…With this nifty between-the-legs pass to Lamar Odom for the dunk. Yeah, I’m well aware of the fact now is college and pro football’s time, but lest we forget, college basketball practice starts tonight. So while using a NBA preseason highlight might miss the mark some, it’s still a good way to welcome roundball back into your life, because starting about the time you get off work today, college basketball practice will be getting ready to start for the 09/10 season. As for Kobe’s pass, it was pretty damn slick and it also serves as a reminder of the kinds of glorious plays that await us, thanks to the sport of basketball.
I’ll have a more college-centric post up here soon, but for now, simply enjoy the ample basketball skill being executed, son.
You know when the fall and winter sports are about to end. It’s an unmistakable feeling. Take the Lamar Odom/sweet tooth discussion going on out in Los Angeles. Because there’s a nice little break between the Conference Finals and the actual Finals — without any other games, players or teams, basketball-wise, to break the understandable monotony — we have stories about Lamar Odom’s “candy addiction,” a “condition” that may give us some insight about Odom’s up-and-down play during the playoffs.
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.
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?
Some people are PISSED OFF about Trevor Ariza’s take down of Rudy Fernandez. The above video, courtesy of Can’t Stop the Bleeding, shows a certain individual who didn’t take too kindly to the Ariza’s foul, and he isn’t afraid to express himself about the matter.
Apparently, the gentleman lost a little respect for Team Kobe.
As for the fallout, how’s this for irony: Trevor Ariza, the foul giver in all this, is not being suspended. His ejection was apparently good enough. On the other hand, the Lamar Odom business has been decided and guess what? Odom is going to be taking a League-invited one game vacation because he was snared by the “no leaving the bench area” goon squad.
The cost of Odom’s push and subsequent stare down with Brandon Roy (1:38 mark)? $104,000. Oddly enough, before the suspension was handed down, Odom offered his defense:
“No, I stayed on the bench,” Odom said after the game. “I stood up. I didn’t go nowhere. They’ll [the NBA] see it and they’ll see I didn’t go nowhere.”
Um, not so much, there, Lamar. Still, what kind of backwards world do we live in if the one who committed the foul doesn’t get punished, but a player who responds to the crowd surging his way gets suspended?
If Odom didn’t square up with Roy, he would probably be playing against the Houston Rockets tonight. Oh well, at least he doesn’t have to deal with Ron Artest.
We’re back on the Rudy Fernandez/Trevor Ariza incident again, but this time, the two “combatants” aren’t the focus of this post. According to ESPN, Lakers forward Lamar Odom is being investigated by the NBA’s front office to see if his actions warrant a suspension. In other words, the “leaving the bench” rule is back in the news. Thankfully, however, a Spurs/Suns playoff series isn’t on the line as we await the findings concerning Odom’s actions.
What they will be looking at is when Odom and Brandon Roy squared off with each other before Odom gets pushed back to the bench area by an assistant coach. It’s at the 1:38 mark in the lead video.
Following the letter of the law David Stern so vehemently defended on the Dan Patrick show following the Phoenix Suns suspensions, Odom should, in fact, be punished for mixing it up with Roy. He clearly stepped away from the bench area to do so, and like the commissioner so eloquently said, the NBA’s leaders can’t pick and choose what rules they enforce.
Following that rationale, I would expect Odom to be serving at least a one-game suspension.
The irony here is, the catalyst for all the unpleasantness, Ariza, will not be suspended by the league for his foul. Commit a foul that makes the basketball world sit up and take notice and you get nothing but an in-game ejection. Get up off of the bench during the fallout of said foul and you’ll probably get suspended by league. See how that works?
Fantastic pass from Kobe Bryant’s “Scottie Pippen.” The added bonus, however, was Kobe throwing down a two-handed dunk which he finished with Shaq-like flair (the pulling up of the legs). It was another brilliant offensive night for Bryant, who suddenly looks like he’s on a Mission from God ever since he landed on Andrew Bynum’s knee.
The only question I have about Kobe carrying the load is he’s played an awful lot of basketball in the past 365 days when consider six NBA Finals games, the Olympics and the current regular season grind. Will he have enough in the tank to carry his team back to the Finals this summer?