Saturday, May 06, 2006

I don't even know why I bothered watching 

Just turned off game 7 of Suns/Lakers with 5:00 to play in the third quarter with Phoenix, to no one's surprise, up by 20. Like I said, this series was over on Thursday night. I don't see the point in watching any more of this "game." The one thing I'll take away from this series and be thankful for is the play of Kobe Bryant. The guy is absolutely incredible, moreso than we tend to realize. They say that a superstar needs to trust in his teammates if his club is ever going to ascend to the next level. For the first three games of this series, Kobe could do that because his teammates were producing. But the two and a half quarters I watched of game 7 perfectly exemplify why Kobe cannot rely on his teammates. Even with the Suns dominating tempo, LA was able to get the ball inside early and often. But it didn't matter because whatever fairy dust Kwame Brown was bathing in that made him a half-decent player in games 2 and 3 has worn off and now he is incapable of hitting 3 ft. jumpers. And the Lakers don't bother playing defense anymore (as if their three wins this series never happened!), so really, the Kwame beef is kind of moot. Great series from Lamar Odom, but it's all for nothing. Oh, and even he's playing terrible in game 7.

Really, big ups to Kobe for the unbelievable shots and single-handedly keeping this team in game 6, affording them every chance to win this series. The finish to game 4 is already one of my greatest sports memories as a fan. When the Lakers get the horses to support him, guys who aren't the picture of mediocrity, then they'll be able to shine.

Overrated statistic of the playoffs: Phil Jackon has never lost a first round series and never lost a 3-1 lead. Meaningless. This also happens to be the worst playoff team Phil has ever manned and has a distinct lack of Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal on it's roster.

- Kwame the Stonehands: I'll take Ronny Turiaf every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
- Smush Parker: I can't believe this guy's contract is good thru 2007. Comes up with the occassional steal, but such a liability.
- Luke Walton: Getting there. His high basketball acumen is a perfect compliment to players like Kobe and Lamar Odom.
- Sasha Vujacic: Next year has to be his breakout. Just can't see him playing behind Smush much longer.
- Chris Mihm: It took him being injured for Kwame the Crap to get any sort of confidence at all. I look forward to his healthy return next season. Having both him and Kwame on the floor could really help Brown's game.
- Devean George: Another year older, but the only guy besides Kobe to consistently hit big shots.
- Brian Cook: He's a good bench player. He can hit the outside shot and take advantage of mismatches inside. I don't know if I feel safer when he's on the court because of how he plays or because he's smarter than Kwame. He definitely doesn't get in foul trouble as easily.

Wishlist for the off-season: a shooter (Peja Stojackovic) and a power forward (Reggie Evans? Chris Wilcox?). Getting a third star like Peja would do wonders for this club and instantly make a player like Lamar Odom about a million times better. Shaq and Kobe needed Glen Rice to get over the hump in 2000. I'm not saying that adding Peja would make this Laker team a title team, but certainly they'd be a player in the crowded West.

On the whole, this season was a moderate success for the Lakers. 11-game improvement from last year with mostly the same team. Nearly upset a clearly superior Suns team. Big-time learning experience for a lot of players. And Kobe finally bought into the idea that he needs help to win. That may sound ludicrous given that he led the league in scoring, but consider how fractured his relationship with Phil Jackson was before this season. Now? They're on the same page. It shows that Bryant is learning about what it means to be an MVP. And though he won't get it this year, he will soon.

Anyway, now that this one is over, I can go back to not caring about the ever-so predictable NBA playoffs. This series was a hell of a ride, though. A deflating, unfulfilling one, but a ride nonetheless. The Suns were the better team all season and, if the playoffs have taught me anything over the years, that means that Phoenix was a given to win this series from the outset. It should surprise no one that they ran the little Laker boys out of the building today.

By the way, the Stanley Cup playoffs? Brilliant.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?