Holy crimminy Batman!
If you missed that OKC/Lakers game tonight, I’m sorry for you. Really, I am. You missed out on some intense basketball.
But first …
Boston vs. Philly
Last Game: 107-91 (Boston)
After surprising the Celtics on their home floor, the 76ers flew home, probably drank themselves to death and then showed up in Philly two days later having recently discovered Sam Young stuck atop the Wells Fargo Center. They may have had a run-in with Mike Tyson as well …
In any event, the 76ers did not show up to play Game 3. But Boston did. Despite carrying a smidgeon of Game 1’s momentum into the first quarter, Philly basically rolled over and died in the second period during which the Celtics pick and rolled them to oblivion (with Garnett taking full advantage with 13 points in that quarter alone), and drove to the hoop like mad, angry bears attacking the poor bastard standing too close to their cub.
I kind of figured Game 2 was a fluke. Philly had something to prove, and I commend them for coming out and playing their butts off. Unfortunately, one win doth not a seven game series make. And so, the 76ers, having firmly smacked a hornet’s nest, now find themselves running for water. It remains to be seen if they can lick their wounds and move on with dignity.
Lakers vs. OKC
Series: 2-0 (OKC)
Last Game: 77-75 (OKC)
Harden made an easy layup out of a timeout with his team trailing by seven late in the fourth quarter. Kevin Durant then stole the ball from Kobe Bryant and then dunked it on the other end. About a minute later, Harden made another easy drive to the hole for two quick points; and then Durant followed suite with a running layup on the Thunder’s next possession.
And that’s how you beat Kobe’s Thugs.
OKC held their poise down the stretch and demonstrated (as they did against Dallas) remarkable efficiency when the game mattered most. On the other end, Bryant and co. forced shots, turned the ball over, and missed open 3-pointers en route to an 0-2 deficit.
And for the second night in a row, we saw a superstar fail to lift his team over a fourth quarter hump.
Except, where LeBron is kind of like GOB – GOB/James: “I should be in charge. I’m the older brother.” Michael: “Do you even want to be in charge?” GOB/James: “No… but I’d like to be asked!” – Kobe is more like George Sr. in that he wants to be in charge, but is stuck in Coach Mike Brown’s jail.
You see, after a time out, Brown designed a play that forced Bryant to run away from the ball. He called it a “flair”, and maybe it was, but World Peace didn’t see the light and instead made a quick outlet pass to a wide open Steve Blake in the right hand corner. Blake took the 3-point shot (despite his team only trailing by one), which faded right and clanked off the back iron. OKC collected the rebound, and Kobe went from giving his teammates group hugs (when they were up by seven) to shooting painful dagger-expressions towards their direction. For his part, I thought Blake did an excellent job staring vividly into space as a means to avoid said daggers …
Actually, that play didn’t really lose the game for LA. I thought the play before botched the Lakers’ hopes. The one where Bryant, facing a one-point deficit with 18 seconds on the clock, opted to hold the ball for the last shot rather than take the rock to the hole as quickly as possible.
I was baffled by Kobe’s/Brown’s decision. A quick drive to the rim, or perhaps a quick pull-up jumper over Sefolosha, would at least put the ball in play. One of three things could happen: 1) Kobe makes the shot, which he’d probably do 2) Kobe misses, and one of his BIGs grabs the board (during which the Lakers could call a timeout, or find the open man during OKC’s mad dash to get back into position) 3) Kobe misses, OKC gets the ball with roughly 13-15 seconds left on the clock in which case the Lakers could foul, go down by (at most) three and have a shot at tying the game.
But the Lakers went for the FINAL shot. And blew a great opportunity to steal Game 2.
My response to that: Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Ha! Lakers suck.