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Game 2: The Pivotal Game

Gatinho —  June 6, 2009

Los Angeles Lakers

“It is the second game and not the first that dictates the tempo and the mood of the series.”

-Brent Musburger before Game 2 after the “Memorial Day Massacre”.

A brief history of the Lakers, The Finals, and Game 2.

1984: Gerald Henderson steals the ball. Celtics win in 7.

1985: Kareem has 30 points, 17 rebounds, eight assists, and three blocks after being called out in the media by Pat Riley. Lakers win in 6.

1987: Celtics switch Ainge onto to Magic. Cooper makes 6 of 7 threes. Lakers in 6.

1991: Jordan goes 15-18 from the floor and has 13 assists. Bulls win the series in 5.

2000: Shaq scores 40 points with 24 rebounds. Kobe sprains an ankle, but Ron Harper has 21 points. Lakers win in 6.

2001: Shaq has 28 points, 20 rebounds, 9 assists, and 8 blocks. Lakers in 5.

2002: Shaq has 40 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Lakers win 106-83. Sweep.

2008: Lakers come back from being down by 24 with 8 minutes left to play…but lose. If they win that game, you’re at least looking at a shot at a 7th game.

The game we watch today has Chuck Daly’s fingerprints all over it. From the ticky-tack nature of assessing what level of physicality is allowed to the way Kobe is guarded. It was Daly’s Bad Boys who, along with the Knicks and Pat Riley, turned the game “ugly” in the late 80’s and early 90’s by combating the skill and finesse of Magic’s Lakers and Jordan’s Bulls with an intimidating defensive style. It was Daly’s Pistons that we’re actually successful for a time in slowing Jordan down in the playoffs by sending varied looks at him.

Daly’s Pistons faced up against the Lakers in the epic 7 game ’88 Finals. If not for Isaiah Thomas’ severely sprained ankle, which he played through in games 6 and 7, there may never have been a back-to-back. The Pistons would get their win over the Lakers the following year when bum hamstrings sidelined both Magic and Byron Scott and their own back-to-back the following year, placing them firmly in the upper echelon of the great 80’s teams.

Daly on guarding Jordan…

“If Michael was at the point, we forced him left and doubled him. If he was on the left wing, we went immediately to a double team from the top. If he was on the right wing, we went to a slow double team. He could hurt you equally from either wing — hell, he could hurt you from the hot-dog stand — but we just wanted to vary the look. And if he was on the box, we doubled with a big guy.

“The other rule was, any time he went by you, you had to nail him. If he was coming off a screen, nail him. We didn’t want to be dirty — I know some people thought we were — but we had to make contact and be very physical.”

…sound familiar?

“The so-called Jordan Rules might’ve been the only thing I contributed to basketball…Everything else I stole.”

SI NBA Historian Jack McCallum on Daly’s defense:

There were three tenets to the Detroit defense: Never give Jordan an easy shot; try to confuse him with varied defensive looks; and be very physical with him. The principles were perfect for the Pistons, who were smart and aggressive (some would say they crossed the line into “dirty”) defenders.

605 wins-420 losses
.609 winning %
HOF 1994
Coach of the 1992 Gold Medal winning “Dream Team”

Charles Jerome Daly

Elements of this story are from Roland Lazenby’s The Show
-Scott Thompson

Michigan State vs. UConnESPN was in its infancy, the internet was a sparkle in Al Gore’s eye, the NBA was an afterthought or not thought of at all, and March had yet to go Mad. When March Went Mad by Seth Davis chronicles an important developmental era of basketball, and more specifically how its marketing and hype machine would evolve as seen through the prism of the 1979 Indiana State vs. Michigan State NCAA Final.

Most of us are familiar with Seth Davis from CBS and SI, but here Davis tries his hand at historian and myth maker. Davis lacks the story telling skills necessary to carry this flawed drama (the game itself an anticlimactic one), and it lacks a consistent tension to make this a truly riveting read. But the book is exhaustively researched, and the fact that neither Bird nor Johnson participated in the process allows for many unique viewpoints from several angles of perception of the events that unfolded.

Having the main characters absent would seem like a detriment to the process, but it actually allows for us to meet participants that have long been forgotten. From the coaches, to the role players, to the team managers, these secondary and tertiary characters help Davis mythologize the nexus of the personal rivalry that would translate into a rebirth of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry of the ’80’s.

College basketball has always been about programs. Modern sports programmers would have to be talked off the ledge if you told them that Michigan State would be paired with Indiana Sate in the final game with nary a Duke or North Carolina around to represent the powers that be. But they would be clicking their heels together in delight at the thought of a mano-a-mano battle between the two best players in the country, one having already been selected in the previous year’s draft by the evil genius of Red Auerbach and another poised to be picked first by the glamor franchise on the West Coast.

It a was time when the college game was a regional phenomenon. But Bird and Magic would usher in the modern age of basketball. They would be the ones who would give a young David Stern no choice but to begin to market personalities and individual stars. They would be the ones whose coat tails ESPN would ride as college basketball would be become the phenomenon that we may be seeing wane in the era of the one and done.

The basketball deities birthed these twins as saviors to bring basketball into the national consciousness. The white kid from French Lick, who is Jimmy Chitwood but with a back story that never would have made into the romanticized world of Hoosiers, and the black kid from Michigan, whose smile and style would have kids across the country regardless of height pining to be point guards making no look passes, cast as foils. Then to place them under the spotlight of the National title game in Salt Lake City, Utah, many fans seeing them for the first time that night, is so storybook, central casting may have deemed it too corny to produce. The anti-climactic game aside, where Michigan State showed they were the better team with Bird laying the proverbial egg, failing to duplicate the performance that had seen the Sycamores go undefeated that season and that still eats at him to this day,

The structure of the novel follows the recruitment of the two players with Bird’s being the more riveting tale. We may connect Magic with Hollywood and Showtime, but it is Bird’s tale that is truly cinematic. He liked to fight. He liked to drink beer. He joked and harassed in a manner that displayed his lack of knowledge or concern with things political or correct. Davis’ depiction of Bird as the prototypical yet complex “hick” is the novel’s strength.

Johnson’s portrayal peels back the layers from the public persona that we dream is inseparable from his private one. In previous tomes writers have failed to give any depth to who Earvin really is. Davis does nice work in allowing the reader to make connections and decide if there really are any chinks to be found in the wildly-adored Teflon Johnson. From a Laker-centric viewpoint, When March Went Mad can be seen as a pre-history of Johnson. Long time fans will find themselves making connections between the collegiate Johnson and the professional one. I found myself especially ruminating on Johnson’s amazing rookie year with the club, showing that the leadership and skill he possessed at Michigan State would translate to the pros better than any imagined.

Davis also plainly yet elegantly fleshes out exactly what made these two players unique on the court. They were innovators and improvisers yet understood the premise of the game at a level that those around them were struggling to keep pace with. Davis takes us through the parallel journeys of two teams previously unrecognized on a national level and their ascent to prominence.

When March Went Mad chronicles an unrepeated “moment in time” that could be called the Coming of Age of basketball in its rise in the American consciousness. The days of “bracketology” and the injection of the information age still on the horizon, one can see where it has come from and can’t help but continue to speculate where it is going.

-Scott Thompson aka Gatinho

Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Lakers

BREAKING NEWS: The Lakers have traded Chris Mihm to the Memphis Grizzlies for a second round pick. The move saves money for the Lakers — the rest of this year’s salary (he is making $2.5 million for the season) plus the full $2.5 against the luxury tax, which is calculated at the end of the regular season.

I really wish things had worked out better here for Mihm. In the first year after the Shaq trade, Mihm was maybe the second best Laker, not in terms of talent but in terms of nightly effort. He cared and tried. Unfortunately, injuries robbed him of his legs and after missing two seasons with injuries he has been able to do little this year, and has had trouble getting off the bench on a deep team.

We wish him well, and hope he gets some run and his game back in Memphis.


Pace: 97.6 (1st)
Off. Rating: 108.7 (12th)
Def. Rating: 112.3 (28th)
Lineup: Crawford,Ellis,Azubuike,Jackson,Biedrins

Pace: 94.5 (4th)
Off Rating: 114.3 (1st)
Def Rating: 105.5 (8th)
Lineup: Fisher, Bryant, Walton, Odom, Gasol

Warriors Coming In:
This is not the same team the Lakers played in January. That was a team that was starting Marco Bellinelli and Brandon Jacobs while waiting for Monta Ellis to return from a moped injury. (Hey, at least Jeff Kent was riding a motorcycle).

Monta is back, and coming along quickly are his springs and his speed. (I’d take him over Devin Harris in that end-to-end race.)

Despite Tim Kawakami‘s assertion on local radio that Monta would never wear a Warriors uniform again after the acrimony created coming out of the situation, Monta’s rounding into playing shape and has these “6-Seconds-or-Less” Warriors on a 3 game winning streak.

They have won 7 of 9 over the last month and are 6-5 since the Mississippi Bullet’s return. Things started to click for the Warriors after beating a certain green team on December 26th. And the Dubs would be looking at a .500 record since then and a 12 game home winning streak were it not for a series of buzzer beaters (Kings, Thunder, Cavs) and blown leads (up by 12 with 8 minutes to play against the Spurs).

But the credit for their improvement also goes to a healthy Stephen Jackson, who has been getting Monta the ball in comfortable places while knocking down his own jumpers. If Captain Jack is hot, this team is trouble. The rest of the Warrior-lings feed off of his confidence.

As should be expected, Warrior fans have taken to Ronny Turiaf and his infectious demeanor. Turiaf comes off the bench for the Dubs (he started the last 3 in Biedrin’s absence) and has been a factor on their recent upswing (11 points, 7 boards over the last 5 games). Turiaf’s rebounding bump has been caused by the Warriors perimeter D. The D has tightened up as guys become healthier and this has allowed Turiaf to box out rather than hurrying to block weak side shots, which puts him out of position to rebound.

The Warriors are returning to full strength with the return of Bellinelli and more importantly Biedrins. The fans are pining for another big, but can they get that big without sacrificing Ellis? Unless something shocking happens at the deadline, the Warriors will live with Biedrins and Turiaf. In fact, Nelson likes the contrast in the two players games. The back to the basket, solid rebounding game of Biedrins replaced by the face up game and shot blocking hustle of Turiaf creates a change of pace that keeps opposing bigs off balance.

The Lakers will have to keep Turiaf off the offensive glass, his 7 offensive rebounds were a big piece of the Portland win.

The Lakers Coming In: Winning the second game of a back to back has become a measurement of the professionalism and grit that this team lacked last year (or so I’ve been told). The newest human victory cigars were out last night (Crazy block, Shannon), and the ice was on the knees early, so fatigue should not be an issue.

The Lakers will want to control the pace by pounding it inside to Pau in hopes of some early foul trouble for Biedrins. Run the offense and the size advantage will do its magic.

Defensively they need to keep the water strider out of the middle and close out on Jackson on the perimeter. Make Magette a jump shooter and keep him off the line. He gets there almost as often as Kobe.

LO Does Windows: 74 rebounds in 4 games.

Not in Phoenix, but what about the HOF?: The Warriors were one of the few teams that had zero representation during the All-Star festivities, but they do have 3 candidates on the HOF ballot. Don Nelson, Chris Mullin (as a player not a GM), and coach of the ’75 Championship team, Al Attles.

Warriors-Lakers History: Chick calling Game 4 of a 1987 series between Lakers and Warriors. Sleepy Floyd: 29 points in the quarter, 39 in the half, 12 consecutive field goals in the fourth quarter, finishing the game with 51 points. What’s more impressive is that he was being guarded by the NBA’s Defensive POY.

Where to watch: 7:30 start. Nationally this game will be on ESPN, and those who watch online can check out the ESPN 360 Live Stream.

The Curious Career of Glen Rice

Gatinho —  January 15, 2009
Michigan V Illinois

In 1989 Glen Rice entered the national basketball consciousness by scoring 31 points for the Michigan Wolverines in 1989 NCAA championship game. Rice and Rumeal Robinson would lead the Wolverines to an overtime victory of PJ Carlesimo’s Cinderella Seton Hall team.

The shot was pure. The rim was a prop. The net’s movement, or lack thereof, a testament to the release, rotation, splash; culminating in a textbook follow through pose.

Career TS% .551
Career FG% .472

Rice honed his shot by staying out late at the playground as a kid. His reasoning, if he could make it in the darkened shadows of the park, shooting in the lights of the gym would be nothing. He would learn what a shot felt like rather than relying on his sense of sight, almost as if shooting by wrote.

“He can definitely make three-pointers with his eyes closed, as he proved during warm-ups recently.”

He would be drafted by the sad sack Miami Heat and quickly bring them out of the doldrums, leading them to the Conference finals in his first season. But Miami would turn out to be the first stop in what can only be called a basketball Odyssey.

pawn 1 n. – a person used by others for their own purposes.

The trade from the Heat would be the beginning of a string of teams, including the Lakers, who would extract from Rice what they would before jettisoning him unceremoniously. But unlike some of his other stops, Miami and specifically Pat Riley would initiate him into the harsh realities of NBA player movement, and this would be one of the few times where Rice did little to earn his fate.

“Rice says Heat president and coach Pat Riley told him not to pay any attention to trade rumors—when Riley called to inform him that he had been dealt to Charlotte, “I was on my way to practice when I got the call,” Rice says. “I just went back inside, sat down on my living room floor and cried.”

But if Rice thought being lied to, followed by being traded away, was tough to swallow, his misery would soon enough subside because in Charlotte he would see the personal and statistical high point of his career.

“I’ve been in zones before where you feel like anything you put up is going in. This feels different. It doesn’t feel like something I’m going to come out of. It feels like this is the way it’s going to be.”

Rice had previously dazzled the league with his shooting prowess, but in Charlotte he would learn to keep defenders honest with drives to the rim. These forays often resulting in fouls, and one can imagine how well he shot freebies.

He would scratch the surface of superstar status on his third trip to the annual no-defense-scoring-fest known as the All-Star game. With 20 points in the third quarter and 24 in the half, both All-Star records, Rice would earn MVP honors and a momentary spot amongst the NBA’s elite.

Losing Eddie Jones

On March 3, 1999 Rice would traded to the Lakers for fan-favorite Eddie Jones and not-so-fan-favorite and over priced Shaq-back-up, Elden Campbell. Charlotte was willing to trade Rice, who had been holding out, but the trade’s finalization languished as Rice recovered from an elbow injury.

In the strike shortened season he would average 17.5 points a game, down five points from the previous season, but this was to be expected when transitioning from being the first option to the third. Rice played heavy minutes in the playoffs and produced good numbers, but he couldn’t help the Lakers avoid another playoff departure that was once again deemed too early for the talented crew that Jerry West had assembled.

Buss vs. West vs. Jackson

With the signing of Phil Jackson, Rice’s career and ego would take the hit that it never recovered from. Phil wanted to swap Rice for Pippen and there was also a rumor of a Latrell Sprwell trade. But Rice was to be a free agent at season’s end and David Falk was talking max deal, succesfully squashing both trades in the process.

Compounding the problem was the Lakers system. After years of having coaches run plays for Rice that had him coming off screens a la Reggie Miller, the Triangle would turn Rice into a standstill shooter and the numbers would drop further. The lack of defensive skills would become more glaring as the Lakers began their march to a title. But the trouble wouldn’t make its way into the paper until the most inopportune of times.

”Jackson has never wanted Glen, he’s always wanted somebody like Scottie Pippen, and this is his way of getting back at management for not letting him make a trade…Jackson did not get his way with the general manager or the owner about trading Glen, so who pays for it? Glen does. How many players would have stayed as quiet for as long as Glen has? But finally, when the team is affected, you have to say something,” she said. ”Now if it was me, I would have already been Latrell Sprewell II.” Asked about his wife’s comments, Rice said he agreed with them.
-June 14, 2000

As the 23 game grind that was the 2000 Laker postseason wore on, it became evident that Jackson valued Rick Fox’s defense over Rice’s offensive output. Rice would see his playing time dip 10 minutes from the previous postseason under interim-coach Rambis, and his scoring plummet to 12.5 points per game. And his performance in game 1, a 1-8 stinker where he played 24 minutes, made matters even worse. But knowing what we know about Phil Jackson, Rice would have needed to be perfect on the offensive end to make up for the abuse Jalen Rose was laying on him on the defensive end.

Rice would rebound in Game 2 by scoring 21 points, but it was in the aftermath of a Kobe-less game 3 loss (7 pts., 3-9) that would see the two headed monster of bad D and an inability to keep his, and bizarrely enough his wife’s, mouth shut that would initiate the basketball tragedy that marked the end of his career and relegate him to one trick pony status.

“Rice admitted he would not be 100 percent focused in Game 4 but said he would dedicate himself to addressing the deficiency in his game that Jackson said was the reason he removed Rice in favor of Fox in Game 3.

‘I’m going to come out and be very aggressive on the defensive end…If I get beat, I never claimed I was the best defensive player on this team individually. Jalen’s a great player, and when I get beat I expect the help to be there.’

That’s right, Rice said ‘when’ he gets beat.”

Mixed up in all of this was the growing feud of West and Jackson. Many onlookers were already thinking that the beginning of Jackson was the end of West. There was also West’s increasing anxiety, which forced him to feel barely measurable relief when the team won rather than any modicum of elation. There were promises from Buss to Rice about an extension, and West’s resistance to working for a man who could not keep a promise. There was the fact that the player didn’t want to be a hired gun and that’s seems to be all that the owner wanted, and he had no problem lying about it to keep that player happy during a championship run. Finally, there was Jackson marking his territory…

“I play whom I want to play when I want to play them, and how they play and what I think is best for the team. That’s it.”

Things Fall Apart

The Lakers would win a title and Rice would get a ring, but Jackson wouldn’t get his Pippen, and West would retire using Rice’s treatment as one of his reasons. Rice would be traded as a part of the monstrosity that was the four-team trade that sent Rice to the Knicks, Patrick Ewing to the Sonics, and Horace Grant to the Lakers.

And what were the Lakers looking for when they added Grant? Defense and rebounds.

Rick Fox would be the beneficiary of all of this. Becoming a starter by default, he would shed the 25 pounds he gained to try to be the banger the “soft” Lakers lacked and return to the form that saw him scoring 16 points a game as a Celtic.

We know what came next for the Lakers, but what became of Rice? In New York he became their sixth man. He was then traded to Rockets a year later. After a two-year stay in Houston he would be traded to the Jazz and bought out. He would wind up as a member of the Clippers, who waived him after 18 games.

“So foul and fair a day I have not seen.”
-MacBeth ActI.iii

An NCAA championship, 14 years in the league, traded 4 times, 6 teams, 3 All-Star games, and a ring. To travel from All-Star game MVP to publicly feuding with your coach in the midst of a Finals that would see you win a ring, and then to end your career as a journeyman bouncing from team to team.

No other way to say it: Curious.

-Gatinho aka Scott Thompson

Preview and Chat: Toronto Raptors

Gatinho —  November 30, 2008
Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers

The Raptors coming in… The Raps are off to a mediocre 8-7 start, 4-4 at home and 4-3 on the road. The are averaging 97.9 points per game while allowing 98.9 points against.

The MVP chant… Love it or hate it: As the Staples faithful shower Kobe with the oft used serenade, early season speculation has Chris Bosh as a dark-horse candidate to take the hardware away from Lebron James. Bosh is averaging almost 28 points and over 10 rebounds. His agility on offense has been giving other bigs fits. Look for the Lakers to swarm Bosh and make Jose Calderon and Anthony Parker shooters. But MVP candidates rarely come from teams that don’t win 50 games. Can the Raptors eclipse that mark?

Match-up of the night: Kobe vs. Anthony Parker: Parker has been a defensive stalwart for the Raptors and will draw the assignment. This is the one on one match-up, but the more important one will be the battle of the benches. This is where the separation of the two teams begins and ends, depth.

The Raptors in LA on a Sunday evening: Can’t help but think of this.

Derek Fisher’s shot: Even though the Lakers have a gaudy 13-1 record, one of the concerns has been some puzzling decisions on offense by Fish. Jeff Van Gundy commented on it a couple of times in the ESPN broadcast. His take was that Fisher was taking too many contested shots. I would agree there, but he also seems to have lost any sort of conscience. It’s good for him to be aggressive on offense, but I’d like to see some better decisions. Through 14 games his TS% is .487 and eFG% is .454. Both numbers down nearly 5+ points from last year.

14 feet of front court… Another nice test for young Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol facing a versatile front court. Jermaine O’Neal is coming off a two game absence (I know shocking) with a sprained ankle. Bynum should be able to use his quickness against O’Neal who is a saavy defender but seems to be slowing down after a lot of NBA mileage.

For the Raptors to make it interesting… Jose Calderon will need to break down the Laker defense, and they were susceptible to that against Dallas, and Andrea Bargnani will have to be hitting from deep to stretch the Laker defense.

D-League update from Marc Stein: “Coby Karl going back to his Boise State roots with the Idaho Stampede after being released by the Lakers in October. How another Lakers castoff, Smush Parker, adjusts to life in Hidalgo, Texas, with the Rio Grande Vipers after lasting until the 12th pick of a 16-pick first round in the D-League draft.”

Where and when to watch: 6:30 on FSPT

Pete Newell: Basketball Royalty

Gatinho —  November 17, 2008

The Guru, The Godfather, The Teacher…

A hall-of-famer who coached teams to an NIT championship, NCAA Championship, and an Olympic gold medal, Pete Newell’s impact on the game we all love should come out of the shadows now that he has passed away.

His first success would come coaching the USF Dons when he would lead them to an NIT championship, then the decider of the National Champion, in 1949. He would have another successful run at Michigan State before moving on to the University of California.

At Cal he would do something that alone could be reason enough to honor him; he beat John Wooden’s UCLA teams. It was Newell who would hand Wooden some of his only 2nd place finishes from 1956-1960 in the then Pacific Coast Conference. He would end his successful tenure with an NCAA title that had his team beating powerhouse Oscar Robertson and his Cincinnati team in the semifinals, followed up by a one point victory over Jerry West and his West Virginia Mountaineers.

Newell would retire from coaching abruptly at the age of 44 after leading West, Robertson, Jerry Lucas, and Walt Bellamy to an Olympic Gold medal in Rome in 1960. A squad that was the original dream team and proved as much by averaging 101 points a game and having four players average in double figures.

He would become the Lakers GM in 1972, and it was his close friendship with Milwaukee GM Wayne Embry that would be instrumental in the Lakers landing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Newell would guide the Lakers through the 70’s and place them in the capable hands of Bill Sharman once Sharman’s coaching career ended.

As Laker GM he would begin the most enduring part of his legacy, tutoring players in footwork. And that tutoring would center around the post.

Newell would draft Kermit Washington, most notorious for almost killing Rudy Tomjanovich with a punch in an in game fight. Washington had played as a center at American University and Newell was looking to make him a power forward due to his 6’7″ height. Newell spent the summer teaching Washington post moves and face up moves, joined by then UCLA star Kiki Vandeweghe.

This would be the genesis of Pete Newell’s Big Man Camp. Which would be attended by a number of NBA and college players, including an 18-year-old Andrew Bynum, and would be centered around the intricacies of proper footwork to enable a post player to move efficiently and be able to counter the defense with a myriad of moves in the pivot.

He longed for coaches at all levels to get back to teaching: “If a player knows why he’s doing something, he’s more likely to do it naturally.” And he co-authored books with Bobby Knight that would become gospel for many. But more importantly he would begin a basketball family tree that would include Knight, Jerry Tarkanian, and the inventor of the Triangle himself Tex Winter.

Tex’s senior year in high school in Huntington Park he would be manager of the Loyola freshman team, coached, or rather taught, by none other than Pete.

Peter Francis “Pete” Newell
b. August 3, 1915 – d. November 17, 2008


“The 6’8″ Jackson’s wingspan was so prodigious that Bill Fitch (Jackson’s coach at the University of North Dakota) would often have him show off to NBA scouts with something called “The Car Trick,” in which Jackson would sit in middle of the back seat of a 1950s Buick and open both doors simultaneously.”

-Phil Jackson’s official Bio

Length… Sometimes referred to as a player’s wingspan or simply stating, “he’s long.” The famous poster of Jordan’s life size image with reaching “wings” while palming a ball comes to mind.

It’s the distance from the tip of the right middle finger, across and over the barrel of the chest, to the tip of the digits on the left.

Like Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, most of us are square, symmetrical. Our wings comparatively clipped and matching the distance from the bottom of our feet to the top of our head. Embodying the architect Vitruvius’ idea that we were a walking 1 to 1 ratio.

“We found the proportion of Height to Wingspan to be 1.023 which is within 2.3% error of the established value of 1. The one-sample T-test concluded that there is not enough evidence to say the proportion is not 1.”

-Size of a Human: Body Proportions, The Physics Hypertext book

In his own lanky form, it seems Jackson would start to create a prototype of a defensive player. Of course coaches have always coveted length in players, but for Phil and consequently the Lakers, it now seems firmly ensconced as an organizational philosophy.

A philosophy that would begin with Phil himself and solidify in the 7 foot long outstretched arms of Scottie Pippen. The Bulls’ defense would be predicated on his quickness coupled with length.

The commitment to fielding a front court founded on length would be undeniable after the 2004 Finals, when one Kobe Bryant was single covered by Pterodactylean ridiculousness.

“Kobe had a hard time shooting over Prince,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said afterward. “I’ve never played against somebody that long before,” Bryant said.

Felix Gillette, Slate magazine, discussing the 2004 Finals and praising of the “lanky brilliance” of Tayshaun Prince.

(Gilette would also invoke Leonardo and Vitruvius and quote a study in the Journal Biometrika,“Only 9 percent of adult males have wingspans that exceed their heights by more than about 2 inches.”)

So when we see… Good close outs on three point shooters…rebounds kept alive by tips leading to second chance points…passing lanes being filled properly in the strong side zone preventing the skip pass…fronting the post effectively…altered or blocked shots…fundamental stay on the floor go straight up defense…say it along with Joel Myers…“The Lakers length is once again a factor .”

“The team is neither soft, nor scared of physicality, it’s just a little light in the pants. This is why our speed and length will be so important. What we lack in girth (not physicality) will be made up in speed and length, allowing us to choke off angles and get into passing lanes.”

Kwame a.

“The ball is just calling my name…I just go after it.”

Trevor Ariza

“He’s a legitimate, 7-1, long-wing-span, natural shot blocker, so add Andrew, it takes us to another level defensively.”

Phil Jackson on the Pau Gasol trade

You can’t teach length, but you can draft and trade for it.

-Scott Thompson aka Gatinho