NBA Free Agency…ready, set…

July 1st is upon us and it’s time to get back into the what-what of the NBA, speculations, dollar$ and sense….or no sense.

Let’s start with the Heat!  That LeBron thing is settled in that as I said before that D-Wade opting in would settle that.   The man is not opting out of 42 million without guarantees that he is going to get to ride LeBron’s coattail a few years longer.  He will get a longer term deal that stretches out that money and saves him face.  Brian Windhorst reported that Bosh is on vacation after the Big Three (along with Udonis Haslem who also opted out on 10 million) broke bread over the weekend.  What does that tell you?  It tells me that since LeBron has never been the highest paid player of his team since he entered the league, that will change now with Bosh getting the second highest salary and Wade the third.

At issue is really what Riley will do with the roster… besides moving up two spots to get LeBron’s college crush Shabazz Napier.  I also suspect that LeBron’s contract may not be as long term as permissible. Being an astute business man that he is, he’s going to want to keep Riley and owner Micky Arison’s feet to the fire long term.

Sick of Derrick Rose!  I was off the Rose wagon after he got his first major injury two season ago, and while that team was struggling to play the Heat in the playoffs.  Luol Deng was having spinal tap issues while Joakim Noah and Nate Robinson were killing themselves balls to the wall for the Bulls, Rose is shooting jumpers and dunking in front of the cameras during pre-game.  ‘Oh he may be back or not.’   All along the word in the streets were he wasn’t going to play period.  As soon as the Bulls were eliminated he started talking shit about how explosive he was.  Fast forward he tears a meniscus, (a month long injury) and he again sits out the rest of the season.  Now that it’s time to get some free agency help with the roster, this primadonna out here talking about if Carmelo wants to come he will come but it ain’t his job to recruit.   Yea OK I see.  Hell I guess he doesn’t care seeing that in January of 2015 his broke body ass probably won’t be playing anyway.  If I’m Melo…. ‘F’ Derrick Rose!  I don’t want to play with Mr. Glass anyway!’

mr-glass-samuel-l-jackson-unbreakable

Does Houston have a problem?  There seems to be this talk about how the Rockets have such an attractive team.  But when I look at that roster I see problems.  D12 can’t be relied upon though he had a pretty nice 2014 playoffs.  And your most dominate personality and ball hogging handler on the team just refuses to play defense!  Just flat out refuses!  I see that as a hot mess more than an opportunity.  If they were in a bigger media market, they wouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt the way they do.  Some really good star free agent may take the chance (Melo) but being in the West, I don’t know how that’s going to ultimately work out in the end.  The Rockets are a great regular season team, I don’t see them being made for championships!

Lakers draft well!  Being a Laker man as I am, I am ecstatic with Julius Randle.  I just have to see more.  I suspect not having a head coach is all about remaining attractive to potentially Melo and James.  Funny as they don’t give a rats ass about what Kobe thinks. Letting Gasol walk would be a mistake.  And since Boston took Marcus Smart, Rondo has to be on the block and we need to see about getting him!  I’m far from trusting Jim Buss… so we’ll see!

**Andrew Wiggins is country as hell.  His daddy may be Mitchell, but his uncle must be CJ Memphis from A Soldier’s Story!

Feeling sorry for Jabari!  I bet JP has GOT to be thinking, “What kind of BS am I walking into now?  First the Bucks drafted me… they play in MILWAUKEE!  Cats from Chicago know how piss poor sorry Milwaukee is, especially for black folks.  They wear them ugly ass uniforms, they play on an ugly ass floor, and NOBODY wants to live there.   Losing in Philly is not as bad as at least the city is popping!  I’m just saying, I may elect to live in Cleveland before Milwaukee.  All of that is bad enough… now you got this Jason Kidd situation.  What the hell is THAT about?

parker

Jason Kidd to me is a rat fink!  Let’s look at the facts.  He gets a job in Brooklyn, NY of all places straight out of his playing days with no coaching experience.  He didn’t even sit at an ESPN or TNT booth and talk about the game like Doc Rivers, Mark Jackson and Steve Kerr did to give the perception he knew how to run a team while not dribbling the ball up the court.  Nets ownership put all this money into the team attracting free agents for him, KG, The Truth and Joe Johnson all got on board with him and even stuck with him during the Lawrence Frank debacle.  And now because Derek Fisher got more $$ than he did, he wants to flirt with his buddy in Milwaukee about getting the job there with more money and power.  Oh and wait a minute… here’s the really fun part: Larry Drew was coaching the team and was still under contract.  That didn’t stop Kidd… a narcissistic ‘BAN’ who went all the way O’Jays and won the BET award for back stabbing.  (I’ll deal with BET and other black award shows in another blog soon.)  Now he’s going from Brooklyn USA… to fuk’n MILWAUKEE…. with that team’s history, with that roster, with that dysfunction!  Good luck with that  cause in most NBA circles he’s done!  To that coaching fraternity, especially among the black coaches, he’s dead to them!  I’m sure Mikhail Prokhorov told him, “Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.  You ungrateful bastard!  And no you can’t come get your shit!  I’ll ship it to you if and when I damn well get ready!”

Anyhoo… all the major moves should be decided by the weekend!

Happy 4th!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Random Thoughts about the NBA 2014 Finals +

As we spring off into NBA free agency, otherwise known as The Decision II, here are my thoughts on the 2014 NBA season.

* The Spurs exercised the hell out of Game 6 demons of the 2013 Finals.  

Say what you want, but the to lose a series that was in your hands based on missing a crucial rebound and seeing Ray Allen step back and rip your hearts out with a corner three ball; live with that all summer; start your training camp by watching the film of that game making that the theme of your redemption story; work your way through the season with a game plan so precise that you not only earn the top seed in the playoffs, but none of your players averaged 30 minutes per game; work through the playoffs in the Wild Wild West including a riveting 7 games against the Mavericks… want the Heat, get the Heat, then dismantle the Heat winning 4-1 by an average of 15 points per game… that’s goal setting, game planning and execution at it’s best.  PERIOD!  That entire organization is a model of a great lesson of perseverance, unity, and trust.  Kudos the Spurs for not panicking and blowing the team up.  Kudos to Tim Duncan who played his ass off last year and missed the bunny at the end of Game 6… and continued to turn back the clock this year.  He meant what he said when he predicted victory this time.  To Danny Green who shot the lights out last year for the first couple games, then dropped off the map.  He returned with vengeance.  So did Manu, who was H20 (HumanTurnOver) in last year’s finals.  That dunk in Game 5 over Bosh and Haslem summed up his resolve.  And Boris Diaw, Mr. Do Whatever It Takes!

manu

* The Spurs are every coach’s dream.

In this day and age of  AAU one on one ego ball gone wild, the way the Spurs shared the ball, cut, moved and mixed in drives with jumpers.  Their dedicated team/accountability defense was a textbook script for successful basketball.  If the NBA were a copy-cat league like the NFL, every team would be trying to replicate the Spurs formula.  For youth and high school coaches, they should be salivating at the opportunity before them to promote team play!  I can only hope!

*The Heat Had a Helluva Run.

Four straight finals is four straight finals.  2-2 is better than the Buffalo Bills 0-4.  Nuff said!

*LeBron Haters are Ridiculous

The one thing I hated about the playoffs, is the social media hateration of LeBron James.  I don’t feel sorry for him.  He’s a champion, an MVP, and will one day be a billionaire before he becomes Hall of Famer.  But the utter jealousy of such a positive and awesome young man is very disturbing to me.  LeBron has never been in legal  trouble, never beat his wife, objectified women, has employed many people and given more of himself that most mainstream athletes over the last 25 years.  He is a talent we won’t see again in our lifetime.  And after he’s gone dammit he will be missed.  I suggest we appreciate him while we have him.   Unfortunately, some people are so utterly and distastefully jealous.  Twitter/nemes make for some bold cowards!

* What Now For The Heat

Obviously the Big 3, (Big 2 little 1) can opt in or out.  D-Wade is holding the trump card in all of this because he’s in the slot for $40 million over the next two years.  Want to know what LeBron is going to do?  Look at what D-Wade does.  He can blow this all up with a little paperwork faxed to Pat Riley in a heartbeat.  Whatever he does, business is business.  He has the right to take the loot.  But I tell you what, that guy is washed up.  A huge Wade fan from his Marquette days, I’ve long grown tired of his refusal to get back on D, (we could call him E Wade) and his whining to officials if not pointing to his teammates to pick up his man.  James logged hundreds of minutes more than anyone else on the team because they were pacing Wade.  He claimed he was healthy, so I’m going to take him at his word.  No excuses he sucked!  As much as LeBron may be able to trust Pat Riley, Pat can only do so much.  Owner Mickey Arison is NOT one to want to go into the luxury tax.  And he’s already shown that he will let players walk in order not to pay them, I.e Mike Miller.  If LeBron takes a pay cut, he’s going to demand that Arison spends that extra loot.  He’s been carrying the piano on his back long enough.  P.S. Carmelo Anthony is NOT the solution.

* Best NBA Stories of 2014

Wizards, Warriors

*Worst NBA Story 2014

Pacers/Sterling

Speaking of Sterling, after all the hub-bub of Adam Silver slinging the hammer like Thor on The Donald, it seems the Sterlings have played the NBA at their own game.  After saying none of the Sterlings’ would have anything to do with the team, it’s been leaked that the Steve Ballmer agreed to let Shelly Sterling have 2 floor seats, parking, and be ‘owner emeritus’ of the team.  If that’s not back tracking I don’t know what is.  I guess $2B wasn’t enough.  Regardless of what one thinks about whether they should have been forced to sell the team in the first place, the NBA has totally walked back just about every demand they made at the press conference.  Most notably, the NBA owners didn’t have to vote.  Which brings me to this… Why the hell hasn’t the NBA re-scheduled the vote since Donald Sterling is again suing the league?  Isn’t this why they were having the vote in the first place?  Are they not back to where they started?  I’m thinking that BOTH the Sterlings’ are playing the NBA.  Don and Shelly have been married for over 50 years.  Is it not obvious?

 

 

 

First “The Decision,” Now There Needs To Be, “The Conversation!”

As  a true die hard Los Angeles Lakers man, in some ways I could care less about the debacle that is the Miami Heat these days.  In the whole scheme of things, this soap opera is just fodder, something to keep us talking until the playoffs start.  Champions don’t deal with such shenanigans.  And even with some of the sorry losses that Lakers have endured, my experience has always told me that in the NBA, it is after the All Star break where we begin to separate the men from the boys; the contenders from the pretenders.  Thus you see the two time defending champs clamping down on defense, moving the ball with superior precision, and rebounding with a vengeance on the way to impressive wins over OKC, Portland, and most notably a smashing of the league leading Spurs.  This is what I’m talking about.

If the Heat were a Hollywood sitcom they would be “Two and a Half Stars Men,” with Lebron James as Charlie Sheen.  And if Pat Riley can’t channel his inner Chuck Lorre, then Dwayne Wade needs to channel his Jon Cryer and step to his narcissistic side kick.  If Jame’s summertime presser was dubbed, “The Decision,” then Wade and James need to have, “The Conversation.”  I’m thinking it should go like this:

Wade: Hey King.  Real talk.  Enough of this heroic sh#!.  You trying to prove yourself at the end of every close game is hurting…

James: What?

Wade: Let me finish.  You trying to prove yourself at the end of every close game is hurting us.  Shooting threes and…

James: Hold on…

Wade: LET ME FINISH!  Every since you got here, if its a close game you act like you got to take the last shot.  We’re piling up L’s against the better teams and…

James: Wait a minute.  Do you know who the hell I am?  In case you didn’t know I’m King James.  Two time MVP!   Who else supposed to take the last shots?  If you didn’t know ask them clowns in Cleveland what I meant to them….

Wade: And in case you didn’t know that don’t mean sh#! to me!  I gotta ring!  Finals MVP – wanna see it?  Cause I can go get it for you.  When you get the ball at the end of the game, it’s because you have the ability to penetrate, and get to the basket if you can.  But that’s not where it ends.  I know about Cleveland but you forgot I ain’t Mo Williams or Boobie F’in Gibson!  I’m a stud!  A closer!  That was the point of you coming here in the first place.   We’re already thin up front, everybody knows what you are going to do at the end of games and you are playing right into their hands shooting bricks!  The first few months I ain’t said nothing to you.  I gave you space.  Enough!   F#*! your ego.  You better start finding me cause this ain’t working.  I ain’t going out like that!  I let you come to Miami.  But I’m still Tony Montana!

The two have to be separated.  James walks away angry and dismissive, cussing Wade under his breath.  His crew tells him Wade is full of sh#! and that it was Wade who begged “The King” to take his talents to South Beach in the first place.  But deep down inside, James eventually admits to himself what Wade says is true.  In his heart he knows its true anyway, but its not his fault that his teammates and management are cowards.  He won’t apologize.  But he will look to get Wade the ball in crucial situations.  In future close games James becomes the bait and Wade does what he does best.  Close games.  The Heat stay respectable able to beat anyone on a given night.  Riley works his magic and get more depth and size.  Udonis Haslem, Miami’s enforcer comes back healthy and the Heat stay relevant for several years to come.

Perfect right?

Except I don’t think Wade is going to have “The Conversation.”  He is too busy licking his own wounds to stand up to his bully buddy.  He won’t tell LeBrick that this the NBA, not AAU.

After Sunday’s loss to the Bulls, it was Wade who said, “the world is better now” because The Heat are struggling.  Cry me a river!

My message to D-Wade is that as fans we don’t give a bleep!  We saw the parade on TV a few months ago where you all acted and talked like championships were a wrap.  Now you want sympathy! Please!!!!  You brought all of this attention on yourselves!  Not merely because James went to Miami.  It was the way he did it and the way all of you acted!

Now Coach Spoelstra talks as if Cry-Gate is overblown.  Let me help him out too!  The NFL is in labor negotiations, Tiger is irrelevant,  most of us are waiting on March Madness to kick in and nobody gives a damn about spring training.   That means that for a short window the NBA is front page sports news.  Live with it.

They call me old fashioned but this much I know.  Nobody partied harder, and kicked it more than Earvin Magic Johnson back in his day.  It’s all been well documented.  But what separated dudes like him from some of these new cats is that he understood that the points of emphasis was on winning first.  If the Lakers lost, there was no party!  The parties were off the hook after wins and championships.  These new dudes got it backwards!  This is why the likes of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett will always beat them.  They’ve already learned this lesson.  Wade knows better.  But it doesn’t appear he has the heart to stand up to LeBully.

And so you have it!

LeBron, Harpo and Dan Gilbert’s Huckleberry!

In the midst of LeBron-A-Thon ending with the TV non event of the year, let’s just start with Cleveland Cavalier’s majority owner Dan Gilbert’s letter to Cav’s fans:

View Image

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Ouch!  I suppose that felt good to old ‘Danny Boy’.   But by responding in this fashion, he’s made himself look even worse than “King Prince James.”

Make no mistake about it.  This LeBron-A-Thon which started around the same time as the NBA Finals with LeBron going on Larry King, Nightline, and any other show short of Oprah, (I’m sure they called her) was a farse to begin with.  The Celtics were playing the Lakers for godsakes.  Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher were going against Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.  Doc Rivers was trying to win his second NBA title in three years as Celtics coach.  Phil Jackson was in the midst of winning his 11th as coach.  At that point, personally I didn’t give a damn about what LeBron was going to do.  His team was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.  Still he couldn’t resist but to move the attention on to himself.

The primetime ESPN special was also a joke.  How vain can one get;  Especially since the “Chosen One” that hasn’t won in the NBA?  Sure I watched it!  It was the ultimate train wreck.  I rubbernecked from start to finish and watched James sit uncomfortably as Jim Grey threw James softball after softball questions that he could not seem to hit out of the infield.  To hear James tell it, Cleveland wouldn’t be Cleveland if it were not for him.  In reality, he didn’t do more than Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Ron Harper and Larry Nance for the Cavaliers franchise.  And two consecutive MVPs or not, the difference between he and Kobe Bryant isn’t even close.  Bryant is clearly more concerned about his historical basketball legacy in which greatness is clearly defined by championships.  James is more concerned with branding, merchandise and ego.  For all of his talents, he thinks more highly of himself than he should.   He was created to be that way since he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated while driving that Hummer around in High School.  And yea, the story is marketable in a summer where there is nothing but baseball and a boring soccer matches hardly anyone cares about.

That being said: Dan Gilbert’s self-righteous victimized rant came off as if LeBron slept with him for a night but didn’t stick around to cuddle the next morning.  This is the same man who would have given his chosen one $130 million for 6 years had James decided to stick around in C-Town.

Gilbert wants to rant on LeBron about loyalty?  Hell last I heard James was a free agent as of July 1.  This was indeed his time to choose whatever team he wanted to chose.  The real issue is that with James’ departure, the value of the Cavaliers franchise dropped faster than a bad stock.  Last night may as well be called Black Thursday as far as Gilbert is concerned.  Still I’d like to ask him about loyalty when it came to coach Mike Brown who won the most NBA games this past season.  I’d like to ask him about his courting of college coach Tom Izzo as if he were going to take the Cavaliers anywhere let alone have the respect of James as well as other NBA players.  LeBron never went to college so why would he respect a college coach?  I’d like to ask him why he ran out one of the best GMs in the league in Danny Ferry. 

Is Gilbert the pot or the kettle that’s all I’m asking here.  Now he’s barking off about how LeBron quit in the playoffs throwing the guy under the bus.  And any of this talk about leaking more of LeBron’s tresepasses I’m sure has been shut down by a phone call from David Stern.

My favorite quote of his entire letter is this one:

“The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.”

Are you serious?  Were you just watching The Color Purple Thursday afternoon because it sounded very much like what Celie told Albert:

 “Till you do right by me, everything you even think about gonna’ fail.”

The Color Purple - 11 x 17 Movie Poster - Style A

Gilbert’s eagerness to court James and willingness to give him a max deal, then slamming him as James headed to South Beach is tantamount to a thug who pursues a woman at the club.  After being turned down several times finally fires back with something like this: “F’-U then!  I didn’t want your number anyway.”

As much as James is a self-glorified egomaniac, the fact of the matter is that he did indeed give the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland seven exciting years.  He made the team and the city a lot of money.  It was an even trade-off.   Now that the affair is over, it’s over.  Gilbert should turn the page.  And if he can’t, he should touch himself and think of the memories.

Olympics vs. Time Off

(L-R) Lebron James (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images); Dwyane Wade (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty IMages)

So there is this story that appeard on Yahoo News about some NBA players on the Olympic team may want to skip out on this summer’s competetion at the World Championship games in Turkey.  Colangelo’s ‘gettin all gangsta’ with it too by making threats agaisnt those who don’t plan to attend without an excuse that fits his fancy.

I understand the whole three year commitment thing.   Gone are the days when cats just show up for the Olympics and feel that without a doubt we are gonna get the gold medal.  The other teams around the world are infiltrated with NBA players and players who can flat out ball.  It’s a special benefit to have the likes of Kobe, LeBron and D-Wade on the team that barely won the gold medal game last year against Spain.

Still, guys like Kobe, LeBron gave a huge commitment to the team already and they came through to bring the gold home during the last Olympic games.  They also tend to play deep into June with their respective teams.  Colangelo’s Phoenix Suns don’t really have players who can say that.  These superstar players who take their teams to the conference championship and Finals need their rest.  I don’ t think its reasonable to expect that they carry the league and never have time to rest their bodies during the summer.

Taking the summer of 2010 off with a promise to jump back in for 2011 before the games in London a year later when it really counts is probably a smart thing.

I’m afraid though that  some executives don’t look at it like that.  They want to drain the brothers of all they have as if they are machines.

Reminds of of the book 40 Million Dollar Slaves.

Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete

Did Peyton Trip?

Uhhhh…. YEA!

I’ll say the same thing I said about Lebron James.  If you’re man enough to shake hands when you win, then you need to be man enough to congratulate the winners when you lose. 

I know as  a competetor he doesn’t want to shake the hands of the winners especially after that interception.  But still.  You got to do what you got to do.  Its part of being a professional.

NBA Finals, Conspiracies, Legends, and Has Been Bitches

Derek Fisher, Jameer Nelson

Last night’s game was memorable to say the least.  D-Fish gets all the credit in the world for hitting those two big threes.  Trevor Ariza really stepped his game up in the third quarter.  Kobe missed a lot of shots but the ones he hit kept the team from getting blown out when the rest of the guys were struggling.  But there were some other things that really bothered me that I have to say.  I say these things because others in the media won’t.  They are afraid to.  I’m not.  I have no stake in this thing other than being a devoted fan of the Lakers and an even bigger fan of the game of basketball. 

I tell people all the time.  “Yea LA has been my team since 1979.  Whether they were up or down.  If they play great they play great.  If they suck they suck.  I don’t say they are great or got cheated when they sucked.”  I am as hard on them as anybody.  The point being that I am no fair weather guy.  Even in the midst of this series part of my fan apprehension of the team is wondering what team would show up on a given night.  Would it be the inept team that showed up in the first half of last night’s game missing assignments and making mental mistakes?  Or that third quarter team that showed a level of hunger that matches their talent?  Either way I don’t deceive myself about what is before me.

I say all of that to say this.  If I wasn’t sure before, now I know without question that on occasions the NBA officiating is either corrupted by instruction of the league or of the gamblers.  Let me explain. 

While everyone is caught up in Fisher’s heroics and rightfully so, the Lakers were in a situation where the game was almost impossible to win.  Consider this: 

While the Magic went to the free throw line time after time in the fourth quarter, the Magic were not called for a single foul in the fourth quarter until the last two minutes.  This was not a situation where the Lakers were only shooting jump shots.  To the contrary Kobe himself went to the rack several times and got plenty of contact with no whistle. Eventually he just went with the fade away shots.  Meanwhile, Hedo,  and Howard went to the line with regularly and Pietrus got an “And 1”  opportunity (a good call) on a drive against Bryant. 

Let’s add it up on this level.  Of the last 17 minutes of the game, including overtime, the Magic had a total of three fouls called on them, and the only Laker to see the free throw line was Pau Gasol after a flagrant foul at the end of the game.  Meanwhile, during the first two periods, Gasol, Bynum (or Lord Bynum) and Odom quickly got into foul trouble.  The Lakers were sporting a front line of Mbenga and Powell in the second quarter for god-sake.   The first foul on Bynum in the first quarter was a play where Kobe clearly made contact with Howard, but Andrew got the foul.  OK no biggie.  But the foul Bynum got in the second half when he and Howard were tipping a lose ball was flat out ridiculous.  Not only was there no contact between the players, Bynum had the inside position.  The only reason the Lakers were in a position to tie the game was because Orlando turned the ball over 19 times and missed most of their crucial free throws.  The officials did everything they could to hand them the game.  The Magic just couldn’t take it. 

Lamar Odom foul call

Now look, I am an official and I know that we all miss calls.  So maybe Kobe goes to the hole and doesn’t get the call.  There are times when I don’t make a call and say to myself afterwards, “I missed that one. ” But the thing is, as an official you don’t keep missing them.  I also understand that at time teams get calls on their home court.  But for the Magic to be in the penalty five minutes into the final period and the Lakers not to get a call their way until the clock was under 2 minutes was shameful. 

I honstly felt sick to my stomach watching that game.  Because my love for NBA basketball took a hard fall while sitting in front of that TV.  Even as the Lakers climbed back in the game and eventually won it, as much as I have celebrated and cried for my team even as a youngster, I could only think that in spite of the NBA wanting to extend the series, justice was served as the Lakers fought their way to victory.  There was no smile on my face, only contempt. 

I get that there is an entertainment level to the game.  No one wants to see superstar players leave the game in foul trouble.  I get that.  Still for me win or lose, there has to be a purity to the game.  Players should decide the outcome.  Calls will be missed, mistakes made by players, coaches and officials.  The Lakers have benefited from such mistakes too in times past.  Last night it was so blatant it was just ugly.  I thought to myself  that I may not even watch the rest of the series.  I would like to see the Lakers take it home.  But I know this for sure.  I won’t look at the NBA the same anymore after last night. 

The Lakers won’t say anything because miraculously they won the game.  But don’t think they don’t understand what went down. I don’t know that Orlando will get the help they just got though they have another home game on Sunday.  It wouldn’t surprise me either way.  But I’m just saying.

BB&G’s Random Rants

We know that coach Phil Jackson is trying to win his 10th NBA title as a coach.  But for some reason NBA has-been Alonzo Mourning thought it his place to say that Phil doesn’t do anything but show up while Kobe does the coaching.  This from a man who played 15 years in the NBA and didn’t win nothing until he rode the coattail of Dwayne Wade in 2006.  He seems to point to Kobe talking to players and showing them things on the diagram to make points during timeouts.  But as I recall every great team has facilitators and leaders who are coaches on the floor.  I remember Magic and Michael doing it back in the day.  Isaiah did it with the Pistons.  Chauncey Billups is the ultimate example of that.  But just because he was an extension of the coach I didn’t hear anybody saying that Larry Brown just showed up and called timeouts.  Or that George Karl doesn’t have anything to offer.   Phil is surely secure with himself so he makes fun of Zo’s being a bitch.  I guess that little play Phil drew up taking the ball out past half court so the Magic wouldn’t foul right away before Fisher’s three was Kobe’s idea too. Whatever.

Random Rants 2

I love me some Bill Russell.  Greatest NBA winner ever and a true statesman.  But WTF is up with him showing up at the last couple NBA Finals sucking up to the Lakers opponents big men.  Last year it was KG, which is understandable because it was the Celtics.  But this little feature with Dwight Howard was just ridiculous.  I mean what relationship does he have to the Magic?  Just that they are trying to beat the Lakers and if they were to beat the Lakers it would prevent Phil Jackson from surpassing Russell’s coach Red Auerbach in championship trophies?  I mean if the Cavs were in it would he be schmoozing with Anderson Varejao or Big Z?  I thought that was kinda whack.  Red’s place is cemented in history.  But these haters can’t take nothing away from Phil.  Talk about Jordan, Kobe and Shaq all you want.  But take one look at all of the hall of famers that Red coached and then get back at me on that.  A coach has to know how to work what he has.

Speaking of coaches.  What is up with Cleveland jerking Mike Brown around?  If this guy’s job isn’t safe this year, that shows that LeBron really has their management team shook.  I know ya’ll have to sign “The King” and all… but don’t be so fickle.  Have some balls at least and show some freaggin loyalty.  With this talk of Pat Riley Dan Gilbert is starting to remind me of Dan Snyder.