Because they are masochists (but in a good way), J.E. Skeets and Kelly Dwyer and going to be doing a marathon live chat all day long on Wednesday over at Ball Don’t Lie — going eight hours (9-5 Eastern, 6-2 Pacific time). This is a great way to kill your productivity at work. Because I hate to see friends suffer, I’m going to be part of the chat for an hour or so (2-3 EST, 11-12 Pacific), where we will cover the Lakers, the NBA, and I’d be willing to bet one or two Artest questions (at least KD has my back on that one). Should be fun — by that point in the day Skeets will be punchy. Plus, the end of my time overlaps with Jeff from CelticsBlog, so I’m going to let him have it. With lines like, um….. well, have you seen the photos from our dance team tryouts?
Some other thoughts:
• Team USA practice is underway, and as we move toward the Olympics we’ll be talking a lot about the games in future posts. I think we will learn a little about the USA squad in a pre-tournament “friendly” against Russia, but the real first glimpse will be the late first-round matchups with Spain and Greece.
• That said, remember even the round robin games in the Olympic pool play don’t matter that much — there are six teams in each group, four of those move on to the single-elimination medal tournament. The USA will advance out of that with little trouble (doing well should help get an easier quarter-final game, however). All that really matters (for the USA or any other medal contender such as Spain or Argentina) is winning the quarterfinal, semi-final and final. Three big, NCAA-tournament style single elimination games.
• By the way, in case you didn’t see the Olympic pairings:
GROUP A: Argentina, Australia, Croatia, Iran, Lithuania, Russia
GROUP B: Angola, China, Germany, Greece, Spain, USA
• And, while it gets a lot of ink, the USA’s lack of big men doesn’t bother me that much. For international ball I like a smaller, faster team that can play on the wing. Two teams may be able to exploit that — Greece and Argentina — but I’m not sure either really can do it well enough to beat this USA team.
• I think Kobe Bryant’s sentiments on Turiaf leaving echoed those of most Lakers fans — we get it on a business level, but it still sucks on a fan level.
• Matt Barnes lands in Phoenix. This seems like a good get if they are going to keep the tempo up in the Valley of the Sun, but is new coach Terry Porter going to do that? Can he with Shaq starting 82 games (or however many his body will allow)? And can they keep shopping Barbosa around if DJ Strawberry is the backup point?
• The Spurs signing Kurt Thomas doesn’t bother me much as a Lakers fan because they could have tried to go younger and more athletic and chose not to.
• Any good book suggestions. I just finished a historical fiction book Princes of Ireland, and my one word review: “meh.” But very little historical fiction grabs me. So I’m looking for suggestions, likely non-hoops related and I lean toward non-fiction.