Sunday, May 5, 2013

NBA 2012-13 Season: Lakers and Clippers Recap


This season sucked.  As a Lakers fan, it couldn't have gone worse.  I stopped posting last season partially out of laziness, partially because I saw it coming (okay, I didn't think it'd be this bad, but I knew we weren't making the Finals).  When did I know we wouldn't be raising a championship banner this season?

Right when Jim Buss decided to blind side Phil Jackson and every single Laker fan by hiring none other than Mr. Mike D'Antoni.  WHY WOULD ANYONE HIRE MIKE D'ANTONI??!!!?!  DID THEY NOT WATCH WHAT HE DID WITH THE KNICKS?  DID THEY FORGET THAT HE DOESN'T BELIEVE IN DEFENSE?  DID THEY IGNORE THE FACT THAT HE ACTS LIKE HE'S PLAYING WITH A BUNCH OF COLLEGE PLAYERS BY EXPECTING THEM TO SPRINT UP AND DOWN THE COURT THE ENTIRE GAME?  The Lakers are an old team and the only way old teams win championships is with other words, Mike D'Antoni was the worst possible coach the Lakers could have hired.  

Nobody but Jim, Jerry, and Mitch know what really went down when they decided to pass on 11-time NBA Championship coach, Phil Jackson, but everyone knows the aftermath of that decision.  The Lakers sucked all season (give or take a short run after the All-Star break), Kobe Bryant went down with a career-changing injury (I won't say career-ending because he's Kobe Bryant, but the injury will definitely change him as a player), and the Lakers were swept in the first round.  Oh and we completely wasted a season of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol's NBA lives.  D'Antoni refused to play Pau for part of the season because he didn't know how to use him and trashed him to media.  Once Kobe went down and D'Antoni was basically forced to play him, Pau proved his worth and why he's still one of the best players around when he's actually given the opportunity to play.  D'Antoni will say the team was plagued by injuries (true to an extent but he caused the biggest one), he didn't have a full summer training camp (true but he had an entire season), blah blah blah.  I'm sorry, but D'Antoni just sucks as a coach.  I don't understand why NBA coaches keep getting recycled?  Somehow in the NBA, getting fired is perfectly okay and has no repercussions on future employment prospects.  Geez, if only real world employment was like that.  But seriously, can't some of these teams take a cue from the Chicago Bulls and hire some fresh, new blood (last I checked, Thibodeau is doing pretty damn well as head coach)?  After Jackson retired, the Lakers should have hired Brian Shaw.  It was a big mistake not to and they're still paying the price for it.

Anyways, everybody knows what a disaster this season was, so there's no need to get too far into it.  It sucked and I'm skeptical about how much better it can get next season.  If Dwight stays, it seems almost for certain that Pau goes and vice versa.  So, which would I prefer?  Well, if Dwight stays but demands that D'Antoni go I would prefer that...but if Dwight and D'Antoni both stay and Pau goes, brace yourselves Laker fans.


Okay, I'll admit it...once I saw the Lakers season going downhill I kinda sorta jumped on the Clippers' bandwagon.  The regular season was pretty reflective of the post-season for the Clippers--started off strong, but dwindled towards the end.  I was at Game 2 and afterwards I was REALLY drinking the Clippers' kool-aid.  How could I not after watching CP3 put on his best Kobe imitation and completely take over the game?  He shot that game winner with such confidence and there was such a high afterwards that I thought there was NO WAY the Grizzlies were coming back in this series.  I figured the Clippers would steal a game in Memphis and wrap it up at home in game 5.  Boy was I W-R-O-N-G!  Memphis manhandled the Clippers--Z-Bo started playing like if he was on steroids, Tony Allen was a defensive pest, and Marc Gasol started making the family name proud.  On the Clippers side of things, CP3 just didn't have enough gas to will the team to victory, Blake was too busy bitching about missed calls to be effective, DeAndre disappeared, and Lamar Odom was being Lamar Odom.  It was hard to watch.  The Clippers completely blew it.  That team was built to win and the landscape in the West couldn't have been more perfect for them to do so (Kobe out, Westbrook out, Lee out, and the Spurs are just straight up old).  They had the potential of being the Heat of the West and just cruised through to the Finals, but they choked.

And by "they" I mean Blake Griffin and DeAndre.  Sure, Blake was playing on a bad ankle but so is Stephen Curry and Z-Bo.  These are the playoffs, you gotta play through the pain. Joakim Noah is playing with plantar fasciitis and just about everybody on the Bulls is playing hard through the pain (except Derrick annoying but I'll leave that for a later post).  If Blake had .000000000001% of the heart that the Bulls have, the Clippers would have destroyed the Grizzlies.  As for DeAndre, I have no clue what the heck happened.  Maybe he just decided since his bestie wasn't giving it 100%, he's follow his lead.  Maybe he was mad at CP3 for trying to boss him around (you know what DeAndre and Blake, grow the eff up!  You're not children!  I hate it when people use the "he's young" excuse in sports, 24 years old is NOT young!  In the real world, you'd have a Bachelor's degree by now and possibly even a Master's--that's not young!  Nobody is going to say he's only 24 that's why he's acting like a children, so why do people do that in sports?  It's such a ridiculous cop-out.)

This brings me to Vinny Del Negro.  I don't think he did a horrible job this season or during the playoffs, but at the end of the day the Clippers' season fared just as badly as the Lakers'.  I think Vinny has the potential to be a really good coach, but the Clippers don't really have time to wait around for that to happen.  With CP3 apparently willing to bounce on out of Clipper Nation, management needs to come up with a formula (coach included) to win now.  Somebody who can control the immature personalities that are Blake and DeAndre, somebody who can make adjustments in a series, and somebody who the players will respect. kinda sounds like I just described Laker-rejectee Phil Jackson!!  People are saying that PJ would never do it, that with his fiancee being Jeanie Buss, it'd just be too weird, his relationship with Donald Sterling isn't the greatest, etc.  But who knows?  Did we ever think he'd coach Kobe after the whole Shaq-Kobe-Phil fallout?

To end, if the whole CP3 thing doesn't work out for the Clippers, how about a sign-and-trade with none other than my Lakers--CP3 for Dwight Howard?  Who says no? ...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

2012 NBA FINALS: I Hope Lebron Wins the 2012 NBA Championship

It's been a while since my last post.  I've been in recovery mode--you see, this post-season has been tough for me as a fan.  First off, my beloved Lakers went down without much of a fight and the road to rebuilding a championship team anytime soon seems like a long-shot.  Regardless, I love the Lakers and will continue to suffer through the heartbreak for seasons to come.  Pau Gasol is most likely out, Kobe Bryant will continue to decline, the point guard issue remains unresolved, and I still hate Mike Brown. Then, the Celtics just didn't have enough gas left in the tank to make it to the Finals.  It saddens me because this squad had so much heart, and it's safe to say the Big 3 (or 4 depending on who you ask) Era is over.  Ray Allen will most likely not be in Boston next season, and the futures of Garnett and Pierce seem a bit dubious.  Anyways, let me stop before I start crying about the end of my teams' dominance.

OBVIOUSLY I ALWAYS WANT THE LAKERS TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP, but since it wasn't going to be them, I wanted the Celtics to win it (yeah, yeah I know all about the rivalry, but this 2012 team had so much heart, I wanted them to have a final hoorah), then the list dropped off and I was unsure who I wanted to win.  Well, I finally decided, and I'm not going to pick a team, I'm going to pick a player...Lebron James.  I can't friggin stand the Miami Heat.  I hate everything about them--their coach, their team colors, Wade, Bosh, their entire bench, their fake ass fans, etc.  But I (somewhat) like Lebron. 

He's undoubtedly the greatest active basketball player and his fault is being too unselfish.  Seriously.  He needs to step up and lead this team already.  Who gives an eff about Wade's ego?!?  It's Lebron's team now!  Spoelstra's game plan for every single game should look like this:  ALWAYS PASS THE BALL TO LEBRON.  If LBJ unselfishly passes the ball to you, you better pass that ball right back to him and encourage him to shoot it.  You should always try to facilitate for Lebron.  Don't even think about taking the last shot (I'm talking to you Mario Chalmers).  If you see somebody is about to foul Lebron, you better step in between them and absorb the hit.  If Lebron is falling you better hurl your body to the floor to soften his landing. Basically, this whole team should revolve around Lebron.  If the Heatles follow this game plan to the tee, the 2012 Championship is all but guaranteed.

I'm sick and tired of hearing all the criticism and psychoanalysis of LBJ.  Can he just win a championship already so that ESPN's NBA writers can stop writing the same story over and over again?  I'm sick of reading the same thing written by five different writers questioning Lebron, his dedication, his psyche, his elbow, etc.  Once he wins these same writers will be saying how great LBJ is, the MJ comparisons will begin, and...wait a minute I'm still going to be reading the same thing written by five different writers damnit!

As a Kobe fan, there is some ulterior motive behind my desire for LBJ to win the 2012 title...Kevin Durant is simply too young.  It scares me to think that he'll win his first championship at 23, this young OKC team will remain intact and dominate for years to come.  I DO NOT WANT KEVIN DURANT TO SURPASS KB24 IN CHAMPIONSHIPS.  I have more faith in KD & the Thunder to do this than LBJ & the Veteran Minimum Heat.  It scares me for the sake of Kobe's legacy.  Ironically, my love for Kobe is the main reason I want LBJ to win the 2012 NBA Championship.  So, go Heat!



Monday, April 23, 2012

Metta World Peace and the Infamous Elbow Throw

Last night's Laker game can be looked at in two ways--a great win or a great loss.  I choose to look at it as the former because I am biased Laker lover.  Can you believe they came back from down 18 in the 4th quarter against OKC?!!?!  Honestly, I hate to admit this because it's going to seem like I have no faith in this squad (SIDE NOTE: Can you blame me?..This is a team that had Steve Blake, Jordan Hill, and Devin Ebanks on the floor in double OT), I had turned the game off when they were down by like 14, thinking it was over.  Then, lo and behold, we're going into OT! How the hell did that just happen was all I could think!  The answer, none other than KB24.  How dare I ever undermine KB24's crunch time abilities??!  Never again! It was a GREAT victory against arguably the best team in the West. 

...BUT we can't escape the realities of what happened. MWP threw a nasty elbow at James Harden (WATCH HERE).  It was 100% uncalled for and I can't believe it happened.  Excuse my language, but WHAT THE FUCK METTA WORLD PEACE?!?!  There's only 1 game left in the regular season and the playoffs are less than a week away!  The team needs everyone AND METTA HAD ACTUALLY BEEN PLAYING GREAT AS OF LATELY.  Unfortunately there are no excuses for his stupid action, and he deserves whatever suspension is handed to him (whether it's a few games or the entire playoffs).  Here's what worries me--will MWP's absence be detrimental to the team (ie. round 1 ouster)?  If not, will MWP be mentally and physically stable/dependable when he's done serving his suspension?  The Lakers championship hopes (YEAH, THERE ARE CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES FOR THE LAKERS YOU NON-BELIEVERS) depend on the answers to these questions.  Here's to hoping...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Random: Post-Spain Vacation

I just got back from Barcelona, Spain yesterday and I must say, I friggin love Barcelona! It's so pretty, the guys are super hot, people dress well, and the public transportation is amazing! There are downsides -- the food isn't the greatest and people smoke a lot. BUT overall, I love it <3

Which brings me to the question, what cities/provinces have you all traveled to and/or lived in? And how do you all like it?


Monday, March 5, 2012

Recap: Lakers-Heat... & Rajon Rondo

Yesterday was a good day for the NBA (well, in my biased NBA world).  My Lakers finally pulled out a meaningful win (how meaningful will be elaborated upon), and my fave point guard in the NBA, Rajon Rondo, absolutely dominated.  Let's take a look back on the Laker game & the star of the C's-Knicks game, Rajon Rondo.

Lakers-Heat  93-83

It seems like the Lakers were finally all on the same page this game.  From the start (well from the start that they started playing it on ABC since the C's went into OT), the Lakers seemed intent on winning this game.  They were working in the paint, Kobe had a hot hand, and they were actually making Miami work for their buckets.  This continued throughout the game, as Gasol & Bynum combined for 23 rebounds, Kobe scored 33 on 14-23 shooting, and the Lakers held Miami to 37.5%.  Ohh, and I forgot to mention that Metta World Peace actually put in some work!!  Seriously, he actually looked like he was (almost) worth the $6.9 million the Lakers are paying him this year.  I was thrilled throughout the game from beginning to end, but then I started thinking did the Lakers win because D-Wade fouled out and Bosh didn't play?

Obviously, I'm no clairvoyant and I can't answer that question with absolute certainty, but I honestly think they may have only been able to pull out a win because of those two reasons.  Bosh takes a lot of slack because he's playing with 2 of the best players in the league (LBJ & Wade), but he is a difference maker.  He matches up well with Gasol and gives the Heat an inside presence that they lack otherwise.  I think if you add him to yesterday's game that would have easily decreased Gasol's rebounds and added enough points to Miami's scoring to win the game.  They could have won without Bosh, but when D-Wade fouled out with about 5 minutes left in the game, I knew the Lakers had it in the bag.  Now, I know Wade wasn't having a great shooting night, but he is still a presence on the field and the Lakers have to worry about guarding him.  With him out of the game, the only player to worry about, and even think about doubling, is LBJ.  I'm not saying Wade would have saved the game, but it would have made a difference.

I honestly hope I'm wrong and that this win wasn't just a fluke, but I'm way too scared to get my hopes up at this point in the season.  I know I should have more confidence in my team, but I just don't think they can do it with so much dependence on Kobe to shell out 30+ points a night.  Not to mention the fact that Metta World Peace is one of the spottiest players ever and can't be relied on.  I still think the Lakers need to make a move before the trade deadline...which brings me to our next topic, the C's-Knicks game.

Rajon Rondo: Celtics-Knicks 115-111 

This was such an awesome game.  The C's were up, the Knicks were up, the C's went back up, then the Knicks seemed like they were going to take it, but then Paul Pierce made that 3 to send it into overtime and the C's managed to win it!  The real story here though was Rajon Rondo.  Boy did he do work! 18 points, 17 rebounds, and 20 assists.  You read right, 18 points, 17 rebounds, and 20 assists!!  He just dominated this game in every which way he could.  It was his way of telling Danny Ainge, EFF YOU!  
...But you know what, I say let's let Danny be Danny.  Trade Rajon to the Lakers for Bynum or Gasol (preferably Bynum because I still think Gasol is superior to Bynum).  We all know that the C's don't appreciate Rondo.  I'll even go as far as to say the league doesn't truly appreciate Rondo and his abilities.  But that's okay, because here in Lakerland, Rondo's skills won't go unappreciated.  I, a Lakers fan, can appreciate a PG who is averaging 14.3 points, 10.2 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game.  These stats at around $10.5 million a year are more than enough to tolerate his poor free-throw shooting and bad attitude.  Rondo is what the Lakers need to make a push for a title this year, which is why I say to Danny Ainge, do it, you know you want to trade Rondo, so work out a deal with Mitch Kupchak already.

***NOTE: I'd take D-Will for Bynum over Rondo for Bynum.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rajon Rondo Suspended For Two Games

Quick question... how in the world did Rajon Rondo receive a 2-game suspension for throwing a ball at the ref (sounds way worse than it really was -- check it out here for yourself) after Kevin Love received a 2-game suspension for stomping on Luis Scola's head (was just as bad as it sounds -- check out the video here)??  These incidents do NOT warrant equivalent suspensions... I'm starting to think the league has a bone to pick with the C's.  It's a shame because the next two games are against the Mavs and OKC, and without Rondo the C's have no chance.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Should the Lakers' management say whether they're trading Pau Gasol or not?

After the Lakers' pathetic loss to the Phoenix Suns tonight, Kobe Bryant stated, “I wish management would come out and either trade [Pau Gasol] or not trade him."  As a Laker fan, I understand Bryant's frustrations with the team -- they currently stand 5th in the Western Conference, but 8th ranked Portland and 9th ranked Denver are both only 1.5 games behind.  Am I suggesting that it is a possibility that the Lakers will not make the playoffs this year?  No, but how did a team go from 2nd ranked in the Western Conference last year to struggling to maintain the 5th spot this year?  I just don't understand how the team has plummeted ever since last year's 2nd round playoff series against the Mavericks.  Anyways, back to the subject at hand -- should management openly declare its intentions to keep or trade Pau Gasol?

I'm sorry Mr. Bryant, but I think absolutely not!  I think the team should certainly consider trading Gasol before the deadline, but to openly declare such would be detrimental to the team.  Gasol certainly isn't as emotional as Lamar Odom, but if the Lakers organization tells him he's certainly on the trade block it would negatively impact his game.  Gasol has declared his loyalty and desire to stay with the Lakers on numerous occasions, could you imagine what it would do to his spirits if the team he loves openly states they want him out?  I know what many are thinking -- the Lakers already declared their desire to oust him during the CP3-Trade-That-Wasn't, but I think, for the most part, Gasol has been able to move past that. 

At the same time, I feel bad for Gasol.  Yeah, it's pretty hard to feel bad for somebody making upwards of $18 million per year, but it must really suck not knowing where you're gonna be by the end of the season.  His loyalty to the Lakers, and the fact that he brought two championships to the team, makes me question if the Lakers should let him know (NOT THE PUBLIC) exactly where he stands with the organization.  The NBA is a business, and players are essentially tradeable assets (unless you're KB24 or Joe Johnson with a no-trade clause), but something about leaving a player like Gasol in limbo just doesn't sit well with me.

BTW, if it came down to it, I'd keep Gasol over Bynum...but that'll be discussed further in a future post :)