Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  May 2, 2007

So many things I wanted to write about the last couple days, but the real world keeps getting in the way. Basically, despite my frustration with the Lakers, there are some positives to write about.

• I don’t think enough praise can be heaped on Lamar Odom for his effort in this series. Torn labrum needing surgery, hyper-extended elbow and he is still one of he few Lakers hustling every game. His play his in the third quarter of game four was inspiring – one of the few Lakers trying to reverse the tide, and he’s doing it while barely able to shoot free throws.

So far in the playoffs he’s getting 48% of his shots inside, close to the basket, and is shooting 55% on those.

• The Dallas/Golden State series has been what playoff basketball is about. The energy of the fans, and the energy of the players, has been completely captivating. And I can’t wait for game six.

I’ve long had a soft spot for Baron Davis, ever since his UCLA days, I just love to watch the way he plays the game. So I love seeing him excel on the big stage. On the flip side, I thought it somewhat unfair that people are laying the Mavs problems at the feet of Dirk Nowitzki (as Kelly Dwyer said at, why is it so hard for Jason Terry to make a clean entry pass?), so it was great to see him almost single-handedly save the game for them last night.

Dallas has not solved its biggest problem from the last couple years – guards that can penetrate from the wing. Kobe killed them; remember the 62 in three quarters? Then there was Wade in the finals last year. Now Davis. When they face a team that can drive and hit outside shots, the Mavs are at a loss. And that hasn’t changed.

• Apparently there’s just something about the way Stephen Jackson claps his hands that grates on refs.

• The Heat are gone, and I’m not sad. I really don’t see how so many people picked them to beat Chicago in the first round. Although, as I’ve said here before, Chicago is one of my favorite teams to watch right now, I love their energy, I love (and envy) their defense. And how about that Loul Deng?

The series against Detroit should be another good one.

• There has been a lot of talk about flopping in the NBA playoffs, but I thought Kevin at Clipperblog made a great point.

But you know what’s been just as widespread as the flop? This: A wing player gets a high screen from his big men who, rather than rolling toward the basket, steps out on the perimeter. Meanwhile, the guys set up on the weak side hang back, clearing the lane for the penetrator. When the defense collapses on him, the slasher throws his body into the primary help defender, earning two shots from the stripe. Does the shot fall? Who cares? That was never the driver’s primary concern.

Kobe gets away with this at times. And it bugs me when other teams do it to our bigs.

• LeBron James is +50.1 points per 48 minutes so far in the playoffs. Not bad.

• Mayweather is going to destroy Oscar.