Leon Powe changes the face of a series. Go figure
|Kobe hasn't figured out how to walk all over the Celtics.|
Winging my way westward as you read this with just a couple of things to clean up from a very fun-filled weekend.
There’s the guy who might have turned the NBA final from perhaps great to perhaps quick.
All I know is that he out-hustled every single Laker on the court last night and if Los Angeles doesn’t start to work harder, this thing may be more one-sided than anyone thought.
Couple of things jumped out at me: Lamar Odom came up very small on the big stage (again), Pau Gasol had a couple good spurts in the first half and then mysteriously disappeared and Kobe Bryant still can’t figure out what the Celtics are doing to him defensively.
Bryant, in fact, looked a lot like Manu Ginobili every time he missed a shot, whining and glaring and waving his hands. And if Bryant doesn’t explode back home, this series is not coming back to Boston.
The Celtics? Man, they look good, don’t they? They way they’ve defended the Lakers isn’t rocket science – everyone with one foot in the paint to deny Bryant’s penetration – but the hustle they show getting out on shooters makes it look like they simply want it more than the Lakers right now.
Take away that six-minute blip in the fourth quarter, and their suffocating defence simply won’t let the Lakers do anything. Not sure how the Zen Master’s going to figure this one out, but he doesn’t have much time, does he?
Here’s one from the mail bag that sorta fits:
Q: "Kobe gets 40-plus and the Lakers lose.
Wonder how many times we’ll read that this year?"
Figured I'd go through the archives and look what popped up in October! Figured I'd send this as a note.
Also, what's the deal with Alvin Williams now? Is he still a post-game panel member in Philly?
Steve G, NL
A: Did you look up the answer, too, while you were there? He scored 40 or more seven times and his team lost three of those games.
Yes, Alvin’s still in Philly, did a bunch of studio post-game work on their broadcasts but I’m not sure if he’ll keep doing next season.
Looking back to last week’s final day of Raptor workouts (had a mailbag Friday and took the weekend off) and one thing stuck with me.
We were talking to Chris Douglas-Roberts about his workout next to Brandon Rush and Bill Walker and how it was pretty competitive. Strange, these days, ‘cause a lot of agents like to hide their kids in workouts, put them up against stiffs or second-rounders. Not so with these guys.
And when I suggested to Douglas-Roberts that there are a lot of guys who shy away from competition, he said:
“And those are the ones who won’t be as successful.”
Pretty telling quote.
Here’s one: What’s it do to the point guard trade market if the Pistons, as I’m hearing, are shopping Chauncey Billups around? He’s more expensive but more accomplished than Ford and would take a team out of the mix.
I’m not convinced the reports of Chauncey’s imminent departure are correct – I’m not sure Joe Dumars wants to blow things up that badly and a move would crush his many fans in southwestern Ontario – but if he is indeed on the market, every team needing a point guard will be calling.
And maybe putting Bryan Colangelo on hold for a day or so.
Speaking of the draft and workouts and such, the Raptors don’t have anything scheduled here until much later this week. But that doesn’t mean they’re not busy.
Maurizio, Masai Ujiri and Jay Triano are in Treviso at the Reebok Euro camp, Jim Kelly’s on the west coast taking in a few workouts and the other scouts are scattering around the east to see kids go through their paces.
Bryan’s sticking around the office for the first of the week, working the phones I’m sure.
I’m watching the first quarter and I look up and see Leon Powe, P.J. Brown, Sam Cassell, Trevor Ariza and Jordan Farmar on the floor and I’m thinking, yes, any team can indeed make it to the NBA Final.
Of course, then Powe has a Hall of Fame game.
A wee bit more mail:
Q: Do you think Raptors management take under consideration anything that reporters like yourself write?
For example you've stated you're not sold on Lopez as a Raptor, would that in any way affect their decision?
Also, how often do you get 'insider information' that's been communicated to you as 'off the record'?
Zach B, Toronto
A: Oh, Zach, if only they did. The world would be a much better place, wouldn’t it?
Unfortunately, I presume they read it for the entertainment value only, which I hope is considerable every now and then.
I do know they read – I’ll get a snide remark about something every now and then – but in no way, shape or form does anything anyone writes shape policy or decisions.
As for the “insider information” question: I wouldn’t say it’s every day but every other day or so someone will sidle up and in the course of conversation drop some nugget you may get to use that day or some day in the future. Or in you’re on the phone and just chatting, you may come away with a quip or a note or something to store in the notebook for a rainy day.
Okay, I’m almost as tired as many of you are of the nostalgia factor to this story but you’ve got to admit, the Magic and Larry ‘There Can Only Be One’ split screen commercial’s not bad.