If you’re wondering why the Lakers can’t get over the .500 hump, look no further then their biggest problem, coming from their biggest man, Dwight Howard. He’s shooting .485 from the free throw line. Called “free” for a reason. Called “charity stripe” for that same reason. Yet big Dwight, who runs up and down the floor so lackadaisically, just can’t seem to put it together. Imaging how frustrating it is to make a stop on the defensive end, come down with the ball, get it to the big guy who gets fouled, is sent to the line, and misses both free throws. And its not happening once a game, he went 3 for 14 from the line yesterday. I mean talk about demoralizing to the rest of the team. You can see it in Kobe’s body language. You can even see it in Nash’s body language. Missing freethrows has gotten contagious. I bet you didn’t know that Howard made 67% of his freethrows in his rookie year? Howard is a perfect headcase. You knew in the first quarter that he wasn’t gonna have a decent/respectable day from the line. You can see it in his eyes. Try to focus for pete’s sake. We’re not asking for much, just 50%. Just run up and down the court with energy. You have bad hands. That’s why people don’t pass you the ball often. You goaltend at least 1 shot a game. I’m frustrated. What good is it going to do for the Lakers to make the first round of the playoffs. So we can all watch them get swept by the Thunder? I’m predicting that they’re not going to make the playoffs so we don’t have to worry about it. The Lakers should’ve traded Howard before the deadline. Big mistake by Jimmy Buss. Then again, so was hiring D’antoni.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am pumped about the NBA season which is set to kick off Tuesday night! Maybe it’s because I’m a Lakers homer, but c’mon, you gotta admit Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant on the same team sounds intriguing? How about the Clippers adding Grant Hill, Odom and Jamaal Crawford? Will Blake’s knee hold up? The scariest move for me was the Heat signing Ray Allen. A consistent shooter on a dangerous team like that. I have them as favorites to win it all. I like what Boston did in picking Jason Terry but it ain’t gonna be enough. Not only are KG and Paul Pierce 1 year older, but they have no depth. I can’t wait for the annual Knicks’ Amare v. Carmelo drama to begin. With Harden gone from OKC (BIG MISTAKE), I can’t see the any legitimate threat for the Lakers in the west. Not even Iguodola in Denver is gonna make a difference. Then again, isn’t it true that every NBA team is 1 injury away from going to the cellar? Look what happened to D-Rose and Chicago. Truth be told, I don’t even think he’s coming back this year. Chicago might end up being a lottery team. Hang on folks, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!
Derrick Rose tore his ACL with just over 1 minute left in Game 1 of their series with the Philadelphia Sixers. At the time Rose went down, the Bulls had the ball and were up by a dozen. There was probably a 97% chance that they were going to win that game. Rose has been injured all year, so I ask myself, “Why wouldn’t coach Thibodeau pull him out?” I know, I’m Monday morning quarterbacking right now, but still The Bulls just went from favorites to win the Championship to a 1st or 2nd round out. Let’s not blame the Bulls coaching staff entirely. I believe the league has to share about 50% of this as well. Had it not been for the lockout, the cramming of all these games in a shortened season, this would’ve never happened. No preseason, no camp, multiple back to back to back games. I mean, this is ridiculous. Same thing happened to Dwight Howard, Al Horford (although he is injury prone), and now Iman Shumpert of the Knicks. Looks like Chicago’s gonna have to wait another year. Take it from this blogger who has torn his ACL in each knee (the most recent 2 yeas ago), it ain’t fun, and rehab’s no walk in the park either. But I’m guessing with the money they have invested in Rose, along with the state of the art facilities and medical staff, Rose should be ready to go by November. As for the playoffs, looks like the Heat are gonna coast to the finals.
So it seems like the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Let’s just say it works cap-wise, how the heck would New Orleans and Orlando basically hand the Lakers the Championship. The Lakers starting lineup would be Chris Paul at the point, Kobe at the 2, Ron Artest at the small forward, Dwight Howard in the middle and Derrick Caracter at power forward? In essence, the Lakers are going all in with this move, if it happens. I do like trading away Andrew Bynum. He’s had knee problems for a while and I don’t think he likes being a 4th option. I’d love to see how he is when he’s the man. Although I’d miss Pau Gasol, getting Howard will give the Lakers a physical presence in the paint. As for L.O., consistency has always been a problem for Lamar. Double-double one game, M.I.A. the next. Getting Chris Paul will finally give the Lakers a true point guard, one they haven’t had since Magic. I can see the Dwight Howard trade happening but not Chris Paul. Paul has made it obviosu that he wants to go to NY to play with Carmelo and Amare. Paul is not an LA guy. He’s East Coast. If the Lakers made this move, it would be the sickest every. Better than the Shaq signing, better than the Pau Gasol. Anyway, Lakers better be good if they want Santa to give them title hopes for the next 5 years…
There are some guys that are winners and some that just aren’t. Let me introduce you to Vince Carter, of the Orlando Magic, Mr. Individual. Never won a title as a Tarheel, couldn’t win when he played for Toronto with a then good Tracy McGrady (remember, he missed a game winning jumper because he had to attend his college graduation); couldn’t make noise with the Nets when they had Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson; and now, is trying to fill the empty shoes left by Hedo Turkoglu. I was the first to say that the Magic downgraded when they let Hedo sign with the Raptors and signed Vince. Carter is a “sexy” sign (on paper), but on the court, he rarely shows up when it counts. His last game against Boston, he was 5-15. He’s a good individual player, not a team player. He is was a dunker. Not sure if I’d vote him into the Hall of Fame, as I don’t think that spectacular dunks is a category? 1 week ago, everyone was talking about how the Magic were the best team in the NBA, having swept through the first 2 rounds of the playoffs. And now, after going 0-2 to the old and decrepit yet Wiley and savvy Boston Celtics, the Magic suck and are about to get swept. The main difference between last year’s Magic and this one…VINSANITY. Kudos for dunking over that 7 foot French center in the 2000 Olympics and possibly being the greatest slam dunk champion ever, but ala Chris Webber, neither you nor the team you play on will ever win a title.
Chicago v. Cleveland: I love watching the Bulls play. Derek Rose is awesome. Unfortunately, they have no chance against the Cavs. Lebron is on a mission this year. There is noone that is going to stop this team. I don’t care what other 4 players are on the court with him. Cavs in 4, bring out the brooms. Not this year Rose, you’re gonna need to make a big off-season signing (hint hint: Bosh).
Milwaukee v. Atlanta: I don’t even know how the Bucks got into the playoffs. I know about that kid Brandon Jennings (good move playing in Europe for 1 year). I also know they’ve lost Bogut for the year. The Jennings/Salmons combo is solid, but not good enough. Who’s going to step up for the Bucks? Atlanta is gonna roll over these guys in 4. Might be the easiest first round matchup in the playoffs. I don’t even think I need to go into the strengths of this team, but I’ll name a few just for kicks: J. Johnson, Horford, J. Smith, Bibby, Jamal Crawford, Mo Evans.
Miami v. Boston: I’m not sure who I hate more, Boston or Denver. Since they won 2 years ago, Kevin Garnett has turned from a role model into a thug. Paul Pierce has game, I can’t even hate on him. Ray Allen is a has been that has 2 things going for him, his FT% and his steaky 3 pointers. D-Wade might be playing his last series as a Heat. Beasley’s the only other Heat I can name and frankly, he’s not getting it done either. Can’t wait to see what happens to Dwayne in the offseason… Boston in 5.
Charlotte v. Orlando: Interesting match-up here. On one hand, you have the reigning Eastern Conference Champs, big Dwight Howard, healthy Jameer Nelson, improving J.J. Reddick, and two key offseason pickups in Matt Barnes and Vince Carter. I actually think Barnes’ presence on the court is more vital than Vince’s. Kudos for the Bobcats for making the playoffs. Stephen Jackson has turned this team around. Gerald Wallace has always been a box-score filler. He his one of the best defenders in the league and one of the hardest guys to guard. Depth will be a problem for this team as well. They will give Orlando a run for their money but the Magic should pull this off in 5.
Plan the parade… this one’s in the bag. If there was one team I thought could knock off the Cavs in the East it was the Orlando Magic. Well today, they beat the Cavaliers… barely, 98-92. No Lebron James, no Shaq, no Anthony Parker. The Magic on the other hand, a full squad. What a pathetic win for the Magic. If you can’t send a post season message and demolish the Cavs, then you got problems. The Orlando Magic don’t stand a chance against the Clevaland Cavaliers WITH a healthy Lebron James. Forget Shaq, forget Parker. The Cavs don’t need ’em. As long as Lebron is 80%, we’re gonna witness the King and his ring. I did think the Lakers would have a chance to knock them off but the way they’ve been playing lately… ugh!!!! They lost to their arch-nemesis Portland Trail Blazers at Staples. Lakers bench, once again playing the role of Harry Houdini and disappearing, going 3-15 for a whoppin 8 points. This team ain’t going anywhere until they get some production off that bench. Even Kobe’s not the same, going 8-23. That finger is hurting more than we are led to believe. Until something dramatic happens in the West like the Lakers do a 180 turn or the Nuggets mature, we’re gonna see Shaq and Bron Bron get a ring. And you know what, this might be the first time I’ve said this out loud, I’m not bothered by it. They’re the best team. They’re taking care of business. They deserve it.
No catchy titles, just the truth. The Los Angeles Lakers are the World Champions. Congrats to Phil Jackson for getting his 10th ring and passing Red Auerbach for the # of coaching championships. Congrats to Kobe for finally winning without Shaq. Congrats to the Lakers bench for not doing shit (except Lamar Odom). Congrats to Derek Fisher, because if he didn’t hit those threes in game 5, I was gonna wring his neck. The Magic on the other hand, you live by the 3, you die by the 3. That’s it. Nothing you can do about it. If they only had a dominant big man… hmmmmm… I do believe Stan Van Gundy is a decent coach. He did however make a big mistake by putting Jameer Nelson back into the rotation and f-ing up Rafer’s confidence and the team chemistry. At least wait until your team loses a game in the final. Then you can use the guy as a motivational tool. Oh well, could’ve, would’ve, should’ve. I’m not going to back seat drive this car. Time to plan the Lakers parade and find an excuse to get out of work. I wonder if Mbenga will do the Mark Madsen dance. I LOVE LA!!!
Derek Fisher’s night went from turnign the ball over which led to a Michael Pietrus 3-point play to a a 3-pointer to send the game to OT and then a dagger from range to ice it. Biggest shot I’ve seen in ages. I’m not giving this guy the MVP of the series after a horrendous playoffs but MMMMAAAAADDDD props for shooting after missing so many. Big mistake by Stan Van Gundy for not fouling Fisher when he got the ball. Big mistake not fouling Ariza. Big mistake with the full court press allowing the Lakers to break it and hit the 3-pointer. Big mistake Dwight Howard missing 2 freethrows that could have essentially iced the game. Big mistake for Hedo Turkyglue talking smack and missing 4 freethrows in the 4th quarter. Big mistake EVER bringing Jameer Nelson back AND giving him quality minutes. So many mistakes by the Magic, so many opportunities given to the Lakers that they capitalized on. That’s the difference between a good team and a bad team. I’d love to see Rafer Alston’s reaction after the game. I do feel bad for Dwight though, wish it wasn’t him that missed the 2 freethrows, cuz he is one of the few good guys in the league. Michael Pietrus, on the other hand, thug-life came out after hacking Gasol. Classless play, the league should definitely suspend him for the next game. Finally, a dis to John Barry for blaming that last play on Gasol for going up for the dunk. Screw that, you play to win. This is a series, you have to send a message. Gasol should have knocked out Pietrus. Smart move though for not starting too much shit and getting himself suspended.
Who? What? When? What the hell’s going on here? Two finals games in a row, four consecutive playoffs performances in double digits, by Lamar Odom of the Lakers? That’s right folks, its a contract year for L.O. as he becomes a free agent at the end of the year and looking to cash in HUGE, unless he resigns with the Lakers where he might have to give a hometown discount. I don’t really care about the motivation factor, as long as the Lakers win the Championship but I do wonder why these guys can’t show up every game, especially given the amount of money they make. And it’s not just Lamar, this type of inconsistent play is prevalant league-wide. Back to the game though and the Lakers’ victory, looks like the Magic missed their best chance of evening out the series but Courtney Lee’s missed alley-lay up was nowhere close. That’s gonna be eating him all off-season. Nice game for Rashard Lewis and his $118 million contract, I’m glad that he’s proving that he’s worth it, somewhat… Going back to Orlando for 3 in a row, what are the chances that the Magic sweep. None? Look at the Lakers’ track record: best road record in the league; playoff victories in Utah, Denver, and Houston. I’m thinking it too, Magic are done. But they should be happy to be there. Noone gave them a chance to go deep in the playoffs and well, a finals appearance makes the season a success. I’m pretty sure they won’t be there next year but that’s another post for another day. I said Lakers in 6 before the season started, looking solid so far.