Posts Tagged ‘Kobe Bryant’

Worthwhile analysis of two NBA games

November 21, 2008

When Kelly Dwyer [BDL] gets the fat part of the bat on the ball … which is generally acknowledged to be the single most difficult action to do proficiently in all of team sports … there’s a good chance that said sphere is going yard.

Without an excessive reliance on hard & fast empirical statistics, i.e. either ‘new-age’ or ‘old school’, when he simply conveys what he sees happening on the floor, in a general sense, from each of the participants, and his arrows’ strikes are true … as they are in these two specific instances, concerning last night’s Celtics/Pistons & Suns/Lakers match-ups, respectively:

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Behind the box score, where the C’s don’t let up and Detroit does
Exhibit A
Coaching matters. Stern decisions have to be made, and a lot of that “buck stops here” nonsense actually helps. It helps drive away excuses, and it helps to make you cringe should you have to spit out “we’ll get ‘em next time” after the game. If it hurts to say that, you’re on the right track. If you’re shrugging your shoulders, then something is missing. And I don’t care that the season is 82 games.

So when you see the Piston reserves acting like pampered former All-Stars, or Detroit failing to close out on shooters, or stepping into open lanes in order to make sure that the open lanes cease to be open lanes, you have to wonder when the buck is ever going to be able to stop.

This isn’t to say that Detroit played the same poor way the entire night, far from it. They just did it long enough to lose handily again. That’s the difference between a pretty good team that occasionally plays great and … the Celtics. The Celtics are just about always there.

Exhibit B
Winter is the architect of the Lakers’ offense, and likely the strongest principle of his famed Triangle offense is the way players are supposed to penetrate the defense. With a pass (preferably, because that means there is an open player somewhere in the teeth of that defense), a drive, a shot, or a rebound.

The last two may not seem like the best moves overall, because shots over the top of the D and ugly offensive rebounds don’t seem to go hand-in-hand with the spacious and aesthetically-pleasing Triangle offense.

But these things are important, especially when the player creating the penetration is among those (like, say, the Laker youngsters that come off the bench) who might not be the most structurally-sound Triangle denizens. There’s a reason Derek Fisher starts, you know.

So there LO is, shooting the ball, or getting into the lane for a lefty runner or hook that might not fall. Not only is his per-game numbers way down from last year, but his per-minute numbers have taken a dive as well. Even with all those chances to pad his stats among the bench corps. And yet, he’s helping. So, so much. Don’t let them convince you that he isn’t.

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it’s a pleasure and a treat to read the man’s prose about the game, and how it works at this level of competition.

First-rate stuff, right there, by the one, the only KD.

Where they’ll go from here

October 27, 2008

The NBA’s pre-season is now complete.

These are the final standings:

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2008-2009 Conference Preseason Standings
Eastern Conference
Eastern W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
Orlando 6 1 0.857 0.0 4-1 4-1 3-1 3-0 6-1 W 6
Boston 6 2 0.750 0.5 5-2 3-2 3-1 3-1 6-2 W 2
Detroit 6 2 0.750 0.5 5-1 3-0 3-2 3-0 6-2 L 1
Atlanta 5 3 0.625 1.5 4-1 3-1 1-2 4-1 5-3 W 1
Philadelphia 4 3 0.571 2.0 4-3 4-1 1-2 3-1 4-3 W 1
Chicago 4 4 0.500 2.5 1-1 1-1 2-3 2-1 4-4 W 3
Indiana 4 4 0.500 2.5 1-0 1-0 3-1 1-3 4-4 W 1
Toronto 4 4 0.500 2.5 1-1 1-1 2-3 2-1 4-4 L 2
New Jersey 3 4 0.429 3.0 2-4 1-4 1-3 2-1 3-4 W 1
New York 3 4 0.429 3.0 3-4 3-4 0-3 3-1 3-4 L 2
Cleveland 3 5 0.375 3.5 3-3 0-1 2-3 1-2 3-5 W 1
Miami 2 5 0.286 4.0 0-3 0-1 1-3 1-2 2-5 W 1
Washington 2 5 0.286 4.0 0-2 0-0 0-2 2-3 2-5 L 1
Milwaukee 1 7 0.125 5.5 0-3 0-3 1-3 0-4 1-7 L 3
Charlotte 0 8 0.000 6.5 0-4 0-4 0-2 0-6 0-8 L 8
Western Conference
Western W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
New Orleans 7 0 1.000 0.0 2-0 1-0 4-0 3-0 7-0 W 7
Denver 5 1 0.833 1.5 3-1 2-1 3-0 2-1 5-1 W 2
L.A. Lakers 6 2 0.750 1.5 2-2 1-1 6-2 0-0 6-2 W 6
Minnesota 6 2 0.750 1.5 2-1 2-1 3-1 3-1 6-2 W 1
Houston 5 2 0.714 2.0 5-0 3-0 3-1 2-1 5-2 W 3
Phoenix 5 2 0.714 2.0 3-0 1-0 2-1 3-1 5-2 W 3
Golden State 4 2 0.667 2.5 2-1 0-0 3-0 1-2 4-2 W 2
Portland 4 3 0.571 3.0 3-3 0-2 2-2 2-1 4-3 L 1
Utah 4 3 0.571 3.0 3-2 2-1 1-1 3-2 4-3 W 2
Dallas 4 4 0.500 3.5 1-0 0-0 2-2 2-2 4-4 L 2
L.A. Clippers 4 4 0.500 3.5 2-3 2-1 0-4 4-0 4-4 L 3
San Antonio 3 4 0.429 4.0 0-2 0-2 1-3 2-1 3-4 L 2
Memphis 2 6 0.250 5.5 0-2 0-2 2-2 0-4 2-6 L 4
Oklahoma City 1 6 0.143 6.0 0-5 0-1 0-1 1-5 1-6 L 3
Sacramento 1 7 0.125 6.5 1-7 0-2 1-3 0-4 1-7 L 6
 x-Clinched Playoff Berth | e-Clinched Eastern Conference | a-Clinched Atlantic Division | c-Clinched Central Division |
 se-Clinched Southeast Division | w-Clinched Western Conference | sw-Clinched Southwest Division |
 nw-Clinched Northwest Division | p-Clinched Pacific Division | o-Eliminated from Playoffs contention

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Fans should take a close look at where their favourite team is at today … and, then, compare this reality to the final regular season standings which they’ll see in April, 2009, as the little bolded letters get placed beside the playoff-bound teams’ names in the far-left column.

Time to Let the games begin, in earnest …

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Mano a Mano

Mano a Mano

Certified

Certified

Bad Boyz II

Bad Boyz II

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise, Sunset

———————————–

2nd Coming

because this is going to be a terrific year, in the NBA!

Game Review: Raptors at Lakers, Oct 19

October 20, 2008

FINAL SCORE: Raptors 89, Lakers 112
Game Information

The fundamental inequities which exist between the rosters of these two teams were on full display in last night’s exhibition game.

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At the 02:41 mark of the 3rd Quarter, the Lakers made 3 substitutions:

* Replacing V-Radmanovic with Lamar Odom,
* Replacing D-Fisher with Trevor Ariza, and
* Replacing A-Bynum with Jordan Farmar;

while, the Raptors made 1 substitution:

* Replacing A-Parker with Jason Kapono.

9 seconds later, at the 02:32 mark, the Raptors made a 2nd substitution:

* Replacing J-Calderon with Roko Ukic;

and leaving each team with the following line-ups on the court:

RAPTORS – Ukic [PG], Adams [OG/SF], Kapono [SF/OG], Bargnani [C/PF] & O’Neal [PF/C]

LAKERS – Farmar [PG], Bryant [OG/SF], Ariza [SF/OG], Odom [PF] & Gasol [C]

After Jason Kapono made 2 Free Throws to put the Raptors ahead, 72-70, the Lakers closed the quarter with a 10-4 run which put them up, 80-76. 

During the run, the Raptors made 1 substitution, at the 00:30 mark:

* Replacing J-O’Neal with Chris Bosh.

To open the 4th Quarter, the Raptors made no new substitutions, while the Lakers made 2 substitutions:

* Replacing K-Bryant with Luke Walton, and
* Replacing P-Gasol with Chris Mihm;

leaving them with the following line-up:

LAKERS – Farmar [PG], Ariza [OG/SF], Walton [SF/OG], Odom [PF] & Mihm [C].

Without bringing Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, or Andrew Bynum back into the game, the Lakers then outscored the Raptors in the 4th Quarter, 32-13, to seal their victory.

The following table indicates the substitutions made by each team during these respective phases of the game:

RAPTORS

Time

Score

LAKERS

 

3rd Q

 

 

Calderon, Adams, Parker, Bargnani, O’Neal

02:42

70-70

Fisher, Bryant, Radmanovic, Gasol, Bynum

Calderon, Adams, Kapono, O’Neal, Bargnani

02:41

70-70

Farmar, Bryant, Ariza, Odom, Gasol

Ukic, Adams, Kapono, O’Neal, Bargnani

02:32

72-70

 

Ukic, Adams, Kapono, Bosh, Bargnani

00:30

76-77

 

 

4th Q

 

 

 

12:00

76-80

Farmar, Ariza, Walton, Odom, Mihm

 

06:23

83-96

Farmar, Ariza, Walton, Powell, Mihm

Ukic, Adams, Moon, Humphries, Bargnani

05:42

84-98

 

 

03:28

86-104

Farmar, Ariza, Yue, Powell, Mbenga

 

00:00

89-112

 

while the final table reflects the playing time alotted to each player for both teams who saw action during these two sequences of the 3rd and 4th Quarters: 

 

RAPTORS

Minutes

LAKERS

Minutes

Calderon

00.09

Fisher

00:01

Adams

14:41

Bryant

02:41

Parker

00:01

Radmanovic

00:01

Bosh

06:48

Bynum

00:01

O’Neal

02:11

Gasol

02:41

Ukic

14:32

Farmar

14:41

Kapono

08:59

Ariza

14:41

Moon

05:42

Odom

08:18

Bargnani

14:41

Walton

08:32

 

 

Mihm

08:32

 

 

Powell

06:23

 

 

Yue

03:28

 

 

Mbenga

03:28

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When assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the Raptors and the Lakers, it is comical to think that some other NBA observers are actually considering the current version of the Raptors:

1. To be a ‘legitimate’ contending team in the NBA this season; or,

2. To be a ‘legitimate’ contending team in the Eastern Conference this season.

As is … the cold, hard, reality is: 

I) When Jose Calderon is not in the game, the Raptors do not have a capable back-up Point Guard who they can use to run their team against a high calibre opponent.

[Note 1: In part, this is because they have shown little to no interest, thus far, in using Anthony Parker … a capable ball-handler and decision-maker … in this capacity.]

II) When some combination of Chris Bosh, Jermaine O’Neal and Kris Humphries are not on the court together, the Raptors are incapable of rebounding the ball in a way which is consistent with being a legitimate contending team in the NBA … given the deficiencies of their back-up players, like Andrea Bargnani [C/PF], Jason Kapono [SF/OG], Hassan Adams [OG/SF] and Roko Ukic [PG], in this specific area of the game.

III) The absence of QUALITY DEPTH on the Raptors’ roster is going to be an achilles heel for their team this season, in comparison with the other top flight teams in the NBA this season,

e.g. Boston Celtics, LA Lakers, Detroit Pistons, New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers;

as well as, the other 2nd & 3rd tier teams that are in the ‘chase pack’ alongside Toronto.

Taking on all comers

September 25, 2008

Reading this specific blog entry … precipitated the following thought:

If you could construct your ideal 12-man team of current NBA players, who would you select?

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Hmmmmmmm …

From that many possibilities, there would be some exceptionally difficult choices to make … and a lot of supremely talented and valuable players left out in the cold.

Regardless … according to these eyes,

these are the Dirtiest Dozen, in the NBA today:

[listed by position & role]

Starters
PG – Lebron James … far and away his best and most natural position
G/F – Dwyane Wade … the best, taking it to the rack, in the half-court
G/F – Kobe Bryant … Samarai Warrior
PF – Kevin Garnett … Rebounding & Energy are thy true names
C – Greg Oden [my, oh, my] … that’s right, before he’s played a game 

Key Bench Subs
PG – Deron Williams … well-balanced in every respect
G/F – Manu Ginobili … the best 6th Man in existence
PF/C – Tim Duncan … the best combo Big in existence

Reserves
PG – Steve Nash … still the best facilitaor in the business, bar none
G/F – Tracy McGrady … multi-purpose player
PF/C – Amare Stoudemire … multi-purpose player
PF/C – Rasheed Wallace … multi-purpose player

Coach – Philip Patrick Jackson Riley … ‘The Sacred Winner Hoops Within’

“Train them … Excite them … and, Turn them Loose … “

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There you go!

Now … Which 12 players would you choose for your team?

[PLEASE NOTE: Who you choose, in what positions & roles, and who you leave out, says a lot about your unique vision of the game.]

2nd Comings in the Pacific Northwest

September 23, 2008

Q1. What are the reasons you have lost your mind and predicted boldly that the 2008-2009 LA Lakers will win 70+ regular season games and capture the NBA Championship?

A1. If you must know, it’s a two-part answer.

PART ONE
The Lakers have done a solid job re-assembling a 1st-class roster of highly talented, athletic, skilled, complimentary players around Phil Jackson & Kobe Bryant, two expert practicioners in their respective fields, i.e. ZenMaster Warlord, and his Most Trusted Samurai. On the heels of the experience this team gained last season, losing in the NBA FINALS, it is now poised to strike back with lethal vengence, this season … to provide the 10th NBA Title, as a coach, for their venorable Sensai; and, the 1st Ring (overall) for his protege, Black Mamba, unaccompanied by his former partner-in-crime, the Biggest-Shogun-of-All-Time. According to these eyes, this is THE season for these Lakers to make history, as a group. Here & Now. Next season? Who knows where Phil Jackson is going to be, at his age? Or, Lamar Odom? Or, Derek Fisher? Or, Tex Winter? Or, the rest of the Lakers’ extended family. The time for this group, to ‘Be In The Moment, as One‘, is NOW. 

“Life is fast; and, things happen quickly”.Derek Fisher

PART TWO
This MAN, right here …

is about to make his long-awaited debut, in the NBA, this season …

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Q & A with Greg Oden
NBA.com: What are your goals for the upcoming season?
Greg Oden: Just to win. To try to get out there and help my team win as much as possible. I’m not really worried about individual stats. For me, if my team can make the playoffs or we can win a lot more games than we did last year, then that will satisfy me.

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and this corner just happens to believe that he is going to prove to be, in the long run, the closest thing this League has seen, in the LAST 40 YEARS, to the re-incarnation of The Great Man, himself … Mr. Bill Russell (figuratively speaking, of course, as the original incarnation is still going strong!) combined with Wilt Chamberlain (at his most powerful best) … in terms of his Commitment to REBOUNDING, Defense, Team & Individual Offense AND his overall attitude toward The Game (specifically) & Life (in general).

====================

NBA.com: You got to know the greatest big man in Blazers history, Bill Walton, a little bit. What advice has he shared with you?
Greg Oden: He’s just telling me if you go out there and play, you don’t have to worry about what people say about you in the news or the media. Just go out there and play your game and have fun with it. It’s just a game. You’ve got to understand that you’re a rookie. Don’t put any pressure on yourself that isn’t needed.

======================

If the Lakers DO NOT win the championship this season … each year that goes by it is going to get more and more difficult for them – and the other elite level teams in the Western Conference – to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers, anchored in the middle by Gregory Wayne Oden, Jr., over the course of the next decade, or so.

When you find yourself standing squarely between a Rock (i.e. last year’s group of Boston Celtics) and a Hard Place (Greg Oden’s Portland Trail Blazers for the next 10-15 years) … it can do wonders to create an extraordinary sense of urgency, and R.E.S.P.E.C.T., for the moment at-hand. Carpe Diem!

Destiny Awaits! … THIS, specific Lakers’ team

… which will NEED to strike while the iron is hot … and, before the sparks ignite, full blown, up the Pacific Coastline, in the Emerald City.

Black Mamba speaks with Jim Rome

September 18, 2008

There’s nothing better on-line right now, concerning the current state of the LA Lakers, than this interview of Kobe Bean Bryant with ESPN’s Jim Rome:

Straight goods … from the best player, on what will be the best basketball team on the planet this season.

Shaq’s all-time ranking, as a dominant player

September 17, 2008

In his weekly chat, David Thorpe [ESPN NBA Insider/Analyst] provides his succinct assessment of Shaquille O’Neal’s legacy, as an NBA player, when all is said and done:

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Christopher, Germany: Hi David, love your chats. After they ended their carreers, who ranks higher on the all-time list: Shaq or Kobe?

SportsNation David Thorpe: Shaq.

Nate (New Haven): David, no way shaq ends up higher. Kobe’s got 3 rings, 5 finals appearences, same number of all nba teams and 8 more defensive team appearences. What planet are you living on?

SportsNation David Thorpe: Shaq is top 3 all time in terms of pure dominance. His stats are unreal. Here on earth, we consider such things.

Christopher, Germany: who are the other two all-time-best in pure dominance?

SportsNation David Thorpe: I’d suggest Wilt and Kareem, in totally different ways.

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Well … this corner of the blogosphere does NOT concur with Mr. Thorpe’s opinion … in regard to the ‘Big Aristotle’, as a once dominant NBA player.

Speaking strictly as a Center … Shaq doesn’t place in the Top 5 all-time … amongst those I would choose to anchor the middle for a Dream Team.

1. Bill Russell [11 NBA titles in 13 years … nuff, said]
2. Kareem Abdul Jabbar [the greatest offensive force in hoops’ history]
3. Hakeem Olajuwon [the most skilful Post Player of all-time]
4. Wilt Chamberlain [the most physically dominant player in any era]
5. Tim Duncan [the Big Fundamental … nuff, said]

When considering other players, as well, who’ve played other positions … at least, the following individuals would also rank well above ‘the Diesel’, in terms of their all-time dominance … 

1. Michael Jordan
2. Oscar Robertson
3. Magic Johnson
4. Larry Bird
5. Kobe Bryant

at the height of their physical prowess.

There’s no doubt whatsoever that Shaquille O’Neal is the single Most Powerful Force [of Nature] in the history of the game … i.e. combining Size, Strength, Speed, Agility, Quickness, Explosivity and Intelligence.

This FACT is a given.

BUT[T] … and, it’s a rather LARGE One, at this point … there is simply NO WAY, SHAPE or FORM, he should legitimately be listed amongst the MOST EFFECTIVE [i.e. ‘the Greatest’, or ‘the Best’, or ‘the Most Dominant’] players of all-time.

Whether your are ranking by (i) most championships won, (ii) most all-star appearances, (iii) most prolific individual statistics, or (iv) most combined areas of standard productivity/efficiency measures … including overall skill level and/or competitive will, etc., … neither Shaq’s actual performance nor his crunched numbers [associated with his overall body of work] stack up well, in comparison with the greatest players in the history of the game.

In appreciation of the Worm

August 29, 2008

Okay … it’s been a relatively slow week, post Beijing and all.

However, as each day has slipped by the following video clip … via Wednesday’s BDL … just kept lingering in the subconscience of this correspondent:

… as ‘Exhibit A’ pertaining to the only man in the History of the NBA who could actually defend … with aplomb … all 5 positions on the court, against some of the most outstanding athletes (in any sport) of ALL-TIME.

In conjunction with the seemingly outlandish claim of the ZenMaster …

“He could probably play a 48-minute game and play the 48th minute stronger than the first minute of the game,” Jackson told the crowd at UND. “He was that terrific an athlete.”

and what was written in this space last season …

The Worm vs the Winner [Jan 31, 2008]

know that these eyes are in full agreement with the acute observation of Dr. Phil.

Based upon his on-court performance … Dennis Rodman HAS EARNED his place some day in the Basketball Hall Of Fame … and, it will be a d*mn shame if he never gets there.

After the Gold: First-class comments from Team USA

August 24, 2008

Straight from the horses’ mouths …

Post-game comments from members of Team USA

Click the link ^ … and read each one.

What it means to be a TEAM.

Hoops 101

August 24, 2008

This corner hates to say, “You were told what was going to happen”, in advance, but …

* USA vs Spain for Olympic Gold
* Upside and Motor: Team USA Blogger Roundtable

The USA will NEED to send its VERY best players in order to win Gold Medals in Olympic Games’ men’s basketball.

If not … the rest of the the world is quickly becoming good ‘enough’ to capture Gold or Silver should the USA slip up.

Top flight basketball … like soccer/football … is now truly an international game … with good players and coaches scattered everywhere around the globe. -)

Kudos to …

* Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, Mark Gasol, Pau Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro, Carlos Jimenez, Felipe Reyes, Jorge Garbajosa, Berni Rodrigues, Raul Lopez, Alex Mumbru, Jose Calderon (injured), their coaches & support staff

* Kobe Bryant, Leron James, Dwyane Wade, Deron Williams, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Jason Kidd, Tayshaun Prince, Carlos Boozer, Michael Redd, their coaches and support staff …

Box Score & Game Summary

for giving such a good account of yourselves.

That, right there … ^^^ … my friends … was first-class basketball.