Dribble Drive


Soccer Tryouts

If I didn’t know any better I’d guess the Los Angeles Lakers were trying out for soccer:

Kobe Bryant has already made it clear he wants to play for Barcelona…

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Jordan Farmar with the drop kick…

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Shannon Brown and his failed attempt at a bicycle kick…

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Kobe with the illegal high kick…

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And finally, they already have the perfect coach in David Beckham lined up…

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Any bets on number of yellow cards for Kobe?



Beauty of the Playoffs

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I’m out of hiding. With nothing original to say.

The NBA Playoffs are finally in progress allowing EVERY part of EVERY game to be over-analyzed in EVERY way.

The extra days between games not only gives rest to the players but also results in an overambitious panel of journalists and bloggers to view each individual game like it was the only event of the century.

Every win seems like that team is bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy and every loss is the end of the world.

And I love it.

I can troll around the internet reading every article I can find about the Los Angeles Lakers following a win.

When the Lakers drop a game, I’ll continue to read about the Lakers but I’ll be able to turn to how the Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics or any of those hated teams in Los Angeles have struggled or lost as a consolation.

If one of those rare nights when the Lakers lose and everyone wins happens, the usual routine of Jack Bauer on the DVR will be the perfect remedy.

Time to refresh the Google Reader.



Incorrigible Propositions

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Many NBA fans loyal to their team believe their perceptions to always be true; and if any event should occur to contradict their belief, they can always come up with an excuse or justification as to why it didn’t happen like they projected, myself included.

Last night’s Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers game proved no different among the two fan bases.

The Lakers Nation admitted defeat and acknowledged the Blazers outplayed the Lakers, but this sportsmanship does not go without additional comments like: the officiating was in the Blazer’s favor, Phil Jackson would have coached the game differently, it was the back end of a back-to-back and the list goes on.

Last year’s loss in the NBA Finals left Laker fans admitting they got beat by a more physical and the better team at the time but also claim it would have been a different story and result if the Lakers had a healthy Andrew Bynum.

If the Lakers lose again this playoff season, it will most likely be attributed to lack of effort, focus or chemistry.

Although Laker fans would probably spend their time defending Kobe Bryant because of the onslaught of reprimands and shots haters will be taking at him especially if LeBron James wins.

On the other hand, the Blazer’s fans went on about how talented and young their team is, experience doesn’t matter, they can win the Western Conference, they own the Lakers and, again, the list goes on and on.

Had the Blazers lost this game or if they lose in the playoffs, they will remind everyone how they didn’t have Martell Webster. In addition, all of sudden the experience that didn’t matter in last night’s win will be flipped around and their fans will claim that their young team gained valuable experience in the process of losing.

This new found knowledge will combine with their skill set and all of a sudden the Blazer fans will claim they have the most talented and best team in the league and are set for a long run.

Yes, the Blazers have the most talent.

But this also begs the question of whether or not they are going to be able to keep this young core together. What is going to happen when these contracts start to end and other teams offer them more money?

Blazers fans go about claiming how close, tight knit, and loyal this team is to each other.

How naïve a statement this is.

How many collegiate players claim loyalty to representing their school only to end up jumping ship to the NBA? It goes without saying the NBA is worse. Try bringing up the name Elton Brand to any Los Angeles Clippers fan.

I’m not singling out the Blazers on this either.

The Lakers are going to have this exact scenario this summer when Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom become unrestricted free agents. When one of the Blazers players leaves or if Ariza and/or Odom leave, the fans will justify it with “the Association is a business and the players do what they have to do.”

Should the Lakers or Blazers actually win the championship, the fans will be able to raise their heads high, tell everyone how their analysis was right all along and use it as evidence to support their team for all of next year just like the Boston Celtic fans have been using their title run throughout the duration of this season.

These incorrigible propositions or beliefs that loyal fans share for their team can never be altered and are beyond simple fact. Everything can be twisted and turned to their benefit or to justify what happened even if they don’t realize that is exactly what they are doing.

It’s a good thing the games are played and the fans don’t dictate who wins the NBA championship. There would be 30 champions every year.



Abandoned Loyalty

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Cowbells!

Food poisoning.

Cowbells ringing!

Questionable officiating.

Obnoxious and annoying cowbells!

Accusations that Los Angeles Laker fans are lame and don’t get as loud during the playoffs as Sacramento Kings fans do for a regular season game.

Headache from cowbells…

A not-rivalry according to Mr. Kobe Bryant who claimed, “That wasn’t a rivalry, the Kings never beat us.”

Not even a decade removed from this Kings era that got rowdier, louder and looked forward to playing the hated Lakers more than anyone, the Kings have vanished.

Laker games in Sacramento have turned into another home game. Half of last night’s crowd in the state capital was in purple and gold.

The loudest cheers of the night were for the Lake Show following the Machine’s dunk (a dunk that I still can’t get enough of). It even prompted Kobe to jokingly say, “I’ve seen it all. Sasha dunked on somebody. I’m ready to retire now.”

Kobe could retire and order all the cheeseburgers and cheesecakes he wants without fear of food poisoning now as he’s proud and confident to admit that:

Nobody’s gonna mess with me now… There’s nothing but Laker fans here now. It was basically a home game for us, it really was. Things have changed quite a bit.

Yes, things certainly have.

In fact, the Sacramento Kings, or should I say Sacramento Queens, should no longer be entitled to either name.

They should henceforth be known as the Sacramento Traitors.



Jubilant Cruising

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As stated by all media outlets numerous times, the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be cruising along while the rest of the NBA fights for first round home court advantage in the playoffs.

It’s a nice luxury to have, but the Lake Show have definitely become complacent and have been playing some ugly games. The Bench Mob can’t hold leads, and the starters play without a sense of urgency.

They appear to be doing just enough for what they perceive is adequate to get the win, which has resulted in a couple losses and an abundance of close games the past few weeks.

The Laker attitude has become contagious, resulting in my moseying right along with them. Winning or losing doesn’t hold the same weight anymore, as the biggest issue around here is Andrew Bynum.

Just like the players probably feel, the playoffs can’t come soon enough.

Although, this may be driving Phil Jackson and the coaching staff insane, at least the players are content.

One in particular has been more jubilant towards the media (especially compared to previous demands to be traded).

Kobe Bryant has been showing some personality and fun in his interviews.

Earlier in the year he declared that he could play for his hometown Philadelphia Eagles:

I’d be a wide receiver. I’d be a bad [man] too. No more red zone issue. Just throw it over the top. I’m [Randy] Mossin’ it… Throw that ball up there, I’ll go get it. Knock my head off… I enjoy it, I love it.

Lamar Odom has also previously stated that he could play football as a quarterback but Kobe made it clear he’d want Donovan McNabb throwing the ball his way:

If Lamar’s quarterback, I’m not playing. He’d try to run all the time, he ain’t got no arm. His arm ain’t strong enough.

More recently, a fan of LeBron James purchased a domain from GoDaddy to launch the website http://www.lebronisreallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreallygood.com promoting his MVP campaign.

Kobe obviously knew about the site as his response to wanting to win this year’s MVP was:

I don’t think about it at all. It’s not something that crosses my mind. It didn’t cross my mind last year either. I really, really, really, really, really, really want that championship. I really, really, really want it.

In case it’s not obvious, Kobe responds by using “really” six times just like the website.

In addition, apparently Kobe doesn’t just think he could play wide receiver either. After all, in basketball he does play offense and defense.

In last night’s most recent edition of the Hallway Series which resulted in another Los Angeles Clipper defeat, Kobe described his defense on Eric Gordon on the last play of the game as:

[Eric Gordon’s] just not getting the ball, it’s as simple as that. If I’m going to be a lock-down corner, I’m going to be a lock-down corner.

And finally, throw in a trash talking extravaganza with Ron Artest and some Ankle Insurance as well.

A far cry from the Big Aristotle but it’s good to know Kobe is in good spirits.

With five regular season games left and then the playoffs, hopefully the Lakers snap out of it and the Black Mamba we all know so well is unleashed.



Fluid Dilemmas

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Back on Mar. 29, following the Lakers’ loss to the Hawks, I started saying that the Lakers should opt for rest rather than pursuing the best overall record.

Two days later, the Lake Show lost again to the Charlotte Bobcats, continuing the weirdest dominance by a below-average team against one of the Association’s best.

This further justified the argument that the Cavaliers were starting to run away with the best record and the Lakers should rest.

Three days after the Bobcat loss the Cavs have all of a sudden dropped games to the Washington Wizards (who treated the game as their NBA championship) and then earlier tonight got absolutely destroyed by the Magic (who wanted to bounce back from a disappointing home loss and show they belong in the NBA’s elite).

This brought the Lakers within one game of the Cavs in the loss column and all of a sudden I’m rooting for the Lakers to keep the normal rotation and go for the season sweep against the Houston Rockets (which they successfully accomplished).

Now the Lakers are only one game behind the Cavs and it’s a race to the finish.

Another loss, and I’ll probably vow for rest again.

But my dilemmas of resting starters and rooting against the Cavs and Celtics are much simpler than the majority of fans.

As teams jockey for playoff position or try to get into the playoffs, the teams they are rooting for change on a nightly basis.

Last night on TNT, the Nuggets played the Jazz and the majority of the Western Conference was rooting for the Jazz to knock the Nuggets off the West’s two seed and top of their division.

Earlier tonight, everyone was rooting against the Jazz and for the Minnesota Timberwolves instead.

As the regular season comes to a close in the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and the handful of teams fighting to get into the playoffs will be rooting for and against each other.

In the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Hornets, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns will be doing the same.

In the meantime, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers stay primarily focused on each other while the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics do the same.

Too bad everyone but the Lakers can’t lose every night.



Home Sweet Home

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Since the end of November, one of the biggest and most common issues or themes with the Los Angeles Lakers was their home heavy schedule.

From that early point in the regular season, it was known that for the remainder of the year they would have more road games than home games and was often used as a reason to downplay the Lakers’ early season success.

Four months later, the Lake Show have finished their last extended road trip with a decent, but not great, record of 5-2 and can finally say they have more home games than road games remaining (five of their last seven games are at home).

While this does not apply to a potential LeBron versus Kobe finals, this trend will hold all the way through the Western Conference finals.

Obviously, the Lakers failed to meet their goal of finishing as the overall number one seed but being in this situation could also be a blessing in disguise.

As everyone is saying, Phil Jackson really should take this opportunity to rest Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant. I think Phil should even consider not just taking a page out of Gregg Popovich’s book but going one step further.

Earlier, Popo opted to rest Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili against conference rival Denver Nuggets.

Instead of just resting Fish, Pau and Kobe, Phil should not even bother taking the Lakers on the trek up north to play the Portland Trail Blazers.

Imagine the uproar by the Portland diehards especially after the Ariza and Fernandez incident. Pay all that money for the only game of the year they care about and there’s no opponent to play.

Kidding.

Just trying to light a fire somewhere.

After all, the past couple weeks have been boring at best (in a good way though). Despite the fact the Lakers look tired, disinterested and aren’t showing the same energy or enthusiasm on even offense yet alone defense, they are cruising along.

But the Lakers are finally home so it’s time to rest up and refuel.

Come playoffs, hopefully they floor the accelerator with a rejuvenated Andrew Bynum all the way to the parade route on Figueroa!




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