2010 NBA playoffs – part 1

The beauty of sport, the reason we watch, is a celebration of athletes pushing the human body to its limits. Which is one reason that poker, and race-car driving do not belong on a sports network. My definition of sport: teamwork; you can actively prevent the other team from scoring; some sort of ball is required; only simple tools are allowed.

So….I had this idea, that I could watch 40 games of play off basketball this spring. Yeah, don’t think that’s gonna happen. But, I will watch a few thanks to the DVR. Even if I know the final score. I feel it’s just like ballet, or Shakespeare….you’ll still go and watch it even if you know how it ends.

What I hope, is that the NBA finals are not Kobe –vs- LeBron, as everyone is expecting, and as Nike is hoping. As much as I like the “Most Valuable Puppets” ad campaign, I do not want the finals to be a Nike add. Yes, I know the TV guys want Kobe-v-Lebron, because that will get lots of ad dollars. But still, I hope someone can derail that. Maybe Orlando…I thought maybe Denver could this year. (Oops.)

Why I hate the LA Lakers.

First, it started, when my good friend WH, invited some folks over to his house to watch the NBA playoffs, Sonics –vs- LA. He was taking a class that would collect seafood, and one night the event was “Clam-Jam” where we ate lots of clams, and watched the Sonics jam. The other night was “Chowder-Fest”.   Well, the Sonics lost that series, and I remember vividly Nick Van Excel making Gary Payton look like a fool

Second, the Lakers have too many NBA championships. Yes, I know several happened back when the team was in Minnesota.

Third, the LA Lakers crowd. Too many Hollywood pretty people, who just seem to show up to be seen, and don’t really care about the basketball game.

Fourth, Jack Nicholson. I do respect him as a NBA fan. He cares about his team, he knows what’s going on, he follows the game, he gets emotional and involved in being a fan. But, he’s a fan for the bad guys. (Some could say that Spike Lee falls into this category for the NY Knicks, except, it’s not annoying, because the Knicks haven’t won anything in 20+ years.)

Number OneDenver –vs- Utah, game 1

I expected Denver to win this series, because of an injured Andrei Kirilenko, then when Okur went down with an ankle injury, I knew Utah was finished. I suspect that Jerry Sloan is a better coach than George Karl, …but still, I was a little surprised to see Utah win this series.

Number 2 – LA –vs- OKC, game 1

OK, just getting to the playoffs was a huge success for this young Oklahoma team. Personally, I’m a bit sad, for the first time in years the Sonics chose a good draft pick, and then the Sonics leave town. Is that how you make money as a franchise owner, you complain how you are losing money, and try and get the city to build you a new arena, and then you sell the team for a $100 million dollar profit. That is why __ is Rich, not only did he teach the world to drink a $4 cup of coffee, he also made a $100 million profit on a losing basket ball team. I don’t hold this negativity against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Especially when they are playing LA.

I expected LA to win this series, OKC is young, but they just don’t have the depth or experience. LA has a nice collection of folks that seem to know their roles. There’s Kobe, the Alpha Dog…And then a collection of three players that were the alpha dogs on worse teams, and seem to enjoy not being the go-to-guy every game. Sure they can step up, and if they do great, bonus, if they fail, then the onerous is not on them, because it’s Kobe’s team. Odom, Gasol and Artest. The only hope for OKC is to somehow push Artest’s buttons so that he’ll go into the crowd, swinging at fans. And then Derrick Fisher, he can hit the big shot, he can drive, he’s tough, he’s wise at basketball, and he doesn’t seem to have ego. A fantastic point guard.

Durrant played with poise. OKC better not nickel-and-dime him. Give him a contract offer that will make him happy. But, since this summer is about Owners-v-Player’s Union contract negotiations, OKC could, in theory hold on until after negotiations to save a bit of money. Don’t. Make Durant Happy! He’s extremely talented, loved by his teammates, and rumor has a humble and nice guy.

Number three – LA –vs- OKC game 5

Pregame we saw OKC coach Brooks say, “…don’t be the guy that doesn’t rebound,…don’t be the guy that doesn’t go after the ball…”   And I knew it was lost. Dear Coach Brooks, keep it simple, stupid. Tell them what they should do. Instruct them, “be the man that gets the rebound…be the man that chases the loose ball….”   Yes, OKC lost.

Number four – LA vs OKC game 6

StaI’ve heard about Westbrook having a good game against LA, so then Kobe volunteered to guard Westbrook. I started watching it halfway through the second quarter, score tied 30-30. I was happy to see the Oklahoma crowd all wearing OKC t-shirts, pumped up, making noise, on their feet. I like that. It was almost like watching a college game. (Phil Jackson gave a slight diss to the LA crowd, calling them laid back.)

61-61 tie game! The Lakers seem a little rushing it, settling for jump shots, getting careless turnovers. I like it, but I don’t think it will last.

73-67, why are they leaving Kobe open to take threes? OK, Kobe doesn’t need much space to take a good shot. I’ld rather watch Ron Artest take thee point shots, those seem to be futile. Seriously, encourage Artest to take threes! Give him space, talk about how he can’t make them, let Ron-Ron take a three point shot.

Shut up, Jeff Van Gundy! I don’t care that you’re sad they don’t serve tator-tots in schools anymore. I am starting to think you are a worse announcer than you were a coach.

Another Thunder steall! 73-71

And here it is, beginning of the fourth quarter, Gasol, Kobe, Artest on the the bench, and both teams are shooting airballs. What is worrisome, is that with Gasol, Kobe and Artest on the bench, the Thunder can’t seem to break away, they traded points, they didn’t get a big lead….And when those three went back into the game…well, the last five minutes were great basket ball, fun to watch, but I wasn’t surprised to see the Lakers take the lead with only half a second left in the game. Drat!

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