With an off day for the Lakers, it’s time for a look around the league with some Lakers thoughts mixed in…
*The latest count of All-Star votes has been released and Kobe is still the high vote getter across both conferences with roughly 1.7 million votes. If voting ended today, his teammates on the West team would be Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Yao Ming. They’d face off against an East team with Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Dwight Howard (the leading vote getter in the East). You’ll notice that Rondo and KG are no longer in the starting 5 for the East. What a shame.
*Speaking of All-Star teams, John Schulman of NBA.com tweeted this past Monday how a roster is filled out when a player can’t participate due to injury. Essentially, the roster spot would be filled by the commisioner with the coach of team deciding who stepped into the starting lineup from the selected All-Stars. That means no automatic bid for Andrew Bynum in the West even though he’s in 2nd place in the voting for West Centers, with Yao unlikely to play due to injury.
*One last note on All-Stars: If I could pick the reserves for the West, they’d look like this: Gasol, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Dirk, Ginobili, Blake Griffin, and Tim Duncan. As you see, absent from that list are a bunch of deserving players including Steve Nash, Kevin Love, and Lamar Odom. However, if Yao can’t play and ‘Melo gets traded before the ASG, that opens up two spots for the West. In those spots I’d choose Love and Odom. Call me a homer all you want, but I just think Odom deserves it. I also think Love deserves some recognition for how fantastic he’s played this year even though his team isn’t very good. In the end, though, that means I’m very sorry Steve Nash (with Paul, Williams, and Westbrook there were just too many PG’s).
*I have Carmelo Anthony trade rumor fatigue. Just tell me when it happens and until then don’t mention it, please.
*Go read this piece by Kelly Dwyer on Lebron James.
*After you read that, go check out this Shannon Brown commercial over at TrueHoop.
*Last night, I attended the Lakers game at Oracle Arena in Oakland. I’ve been to countless Warriors games (I was there for the Dallas upset in the playoffs a few years ago) and the crowd there is as good as advertised. Last night, I’d say it was a 60-40 (or maybe closer to 70-30) split amongst the fans of both teams and it created a tremendous atmosphere with the game action making it even more of a great night. After the game, Kobe was asked if the game felt like a home game with all the Lakers fans in attendance cheering for the road team. He replied “When we’re up yeah. When we’re up we give our fans a chance to cheer.” This is one of the fun places to see an NBA game, so the LA fans were cheering in many more cases than when the Lakers were up. I’m not sure there was a bigger roar from Lakers’ supporters than when Kobe drove the lane, took the contact from Biedrins, and still finished the play with a lay in (about the 3 minute mark of this clip). After the whistle, while Kobe sat on the ground giving a finger wag to the crowd, the Laker faithful tried to start an MVP chant that almost gained steam until the hometown fans drowned them out with boos and hisses. You have to love a great crowd.
*That Kobe shot was part of a 46 point quarter by the Lakers where Mr. Bean dropped 17 and Odom had 16. Realize that in only 12 minutes the Lakers scored only 11 points fewer than the Cavs did in 48 minutes the night before. Also realize that Kobe and LO’s point totals just for that period last night were equal to (Odom’s) and one point more than (Kobe’s) the Cavs scored in any quarter all of Tuesday evening.