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Archive for May, 2009

John Calipari or Derrick Rose?

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John Calipari and Derrick Rose

I’m sure the blogosphere has been waiting for my response on the Memphis basketball allegations — something that started as a investigation into the Memphis’ women’s golf program — concerning Derrick Rose (not named, but let’s be serious here) and John Calipari. By now, you’ve heard most of the details, and if you are like Pat Forde, you’ve decided to use this situation as a way to further whatever doubt you have about the former Memphis coach.

More on John Calipari’s woes after the jump >>

Dwight Howard Is Confused

Dwight Howard

After letting last night slip away and fouling out in the process, Dwight Howard is none too pleased with the way he’s being officiated, which plays right into the current crop of conspiracy theories about the NBA Playoffs. In fact, tin foil hat wearers have plenty to choose from in this year’s race for the Championship. From the Kobe and LeBron advertising, to referees calling it with a streak of favoritism, there’s something for everybody to turn to when their team loses. Unless, I guess, if you are a fan of Cleveland and Los Angeles.

Where are the conspiracy theories when these teams lose?

More on Dwight’s ire after the jump >>

LeBron Protects His House

LeBron James

It was another stellar performance from the King of Cleveland as he finished the job his teammates — *gasp* — started in the earlier quarters of Game 5. While he didn’t score over 40 for the first time since Game 2, Cleveland’s only other win in the series so far. Is this what we call a trend? Furthermore, is this a defensive strategy the Magic can employ in Game 6, that is, let LeBron score and defend the rest of his running mates? As you can see in the lead graphic, James had an impressive triple-dip, his fourth of his playoff career.

More on LeBron’s successful attempt at staying alive >>

The Nike Puppets Do SportsCenter

This should help quiet all the “The ESPN and the NBA want a Kobe/LeBron Finals” talk, right? In other news, I’m honestly surprised the above segment wasn’t sponsored by Vitamin Water.

Lamar Odom Gets Birdman, Too

OK, I promise I’m not piling on Chris Andersen, but Odom’s dunk over the Denver Bird was just filthy, while serving as a nice little payback for the first quarter block Andersen had on Odom. For his troubles, Odom, who is still struggling with a back contusion, played his best game of the Conference Finals, scoring 19 huge points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks, while leading the Lakers to a huge win. The question is, can Odom repeat his stellar performance, or is there an encore performance of his “disappearing man” act coming?

Considering how his back has been bothering him, perhaps expecting such games on a back-to-back basis is a little much. One thing’s for sure, however — the Lakers look just about unstoppable when Odom plays that way.

Will his swollen back allow him to in Game 6?

Shannon Brown Flushes Birdman

The “other” Lakers potentially saved the team’s collective bacon last night with an inspired performance, led by folks like Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown, who both took turns victimizing Chris “Birdman” Andersen. Brown’s dunk was probably a little more significant because of the run the Lakers went on shortly thereafter — 11-0 to start the fourth quarter — and for the way it ignited the Staples Center “faithful.” Brown’s effectiveness wasn’t limited to game-changing breakaway dunks either. The well-traveled guard also hit a huge shot for LA while the shot clock was expiring and played great defense on Chauncey Billups.

When you look at Brown’s stat sheet and see his six point output, you might think “that’s not that impressive,” but when you consider two things: The Lakers bench production before last night’s game (not much) and the final margin (nine points), you see his contributions were much needed.

As for the Bird of Denver, after a nice block on Lamar Odom to end the first, Anderson got yacked twice for his troubles. While Birdman finished with eight rebounds and four blocks, his two total points left something to be desired. Granted, he’s not called on to score in bunches, but when his team is missing shots late in the third and in the fourth quarters, opportunities for garbage buckets are present.

You just have to go get them.

Moving forward, when the rest of Kobe’s merry men play like they did last night, the Lakers are the toughest out in the playoffs. The thing is, Game 5 was the first game in the Denver series where the LA bench played so well. The question is, was their great play a new playoff trend or a one-game aberration?

That Was Quick (Dwight Howard)

Dwight Howard

This morning I wrote about the NBA possibly rescinding Dwight Howard’s sixth technical foul of the playoffs. Guess what? That’s exactly what they did. Howard received the penalty after “taunting” Anderson Varejao in the overtime period after scoring a tough, tough basket — one that saw Varejao hanging all over the Orlando center. The ruling means Howard still has two more to play with before he faces a mandatory suspension. No word on whether or not the NBA rescinded the technical he received for his elbow to Samuel Dalembert’s noggin.

One question before this post ends: Did Varejao’s actions warrant a flagrant foul?

Zack Greinke Is The Ace of T-Shirts

Zack Greinke Shirt

Somehow, this little gem slipped under my radar until TBL’s daily baseball post. Kind of sad for a KC resident, I know, but you can blame the NBA Playoffs for my ignorance. I only have the capacity for one or two sports obsessions at a time. Nevertheless, it’s fitting the day after Greinke continued his one-man salvage operation of the Royals season worked his record to 8-1 is when my ignorance ceased. Unfortunately, the Greinke shirts won’t be on sale at this time because they are part of the Royals’ give-away promotion, and are schedule to be handed out to the first 20,000 attendees on June 16.

I will say, however, if Royals fans want these bad enough, they can follow the lead of some Kentucky fans who convinced Nike to sell the Jodie Meeks/Witness t-shirts, which were initially intended for the team only. Make capitalism work for you by letting the Royals know you are willing to spend actual money on the Greinke shirts. If the demand is high enough, do you really think a smaller-market team is going to turn down an influx of merchandising money?

As for Greinke, if his season continues like it started, the next batch of shirts will feature him holding the Cy Young award.