albeit tougher, but only tougher after the dumb ass 10 foot pull p attempt) kick out to the WIDE OPEN(!!!) Ariza on the opposite wing. hit or miss, the game would have went to overtime.

Kobe may be the "greatest closer" in the game today, but like my whacked-out grandpa liked to say...

...the fastest turtle to win the race is still just a slow fucking turtle.

Great Zeus my self-righteous rage knows no end!

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
I especially love the fact that Kobe complained after the absolutely clean block by Turkeyloo. Embarrassment call.

How's that for succint...Cortez?

Blogger chris said...
Hey, Shannon Brown is the first human victory cigar of the finals! At this rate, he might win the Damon Jones Award by default.

Blogger Unknown said...
About the officiating, no mention on Howard's "in-rim" blocking on Paul Gasol's shot? I have seen more players are doing it without getting cought.

Blogger KNEE JERK NBA said...
In a game he had to win, SVG plays Redick 27 minutes (and all of OT). Brutal.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Devil's Advocate here: could be Kobe was complaining about the light touch that Rashard Lewis had on Kobe's arm prior to Hedo's block. I'm glad they didn't call that, since it was real minor, but there was still some contact there, so that could have been what Kobe was complaining about. The officiating really was miserable both ways last night. Early in the game I thought we were headed for another 80+ FTA affair, but luckily the refs settled down a bit. The calls didn't improve, per say, but at least there weren't as many of them.

What is with Stan Van Gundy's rotations? Is it any wonder that Alston can't hit a shot in this series after the incredible lack of confidence his coach is showing him? SVG is clearly scrambling cause we're seeing lineups the Magic have never used before. Going with Howard and Gortat together, going with Battie and Gortat, going with no point guard for the last 7-10 minutes or so?! I guess it's probably keeping Phil's coaching staff confused as to what they're going to see, but it's gotta be keeping the Magic players confused as well.

Is Gasol the real Finals MVP so far?

Blogger Nathan said...
Kobe definitely had a bad call or two go his way... but what about the play where Hedo knocked the ball out of bounds, and the ref called it off Kobe's knee. He had a perfect view of the play, and his call wasn't even close. Not to mention, if you think Kobe's getting the D-Whistle treatment, you have to say the same for Howard.

Anonymous AK Dave said...

I wondered why the Howard + Gortat lineup didn't see the light of day earlier in the playoffs. They match up well with Odom/Bynum/Gasol, and give them the lift that they obviously needed in rebounding (and which they got in this game; outrebounding LA 44-35).

I think the Magic aren't out of this series yet- they showed that they can compete in this game, and SVG showed that he was willing to tinker with lineups and find out what works- and I think he did. The Magic just missed free throws and layups and shot a low percent from the floor. I think that's where this series is decided now that the game 1 "feeling out" process is over: who's going to make their open looks? Whoever does, wins. Basketball is just that simple sometimes when the right people are on the floor.

It sucks to be down 2-0, but it's not over QUITE yet... deep down I'm hoping to see a 7 game series.

Blogger jg said...
Yams is right. Kobe was fouled by Lewis on his final jump shot (light touch on the forearm), although in defense of the (horrible) refs, it was only obvious on replay.

Worst call of the game: Howard putting his hand through the net, out through the middle of the rim, and blocking Gasol's unblockable reverse dunk. Just incompetent officiating. (oh, Hillsolo already said this. oops.)

There were also a ton of phantom fouls, fast 3 second counts, etc. early in the game. Screens that aren't called fouls in the 4th quarter, but are in the 1st ... the usual.

Blogger BballViking said...
Heres footage of Kobe getting fouled on that last play

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yams: As you are advocating for Kobe, your credentials for Devil's Advocate are approved.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Just to be clear, even though there was technically contact on that last second shot by Kobe (that Hedo blocked cleanly), I am glad the refs didn't call that. IMO that's an awful way to decide a Finals game. The same could be said for the refs not calling Gasol for goaltending on Lee's missed shot (just cause he technically touched the rim, even though it didn't effect whether Lee's shot would have gone in or not). I'm glad the refs, for the most part, let the players decide it last night.

AK Dave - Allow me to stat curse the Lakers here. While this series isn't technically over, it is looking pretty grim. I checked the Lakers' schedule and they only lost 3 times in 5 games once all year, and haven't yet lost 4 times in 5 games. Actually, LA's worst stretch of the season so far was 4 losses in 8 games, from Game 4 of the 2nd round through Game 4 of the WCF (and they're 4-0 since then). The Lakers only lost back to back games four times all year (none in the playoffs), and they also haven't lost 3 straight at any point since they acquired Pau Gasol from Memphis last year; and they're probably going to have to do that for the Magic to have a real shot, cause I don't see Orlando winning both Games 6 & 7 back in Staples Center. Orlando has shown they can play with LA (something I had little doubt of), but down 2-0 is no joke. Not against a team as talented as LA is. Also, keep in mind that LA was almost as good on the road this year as Orlando was at home (LA's road record was 29-12 while Orlando's home record was 32-9). Tall, tall order for the Magic to win at this point. Can they do it? Absolutely, but it's not gonna be easy.

The big question is this: what adjustments can Stan Van Gundy make for Game 3 that he hasn't already made in this series? He threw everything but the kitchen sink out there last night. About the only thing he hasn't tried yet is going real small.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Is Gasol the real Finals MVP so far?"


"In a game he had to win, SVG plays Redick 27 minutes and all of overtime...Brutal"

Not according to John Hollinger a.k.a. ESPN "Insider" *SMH*. Redick showed some positive signs in game 1 making shots and defending Beatrix Kiddo...errr...Kobe Bryant.

"and his call wasn't even close."

Sure it was. It was off Kobe, just not his knee.

"Kobe was fouled by Lewis on his final jump shot..."

They also should have called a foul on Foyle. He was looking at the play really, really, really hard from the bench. I'm certain his intense glare caused some quarks to touch Bryant's arm with the same force as Rashard's "foul".

For the record, that is what is known in basketball circles as "incidental contact".

Unless you are a whiny little girl then it's known as a foul.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Can they [the Magic] do it?"

I could also walk though walls if my, and the wall's, atoms lined up just right.

Prepare the main boulevard LA fans, these Lakers, despite their litany of flaws, barring some major injury, aren't losing to a team who's "power" forward main weapon shooting 3's and is sending, the French Michael Jordan, the Phantom of the Opera, and a white 6'3" 'shooting' guard to match up with Bryant.

This bum-ass series is the perfect end to, yet another, basketbawful season.

Anonymous AK Dave said...

You're right of course- but I think Orlando HAS figured out how to beat LA; unfortunately part of that game plan includes things like, uh.. let's see... hitting free throws and layups :D

While Orlando doesn't have any overwhelming advantages to exploit other than Rashard Lewis vs. whomever is guarding him, I think they have figured out how to play LA evenly, and the outcomes of games are going to be decided by how the team shoots on that particular night.

Which gives them a chance- albeit a slim one.

So if LA wins, I want to see Kobe come out with an entire rap CD devoted to talking shit to Shaq. In fact, that should be the title of the album: "Talkin' Shit to Shaq- the Revenge pt. 1". Check out the hit single: "Hey Shaq: tell Winning how it's ass tastes!"

Blogger Cortez said...
"but I think Orlando HAS figured out how to beat LA."

Yeah, trade for some other players this off-season.

Dave, you're like basketball's John McClain (circa late '80s, not the new crappy verison).

Regardless, you're all right with me my man. I see your keyboard shook D. Jones loose. Typical.

Anonymous Wormboy said...
The Magic remind me of the STL Cardinals losing to the BoSox in 2004.

Another classic example of a team so psyched out by the big stage, destiny, or both that they can't hit shots.

At least the Cards came back to win it the next year. :p

Blogger Wild Yams said...
AK Dave - Before this series started I thought the Magic were going to be LA's toughest opponent of the playoffs, so as I said above, their ability to play with LA and beat them was never in doubt IMO. I think Game 1 was partially due to Orlando jitters combined with rather poor preparation from SVG for his team (and great preparation by Phil and his staff). Game 2 is probably more of what we'll see from here on out. If the Magic have a great shooting night, and I expect that they will at some point, then they'll win, maybe even easily. They also could just play about the way they did last night and maybe have a couple more things go their way at home and could win a nailbiter or two.

But when two teams which are fairly evenly matched are playing and are banking on just having a good game, odds are good you're not going to have one team win 4 out of 5 that way. Orlando could win, and probably will win in the next couple games. But will they win all three of their home games? I'm skeptical. Because just as the Magic could have a great shooting night, so could LA. Both teams have lots of weapons, and all either team really needs is for one of those "X factors" to go off while the usual mainstays do their thing, and that's a win.

At this point I really think Orlando's gonna have to win Games 6 & 7 if they want to win this series. But I don't know whether that scenario seems more farfetched than the other one which would have to play out for Orlando to win, and that is winning the next four games against LA. When you consider Orlando sweeping Games 3-6 or winning Games 6 & 7 in LA as the only situations in which Orlando can win... well, you know how realistic that is.

Anonymous AK Dave said...

First of all: you are still dangerous. But you can be my wingman anytime.

My keyboard has a sick crossover that makes Tim Hardaway look like John Crotty with a hangover.

Hell yeah it shook Jones. But he DID manage to stop a speeding train from running over a woman that Kobe tied up and laid down on the tracks down in Irvine. Then he stopped my friend Paul who was about to talk with his mouth full. As we speak, he's posted up outside Chris Paul's house waiting to stop him from getting his morning newspaper.

Guy is MONEY, dude, I don't know what all this hating is about. Dahntay Jones for DPOY 2010! Then he's going for league MVP!

WEAAAAAHH-HAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! (/channeling inner Howard Dean)

WV- sness

As in the SNES was the greatest console ever. This WV is scientific proof of that.

Anonymous AK Dave said...

Pretty much. I'm resigned to LA winning the series. Unfortunately you realize this means that Vujacic will get a ring, right? I mean, has anyone thought of what this means?

Also: I hate the 2-3-2 format. Why switch it after 3 rounds? It provides SUCH an advantage to the home team, because the odds of winning 3 home games in a row are not so good. Unless Dwayne Wade plays for your team. It also lessens the chance that LA fans will get to see their team play again. Lose-Lose. Me no likey.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AK Dave -- I've actually covered the 2-3-2 format shift here before, but here's a reminder for all you forgetful types. ;)

Basically, CBS and the NBA conspired to make this change in 1985 becuase the network needed to ensure that the Finals would go at least six or seven games in order for them to make money. It was felt that if the team with HCA won the first to games and then split in the second two, it was very unlikely that the road team would survive Game 5 so that they could bring it back home for a Game 6. By switching to a 2-3-2, it was felt that the team with HCA would more or less mail in Game 5 (assuming they were up 3-1) knowing they could just go home and have two shots to win it. And this actually happened in 1986 and 1987, when the Celtics and Lakers both more or less conceded their Game 5s against inferior opposition and then steamrolled in Game 6 at home.

Now, the company line is that the 2-3-2 reduces the amount of traveling each team has to do and thus ensures that the players are rested and will provide the highest possible quality of performance. Which, of course, is bullshit. The point is to lengthen the series, which is something they don't want to do in earlier rounds...where the HCA is weighted more toward giving the team with the better record more of an advantage (and rightly so).

Blogger Mr. Shrimp said...
I'm glad they didn't make the call on Lewis on that last play of regulation, and I thought Kobe was definitely off last night. But I don't think Pietrus's fifth foul was so phantom, and to say that Turk's strip was off Kobe is ridiculous. In that case, every strip is off the stripped player because technically, their hand is still sort of touching the ball as it gets pulled out of their hands.

Blogger Rogue said...
WOT goes to Mr. Basketbawful for not mentioning Trever Ariza (3-13)with no free throw attempts and Son of Walton for (0-0) with two rebounds and 3 fouls in 15 minutes of playing time or Shanon Brown with 1 foul and nothing else in 5:47 of playing time or cot damn too many to list, The Machine bricked once and nothing else in the 4:32 of playing time.

That was unprecedented lactivity or awfulness from the Lakers Bench.

Blogger Dunpizzle said...

Anonymous big tuna said...
akdave - sick, sick crotty reference. you should ghostwrite for family guy

and even worse than vujacic getting a ring is morrison getting one too. dude's played 44 mins this year for LA and still has that ridiculous stain of a 'stache. big picture: this really is the lesser of two evils since it was looking like marbury was on his way to getting his ring

Blogger Wild Yams said...
OK, so once and for all: does the 2-3-2 favor the team with HCA or the team without it? Cause it sounds like AK Dave says it favors the team with the better record, while it sounds like Mr. Bawful is saying it favors the team w/o HCA. Or am I confused and you're both in agreement?

Also, did anyone catch last night when the announcers were talking about how great Howard is and that all he needs is a post game and his offensive game will be complete? Um, isn't a center without a post game basically a huge waste (unless he can stretch the D with 3-pt shooting)? I'd like to know what other areas of Howard's offensive repertoire does he have well figured out so that this one minor omission of a post game is all that he has left to add?

Anonymous big tuna said...
"That was unprecedented lactivity or awfulness from the Lakers Bench."
if you watched any of the first 3 rounds aside from games 5 & 6 vs denver, you should substitute 'unprecedented' for 'on schedule'

yams - i think 2-3-2 favors the underdog. there's more pressure on the #1 to hold serve for those first two games and even if they do so, they're faced with using HCA to tie up the series at 3-3 rather than having game 5 at home as a momentum game leading into game 6. IMO, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. 2-2-1-1-1 is obviously good enough for every other round and the travel excuse is a joke. 2 extra flights at the end of a 100+ game season is something to be concerned about? really??

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Who here would be in favor of a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 series? Just alternate venues with each game.

This just in, Bill Simmons is bitter. Boo fucking hoo.

Blogger Joe said...
Just do it like the superbowl and pick a random stadium to host the finals every year.

Then, nobody can complain about the format anymore

Anonymous Karc said...
I don't know Yams. I think I agree with at least three of those calls as total bailouts for LA. The last two fouls on Pietrus, Kobe falling down when Hedo didn't touch him, and the goaltend by Gasol on what should have been the game winner at the end of regulation.

And Jordan would have passed the ball to a wide-open shooter. I mean, Ariza was practically swinging his arms screaming "I'm open."

Blogger Cortez said...
"...their hand is still sort of touching the ball as it gets pulled out of their hands."

Late breaking news flash ace:

The last person who touches the ball before it goes out is who the ball is out on.

You can strip the ball AND be the last person who touched it.

Your entire line of reasoning (or lack thereof) is ridiculous.

"Brick To My Lou"


"this really is the lesser of two evils since it was looking like marbury was on his way to getting his ring"

That's like Antoine Walker getting a ring.



"OK, so once and for all: does the 2-3-2 favor the team with HCA or the team without it?"

Whatever your argument requires at the time you make the statement.

Jimmy Chitwood (Bobby Plump) didn't give a shit about HCA and neither should professional basketball players.

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: You know what's funny? The NHL decided to go 2-3-2 for the same reasons the same time the NBA did, or about then...

First series with it, the Islanders and Oilers, two dynasties meeting up for the second year in a row (and their third meeting in the postseason). New York loses and they credit the schedule for killing their home momentum, after only getting a split in Nassau. And THAT series only lasted 5 games, as did the following Stanley Cup Finals. After that, the League went back to 2-2-1-1-1 for the ultimate round.

As for the Association, the first few years of 2-3-2 worked to guarantee six games, exactly the way Stern wanted it in retorting to Bird in '85 - but then 89, 90, and 91 were all snoozers. 92-94 were good, then 95 was a sweep, 96-98 all went six games.

In this decade, 2000 went 6 games, 2001 went 5, 2002 was a sweep, 2003 went 6, 2004 went 5, 2005 went the full load, 2006 went 6, 2007 was a sweep, and last year went 6.

It seems that 2-3-2 in the NBA rarely guarantees a seven-game series, but makes a 6-gamer more likely. I think we've only had two seven-game series since 1988 though.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Are the Lakers the lesser of two evils in these Finals? Maybe so.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Not so sure Kobe's shot that got blocked was such a horrible call on his part.

He thought he had Hedo and Rashard beat and was going to throw up a floater over Dwight. Does his floater over Dwight have a better chance of going in than Ariza or Odom for 3? Probably; Ariza's percentage for the game was horrible, Odom's not a great three point shooter, and they didn't need a 3 to win it.

He got blocked because he didn't know that he hadn't really beat Hedo. In hindsight, it was the wrong call, but I can understand why it seemed like a good idea at the time. It was a great recovery by Hedo.

On the other hand, losing Lee on the inbounds or not switching with Ariza on the pick was a horrible play.

Anonymous Ak dave said...
Big Tuna: actually, I liked John Crotty. He was a solid backup PG. Had pretty sick handles, but couldn't create his own shot. He was good for what he was. Other random non-all-star guys I liked from yesteryear: Bo Outlaw, Bob Sura (before his knees crumbled), Rex Chapman (who, lets face it, apart from a few good seasons, kinda blew), Travis Best, Tom Gugliotta, Rony Seikaly....

I think that the 2-3-2 favors the team with HCA because if they win both game 1 and 2, they then only have to win one of the next 3 road games to go home up in the series. I think that 3 home games in a row for the lower seeded team does not benefit them; after 2 games, their 'home court advantage' is more or less a wash, since the opposing team is well adjusted to their crowd.

Still, I can see why this format results in a lot of 5/6 game series wins, and not a lot of 7 game series'.

Just my opinion. Chris' numbers better support that.

I would LOVE a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 series. Have a game every 3rd day. Or let them play in a "neutral" site, like the Super Bowl. Of course this would result in BS de-facto home court crowds just like the Super Bowl in Detroit where the Steelers "beat" the Seahawks with about 75% of the fans and a lot of referee help. Fucking Super Bowl XL. I hate you, Super Bowl XL!!

OK, so screw the neutral site idea. But YES to the 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 format.

Anonymous DKH said...
Lol, yea, I'm going to root for the Lakers based on some guy's paranoid ramblings about DeVos's role in the "vast right wing conspiracy".

"At Amway Arena, the DeVos hold Faith & Family Nights, multiple home-school nights and other events replete with Christian rock and player testimonials." How scary! I love how that guy uses that sentence as a money shot. (Also: "the" Devos? This guy gets a definite article now?)

Look, around the end of the article he almost made an interesting point about how much DeVos was robbing taxpayers to build his arena (while the Staples Center was privately financed, or so says wikipedia). But he includes some quote where a woman blatantly lies by citing a $1 billion figure, when actual math (math! scary!) with the numbers in the article implies $410 million (more than 85% of the cost). Still a lot, so why include the lie?

So, the vast right wing conspiracy won't drive me to root for the Lakers. I'd rather root for the Lakers for other reasons:

1. I'm a Cavs fan. Maybe seeing Kobe get a ring while LeBron is supposed to be "the best" will motivate LeBron.
2. I'm a Cavs fan. I will maniacally laugh with bitterness when the Magic shoot 3 point FGs at their average rate and lose.
3. I'm a Cavs fan. I will laugh some more when the Magic find their elbow throwing ineffective because the Lakers trained against the Celtics last year.
4. Also, as a UA student, maybe the ASU fans will stop talking about Eddie House's ring if Luke Walton were to get one (wow, our schools really represent in the NBA, huh?).
5. I'd like to see the Magic bandwagon dissipate.

Not that I'm really rooting for the Lakers. I mostly couldn't care. But some guy's paranoid political article isn't going to drive me one way or the other, and I can't believe it's being brought up here, with so many other, on-court storylines being more intriguing.

Blogger lordhenry said...
Yeah, 2-3-2 sucks as a format, like phil says, it's almost impossible for a home team to win three in a row in the finals.
To me, it seems like the magic have already shot their load as far as coaching goes. Every possible lineup they have was shown in game 2. They shot the 3 better, but still can't hit freethrows, which will doom you in a close game. And didn't I hear someone say on here, "the road team has to, HAS TO hit their free-throws to have a chance in a playoff game on the road." It could be I saw it somewhere else, but I'm pretty sure one of the three wise men said that. (the three wise men being, Bawful, Cortez, and Yams.)
I think phil deserves credit for going away from the triangle in game one and confounding SVG with the pick and roll. SVG had to be flabbergasted. Any coach worth his salt would be watching game film and preparing his team for the triangle offense the lakers run, so going to the pick and roll definitely enabled L.A. to take advantage of Orlando's panic in game 1. What a great bamboozle by the Zen Master.

And yes, that was all just a ruse to get to say "bamboozle."

Anonymous Gengar said...
At one point during Kobe’s game-winning attempt at the end of regulation, there were literally four Magic players around him. I asked a few of my math and physics professors to tackle such a scenario, and they more or less agreed, after vigorous analyses, that three Lakers players should indeed have been open. Oh, and did anybody else notice how much better of a job Turk did on Kobe than Pietrus? Speaking of Pietrus, I think the referees have agreed amongst each other that he must foul out of every game simply by default. Poor guy.

Man, I never thought we’d see a backcourt in this year’s playoffs worse than the Fisher-Brown-Vujacic-Farmar foursome. I mean, their statistics combined probably don’t make one Chris Paul (they probably don't even make a Tyron Lue). But lo and behold, the Magic backcourt. They must be in pretty bad shape if Van Gundy’s best option is to use Turkoglu as a point guard.


Completely random thought: If next year’s Finals were to feature the Lakers and the Cavaliers (with Shaq added to their roster), would it be the most watched and anticipated Finals in NBA history? Would it feature a Shaq puppet flashing his three Finals MVP awards in Kobe's face whilst mumbling in a deep, inaudible tone?

Blogger The Dude Abides said...
I've always thought that the referees have a designated player on each team who's going to be a victim of ticky-tack foul calls and/or some pretty blatant non-calls. Sometimes the situation calls for a makeup call, and this player is frequently the designated victim. IMO, for this series it's Pietrus of the Magic and Bynum of the Lakers.

Blogger Glenn said...
Tough call, but I'm putting the Lee parody video above the Skip Slaps House video as best parody of these playoffs.


Anonymous Jarot said...
when we are at the calls topic:

did lewis's slight touch on the hand change anything in that shot? with it or without, hedo took the ball and there was nothing kobe could do about it (well passing the ball... but hey, its kobe we are talking about). so in this kind of situation i would say it was the best call that could be made.

besides if you look at the recaps of Lee's layup, you can clearly see that Gasol touched the rim nearly Howard-like. shouldn't that be a goaltending? ;) ofcourse after seeing what howard did, that was nothing, but still, this could be the 1 cm needed for the ball to bounce back into the basket.

anyways the officiating was lausy, send these guys to 4th Kazachstans league for some more training. and STILL magic could have won. stupidly lost chance.

besides: it may only be me, but the less nelson plays, the better the whole team does. yeah i know he is a great player, but still, he should be riding the pine instead of playing. next season - whatever, this season - let alston do his job - he worked half the season for that chance. and johnson. i like what he does on the court. way more a team player than nelson who is a bit iversonish. besides (yep, i'm from Poland) more gortat.

and i don't get the matchup. Gasol has clearly a problem with Gortat. in the first match, when Gortat got in for Howard, Gasol practically stopped doing anything. so why the hell is SVG putting Howard on Gasol, and Gortat on bynum/odom. that is a bad matchup.

Anonymous MODI said...
That Lee shot was no easy shot at all. his momentum was carrying him the other direction and he had to catch and shift across the back board. Because of how close he was to the basket it created an illusion of an easy shot that never was. In fact, a spot up 3-pointer goes in more times out of 10 than that "lay-up".

In theory it is a much easier shot if he lays it in without the backboard, but in this instance Pau would have blocked it anyway.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
kobe shouldn´t even take that shot at the end of regulation.

reddick comes to double team him - pass to an open ariza for three, if the magic rotate quick enough - extra pass to fisher in the corner.

mj would have passed the ball

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Ah yes, once again it's the "Kobe is not as good as Jordan was" argument, which apparently means he's a total failure who should be mocked and despised. Kobe may not be as good as Jordan, but then again, who is? Everyone else in the NBA isn't as good as Jordan was, but I don't see any of them getting ridiculed for it.

Keep in mind, the Lakers did in fact win the game, and the real nail in the coffin play was Kobe setting up Gasol for an and one in OT. But no, rather than focus on that at all, let's just dwell on the play he didn't make. Bill Simmons ain't the only one who's bitter. Hate on.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Who is (or was) as good as Jordan?

The Admiral
Oscar Robertson
And others, but I'm actually trying to do work today.

I also disagree a little. Jordan didn't always pass the ball. Sometimes he muffed it too.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Who is (or was) as good as Jordan?"

The Admiral? The Admiral! The Admiral?


B'awful, ban this guy.

...if I don't get banned first!

"Sometimes he muffed it too."

Big time. Like when you put the Admiral on that list!

Blogger chris said...
Speaking of the whole switch to 2-3-2, according to Wikipedia, Red Auerbach - who originally suggested it - ultimately came to the same conclusion as the Islanders dynasty in the NHL, that taking Game 5 away from the team with the better record was detrimental:

"This finals was the first to be played in the current 2-3-2 NBA Finals format, which Red Auerbach suggested to David Stern in order to cut back on the frequent traveling between Boston and Los Angeles. Auerbach said years later, it was terrible that they went to this format because it takes away the home court advantage from the team with the first two games at home and they don't get to host the all but crucial Game 5, which is the swing game in a 7 game series."

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't underestimate Mr. Robinson. He could be truly dominant, and had a couple of really remarkable years. My personal stats (it's midnight, and I have to go feed a baby) that are my favorite include his 70 point game and a quadruple double. The last player to notch a quadruple double. There's more, but it's not worth the argument.

Jordan is a historical icon, in large part to shrewd marketing and publicity and it will never change. I'll never call him NOT great or unremarkable, but he's not incomparable. His support casts in his championship years are also grossly underrated.

Blogger Cortez said...
"...I'll never call him NOT great or unremarkable, but he's not incomparable."

Never suggested he was. That
's why the only person I singled out on that list was the Admiral.

"His support casts in his championship years are also grossly underrated."

That's true but on the other hand it's not as if David was going out there with 3 cripples and a goat.

He was an upper tier center and a great ball player. Let's leave the Jordan comparision where they belong. fantasy land.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Believe it or not Cortez, I actually didn't think you did suggest Jordan wasn't awesome. That statement was really just to the world. Usually when I make any comment that implies Jordan wasn't the best, I get a lot of responses that seem to insinuate that I think Jordan was an overhyped D-leaguer.

I agree that D-rob had some decent support (some years better than others). No disagreement there, except that I could call Del Negro a goat for purely scientific reasons.

Blogger Cortez said...
"...except that I could call Del Negro a goat for purely scientific reasons."

Hold up a second...

Del Negro isn't a goat?!?!?!?!?

"Usually when I make any comment that implies Jordan wasn't the best..."

I don't think he was the best. (whatever the hell 'the best' even means)

The best pure basketball player is obviously LJB!

"I get a lot of responses that seem to insinuate that I think Jordan was an overhyped D-leaguer."

He was compared to this kid I saw in New York back in the day.

I seem to remember his name was Mike also. Unfortunately he went to jail for something or other.