Fast Break Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  March 28, 2011

There’s a lot of different topics cluttering my brain today, so no better way to address them all than with an installment of Fast Break Thoughts…

*Most fans have a player (or more) that they look at more critically than others. For years, the guy that I’d often judge a bit more harshly than others was Jordan Farmar. There’s no need to get into those reasons again, but lets just say that I was okay with him moving on as a free agent. However, with Farmar gone a new player has taken his place: Shannon Brown. I like Shannon as a player and think he deserves a lot of credit for his developing and growing his game. During his time as a Laker he’s made tremendous strides as a shooter and ball handler. That said, multiple times a game I find myself not able to look past his penchant for over dribbling or his mistakes on defense. Too often, he gambles for steals or doesn’t close out with a hand up (preferring to run at a players legs). Too many times he ignores making the post entry in favor of probing the defense while dribbling the ball between his legs. He’s too much gunner and not enough wingman for my liking. Again, he’s made great strides as a player and by all accounts he’s coachable, accountable, and a hard worker. However, I find myself wanting less freelancing and more commitment to doing the little things better. Maybe I’m being too hard on him.

*Last night Derek Fisher started the game 0-7 and finished the game just 1-8, scoring only 2 points. He chipped in 3 rebounds and 4 assists while tallying a team high +26 on the night. This type of statistical line gives Fisher supporters and bashers ammunition in their next barroom argument about his value to the team. But I’ve never questioned his value just because those little things that I’m asking Shannon Brown to do get done by Fisher on a nightly basis. Maybe I turn a blind eye too often to Fisher’s weaknesses while playing up his strengths more than I should. In any event, I couldn’t agree with Roland Lazenby more here.

*Last week, Rob Mahoney wrote that the Chicago Bulls should be the favorites to win the championship. Based solely off his power rankings and his playoff odds predictor, John Hollinger’s numbers agree. That said, over at The Point Forward, Zach Lowe tells us that the Lakers are once again the favorites to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy come June. An excerpt:

Put simply, the Lakers are playing both offense and defense better than anyone else. They’re also as healthy as any veteran-heavy team can expect to be now. Ron Artest is surging, Pau Gasol’s mid-range jumper has reached the point where it should inspire terror in opposing fans upon release, and Andrew Bynum is playing the best all-around ball of his career. In doing so, Bynum is helping change the Lakers’ identity in a way that makes them fit more closely the conventional notion of a “playoff-style” team (if you believe in such things). And even so, they remain unconventional in ways that make them extra difficult to deal with.

I know it’s extremely convenient of me to agree with Zach here (after all, look at the name of this site), but I do. One of the main reasons behind my not-quite-there thoughts on the Bulls is because of the team they remind me of: The 2008 Los Angeles Lakers. Like our guys from 2008 the Bulls have made a big leap from their previous season, losing in the 1st round of the playoffs the previous year and coming out of nowhere to lead their conference. They excel on one side of the ball (in this case defense), while being middle of the pack on the other side. They employ the likely league MVP. They have several players (and a coach) that are considered winners, but haven’t had a lot of success together as of yet. In the end, I do think the Bulls have what it takes to reach the Finals. I’m just not convinced they have what it takes to bring home the hardware. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, but I feel like I’ve seen this before.

*Speaking of the Bulls, they’re one of the teams whose performance down the stretch I’m watching closely. Along with the C’s, Mavs, Heat, and Spurs, the Bulls represent a team that could be a post-season opponent in which the rest of the regular season will dictate home court advantage should a match up with the Lakers occur. For up to the minute standings, look here. So you know, however, the popular take is that the Lakers won’t catch the Spurs for HCA in the West. That’s an opinion that I also agree with.

*Not sure how much of the NCAA tourney you’ve been watching but there have been some great games on in the past couple of weeks. For what it’s worth, I’ve been impressed with a handful of college players including Kyrie Irving of Duke, Harrison Barnes of UNC, Derrick Williams of UofA, and Kemba Walker of UCONN. Walker has especially impressed me as his shot making and moxie are otherworldly. I’m sure others from that list of players will make better professionals, but watching Walker dart around the court, hit step back jumpers, set up his mates, and do it all with a sense of the moment has been very impressive.

*And speaking of the Tournament, my bracket is officially dead. I don’t have a single team alive in the Final Four and am near the bottom of the rankings in our FB&G pool. As for the winner of our pool, that’s yet to be established as Bob’s Bracket has a 5 point lead and still has his pick for National Champion alive.

*Lastly, we haven’t discussed this much here but the reality is sinking in that the Sacramento Kings will relocate to Anaheim (likely to be named the Royals). If you haven’t heard, Phil Jackson has spoken out against this relocation and it’s now being reported that this move could cut into the revenue from the Lakers recently inked TV deal with Time Warner. That’s a lot of money.

Darius Soriano

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70 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Darius,
    That’s because Shannon Brown doesn’t have any basketball skills. Lol

    Re: Fisher
    Max Kellerman said it best… “Derek Fisher isnt a good PG. He is isn’t the perfect PG. But he is the perfect PG for Phil Jackson and the Lakers. If you put a capable NBA player on the Lakers at PG will Kobe, Artest, odom, Gasol, and Bynum get the ball as much? It almost feels like Phil likes putting a bad defensive PG on the floor. He likes enticing the other team to have the ball in their PGs hands for all the game and subsequently take the rest of the team out of the game. So do the Lakers win inspite of Fisher? Yes. Do they win because of Fisher? As crazy as it sounds… Yes… That too.”

  2. Based on the way Shannon plays, it’s like he has been told to be Kobe of the second unit. Unfortunately, he’s not Kobe (or even close). I would love to see him drive the hole more often, but learn a mid-range shot or a stop shot where he just elevates and shoots a floater or soft bank off the glass. He did it once last night and it shows that no one can block it because he just jumps higher than the people trying to guard him. If he does this, he can be what he wants to be (the second string go-to guy).

  3. I agree about the Bulls especially if the Lakers make it out of the West. To beat the Lakers in the playoffs, you have to have a wing defender that can keep Kobe off of the foul line,make Kobe work for his shots and ultimately cause him to shoot a low percentage. If Kobe gets to the line and/or is able to get to his spots at will then the series is virtually over. Just look at Utah in recent years when they have used Brewer (oddly enough now with the Bulls) and Matthews. Kobe has torched Utah and the Lakers have owned the Jazz.

    The Lakers have given Boozer fits in recent playoff series due to their length. Then there is the anointed MVP Rose. Rose is having a great season is certainly deserving of being right there for the MVP but personally I still would take Deron Williams over him. Both Williams and Rose are big, strong point guards. Rose is a bit faster and more athletic but Williams is the better shooter and passer.
    Just looking at personnel the Bulls are essentially the Jazz with an inside presence at center (Noah) rather than a glorified PF at center (Okur). The Bulls play better D but I just don’t think they have a favorable matchup with the Lakers

  4. I admit to cringing when Shannon gets the ball in the open court–I just expect something bad to happen. I find myself muttering: give the ball up, give the ball up.

    I like when Shannon shoots off of a pass or off of a single dribble off of a pass. Anything else and….cringe.

  5. “It almost feels like Phil likes putting a bad defensive PG on the floor. He likes enticing the other team to have the ball in their PGs hands for all the game and subsequently take the rest of the team out of the game.”

    That’s a really profound theory, especially since it coincides with my theory that you can’t be a championship team if your point guard/primary ball handler is your main scorer.

  6. 1. The 2008 Lakers could have won the championship that year, if it weren’t for the blatantly horrible refereeing in Game 2. It was so bad that Bill Simmons had to, self-admittedly, look away!

    2. Just a thought – how much of Shannon’s troubles are from having to practice with the first team when Kobe sits out?

    3. I disagree with Lazenby – Fish isn’t the coach on the floor. Kobe is. Fish, though, runs the offense instead of dumping the rock into Kobe.

    4. I disagree even more with Lazenby’s recent article on MJ. Came across as a little too sympathetic to the alleged GOAT.
    “Yet in a few short years, that image had taken a huge hit, with the madding crowd routinely having a field day on Internet sites punking out Jordan for his missteps”

    Would Jordan’s image be this squeaky clean if he were to have played in today’s socially-networked era?

    Read more: http://blogs.hoopshype.com/blogs/lazenby/2011/03/26/mj-the-owner-one-year-later/#ixzz1HvrA7Hnk

  7. Re catching the Spurs, that one point loss in Feb rather looms large now. 4 games back as of now, with the Spurs playing the Blazers tonight, then the Celts next, and then the Lakers later on. They could lose all 3 of those games. Now going back to that 1 point loss, you do the math.

    By the way, Ginobili is out for tonight versus the Blazers with a thigh injury. So much the easier for the Blazers. With Duncan out, I’m kinda wondering who guards KG on Thursday versus the Celts. And so, again, that 1 point loss looms rather large.

  8. 7 – McDyess guards KG.

  9. @7. That’s probably a good thing for the Lakers. They don’t need home court against the Spurs, although it would be nice to have HCA in the Finals. With the way the seeding is right now, having DEN, OKC, SA, and MEM on the opposite side of the West draw is just fine with me. With every game that goes by lately, I’m getting more and more optimistic that we could see a run similar to the 2001 season, where the team won its final eight games of the regular season and went 15-1 in the playoffs as the #2 seed behind the Spurs.

  10. #9. Yesterday on twitter folks were saying the same thing and even made the parallel to Rose/Iverson with LA potentially facing the Bulls in the Finals. Wouldn’t that be something?

  11. I’d love to see another 2001-style run, but the Rose/Iverson comparison loses me with respect to what that implies about the matchup.

    The 2001 76ers were a mediocre team that played above its ceiling thanks to an extraordinary year from Iverson and Larry Brown’s ability to put so-so players in place around Iverson in a manner that befit the team.

    2011 Rose is having a year like Iverson had a decade ago. But these Bulls are far, far superior team-wise than that 2001-era Philadelphia team.

    Take a look at the dregs that played for Philly that year and you’d be shocked that team beat Milwaukee’s Big Three.

  12. @11 Chris J, I’d disagree that Chi’s current roster is far superior than that 76′s roster. Superior yes, but gap isn’t that huge.

    Don’t forget that Philly team had Mutombo, Ratliff, Tyrone Hill and Nazr Mohammed for their frontline. All when they were young and playing very well.

    Snow was a solid defensive guard and they had Mckie and Raja Bell coming off the bench. On the wings they had Kukoc and Jumaine Jones. That’s a solid team.

    Compare that roster with Chicago. Noah, Boozer, Scalabrine and Thomas overall are worse off than what Philly had in the front.

    On the wing and backcourt, Deng, Korver, Rose, Brewer and CJ Watson isn’t miles better than what Philly had by any means.

    I’d say the two teams are pretty close, no way Chi is far superior than Philly.

  13. Symmetry wise, it would be amazing for the Lakers to face Bulls in the finals led by MVP-Rose. What a way for Phil to exit the league, finishing his 4th Three-peat against the team that started it all. (The fact that PJ’s Bulls won their first against another PG-led team just adds to the intrigue).

    But that’s looking too far ahead.

    I have nothing against giving Rose the MVP, as long as the Bulls end up with the best or second-best record in the league. That falls in line with the previous MVP standards and I can live with that. But if we finish with the best record, Kobe should be seriously considered.

    Regarding the scapegoat of our team… well, if I was to pick, I’d pick Shannon too, mostly because I just didn’t have much expectations regarding Walton and since Blake doesn’t screw things up on offense as much. Now it’d be a totally different story if Brown can reach his early-season heights in the playoffs – then it’d be another story of PJ letting players develop.

    Lastly, had MJ played in this era, no amount of marketing savvy would have saved him. He would have probably paralleled Tiger Woods (who, in a weird kinda way seems to follow Kobe), a media darling with an incredible image that got shot down in an instant.

  14. Oh and totally off topic:

    Now that my bracket is completely destroyed (I didn’t expect it to do well since I don’t watch college basketball unless Cal makes noise), anyone playing NBA Legends on facebook?

    It’s not perfect and honestly it’s a bit shaky, but kinda fun to dabble in every now and then. I made the mistake of being an offensive small forward on the Lakers… I really should’ve picked the PG slot as that’s our obvious weakness.

  15. Chris J: I think the comparison is basically a really good defensive team supported by what is largely a one-man offensive show. Although like you said, Chicago does have Boozer this year – so Rose probably has more help on offense. By for the most part, it’s still Rose and Iverson creating the majority of their respective team’s offense alone.

  16. Wow, 2001. You guys have me recalling fond memories (from the playoffs not the regular season). I am not sure if I can see this team doing 16-1 romp through the playoffs. I know we don’t like talking about him, but Shaq was a monster during that run. The Lakers literally had an ace in the hole that teams simply could not game plan for. We all know a bad shooting night can make Kobe look mortal. We all know some aggressive defense can get Pau out of his game. And I am an convinced some nights the refs simply don’t like Bynum.

    But Shaquille O’neal was the hurricane you knew was coming and was helpless to defend against. Remember his back to back 40 point 20 rebound games against the Kings? The current Lakers dominance is function of several players locking in. In the 2001 playoffs Kobe and Shaq on their games was enough to push teams to the edge. All you needed was one other player to show up for the party. It was Horry some nights, Fisher other nights, and who can forget Mr. Fox.

    I don’t know if the NBA will ever see a post season team that dominant.

  17. celtics lost. bulls down 13, spurs losing…could be a good night

  18. yup, #17. could hit the jackpot tonight.

  19. Celtics are reeling right now. The Perkins
    trade was extremely unpopular in the
    Celts locker room.

  20. @9, 16. A lot has to fall into place for my scenario to happen, beginning with remaining healthy, then getting the #2 seed, and next facing a #7 NOLA in the first round. A sweep of NOLA would give Drew and Kobe extra rest while POR and DAL kill each other, and we all know how well those two play when they have time to rest their bumps and bruises.

  21. You guys suck. Just had to jinx Portland, didn’t you? I blame this on James and chibi.

  22. Defninitely some upsides from today’s games. Nice to have a day that helps the Lakers without the team even having to lace up their shoes.

  23. It is fine as long as we can have HCA over the teams in the east and Mav.

  24. @21. I don’t see tonight’s Spurs lineup holding up down the stretch.

  25. I really don’t care if we get the #1 seed in the west, as long as we are ahead of Chicago, Boston, Miami, and Dallas. I like our match-ups better in the 2nd slot.

  26. nice one blazers, i can smell that no.1 !

  27. Dude, it’s because I unjinxed them just in time.

    James, learn the art of unjinxing.

  28. And Spurs lose. Wow, this is getting interesting. Question is can Lakers keep winning? They haven’t broken the 8 game win streak all season long. To have Dallas as the ninth opponent is big.

  29. A good day indeed for Laker fans. We’ll take that.

  30. Wow, Christmas in March :)

  31. @27. Ah, the reverse jinx was it? How very Simmonsesque :D

  32. Ugh, Dallas up next.

    And an excuse for the Lakers to relax (just a bit).

    Worrisome.

  33. With only 9 games left, 3 weeks with atleast two to three days off is enough relaxing; our Lakers are going to come in ready to play on thursday, and lock that 2nd seed and hopefully keep gaining on SA. lets go Lakers-

  34. @33. Not sure I see your reasoning. The team will be pushing for HCA for the rest of the regular season. I don’t see our guys relaxing. They’re only three losses behind the Spurs (with one more meeting coming up), they’re even with the Bulls, and they’re one game ahead of the Mavs. They are on a roll and are playing lockdown defense whenever Drew suits up.

  35. I really think of the Lakers as being two games behind right now. We have to assume that the Lakers will beat the Spurs in our match up, or else this is all moot. We need San Antonio to lose two more games while the Lakers continue to win.

    Just curious, has a team gone undefeated after the break?

  36. DRose had ten(10!) more TOs tonight. that ought to move him back amongst the league leaders, not too far behind Westbrook, and put a lock on the MVP award.
    /sarcasm

  37. #36. No, but it’s not like the Lakers will either. Remember, even if LA wins out they’d have lost to the Heat.

  38. Looks to me like the Spurs are tanking it down the stretch. Looking to rest the starters and probably preferring to fall to the 2 seed to avoid Memphis in round 1 followed by OKC in round 2. I have mixed feelings about catching the Spurs, but I love the fact that Lakers have caught Bulls and are putting distance between Celtics and Heat for HCA.

  39. A truly glorious day. The Sixers are a very dangerous team when they are on and I am not surprised they beat the Bulls. I am not worried about catching the Spurs because it probably will not happen. If we get within two games then I will start worrying about it more. Now getting ahead of the Bulls will be tough because their schedule is so much easier than ours. Lakers must continue to play great ball all the way into the playoffs, no let downs can be afforded whatsoever

  40. Derek,
    Dnt worry. Pop won’t let the Spurs get passed by the Lakers. He wants HCA against us in the conference finals. Although we both know they aren’t getting by OKC anyways.

  41. Sorry but I couldn’t link because not everyone has ESPN in.

    @ Zephid
    This is what I was talking about the day after he got hurt. They just ran this story today.

    Interest in West could be low

    11:08AM ET

    David West | Hornets

    David West would have had a lot of suitors in the summer, but that has changed now since he suffered a torn left ACL last week. West’s recovery timeline is somewhere between 6-10 months and it’s unlikely he’ll be offered a lucrative contract from another team.

    “There was a time where you kind of had faith in the ability of every guy to come back from injuries,” an Eastern Conference general manager told Sporting News. “But I think there are enough examples of guys who have surgeries and aren’t the same. That has to make you think twice.”

    The general manager used Gilbert Arenas and Elton Brand as All-Star type-players who have never been the same after having an injury than they were before it.

    West was expected to opt out of his contract, but now the $7.5 million for next season is probably too good to pass up. West may even be willing to sign an extension, but the Hornets may take a wait-and see approach instead of making an offer for their 31 year old power forward.

    — Nick Borges

    ESPN’s John Hollinger

    West has option to stay with Hornets next season and become a free agent in 2012

    “He can make $7.5 million as a Hornet in 2011-12, spend the year rehabbing his knee, play some games at the end of the season to prove to everyone that he’s healthy, and then dive into free agency hand-in-hand with his good buddy Chris Paul in 2012. Alternatively, he might now be tempted to sign the Hornets’ extension offer. The problem before was that the most New Orleans could offer was based on a 10 percent raise from the $7.5 million West would make in 2011-12, or about $8.25 million to start — far less than the starting salary he would have commanded as a healthy free agent this summer. But perhaps it’s a reasonable deal given the new realities.”

  42. There is no way the NO holds onto the number 7 with their remaining schedule and dealing with the loss of David West. So if everything remains the same otherwise, we will play Memphis in the first round. So be it. I don’t care about Memphis. Sure we will have a tougher time with them, but they don’t have Rudy Gay. They have two bigs that match us well and Shane Battier who plays Kobe well. And???!!!! No worries mate.

    Coaching, pedigree, and experience get us easily by this team. Plus, we let Portland, SA, and OKC punch eachother in the mouths before we play the victor.

    I would rather remain where we are at 2, stay ahead of the East. If we stay even with Chicago great, if not oh well. All we can do is try and win out and claim our prize.

  43. Something scary happened tonight. SA played Portland and lost just 92-100. They were without Duncan, Manu, and Parker. Do you think we would win without Kobe, Pau, and LO? Would we lose by only eight with Walton and Caracter getting 20 minutes each?

    Pops is a great coach and has a great system. He will be the best coach in the League beginning next year.

  44. Darius, I think he meant in the history of the NBA. Even then, I doubt any team has.

  45. There’s rarely a day when all the teams you want to lose ACTUALLY LOSE. We got Celts, Bulls, and Spurs losses all on the same night.

  46. what’s the tie breaker if the Lakers and Bulls finish with the same record and split the season series?

  47. 46. Travis

    I believe the tie breaker is the teams’ record against the opposing conference.

  48. The Bulls remaining schedule is pretty much a cake walk. Their only tough games are the Celts (at home) and Orlando (away). They do have three sets of back to backs, but that shouldn’t bother a young team. They will have to lose at least two games for us to have home court over them because their conference record against the West (21-7) is better than ours against the East (21-9). Their remaining West games are at the Wolves and home against Phoenix (both winnable).

  49. I really don’t think we should go for the 1st seed. We must keep winning in order to get the 2nd best record in the League so that we can have HCA in the first 2 rounds+the finals, but catching SA would do us no good.

    Facing OKC even with HCA is a worse matchup to us than facing SA without HcA. And I don’t like the idea of playing the Mavs or Bulls or Celtics or Heat without HCA.

    That being said, if we had to lose one game in order not to get the 1st seed, I would be ok with it. Just get some time on the floor to the bench unit and let them build some confidence. We will need them firing on all cylinders when the playoffs come.

  50. @49 Lets see if I got this right:

    The idea is, that playing the bench, and letting them see that increasing their playing time leads to loosing games… is a way to boost their confidence.

    Well, what ever works for them Im all for it. Would be nice to get a little here and there from that group!

  51. 47, no, it’s record against your own conference.

    Just check the fine print on this page

    http://www.nba.com/standings/team_record_comparison/conferenceNew_Std_Cnf.html

    And Chicago has us beaten, 32-5 compared to 28-8. Unless the Lakers basically win out and the Bulls play terribly, they’ve got that tiebreaker. So the only way we have HCA against Chicago is if we have a better record.

  52. @51. Those are the tiebreakers for teams in the same conference. For teams in the opposite conference, HCA is first determined by head-to-head, then the next step is the record vs the opposite conference. The fine print can be chucked away, I remember this from previous seasons.

  53. With the injury to David West (and a tougher schedule), I think Memphis will end up #7 and NO may end up 8th or can even get passed by Houston. The only ‘problem’ with the #1 seed is OKC/DEN. Either way, and based on my own experience with my teams, ‘choosing’ your opponents/draw doesn’t always play out/creates a false sense of security/bad karma. I’d rather have my team and the Lakers playing well, playing aggressive, and always playing to win. the sports gods frown on teams ‘tanking’ to get the best possible draw and matchups.

  54. @50. Actually no. Increase their playing time until they start playing as they should and balance things out. What I was suggesting was something in the likes of boosting their play time for the last 3 or 4 games of the season if the lead over the Mavs is 3 games or more. Losing two games won’t have any impact but MAYBE by the third game they start to get it.

    And as a player (which I still am, even though in a putrid league), I rather see my bench mates lose some games but get some burn. If they play, they scrap more at practices and aren’t afraid to look for the best offensive option or shoot with confidence when they’re alone. I think this might work, but it’s just my 2 cents.

  55. I think HCA against the east would be big though…

    So maybe ShanWow just have to give up some minutes to the three vets of the bench.

  56. Against Chicago may not be big. Against Boston and Miami would be, but I think that the Mavs will have a better record than any of them.

  57. RE Tiebreakers in the Finals – The Dude and Tej are correct. This is from Hollingers (insider) Column:

    Finally, let’s talk about the race that nobody is talking about, but probably should be: the one between the Lakers and Chicago for potential home-court advantage in the NBA Finals.

    The Lakers are a half-game behind, and it’s a crucial one because it’s in the loss column — with teams of that caliber, that’s basically worth three games in the win column. The Lakers also face a slightly more difficult schedule the rest of the way, albeit one with just four road games left.

    And the tie-breaker? That’s where it gets interesting. The tie-break rules for the Finals are different than for the other playoff positions, a league rep confirmed to me today. It’s just:

    •– Season series
    •– Record against teams in the other conference
    •– Random drawing

    That’s it.

    And in the case of Chicago and L.A., the two have already split the season series. The next tie-breaker is record against teams in the opposite conference; Chicago should have the advantage there, as the Bulls have only seven losses against the West compared to the Lakers’ nine in the East. So it seems the Bulls have the upper hand on two fronts.

    However, if the Bulls drop two of their three remaining games against the West (L.A. is done with the East), and the two teams finish tied … then it goes to a random drawing! Can you imagine that? Home-court for the most important game of the season being pulled out of a hat? And can you imagine the conspiracy theories after the drawing?

  58. To Tej and The Dude:

    MAH BAD.

  59. @58. No big deal, it’s very confusing. For example, I just learned a little while ago that I was mistaken regarding HCA vs Dallas. I had been under the impression that if the two teams finished tied, but DAL had a 2-1 advantage head-to-head, then the Lakers would get the 2nd seed (division winner) and play the 7th seed in the first round, but then DAL would have home-court advantage in any series with the Lakers by virtue of their head-to-head record. However, Kevin Ding just confirmed with the league office that this was changed in 2008. So even if DAL has the head-to-head advantage over the Lakers and the two teams have the same record, the Lakers will still have HCA vs DAL by virtue of being the division winner.

  60. i want to bring up the mvp debate again. it seems to me that the only reason people can bring up lebron as mvp is his stats its like thats all he has got.so i wonder how much the voters allocate between stats and other attributes not measurable by stats. it just seems all people can bring up when talking bout lebron is his stats. i just hope that bball doesnt become baseball i think it really eliminates any need to actually watch games. also regarding the stats where were those same statisticians when kobe was averaging 35 a game plus 5 assists 5 rebounds what happened there.

  61. Hollinger spends too much time playing with his little Etch-a-Sketch computers and too little time dealing with reality. How else to explain a line like this:

    “The Lakers are a half-game behind, and it’s a crucial one because it’s in the loss column — with teams of that caliber, that’s basically worth three games in the win column.”

    Yo, Johnny… we don’t add all of these numbers up for keeps until both teams have played 82. Each game counts the same, so how can one-half game in the loss line equate to three wins?

    Two plus two isn’t seven, and your Power Rankings are just as ridiculous. But thanks for playing.

  62. On the Lakers TV deal:
    The article didn’t hit the full scope of the deal and what the Kings bring to the table that could result in damage to the contract. The Maloofs own their own television network that is contracted with Comcast sports network.

    This deal results in a blackout of all non-ESPN, TNT, and ABC televised game of which another team plays in their market. I.e. the Kings and Lakers are playing and you live in Irvine. The Lakers game gets blacked out on Time Warner in the county of Orange County.

    Not saying this will happen, but Warriors games get blacked out in Sacramento when they are televised on Fox Sports Bay Area. Not even the same county, but this is a real possibility and a real threat to fans of the Lakers in Orange County.

    Suffice to say, there are people in Sacramento waiting to tell the Maloofs to not let the door hit them in the behind on the way out.

  63. @ Chris J:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you* for pointing that out. Hollinger’s not even the worst offender on this count, but that’s been one of my biggest pet peeves over the last few weeks – how sportswriters act like team X winning to go 1/2 a game up in the standings means anything. FFS, no one cares who would play who if the playoffs started today BECAUSE THEY DON’T.

    * and your post was basically worth three thank-you’s for timeliness :)

  64. @62: I think what he meant was both teams are winning roughly three games for every loss, so it’s tougher to make up a deficit in the loss column since you can’t un-lose a game, you just have to wait for them to catch up in losses. Or is that catch down? ;)

    However, the Bulls were kind enough to lose last night, so now they’re tied at 53-20. Lakers still need to win one more than the Bulls to be completely safe and have HCA over any Eastern Conference team, but it’ll sort itself out.

  65. Why are we wasting our time talking about HCA against the Bulls. I don’t think even Bulls fans think they are making it to the Finals

  66. 66. I think the Bulls have a great chance of getting to the Finals. Their defense is great against ISO-heavy teams, which makes them a terrible matchup for Miami. It really comes down to CHI and Boston IMO.

  67. Matt R. @ 68 – “I think the Bulls have a great chance of getting to the Finals.”

    Me too.

  68. Isn’t the home court scenario provided by Hollinger the exact same thing I spelled out?????