More thoughts and notes largely typed one handed in the middle of the night while up with my daughter (then edited the next morning after some coffee).
â€¢ Kobe the Blue Power Ranger? (Thanks to Ben Maller for that one.)
â€¢ The latest Carnival of the NBA is up at Deadspin, pointing you to a plethora of good NBA writing.
â€¢ You probably know this already, but Kobe will be a guest analyst on TNT tonight during the double header. Iâ€™m not sure what to add because saying anything good about TNTâ€™s NBA studio coverage causes a sharp pain in my gut.
Update: This was fairly uneventful â€” save for the sweater vest, which nobody saw coming â€” but one line from Kobe applies to the Clippers in game six. When talking about scoring on the Suns, he said how much you score isn’t the key, “To demoralize them, you have to stop them [defensively].”
â€¢ One final Kobe note (and one actually about basketball), over on the APBR message boards a great poster named Wizards Kevin crunched the numbers and came up with this â€” when Kobe was in the game the Lakers played 5.1 possessions faster per 48 minutes then when he was on the bench. (With Smush they were 5 possessions faster, but I think Kevin is right in attributing some of that to playing most of his minutes alongside Kobe.) Let me throw two theories up here â€” like Raja Bell contested threes from the corner â€” and see if one goes through the net. First, Kobe (and Smush) create a fair amount of turnovers and that led to some fast break chances and points. Second, the Lakers did a good job of pushing the ball off opponent misses, and Kobe was the best player at taking advantage of mismatches in those situations, leading to faster shots.
â€¢ How much fun have these playoffs been to watch. That Clipper/Suns game 5 is just the latest in the most entertaining playoffs in a long time (and Clippersblog has a great recap). But as a guy rooting for the Clips, that was a hard, hard loss. And I feel for Daniel Ewing â€” he just was overwhelmed, but I’m not sure he could have fouled before the shot.
â€¢ Give me Barcelona and the from-the-gut brilliance of Ronaldinho over Arsenal today (Iâ€™m taking a lunch break to catch the second half of that match).
â€¢ Another interesting note from that Kevinâ€™s work on pace and players â€” Miami was 1.5 possessions per 48 faster with Shaq in the lineup. Wouldnâ€™t have predicted that.
â€¢ If you havenâ€™t read Eric Neelâ€™s ESPN piece focusing on a decades-old pickup game â€” and what basketball is really about â€” you need to. He remains one of my favorite writers.
â€¢ Should I point out now I said not to ignore Dallas way back at the start of the season. Nah, that would be bragging, and Iâ€™m above that.
â€¢ Doesnâ€™t watching Jason Terry play really make you wish he could be a Laker. But after game 4 in the Mavs/Spurs series, it becomes less likely Dallas lets him get away.
â€¢ Speaking of that series, Kevin Pelton has a great breakdown of the Spurs/Mavs key moment in his latest column at SI.
â€¢ Deadspin said it first but I was thinking it: How much fun would it be to see David Stern have to hand the Larry Oâ€™Brien trophy over to Mark Cuban?
â€¢ From our friends at Pounding the Rock, the line of the week:
It occurred to me today, that if George Bush and Sam Cassell had a love child, it would be Nick Van Exel: A ballsy, tremendously unathletic and uncoordinated shoot first point guard who’s not good at anything but saying things that piss off everybody.