I think Iâ€™m the only person in the world pumped for this game. The slumping Lakers and the season-long-slumping Celtics get together for a game so uninspiring Red Auerbach wouldnâ€™t watch it.
But I will â€” from really amazing seats just a couple rows off the court. Itâ€™s a birthday gift from my thoughtful wife. I go to a handful of games a season, but always up in the 300s (up above the luxury boxes, where the real fans sit as we like to say). This should be an interesting treat. (As the face value of these tickets are at more than $200 a piece, and these seats are always in demand at Staples, Iâ€™m on a donâ€™t ask/donâ€™t tell policy with my wife on how she got a hold of them.)
Wearing a back armband. The passing of former Celtic Dennis Johnson, who was coaching in the D-League, saddens me. For those that donâ€™t know, he played his high school ball in Compton and went to college at Pepperdine. RIP, DJ.
Hip-Hop Kobe. Great read over at Straight Banginâ€™ regarding Kobe and his place in the hip-hop world (via True Hoop):
Kobe’s preeminent ability taken in concert with the success of the Lakers, the direction in which they appear to be headed, and the improvement of his teammates has begun to recast KB824 as something different, something better. No longer unapproachable and selfish, he’s become a gallant figure whose scoring is generally placed within the context of Bryant’s desire to win through any possible means. Particularly notable outbursts of scoring are testaments to his talent, not manifestations of his narcissism. And people are even writing about the improved rapport he’s fostered on a young team. His skills are no longer assailed as the traits of a stubborn individual, and his image has been slowly repaired, most symbolically by his placement adjacent to LeBron at the center of Nike’s basketball future.
But to truly understand the altered perception of Kobe, one must turn on the radio in order to receive ultimate judgment: He’s among the featured players promoted on Hot 97’s all-star weekend giveaway. That’s a credibility he was not supposed to enjoy.
All-Star note. Friend of the site Broken Cowboy has some ideas to save the All-Star game.
Last meeting. One of those games were Iâ€™m not sure a lot came be taken from the Last meeting into this one. First, that game had no Paul Piece, heâ€™ll be ready to go tonight. Second, Kobe was ticked after being suspended for the Knicks game the night before and dropped 40 on the Celtics in a 111-98 win.
About PP. In his five games back he is averaging 24 a contest, shooting 55.2% (eFG%) overall and a crazy 54.2% from three. So, you better start covering him out by midcourt. What makes Pierce hard to defend is, like Kobe, he can shoot from anywhere, can drive or shoot the jumper.
Heâ€™s going to test the Laker D. (Gulp)
Other Celtics who hurt us. Ryan Gomes had 23 and shot the ball great from the outside, and Gerald Green had 22. Both looked pretty good, and we know Green can dunk if we give him the lane.
The good thing the Lakers did last game was hold Al Jefferson to 10 points on 3-11 from the floor. He still had 14 points but he didnâ€™t kill the Lakers inside (meanwhile Bynum was 5-7 shooting).
Donâ€™t forget to check out the Celtic Blogs. Jeff and Celtics Blog remains one of, if not the best, fan blog on the Web, with smart commenters and a passionate. Also worth noting are Celtics 17, Celtics Pride 24/7, Loyâ€™s Place, I Heart Celtics, Can Danny,
Perk is a beast and Redâ€™s Army.
Dealing with our frustration. There are no things to look for tonight, because there is only one thing that matters â€” the Lakers playing some defense. Smush staying with DeLonte, Bynum making quicker recognition and better rotations down low, Kobe/Odom/whoever sticking with Pierce. Bottom line, just play some damn defense.
I donâ€™t remember Laker fans being this frustrated with the team in a long time. The Rudy T. year was hard to watch, but there was a sense of futility about it. We Laker fans are frustrated now because you can see potential in this squad â€” theyâ€™ve showed it for stretches â€” so itâ€™s hard to watch. Injuries can account for some of it, but not the drop-off in effort, particularly on the defensive end. That is unforgivable.
Tonight is the perfect chance to start turning things around.
(Iâ€™ll try to post some comments during the game from the Crackberry, if I see anything interesting.)