Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  April 25, 2012

The pall cast by Metta’s elbow threatened to obscure Sunday’s game against the Thunder. Things turned around in the most unlikely of ways with an improbable fourth quarter comeback, two overtime periods and a stirring win led by Jordan Hill, a guy largely regarded as an afterthought. The storyline of Hill has faded for now, he could become an integral part of the team’s future or just one of those momentary spikes that happens so often in sports. Another of the game’s constants is debate and moral outrage, which is the current storyline – the league handed a seven game suspension to MWP, which will carry well into the playoffs and naturally, opinions cover the spectrum – too little, too much, and just right. These and other stories in our Wednesday links:

Brian Kamenetzky at the Land O’Lakers reports that the Lakers have clinched the Pacific, with the Clippers loss to the Hawks.

C.A. Clark at Silver Screen and Roll writes about the hammer being dropped on Metta, feeling that the punishment is just.

Chris Mannix at Sports Illustrated thinks the league blew its chance to send a more serious message.

Kevin Ding at the OC Register considers the aggression that comes from inside Peace, and how it has defined his life.

Barry Starvo at the L.A. Times chronicles a litany of misdeeds, over the length of Metta’s career.

Steve McPherson at Hardwood Paroxysm writes about MWP and the dark half, in a thoughtful and considered piece.

Gary Lee at Lakers Nation takes a welcome break from the MWP discourse to look at Kobe and the scoring title.

Howard Beck of the NY Times, writes about the internal power struggle consuming the players association.

Edg5 at Pounding the Rock, on parallels between MWP and Stephen Jackson, and the irrationality of fandom.

And finally, Eric Freeman at Ball Don’t Lie, uses Taiwanese animation to explain Peace’s suspension, and wins my favorite post of the day.

***

The Lakers head up to Sacramento for the last game of the regular season. The Peace conversation will continue until thoroughly exhausted and then some – the magnifying glasses have come out, and sometimes in the unlikeliest of ways.

– Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

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75 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. I just find it ironic that within the context of the game, players like Blake Griffin can send Pau Gasol sprawling by “dunking” on him, yet people are going nuts over MWP’s elbow to the head.

    I’m not condoning what MWP did, I’m just saying let’s keep things a little in perspective. Sports, including basketball, is a physical sport and there will be injuries.

    Also, this expectation of players to be emotionless robots is pretty lame. We want exciting games with “playoff” atmosphere and yet we expect players to keep calm and controlled 100% in such a charged setting?

  2. I’m glad to see that the more recent stories about MWP have been more nuanced. When the incident first happened most observers painted it as either black or white instead of seeing shades of grey.

  3. If Kevin Durant doesn’t play tonite,
    Kobe needs 41 points against Kings
    to win scoring title.

    Go for it.

  4. Among all the MWP drama, I came upon a Kobe video that lightened my mood a bit. So to get ready for the playoffs, here is Press Conference Kobe:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJLd4WCIee8&

  5. Since it looks like we are still talking about MWP’s suspension, how about a little context before we continue to say that Stern’s punishment was overboard:

    13 suspensions in 13 years. This is the distinguishing fact that people miss when they analogize what happened Sunday with what Fisher and Love did to Scola.

    Make no mistake about it; the commissioner punished MWP for the act and for his history–just like any other arbiter in any other situation would do.

    Context matters.

  6. That article @ pounding the rock was an excellent piece. Every fan puts on their rose colored glasses when it comes to “their” team and “their” players.

    I think that MWP did not intentionally elbow Harden in the head. I think that he was just throwing one of those ‘get off me’ elbows that so many other players throw every single game. It connected. It connected high to Harden’s head and now MWP is paying the price. I wish that he would have just shoved him. I wish that he would have just turned and got in Harden’s face instead of throwing that ill-fated elbow.

    He didn’t though. Now he is paying the price and hopefully learning a lesson. I’ll tell you this much. Harden learned a hard lesson too. He learned that you can’t pull that bs that he likes to do so often to other players to “assert his dominance”, or whatever Kendrick Perkins calls it. If you are going to bump other players or stand over them or shove them, then you might pick the wrong one some day. Harden picked MWP, but he got Ron Artest.

    If the Lakers end up playing OKC in the playoffs. Wow. It could be one of the greatest series that we have seen in a long long time!

  7. ESPN’s All League Teams… MVPs etc. Thoughts?

    1st Team
    Point guard: Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers
    Wing: LeBron James, Miami
    Wing: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
    Big: Kevin Love, Minnesota
    Big: Andrew Bynum, L.A. Lakers

    2nd Team
    Point guard: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
    Wing: Dwyane Wade, Miami
    Wing: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
    Big: Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers
    Big: Dwight Howard, Orlando

    3rd Team
    Point guard: Tony Parker, San Antonio
    Wing: James Harden, Oklahoma City
    Wing: Paul Pierce, Boston
    Big: Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers
    Big: Al Jefferson, Utah

    6th Man
    1. James Harden, Oklahoma City
    2. Taj Gibson, Chicago
    3. (tie) Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams, Philadelphia

    Most Improved Player
    1. Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee
    2. DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento
    3. Jeremy Lin, New York

    Defensive Player of the Year
    1. Tyson Chandler, New York
    2. Kevin Garnett, Boston
    3. Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia

    Coach of the Year
    1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio
    2. Tom Thibodeau, Chicago
    3. Monty Williams, New Orleans

    Rookie of the Year
    1. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland
    2. Kenneth Faried, Denver
    3. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio

  8. Repost from the previous thread, I spent so long typing a new post showed up.

    _____________________________

    Well, I called it 6 and hoped for 4, but 7 seems reasonably fair, considering the talking heads were nearly calling for his summary execution.

    From a cynical, media perspective, 7 takes him partially or completely out of the first round and his first game back at earliest would be a Game 7 vs. Denver/Dallas, at home, and at latest (assuming they get to the second round) Game 3 of the winner of the 2-7 matchup, which figures to be OKC. This would be the first game in LA, regardless of opponent.

    Think Stern and his brain trust may have chosen the number of games to heighten anticipation for his return? Whichever game is his first back, drama will be high, and so will ratings:

    If round one goes 4 games:
    Game 3 in LA (or at #7 home)

    If round one goes 5 games:
    Game 2 vs. 2/7 winner (95% chance it’ll be OKC) – at OKC (or home if #7 pulls the upset)

    If round one goes 6 games:
    Game 1 vs. 2/7 winner – at OKC/LA

    If round one goes 7 games:
    Game 7 vs. 6-seed – in LA

    Any way you slice this, it’s high drama. I’m hoping for, but not terribly hopeful about the result, a round 2 matchup with OKC. Show these kids what the playoffs are about.

  9. Lou Williams is the leading scorer for his playoff bound team off the bench. Sixth man of the year award to me.

    Jeremy Lin for the most improved player in the league (it may be his only chance to win).

    All the rest you can’t argue.

  10. Aaron/ESPN award thoughts:

    Great to see Bynum getting recognition for being the best center this year by Hollinger. Not sure how voters are going to judge that situation (DH v. Bynum on the 1st team), but it seems like he has a real shot. Kobe on the 2nd team probably isn’t going to happen – while Hollinger’s system of PG, 2 wings, 2 bigs makes a ton of sense, the system that IS used is GG/FF/C, which makes it much more likely that CP3/Durant/Lebron won’t all make the 1st team (unless they snub Kevin Love). While he likes Wade over Kobe, I’m pretty sure Kobe’s had the more impressive season, all things considered, and most voters did not invent the stat of PER so they’re less biased.

    Glad Pau is getting some recognition for another solid season despite moving back in the pecking order – it would be great to see him get 3rd team honors after not even making the All Star team.

  11. David Thorpe on coaches saving secret weapons for key playoff situations :-) : http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/41358/truehoop-tv-thorpe-on-secret-weapons

    It does feature Henry Abbot’s mug unfortunately, but he doesn’t really talk.

  12. Matt,
    I hear ya. But as usual I side with Hollinger. Efficiency matters. Who do I want for the playoffs? I’ll take Kobe all day. But Wade had the better season (this was Kobes worst season since his rookie year). And I also agree his system is better with the “wings”. But you can’t put two “big men”. You can put wings anywhere. You can’t play a PF at Center against other Centers. I think the categories should be PGs, two wings, one PF and one Center. So I think the NBA Holinger are both wrong. In the middle (as usual) is where the truth lies.

  13. Since it was discussed by columnists and bloggers in this thread, I’ll say it again, whatever punishment rendered on MWP should also be extended to others based on the gravity of the fault. I mentioned before that trash talking, excessive show of celebrations while they’re still playing should also be avoided and punished with technical fouls like in NFL. Any provocations by opposing players should be addressed by refs. and if missed, should be looked upon by the league office, in order to prevent this “gotcha” mentality with those power dunks, power blocks that results to severe body contacts.

    I also believe James Harden was hurt (maybe it could have happened in some other encounter) because of his blabbered mouth, flopping foul baits in baiting any Laker every time they get ahead or lose the lead, he and Westbrook looks cocky with their relentless showboating. If you blame MWP, then you also have to look into those nutty gritty things that happened on the basketball court which often mounts to reprisals. As an enthused audience, we sometimes judged the effects and do not bother investigate the causes. However, MWP was just a plain nut case whose penchant in seeking attention by pleasing a roaring crowd, getting into this chest thumping ritual and irrelevant elbowing celebration to anybody that gets into his way. It is driven by frenzied emotions of the moment without rationalization that he has hurt someone.

    Because this happened, it has nothing to do with Artest’s past transgressions in Detroit. In spite of everything, I still believe that Artest or MWP is really good at heart with people whether they are fans, teammates or foes.

  14. Hollinger stats?

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

  15. Aaron: strong field I agree more with your picks here are mine

    1st team all nba
    pg- chris paul
    sg- kobe bryant
    sf- lebron james
    pf- kevin durant
    c- andrew bynum

    2nd team all nba
    pg- tony parker
    sg- russell westbrook
    sf- carmelo anthony
    pf- kevin love
    c- dwight howard

    3rd team all nba
    pg- rajon rondo
    sg- dwayne wade
    sf- rudy gay
    pf- josh smith
    c- tyson chandler

    mvp- lebron james
    dpoy- tyson chandler
    mip- ersan ilyasova
    6th man- james harden
    coy- greg popovich
    roy- kyrie irving

  16. My only gripe with the ESPN stats is that Blake Griffin could possibly considered higher than Pau.

    That just defies logic to me. They can’t go to Blake in the 4th (can’t shoot free throws), he can’t play defense (he’s happy to have KMART right now), and he’s not nearly as good a shooter as Pau.

    Pau may have not been an AllStar – (popularity contest) – but he shouldn’t be on the All-NBA team behind Griffin.

    Though, he should still probably be 3rd team because LaMarcus was better this year than both of them – before he got injured.

  17. Cdog,

    I agree. No way Griffin ranks higher than Pau. I am sure he will develop into a well rounded player at some point. But right now, Blake is not that guy. I’d Pau or LaMarcus over Blake eight days a week.

  18. Fantastic Spurs article.

  19. I still have not seen anyone give one basketball reason why Harden was positioned where he was after the play. MWP scored and OKC was inbounding. Not sure how Harden is going to get the ball by intentionally positioning himself behind MWP’s. Harden was looking to create contact.

    Doesn’t excuse what happened. And a suspension is warranted, but I thought 5 was sufficient.

    If Harden tried to do something straight up in MWP’s face, it would be a very different story. MWP already got a bloody nose and he didn’t do a thing!

    I just can’t believe we have people here who act like Harden’s intentions were innocent. Doesn’t warrant an elbow but it does provide context!

  20. 1st Team All NBA:

    PG: Chris Paul
    SG: Kobe Bryant
    SF: Kevin Durant
    PF: Lebron James
    C: Dwight Howard

    2nd Team All NBA:

    PG: Tony Parker
    SG: Dwayne Wade
    SF: Paul Pierce
    PF: Kevin Love
    C: Andrew Bynum

    3rd Team All NBA:

    PG: Russell Westbrook
    SG: James Harden
    SF: Carmelo Anthony
    PF: Blake Griffin
    C: Tyson Chandler

    Notable Omissions:

    Derrick Rose – Injured too much when you have so many other great PGs to choose from.
    Rajon Rondo – Too inconsistent, hurts you against smart teams that play off of him. PER is the same as Jordan Farmar’s!
    Steve Nash/Deron Williams – Not enough team success
    Manu Ginobli – Not enough playing time
    Dirk Nowitski – Came in out of shape, only was Dirk for half the season
    Kevin Garnett – Looked like a corpse for half a season before a time machine transformed him into a monster again
    Tim Duncan – Been a good career Timmy, but you’re no longer among the best at your position anymore
    Al Jefferson – Defense still counts towards these awards too right?

    Rookie of the Year: Kylie Irving
    Most Improved: Jeremy Lin
    6th Man of the Year: James Harden
    Coach of the Year: Gregg Popovich
    Defensive Player of the Year: Tyson Chandler
    MVP: Lebron James

  21. “I just can’t believe we have people here who act like Harden’s intentions were innocent.”

    (???) I missed somebody trying to portray Harden as “innocent” in any sense! Show those people to me and I’ll hurt them! :0)

    It looked to me like Harden was trying to be a tough guy because he thought MWP was showing his teamates up. (BTW, guess that backfired, huh?)

    Does anybody read it otherwise?

  22. What Ron Artest did was awful. It has no place in basketball. He should have been suspended multiple games. But let’s be real. As Chris Rock said… “That Tiger didn’t go crazy… That Tiger went Tiger!!!” Ron Artest didn’t go crazy… Ron Artest went Ron Artest!!! The Lakers got him knowing this would eventually happen. He is a crazy person and went crazy. He does this every year or so. It happens. If you don’t like it blame the Lakers… Not Artest. This is who he is. That’s part of the reason the Lakers got him after being Pushed around by the Celtics. You want the steak but you dot want to see the cow get slaughtered. I get it. That makes sense. But let’s be real… Since Bynum and Artest replaced Lamar and VladRad in the starting lineup… who has called the Lakers soft? Who has said the Lakers can get pushed around? Yes there have been multiple suspensions for both players since 2008 but there has also been two championships and counting. I’ll take the good with the bad here.

  23. Scoring Title: Ken is correct. Kobe would need 35 points “if” KD does not play tonight. That is far from certain. He might play + put up 50, which would make Kobe’s required total higher. I doubt they play Durant for only a half. They are either going to sit him entirely or let him go for it. Same question applies to Kobe tomorrow. Tough call. I say go for it. Kobe needs some momentum.

    PS: I will put in a caveat that I am a Kobe fanatic. That somewhat disqualifies me from a real opinion as to whether he should go for this or not. Alternatively, I could say that Kobe should go for this, it has nothing to do with the fact that I am a Kobe fanatic, and anyone who knows anything about basketball knows that Kobe should go for this : )

  24. Ding’s article is phenomenal.

    I agree with Aaron. You can’t condone any of this. But at the same time, you also have to acknowledge that the same personality that pushed Artest to cross the line has also fueled toughness, passion, championship-level defense, etc. You can’t pick and choose player characteristics and produce them on an assembly line. They are who they are, and you have to take the good with the bad.

    I just hope Harden is fine, and that MWP learns from this and continues to grow as a person. While his charitable actions don’t erase his brawls and hits, his action against James Harden also doesn’t erase all the good he’s done.

  25. I just came up with a thought: In the interests of “Peace” in the NBA, + in the ultimate display of sportsmanship: Durant does not play tonight, giving it to Kobe, + then Kobe does not play tomorrow – giving it back to Durant. Sorry – this thought came into my head – I am going to go vomit. However – this might actually happen.

  26. 25. not playing wouldnt change the averages, he would have to step on the court for it to count against his average

  27. James: I realize this : ) By “giving” it to Kobe, I mean he doesn’t not try to raise the bar. If Kobe wants this – he would then get it. KB scoring 35 is nothing. That is what I mean by giving it to him. Then KB gives it back by not playing.
    By the way: Up until about 25 years ago they gave they scoring title to the guy who had the most points period – rather than avg.

  28. Stern knows he went overboard on the suspension. He is a smart guy. He knows this is completley unprecedented. Thats probably why he got defensive. Via NBA.com…

    Stern was vague and occasionally defensive when asked how he decided on the length of the ban. He called the process “some combination of art and science.”

    “We look at the previous penalties, we look at who’s involved in the altercation, we do take into account the seriousness of the injury and a variety of whatever else is in the atmosphere, and then it just becomes my job to decide what it should be,” Stern said.

    Stern said he felt that seven games now, knowing only one of them will be in the regular season, was a move severe penalty than if it came during another part of the season.

    “I think the seven was larger than some people might have thought just from an elbow, and I think that in many cases people who thought that this was so horrible that it should result in a lifetime ban,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I have to close the door and say, `OK, what is justice here and what’s fairness here,’ and I came up with seven.”

  29. MWP has been maligned for his offense since he came to the Lakers. A few weeks back, MWP said that he’s finally healthy. We all remember games when he couldn’t get off the floor right at the rim and was a horrible finisher.

    Lakers fans knew MWP had no offense but we needed him to play defense on Kevin Durant, Lebron James, and Carmelo Anthony.

    About a month ago MWP suddenly began hitting his 3pt shots then he started posting up and scoring. Then he started dunking. The game against OKC was a high profiled game with guys that talked trash to the Lakers and Kobe the last time they played and beat the Lakers badly. During that game in February MWP couldn’t say much, nor could he help the team offensively– (9) points.

    Fastforward to April 22. In 17 mins MWP scored 12 points including 3 dunks. The last one was with the leading shot blocker in the league attempting to get a piece.

    MWP was hyped! That dunk let out all of his aggression that he contained when every one laughed at him when he couldn’t score. His adrenaline was off the chart and he bowed the player that tried to bump him to contain his celebration.

    Basketball players have long memories. There are things said on the court that no one hears but the players. And none of it is nice.

    Had MWP not brought his elbow up to Harden’s head and elbowed Harden in the side or the back, it would be a two-shot foul and the game would continue. Sadly, it was not.

    Harden is a nice kid that plays the game within the parameters of acceptability of today’s game. Players are allowed to impede the progress of opposing players after a made basket in order to initiate a confrontation or to goat a player into a foul.

    That’s today’s game, MWP knows this and should have contained himself.

  30. As to the ESPN awards…What do you think Aaron? Do you have Bynum as first team all-NBA over Howard? I mean advanced stats say that Howard has had a better year right? He has missed a few more games than Bynum has, of course.

    I don’t like the 2 wing players idea. Kobe should get the nod at shooting guard.
    PG- Chris Paul
    SG- Kobe
    SF- Lebron
    PF- Kevin Love
    C- Dwight Howard

    This just seems like yet another attempt to lift up certain players above others. The All-NBA team has always left out some great players. When Shaq and Hakeem and David Robinson played at the same time, someone got left off. When Magic, Isaiah, and Stockton played at the same time- someone got left off the list. Suck it up Kevin Durant and get better than LBJ. D-Wade may have better “advanced stats” than Kobe, but he’s not a better 2 at this time. (when he can get on the court.)

  31. it looks like Durant played the entire first quarter.. and scored 10.

  32. KenOak,
    Great question. It’s very close. If Howard played the entire year I would have gone Howard. He had the better year. But because I weigh the second half a little more than the first (and Bynum had identical numbers to Howard there) and Bynum pkayed a lot more I go Andrew by a nose. Of course if Howard was healthy I would go Dwight. He just had a better all around year even though it was very close.

  33. … Next year though I expect Bynum to have the better season. Dwight will be coming off back surgery and Drew should be ready to take another small step up. If Bynum is still at the same level of Dwight it will be a disappointment.

  34. “… Next year though I expect Bynum to have the better season. Dwight will be coming off back surgery and Drew should be ready to take another small step up. If Bynum is still at the same level of Dwight it will be a disappointment.”

    Wait… Did I just write that? Geez. Who would have think anyone Bynum would be mentioned in the same sentence as Dwight for an entire season like this. Who could have seen this coming? Oh wait… Me. So yes you’re correct when you say he is my guy. He and Kobe are my favorite players on the team. But I try to be unbiased when judging both.

  35. Here in California we have something called the three strike rule. For Ron and the NBA it must be a twelve strike rule.

    How can anyone defend his criminal actions?

    Now the genius is tweeting Steven A, Magic and Shaq how he was over charged.

    The guy is not smart enough to shut his mouth or tweets. I personal am embarrassed as a Laker fan and have had it with Metta World Mess?

  36. @19. The fact that Harden got in Artest’s way doesn’t excuse the elbow. But the fact that Harden got elbowed in the head doesn’t excuse the fact that he’s a bitch.

    I think this deserves another link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGzSNsPafY0

  37. LA vs Denver Season series 3 – 1

    lakers 94.5 ppg – denver 93.5 ppg

    Bynum: 24.7 pts 11.7 reb 2.2 blk 78% fg absurdly effective

    Denver 47.2 bench points

    Andre miller 15.2 pts 3.5 reb 5.7 ast 54% fg

    Gallinari 13 – 46 fg 28%

  38. Not Charlie Rosen April 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Harden was doing what a lot of guards do after a made basket: you run up to the now-defenders on that side of the court, get in physically close to them, then push off to guarantee space in which to receive the in-bounds pass. Watch Nash, or Westbrook, or even our own Blake; they’ll do it easily a dozen times or more in the course of a game.

    What Harden does differently sometimes (and he’s not the only one) is get unnecessarily close up to a player who’s not going to be involved in defending the in-bounds pass, trying to combine a “normal” basketball play with a “try to get up close in case you do something stupid I can take advantage of” head-game. (See the clip from #38 above for a similar example.)

    (Part of me half expected him to get pushed to the locker room in a wheelchair, then come bounding back for the second half…)

    Not that that justifies what MWP did (can we get a macro for that caveat?); but as most folks have pointed out, Ron swung his elbow hard to clear out someone getting up in his body. If it had hit the player in the chest or shoulder, it’s a technical, maybe only a 2-shot foul if a ref wasn’t in great position. And if it had missed Harden’s head, you can bet Harden would have thrown himself back like he’d been shot. But it unfortunately hit him where it did…it’s like if you are really angry and slam a door open in front of you, and it hits someone you didn’t see on the other side: you didn’t mean to hurt them, you were just acting out extreme emotions with a reckless physical act, but you have to deal with the consequences.

  39. LA vs Dallas Season series 4 – 0

    lakers 97.5 ppg – dallas 90.5 ppg

    lakers 23 ast – dallas 18 ast

    lakers 11.7 of rebounds – dallas 11.2 off rebounds

    pau: 19.7 pts 7.7 reb 55% fg

    dirk: 24 pts 10.7 reb 40% fg no game over 50% fg

    dallas 31% from 3

  40. so it will be the Nuggets and the magic number for Kobe will be 38, i wonder if he will be tempted

  41. KenOak @ 6 – “I’ll tell you this much. Harden learned a hard lesson too … Harden picked MWP, but he got Ron Artest.” <<< — This is about the best FB&G line ever.

  42. Aaron,

    @37 You are having fun with your posts, so it merits a reply too from your end. We are entertained by your conversation with yourself. lol j/k

    Dwight was not healthy this year and also made a fool of himself with wish-washy declarations during the trade deadline. What he lost was his credibility however, imo, Howard is still the better player than Bynum. What is lacking in Bynum is his defense in transition plays, defending good outside shooters like Duncan, Nowitsky Overall, he has improved a lot this year and helped the Lakers achieved the 3rd seed in the West. Bynum has to dominate more in the playoffs, that’s the key in contending for Championship this year.

  43. Clips choke again!

  44. Edwin,
    Howard still has the better motor (as smaller pkayers usually do) but he still lacks a post game. Just for the same reason I think Gasol is still better than Blake. You need to be able to score one on one to be a great player. You just do. That’s how you make your teammates better. Especially in the playoffs when teams take away plays and pick and roll actions. You need to be able to score in one on one situations. That’s why Bynum was the better player in the second half. But I agree that including the first half of the year Howard had the better season.

    Also… I can’t say how important it is for our pkayoff run to be able to rest our regulars an entire 7 days before the playoffs. That is a giant advantage.

  45. Does Kobe have to prove that he is top scorer this year? It would take Durant sometime in order to pass Shaq of which Kobe has recently overtaken him. If there’s anything needed, Kobe will just play few minutes as tune up in preparation for the playoffs. Other than that, why risk an injury on a no bearing game and a non-eventful scoring title? He has already proved that he could score at will for the last 16 years. Another reason for minimal appearance, whatever he’ll accomplish in the Sacto game, he won’t get the MVP from the scribes votes.

    Sadly, tomorrow will be the last NBA game in Sacramento. They’re back to grazing cows and raising California politicians.

  46. Ko,

    If you think throwing an elbow in a contact sport equates to “criminal actions” you probably shouldn’t watch basketball.

    Ron wasn’t the first to throw an elbow. And even with his 7 game suspension he surely won’t be the last. Such is the NBA. Enough with the sensationalism.

  47. if espn numbers are right, kobe needs 38 pts to get scoring title (after kd’s last 32 pt game).

  48. Kobe is winning the scoring title. That’s a done deal.

    Hollinger has the Lakers ranked at #16 right now. We only have less than a 1% chance to win the championship according to his playoff odds. Please please please win #17!

  49. So, we need Memphis to take out the Spurs in the second round. We will beat OKC in the second round and then beat Memphis in the WCF.

    I think that is our only path to the finals because we can’t beat the Spurs.

  50. Warren Wee Lim April 25, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Kevin Durant prior to this game has scored 1818 points in 65 games. Tally in his final game of the season w/ 32 points that gives him 1850pts in 66 games. 28.030ppg.

    Kobe Bryant has 1616 points in 58 games. How much does he need to score, if at all, to overtake Kevin Durant?

    37 pts – 1653 total – 28.017
    38 pts – 1654 total – 28.034
    39 pts – 1655 total – 28.050

    I say Kobe just pour in 82 tomorrow night.

  51. Warren Wee Lim April 25, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Memphis will almost automatically be the 4th seed, unless they lose to Magic tomorrow who has nothing to play for with that game.

    If the Grizzlies lose, they will have an identical record w/ Clips and lose the tiebreak via worse head-to-head (Clips up 2-1).

    Dallas plays at ATL tomorrow, and ATL is trying to win 1 more game to secure homecourt vs Celtics in round 1 despite the worse record (seeding due to Celtics division win)… Pencil in Denver as our 1st round opponent.

  52. Warren Wee Lim April 25, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Truth is stranger than fiction.

    OKC loses to Dallas in the 1st round.
    We beat Dallas for WCF stint.
    Memphis beats LA Flippers and goes on to beat Spurs once more.

    LA meets Memphis in sibling rivalry WCF.
    LA beats Memphis. Goes on to Finals vs Heat.

  53. @Not Charlie Rosen – I think that sums up the situation quite well. Nicely said.

  54. I love Hollinger and his flawless computer, according to which:

    1. the lakers are the 16th best team in the league.

    2. the sixers are more than twice as likely to make the finals than the lakers

    3. Boston is more likely to win the NBA title than the Lakers, Grizzlies, Orlando, Mavs and Jazz combined.

    4. The Spurs are more likely to win the NBA title than: OKC, Lakers, Clippers, Mem, Dallas, Utah, Denver, Atlanta, Orlando and Phila combined.

    I only wish the guy would put his money where is mouth is. I’m pretty sure i’d like to make a sizable bet against his inane predictions.

    I’ve saved the best one for last: his computer considers it possible that Charlotte – currently at 7-58 – might finish at 9-57. The spirit of George Orwell lives among us! 2+2= 5?

    http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/playoffodds

  55. “I’ve saved the best one for last: his computer considers it possible that Charlotte – currently at 7-58 – might finish at 9-57. The spirit of George Orwell lives among us! 2+2= 5?”

    Well, their season is already exceptional in a sense, so why not?

  56. Just one more comment on Metta…..

    A commenter on this site posted a link to a video of one of those NBA Open Court episodes where Barkley, Kenny, Webber, and co., chat around.

    Well, the topic of the episode was hard fouls and on-court aggressiveness. When it was Webber’s turn to talk he talked about giving John Stockton an intentionally hard foul in the first play of a game to give his team momentum and from my interpretation take away the ‘fear’ that the Kings had of the Jazz. The Kings ended up winning that game.

    Kinda seems like Metta definitely showed he’s not scared of the young, talented Thunder.

    **** got real very quick.

  57. Everyone…Hollinger admits there are lot of things those computers don’t know. Like how MWP is now Ron Artest. Like how Ramon Sessions has made the Lakers the best offensive team in the NBA since he joined the Lakers starting lineup. How McRoberts and Murphy have been replaced with proven third year performer Jordan Hill. How Pay Gasol now knows he will be a Laker. Be afraid of these rested Lakers. Be very afraid. And what about that age old assertion that “Big men rule the playoffs”? The Lakers have two pretty decent seven footers. Be afraid. Andrew Bynum would like to say hello to the playoffs.

  58. I think Mike Brown should sit all the starters except for Kobe. Then he needs to tell them to do everything that can to get Kobe to 100.

  59. John Hollinger is one of my personal favorites on ESPN. Unfortunately his statistical analysis is a great tool for explaining outcomes in retrospect – they’re not great for predicting future outcomes.

    By the way, he always acknowledges that statistics (including his own formulas) are not perfect. They don’t take into account match-up problems, injuries, etc. Still, his stats (for the most part) provide better predictions than your average Joe’s “gut feeling”.

  60. Kobe for 82, that would make my day regardless of the championship, however blasphemous that may sound.

    I think Kobe will come out firing, sorta see how he feels, then either decides to go for it or just shut it down in the 2nd half.

    Not taking bets tho ;)

  61. According to this site:
    http://www.lakersnation.com/how-many-points-does-kobe-need-to-score-to-win-scoring-title/2012/04/24/
    Kobe needs to score 38 in the final game, since Durant scored 32. This seems totally doable! Go Kobe! :D

  62. We should Metta World Amnesty and use the Odom exception to bring in Ariza

    How great would that be, after what happened in 09? Maybe we can rig it somehow where Ariza and Bynum have to fire David Lee

  63. Watching ‘First Take’- I know, I know… Wow our media is just god awful.

  64. Hollinger should ve run out of town. Utah has a better chance then the Lakers to be in the finals?

    The Knicks?

    Stupid.

    Lakers are the 5th best team on paper but have the top 2 or 3 players in the league in 3 positions which increases your chances by in the playoffs by3 times.

    I used my pencil on that on not a computer.

    Yea Knicks will beat Heat and go to the finals. Genius.

  65. Warren Wee Lim April 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

    re: John Hollinger

    You guys see how black the dot is on the paper but fail to notice how white the paper is. I admire the guy for having the props to explain the hardest questions to answer. Of course he’s better off playing “moneyball” and all that stuff coz thats what PER suggests but overall his contribution is one of the better ones in modern basketball.

    Kobe needs 38, out of technicality I want him to do 0.01 better than that so I prefer it if he did 39.

    See post #53.

    My guess? 101 points for Kobe tonight.

  66. Warren Wee Lim April 26, 2012 at 8:54 am

    As for tonight’s game, here’s how the Laker lineup sounds like:

    PG: Steve Blake, Darius Morris
    SG: Kobe Bryant, Andrew Goudelock
    SF: Devin Ebanks, Christian Eyenga
    PF: Josh McRoberts, Troy Murphy
    C: Jordan Hill,

    out: Barnes, Gasol, Bynum, Artest, Sessions.

  67. re: hollinger,

    imo, “hollinger stats” is not in the same league as advanced stats like adj +/- and win shares.

    what he does is to oversimplify things, make up terms to support conjectures that stirs conversation. it serves a purpose: i think they are great starting points. but to *conclude* anything based on his work is anything but statistical.

    fwiw, i’ve a phd in statistics.

  68. Hollinger has done so much for basketball statistics. Sad some of you guys don’t appreciate him. PER to put it simply is a few giant leaps forward from PPG, RPG, BPG, SPG and FG %. And Kobe should not play under any circumstances. this game means nothing. No players in the Lakers top 8 rotation should play at all. This has been a grueling condensed schedule and everyone is lucky to make it out in one piece. The Lakers were given a giant gift to be given exactly a week off to rest before the playoffs start for them on Sunday.

  69. I’d like Kobe to play for a couple of reasons:

    1. He’s still getting his rhythm back after missing seven games.

    2. As a fan, I selfishly want to see him drop 40 on the last game of the regular season to win the scoring title in his 16th year.

    One’s a team reason why he should play. The other is a fan/individual reason.

  70. 72. Kobe’s going to do what Kobe’s going to do

    Do you really believe him when he says he doesn’t care about the scoring title? Also, Jim C makes a valid point that he is getting his rhythm back after sitting out so many games, and that’s probably the excuse that MB will give when asked about KB.

  71. Havent commented in a while, thought Id let the Peace drama die down to finally get to some upcoming playoff talk. First round Denver matchup should be a competive series. I like T. Lawson(CarolinaFan here) and his roadrunner persona, but LA shouldnt have that big of a problem with them sans NENEs departure. Mcgee is no where near as polished on the offensive end, Bynum should be able to put his body on him and work him over with no problem. As long as LA doesnt make this series a trackmeet everything should be just fine.

    Hold on a second, I just peeked at the standings. Does Denver own the tiebreaker if they lose and Dallas wins, or could the 1st round be a potential Dallas matchup?

  72. Given Kobe’s status, there’s nothing that Coach Mike Brown will or can do to stop him from attempting to win that scoring title. It’s on Kobe whether he chooses to play tonight and chase it .. And hopefully, being that he’ll only be playing 2 games this week (with 2 days off before our 1st playoff game), he’ll lace ‘em up & capture that title.

  73. Kobe isn’t going to get any more rhythm from a game against the Kings pkayjg with our third stringers. That’s just silly. No offense. His rythm looked more than fine against tw Spurs and OKC. He will maintain a better rythm playing with his fellow starters in practice. The rythm thing is just silly. How many games did the 2001 Lakers lose in the playoffs? They swept everyone and had a week off before every series. They kept their rythm just fine ;)

  74. Aaron@78
    That Lakers team was so much better than anyone else. This team is not. PER is not all that impressive Aaron. Why do I believe that? Look at Magic Johnson’s PER. Look at Larry Bird’s PER, or Karl Malone’s as compared to some of today’s inflated PERs. Nah. PER is extremely flawed. It favors the stat-sheet stuffers and doesn’t measure some of the most important things about players, that quite frankly, can not be measured.

    Let me illustrate this Aaron if you will answer this question. Who would you take right now if you could draft between the two players. Andrew Bynum or Dwyane Wade. I’m pretty sure I know your “honest” answer. Now look at their PERs.