Archive for Los Angeles Lakers

The Paint: NBA Knowledge

Posted in Basketball, The Paint with tags , , , , , , on December 26, 2007 by Patrick

What you should know this morning:

  • Scott Skiles got canned by the Chicago Bulls. I guess that’s easier than releasing half the team. (Blog a Bull)
  • Andrew Bynum had the game of his career as the Lakers topped the Suns. (Slam Online)
  • The streak is still alive. Portland beat the Sonics to make it 11. (Michael Barrett’s Blog)
  • The Miami Heat are horrible. Cleveland…slightly better. (Slam Dunk Central)
  • The impact of Bobby Simmons on the Milwaukee Bucks. (Brew Hoop)
  • Trevor Ariza gave Grant Hill a poster for Christmas.

Lakers v. Cavaliers: Bad for the NBA

Posted in Basketball with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2007 by Patrick

Tonight’s Cavs-Lakers game was indicative of the NBA at it’s worst. Non-existent offenses typified by one-pass sequences. The game’s supporting casts made asking Kobe and Lebron to be unselfish a questionable strategy. Cleveland’s crowd was practically inaudible even in the dying minutes and generic, synthesizer-driven songs were used to compensate for this lack of enthusiasm. But far worse, watching two legendary players flail away against triple-teams is the NBA’s own brand of torture. And while Kobe and Lebron may be the two most gifted players in the NBA, their showdown tonight was unwatchable.

You don’t even have to watch to know what is going to happen. Neither team has the capability to put up large numbers, so the game is going to be close throughout. Defenses will shift three or four players ballside whenever Kobe or Lebron get a touch on the wing, leading to congested lanes and no room for creativity. The lack of athleticism and cynical coaching strategies allow few opportunities for transition baskets–one of the few places where Bryant and James were able to showcase what made this match-up compelling in its potential.

The number of players on the court, excluding KB and LJ, who could get their own shot off in a manner that didn’t make you cringe never exceeded two. This leads to a brand of basketball that forces great players to play selfishly, because passing the ball to their colleagues with the shot clock dwindling is a recipe for displays ranging from pedestrian to grotesque. In order to avoid these situations, Kobe and Lebron forced shots that would have a high school player benched.

All of this nauseating play is set to the backdrop of the most wretched setting in all of sports: the NBA arenas of bad teams. Fans know full well that there is nothing to get excited about. Their teams may or may not make the playoffs. It doesn’t matter. They pay $50.00 a head to bring their family of four to see two living legends play, only to realize within seconds that the game will never reach expectations. The cotton candy guy comes around, with his $8.00 sticks of crap, driving an already outrageously expensive night through the roof. By the time halftime comes you’ve already spent $250.00 for your family of four to be bored to death by the offensive stylings of Ira Newble.

The lack of crowd engagement is so apparent that the arenas attempt to artificially create an exciting atmostphere. Everytime the opponent brings the ball down the court, the music guy plays the, “Defense! Clap! Clap! Defense!,” chant until you’ve got a migraine. Songs like “Get Ready For This” and “Pump Up The Jam” get you in touch with your violent-side.

You spend the whole game waiting for that moment of individual greatness that makes dealing with all the rest of the nonsense worthwhile, but you miss it while sedating yourself at the beer stand. Thankfully, at least, the home team wins and your kids, with their new Lebron T-shirts, would be happy if they weren’t so tired from the previous three quarters of flatness.

Seeing a great basketball player, in person or on television, can be breathtaking. There is a level of skill–both mental and physical–that is so other-worldly it is beyond our comprehension. There are moments of individual heroism that become engraved in our mind’s eye forever. But basketball is more of a team game now than ever before. It only takes one look at the present situation Kobe, Lebron and Dwayne are in to realize that “it takes five, baby.” The onslaught of commercials and hype can artificially inflate the importance of superstars. The NBA’s reluctance to promote teams over the individual does nothing to dissuade this world view. But all it takes is one view to realize that watching a great player being forced to carry around the burden of a poor team isn’t marketable at all: It is bad for the NBA.

Water Cooler Knowledge

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 19, 2007 by Patrick

What you need to know this morning:

  • Roger Clemens believes Senator Mitchell is mistaken. (River Ave. Blues)
  • Tim Tebow doubles up this award season. (New York Times)
  • Five more times to sing, “There’s only OOOOOONNNNNEEEEE Ricky Hatton!” (BBC Sport)
  • Some find Maria Sharapova unwatchable. Not surprisingly, they’re all women. (SportsByBrooks)
  • In a battle of middling playoff contenders, the Lakers topped Bulls. (The Post Up)
  • Pete Rose is an altar boy.  (Steroid Nation)