A so-so game but still a lot of drama, and blown plays
Even when the games are bad, they’re good.
Game 3 of Lakers-Nuggets was hardly played at fever pitch or with great aplomb but you have to admit, it still had some drama down the stretch.
Put it with the first two in the East and the other two in the West and we’ve got some major league compelling conference finals going on. And I have a suspicion we’re in for more as they progress and a couple of long, close, entertaining series.
Which is about all you can ask for.
Don’t forget, we’ll be back around these parts tonight sometime around 8 to chronicle the latest installment of Cavs-Magic and to see what kind of stuff LeBron can conjure up this time.
Until then …
About last night
Get some work done
If George Karl and his staff aren’t sitting in some room right now devising ways to GET THE FREAKING BALL INBOUNDS, I’d be amazed.
Two losses, both turning on blown inbounds plays in the dying seconds, the first because they had 5-1 Anthony Carter trying to make the pass and the second because Kenyon Martin lollygagged a pass about a yard out of the reach of its intended target.
This, after minutes earlier, Denver had to blow a timeout because the five-second clock was running out.
The troubling part – and I’m sure a whole lot of coaches out there might be able to explain it but I can’t figure out – is why all the Nugget guards and small forwards (the guys you’d like to actually catch the ball) are headed to the backcourt rather than to the sideline or the basket.
Heading to midcourt, if the pass is stolen, like it has been twice, leads to a clear path to the basket; at least if you’re going to blow the play and the guards are coming to the ball or moving towards the basket you’re trying to score on, committing a foul becomes a little bit easier.
But what do I know.
All I know is if you cannot get the ball in during crucial moments, you cannot win.
This whole “what’s a flagrant foul and what isn’t?” seems to have confused me, you, players, coaches and, apparently, every official tooting a whistle these days.
And nothing was worse than the punk – and dangerous – move Dahntay Jones laid on Kobe Bryant last night.
A two-hand shove in the middle of the back when Bryant was already in the air?
Tell me – please, tell me – that isn’t a flagrant foul, which is defined by the league as “flagrant foul-penalty (1) is unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.”
You think it was necessary that Jones, badly beaten on a play, reach up and push an airborne guy in the middle of the back?
I’ll tell you what, and Jeff Van Gundy made this point immediately on the broadcast and he’s dead-on right, if Bryant had fallen hard into the stanchion or to the floor, that would have been a flagrant foul.
And the refs would have gotten it right.
Where’d they go?
The most shocking thing about last night’s game? The non-factors that Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups were.
Now, I don’t think this is going to be a regular thing, both of them are too good to be bad for too long, but for the biggest game of the year, they should have been better.
No field goals in the second half for Anthony after a blistering first quarter? More turnovers in the first quarter than he’d had combined in the first two games by Billups?
What'd the Lakers do to Carmelo? Let's let them tell you.
On the other hand …
There is no one – and it’s not even remotely close – that I’d rather have with the ball and the game on the line than Kobe Bryant.
Forget LeBron James, never mind Anthony or Billups or Nash or Dirk or any of them.
No one makes plays bigger plays more often than Bryant
And, judging by his comments here, he loves it.
Quick digression for a worthy cause one last time.
Me, 100 holes of golf, one day, one loooooooooong day on the links.
As I said earlier, it could set the cause of recreational golf back a decade or two but me and my mashie and my niblick and a couple of boxes of balls are off to take part in the Spina Bifida and Hyrdocephalus Association’s major fund-raiser.
Raising money for something close to my heart. And my family.
This is the last time I’ll bother you with this but if you can find a way to slide a donation in, a whole lot of people will appreciate, most of all me.
You can donate by credit credit card at 1-800-387-1575 or 416-214-1056 or go here and follow the icon you see at the left.
All tax deductible.
Me? Well, I’ve hit balls a couple of times and the old gentle fade is in mid-season form. I figure if I get 100 holes in and break 500, I’ve done well. If you give money, you’ll have done well, too.
About two nights ago
This is old but so am I so stick with me here.
I want the next guy who tells me how the league fixes games to ensure the most marketable matchup to remember this: The refs called LeBron James for – of all things – travelling, at home, in a tie game, with 30.9 seconds left in the most significant game of the season for the Cavs. Traveling! At home! Tie game! Half a minute left!
That’s was a gutsy – and correct – call. But not one you’d think would be made.