Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Bynum’

Phil Jackson

“This team (Boston Celtics) has lost more games in the fourth quarter than any other team in the NBA. This team knows how to lose games in the fourth quarter.” – Phil Jackson

With the Los Angeles Lakers trailing by five to the Boston Celtics with 1:40 remaining in game five of the 2010 NBA finals. Phil Jackson called a timeout and attempted to motivate his team by channeling his inner Confucius and giving this fortune cookie type of NBA tidbit. This statement is true as to how the injury riddled Celtics played during the regular season, but this has not been the way that a healthy Celtics team has played in the 2010 NBA playoffs nor the NBA finals. Boston went on to discredit Phil’s statement by beating the Lakers 92 to 86 in game five of the 2010 NBA finals, taking a 3-2 lead in the series with game six and if necessary game seven to be played in L.A.

Throughout the night the Lakers had been getting out played and out coached by Doc Rivers and the Celtics. It was your typical Lakers performance where Kobe Bryant was doing any and everything he wanted as the rest of his teammates and Phil Jackson just sat around and watched. L.A. looked as if they were playing in slow motion during the entire game. The Lakers played with no sense of urgency or energy; they let the Celtics get to loose balls and deflect entry passes, and allowed the Celtics to score on lay-up after lay-up. Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and at times Nate Robinson did what they wanted to do anytime they felt like it, along with Paul Pierce finally having a breakout game by contributing with 27 points of his own as L.A. couldn’t find a way to stop him no matter who was guarding him.

As L.A.’s championship hopes and dreams were becoming a nightmare, the last thing Phil needed to be doing was dropping words of ZEN wisdom to his team. Instead, Phil should have been drawing up plays and finding ways to get other players involved. Not all players respond to the same type of coaching. That Zen stuff may work on Kobe or some of the other guys on the team, but some may just tune it and Phil out and probably already have.

I and many other people have always questioned Phil’s ability as an NBA coach. I have felt that he is a great leader of men and a great motivator, but as an X’S and O’s guy he leaves much to be desired. The fact that the vaunted triangle offense doesn’t even have a playbook and it’s an offense based on principles makes you wonder even more as to how good Phil is at drawing up plays. He may have won ten NBA championship titles as a coach in the NBA, but with the talent that he has had on many of his championship teams. Who couldn’t have done what he has done?

One of the major problems with the Lakers is that they seem to think that all they have to do is show up and they will win games. The lack of focus, motivation and discipline is what has plagued this Lakers team for years. The Lakers are a microcosm of what our society has become. Hardly anyone these days believes in working for anything, most people are always looking for some get rich quick scheme or trying to find the easy way to become successful in life. As the Lakers are finding out in this year’s NBA finals. Art often imitates life, and unlike last year, you can’t just roll the ball out on the court and expect to win.

With the series headed back to L.A., the Celtics are going into game six playing with house money with two games left and only needing to win one. While the Lakers have to win both games if they want to repeat as NBA champions. After game four I mentioned that the key to the Lakers hopes of repeating as NBA champions is Andrew Bynum. If people didn’t realize what I was saying after game four, I am sure that people can see what I meant after what happened in game five. To be honest thought I don’t think a healthy Bynum would have made a difference last night. L.A. just played uninspired and undisciplined basketball in every phase of the game. If the Lakers don’t get Kobe some help which they didn’t do last night, or wake up and play with a purpose. The Lakers will have lots of time during the summer to ponder what happened and agonize over how close they were to winning it all.

Not only do the Lakers need to “man up” and play solid basketball in game six. Phil needs to stop trying to philosophize during games and start coaching this group of under achieving players. I know that Phil Jackson won’t read my blog, but if you are reading Phil. Let me drop a little fortune cookie type of wisdom of my own which won’t come true like I said in my blog after game one;

“A Phil Jackson coached team has never lost a playoff series when his team wins the first game of a playoff series.” – David Johnson

Big Baby carried Nate Robinson and the rest of Celtic team in the fourth quarter

I am going to try to keep this blog entry short and sweet although I have yet to write a short blog. There isn’t really much to discuss about game four of the 2010 NBA finals that hasn’t already been said in games one thru three. Seems like after every game we are discussing the same players not doing what they should be doing or praising them when they did perform how they were supposed to. As I watched game four, there was one monumental move in the game that was something that hadn’t happen in this series and is worth discussing. It was the move that Doc Rivers made or didn’t make in the fourth quarter. It was a move that could have majorly backfired on him and have the whole city of Boston as well as the rest of America asking why?

With four minutes left in game four of the 2010 NBA finals, Doc Rivers had Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett at the scorer’s table ready to check in for, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace. The Boston Celtics had just taken a nine point lead in the game after scoring on their first nine possessions, but he felt that it was time to put his core group of guys back into the game. Boston’s quartette of Glen Davis, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace had done something that the starters had trouble doing in the first half and part of the third quarter. They began to trust each other and play with intensity on defense, and most importantly were efficient and effective on offense. Going back to game three, the Celtics had been stagnant on the offensive end of the court for seven straight quarters. During that stretch, Boston had made the Los Angeles Lakers defense look like the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons.

Doc recognized what was going on with his four reserves on the floor, so he motioned for Rondo, Pierce and Garnett to come back to the bench. This decision by Doc was a huge gamble but a great example of what type of coach Doc is. Celtic players have always said that Doc is the type of coach that trusts in his players and instills confidence in them by making decisions like he did last night. If the Celtics would have gone on to lose game four, we would be talking about how dumb of a move it was for him to ride with his reserves down the stretch. Instead it proved to be the right move and showed great intuition by Doc Rivers.

Kobe Bryant had been feeling it more than he ever had in the previous games in the NBA finals, and he had made some unbelievable shots in the second half. One thing that we have come to learn over time is that with the best “closer” in the NBA hitting shots like he was last night. Taking chances like Doc Rivers took are ones that usually backfire on you. Throughout the fourth quarter, Boston played in all out desperation mode as if their lives and careers depended on the outcome of that quarter. With Kobe doing what he was doing, going into game five down 3-1 was going to be like playing with fire for the Celtics. Kobe has yet to have one of his signature superstar type games in this series where he is flat out unstoppable. If Boston were to have gone into game five down 3-1 to the Lakers, this series would have pretty much been over. Kobe is known for being one not to mess with in “close out games”. He will end it and smile while doing it while everyone is in awe, and I am sure Boston was well aware of that last night.

Andrew Bynum looks on with Adam Morrison as the Lakers fall to the Celtics in game four

Boston was able to take advantage of Andrew Bynum only being able to play for twelve minutes in game four. Andrew had been playing extremely well in this series, unfortunately he had to sit most of the game on the bench due to his injured knee. Bynum not being in the middle for the Lakers made them vulnerable on the front line and Boston took advantage of the Lakers unfortunate situation. Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol had no answer for Glen Davis as he had his way with both of them and took over the game in the fourth quarter. If Davis wasn’t killing them down low then Nate Robinson was killing him with is penetration into the lane and scoring almost at will. Tony Allen had his moments offensively, but where he was really effective was on the defensive end making the Lakers guards settle for jump shots and/or low percentage shots.

Doc finally felt that with 2:51 left in the game, it was a good time to put Rondo, Garnett and Pierce back into the game. Pierce came in and hit a jumper that put Boston up 87-79 with 2:18 remaining, and scored on a lay-up that sealed the Lakers fate with 1:18 left in the game. While the last few seconds of game four ticked off the clock in the Celtics 96-89 win over the Lakers. I began to wonder what Celtics team will show up on Sunday. You can’t ignore the mistakes and issues in a win that you wouldn’t ignore in a loss. Although the Celtics had just played their most complete quarter since game two. You had to recognize that the Celtics success during the fourth quarter came from the backs of the reserves not their starters. Ray Allen struggled again as the starting five as a group still wasn’t able to get it together in this game. So what Celtic team should we expect to see in game five?

On the other side of the coin, you have to wonder if Bynum’s injury is going to end up being the Achilles heel for the Lakers and the down fall in them repeating as champions. Gasol has played great in this series and has been the best big man on the floor between both teams. But Andrew is the key to that Lakers front line and it shows how important he is to that front line every time he isn’t on the court. Whatever happens between these teams on Sunday, the winner of game five will win this series. I believe the Celtics will win game five and head back to L.A. up 3-2. It may be another ugly game like game four, but a win is a win no matter how ugly it is.

Until then, enjoy your weekend and be on the lookout for my Sunday sports notes blog entry by noon.

Some say that the most important games in a seven games series is game three when a team is down 0-2, and the closeout game. The Lakers aren’t down 0-2, but I am wondering if that saying applies to this series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. With the scene being shifted to the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston where the next three games will be played. One has to wonder what will happen if the Lakers lose to the Celtics in game three tonight. Is game the the most important game for the Lakers? Of course the series won’t be over nor will the Lakers be in a win or else situation from a technical standpoint. But with these two teams having a history between them going back to 2008. You wonder from a psychological standpoint how a game three loss would affect the Lakers with two more games left to be played in Boston.

Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher won’t be affected mentally by a game three loss. The players who may become affected are players like Andrew Bynum, and Ron Artest. Artest has never played in the NBA finals, and Andrew barely played in the 2009 finals due to him constantly being in foul trouble. Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Shannon Brown, and Sasha Vujacic are also guys that you wonder as to how they will play when the intensity of the NBA finals gets tougher if L.A. goes down two games to one. Two more players to think about are Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Both are very talented players who are inconsistent and have a tendency to play small when the noose gets a little tighter. I am fully aware that all of the players that I have mentioned except for Ron Artest played in the NBA finals last year. But during the 2009 NBA finals there wasn’t ever a time where the Orlando Magic posed a serious threat to the Lakers chances of winning it all. In my opinion for the exception of Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, the Lakers aren’t really battle tested from a mental standpoint.

Unlike the 2009 Orlando Magic team, this Boston Celtics team pose a serious threat to the Lakers. Playing from behind in this series in terms of how many games they are down to Boston is a position that this Lakers team may not want to get into. An ideal situation for the Lakers would be for them to win all three games in Boston to end the series there and celebrate winning back to back NBA championships on Boston’s home court. That’s an ideal situation though and one that most likely won’t become reality. The Lakers need to do what Boston went to L.A. to do and accomplished, which was to win at least one game so that they can bring the series back to their home court with a chance to close it out. In order for this to happen though, I feel that they may have to win game three tonight to take some of the pressure off the role players. This may sound crazy right now, but if the Lakers are down 2-1 to the Celtics after tonight. The pressure will be all on the Lakers for games four and five……………..Celtics win tonight by 5

Ray Allen broke a NBA finals three point record by hitting on 8 of 11 from behind the arc.

I am not one to say “I told you so”, but I will. The Boston Celtics 103 to 94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers was a game that was a tale of two halves. The first half was about a shooting clinic that was put on by Ray Allen as the Celtics played tough, fundamental basketball and dominated the Lakers at times. The Lakers became the team that we have all become accustomed to seeing for stretches during games if not a whole game or games. L.A. played uninspired basketball on both ends of the court and could not figure out a way to slow down or stop Ray. The second half was a very close, grind it out, defensive type of game that was nip and tuck throughout the second half with the Celtics winning by nine as I had predicted earlier yesterday in my Sunday sports notes blog. In both halves the Celtics played how most people expected them to play in game one but didn’t for some odd reason. Rajon Rondo did what I expected him to do and played aggressive, smart basketball throughout the whole game and ended up with his fifth playoff triple-double. Rondo really came up big defensively in the last three minutes of the game by stealing the ball from Kobe twice and blocking one of his shots which ended up being a key moment in the fourth quarter. Ray Ray or as his mama named him, Ray Allen, played extremely well and set the tone in the first half by breaking an NBA finals three point record by hitting eight of eleven from behind the arc. Paul Pierce was pretty much ineffective as expected with Ron Artest guarding him most of the time last night. Kevin Garnett was not himself again. I don’t know whets going on with him except that maybe it’s time for him to hang it up after this year. Kendrick Perkins was okay at times when he wasn’t embarrassing himself by trying to do things with the ball that he had no business doing. On four separate occasions, Kendrick received the ball on the baseline two feet away from the three point line, and he would try to face up the opponent and drive to the basket. That isn’t your game Perkins, know your role and play it!

Kobe Bryant had a Kendrick Perkins moment of his own last night. He seemed to be content with not asserting himself into the game until the last two minutes of the first half. I understand that he wants to get his teammates involved early, but he still needs to be assertive throughout the whole game and not just when the Lakers are down by fifteen. Kobe may have Jesus like abilities on the court and would make one think that he can walk on water and perform miracles. But imitating LeBron James by not having his presence felt on the court as he did in the first half is inexcusable for a superstar in the NBA finals. I am not pinning the loss of the Lakers on Kobe, just stating what I saw and what the game film shows. Andrew Bynum played great last night and I have been impressed with him answering the bell and playing through injuries and standing toe to toe with the Celtics front line. Pau Gasol also played well at times but wasn’t consistently effective throughout the game. But we have become accustomed to seeing this from him. Pau is a good but not great player who has issues consistently playing tough and well during games. Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and Jordan Farmar were not much of a factor except for Artest on the defensive end. Odom and Farmar barely even saw the floor once they got routinely “handled” by one the Celtics. If the Lakers want to have this series comeback to Los Angeles, everything I have typed in this paragraph needs to be corrected or they could once again be walking off the court, watching the Celtics celebrate winning a NBA Championship in Boston.

One thing that is a little painful to watch is the horrible calls that the referees have made in both games in this series. Some of the calls in game two were some of the worst I have seen in a long time. On two calls late in the fourth quarter, replay should have been used to determine the proper call but wasn’t. Why even have instant replay and the ability to use it if the referees won’t use it? I would hate to see this series decided becasue of a pivotal call that tips the series in either the Celtics or Lakers favor. It seems like not only are the refs making bad calls on who knocked the ball out of bounds or if a block shot was goal tending or not. The refs have been calling some ticky tack fouls in both games that have put several players in foul trouble and have caused them to spend more time on the bench than on the court. Rasheed Wallace had four fouls by the middle of the third quarter and I don’t even remember him even checking into the game. I know the refs want to keep it clean, but let the players play and stop being so quick to blow the whistle. People are watching the NBA finals to watch the star players compete in the game, not the star players watching the game from the bench.

Ben Roethlisberger

Its 4:33am GMT and I am wide awake sitting on the couch watching looped episodes of Total Access on the NFL Network, drinking a rum and coke and typing this blog out on my blackberry. I may turn on DVR’rd episodes of America’s Game: Dallas Cowboys 92′ and 93′ that I have recorded. But first I am going to get the beginning of my blog out on electronic paper. Hopefully after I write this blog entry I can quote that lame ass line from Young Jeezy and say “This is the realest shit I ever wrote”!

This week has been somewhat of a slow week in sports but there were still a few noteworthy things to talk about. In Pittsburgh you had Ben Roethlisberger return to practice for the first time since the sexual assault scandal and his suspension; Four hundred and eighty three miles away from Pittsburgh, Tom Brady was treated as if he’s just another player by the New England Patriots front office during contract negotiations; Over in L.A. the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics began play in the 2010 NBA finals in which the Lakers took game one to a tune of 102 to 89; Then from the corner Lombardi Ave and S. Oneida in Green Bay, reports came out about a Green Bay Packers player being under investigation for sexual assault with alleged victims. (Yes victims)

Ben Roethlisberger:

I began and ended that last paragraph talking about NFL players who allegedly sexually assaulted women, and I will most likely do the same with this paragraph and the next one. Big Ben was granted to permission to practice with his team mates while still serving a 6 game suspension. From the looks of things, Ben is doing and saying all of the right things. He has come into camp looking extremely thinner than he did just seven weeks ago. I don’t know if he did the LenDale White diet or what, but he looks like the Big Ben pre motorcycle accidents and assaulting women in hotel rooms and restrooms. I hope he realizes that he dodged a major bullet in Milledgeville, Ga, and he is getting a second chance that some people don’t get in life after an allegation like he faced. I have been on record as saying that no matter what, as long as I am alive, I will never forgive him for what he was accused of. I don’t have a daughter or any kids as of now, but if it were my daughter that he assaulted like that. I would make damn sure that Ben wouldn’t be alive to take another snap in the NFL if you catch my drift. As mentioned earlier, he is doing and saying all of the right things. Let’s hope that his actions off the field mirror what his words are as of now.

Lambeau Field at the corner of Lombardi Ave. and S. Onieda

Trouble in Green Bay:

The trials and tribulations of Ben Roethlisberger haven’t been noticed by everyone as we now know that an unnamed Packer is under investigation for sexual assault. The unnamed Packer has admitted to having sexual contact with the alleged victims, but says it was consensual. The women say different though. They also say that there was more than one Packer involved. At least seven players were interviewed; six of them for now are not suspected of any criminal activates. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the unnamed player is someone who no one would really know. I am sure everyone who is a Packers fan will know him and know if he lives in Green Bay, DePere or Appleton during the season. Roger Goodell and league officials won’t jump in until the matter is resolved. Goodell did go on to say that “I am not going to wait for somebody to get thrown in jail to take action”. Sounds like he is just as pissed as I am about NFL players becoming p*$@#y burglars during their down time. Back in January Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Eric Foster allegedly sexually assaulted a female hotel employee the morning of the AFC Championship game. Sexual assaults are becoming a trend these days amongst NFL players and there is no excuse for it.

I am not saying the unnamed Packer is guilty of what he is being accused of. It’s just that these sexual assault cases are getting out of hand and are leading a bad example for kids who may look up to these players. Green Bay isn’t unfamiliar to these types of cases. Mark Chamura’s story is well documented as well as Gilbert Brown’s and a couple other Packers. The unnamed Packer could very well be telling the truth about the sexual contact being consensual. It wouldn’t be the first time a woman has come out and accused a player of sexual assault and later we discover it was consensual. I am willing to bet that even if the unnamed Packer is proven to be innocent, he will be cut from the team.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady not seeing or feeling the Love in New England:

It seems like if innocent women aren’t getting abused by NFL players these days. The actual players are getting abused or disrespected as Tom Brady is the latest victim. Brady is due to become a free agent at the end of the 2010 season and he has been or was in negotiations with the New England Patriots for a contract extension. Things began well with Brady’s agents (Don Yee and Steve Dubin) and the Pats front office agreeing to meet, but that where the positives ended. According to reports, there is a growing sense of disconnect between the two parties. In fact, contract talks have been nonexistent and there doesn’t seem to be any urgency on the Pats end to get a deal done.

The Patriots are one of several teams that are trimming back their payroll with the possibly of a new CBA coming soon. Tom Brady being a player rep also makes things interesting because he knows the logistics of the possible new CBA agreement that’s being negotiated. On the other hand he understands that the Patriots want him to sign a team friendly deal. Brady will turn 33 this year and this is possibly his last contract before retirement. He isn’t going to take a team friendly deal that easily. Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network has reported that Tom Brady won’t sign a long-term contract until Peyton Manning signs his new deal.

My personal feeling is that Brady and the Patriots will get something worked out. He and Robert Kraft are really close and have always seemed to have a mutual understanding about things. Also, there isn’t a guarantee that under the potential new CBA agreement, that teams will be able to franchise a player. With the ability to “franchise” a player potentially not being a possibility next year, there is no way that Kraft will let his franchise quarterback and close friend become a free agent next year.

Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

2010 NBA Finals:

Later today, the NBA finals will resume in Los Angeles with game two between the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics. In game one the Lakers did what they were suppose to do as defending champions on their home court. On the other hand, the Celtics added them in doing that by playing uncharacteristic basketball. As I mentioned on Friday after game one, I don’t see those uncharacteristic trends to continue from the Celtics. Look for the Celtics to turn game two into a slow, grind it out, defensive battle. Expect to see the Celtics front line impose their will against the Lakers front line. Andrew Bynum is and always will be the weak link in that front line with Pau Gasol being the second weak link at times. Kevin Garnett looked old and slow and was darn near nonexistent in game one. Unless we are witnessing a great player in Garnett hit the proverbial “its time to give this basketball thing up” wall. I’m willing to bet good money that he will redeem himself and be a force on both ends of the court in game two. Paul Pierce is the one player who may struggle throughout this series with Ron Artest guarding him at times. But look for Pierce to be able to contribute at key times for the Celtics during game two and throughout the series.

The Celtics back court of Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo should also be more of a factor in this game. Allen played well in game one when he wasn’t on the bench in foul trouble. I doubt Ray will get saddled with early fouls and be in foul trouble in game two. Ray Ray should do what he does best. Rajon played hesitant in game one and at times looked like his injuries were bothering him. Whether it was his injuries or the way the Lakers played him defensively that made him hesitant. Rondo is a gamer and he will be aggressive and more decisive with the ball than what he was on Thursday. If the Lakers give Rondo that wide open 15 foot jumper like they did on Thursday. I expect that Rondo will take that shot instead of dribbling the clock away like he did in game one.

The Celtics should win tonight by nine to even up the series at 1 – 1 with the next three games in Boston. If not, this series could be over in five games with L.A. winning back to back NBA Championships. Enjoy your Sunday and feel free to leave your comments and subscribe to this blog.

Game one of the 2010 NBA finals has come and gone leaving most if not all of us impressed with what we saw in the Lakers 102 to 89 win over the Celtics. The Lakers did what defending champions should do in the NBA finals by displaying excellence on both ends of the court. Kobe Bryant came out aggressive and focused like I have never seen him before. You could tell that the Lakers were trying to prove a point and put their imprint on this series. I have always had a philosophy that the first game of any playoff series in any sport is almost meaningless. The reason I believe this is because typically all home teams will come out in the first game and dominate, even more so with a defending champion. Then once game one has been played, the real strengths and weaknesses of both teams come out in games two through seven. As we all know though, when Phil Jackson wins the first game of a playoff series, his teams always win the series. Maybe this proven philosophy of mine doesn’t apply to Phil and the Lakers, but there is always a first time for everything in life. Kim Kardashian was ever so kind to remind us of this Phil Jackson tidbit last night by tweeting this fact. Like I said last night on twitter, I’m sure that someone told her about it because I doubt that Kim can read nor knows anything about sports.

All you Laker fans can enjoy the memories of game one, but don’t start buying tickets to the championship parade just yet. In lieu of the Lakers dominance, they’re things that happened last night that I don’t expect to happen routinely throughout the rest of the series. I don’t expect Rajon Rondo to continue to be hesitant and non aggressive when Kobe is guarding him from ten feet away. I don’t expect Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Kendrick Perkins and Glen “Big Baby” Davis to not make Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Kardashian err I mean Odom, work on both ends of the court. The last two things that I don’t expect to see the rest of the series is Paul Pierce and that defense to not be effective or nonexistent. Kobe Bryant didn’t see the typical defense that he usually sees when he plays against the Celtics. There were not any double or triple teams or any trapping to get the ball out of his hands. Everything that I just mentioned are all things that happened last night along with the Lakers answering the bell in the 102 to 89 win over the Celtics.

Kobe Bryant may have made a statement with the permanent scowl that he had on his face and his flawless play. But will we see this the rest of the series or will he and the Lakers do what they always do? Play well and determined when motivated, but play uninspired and disinterested for stretches if not games. The Lakers are the Lakers and for the exception of Ron Artest, they are the same team from two years ago. Tiger’s can’t change their stripes nor can teams when they keep the same core players. Sure teams can learn how to win and do great things together. But there comes a point within a seven game series in which who you are as a team to the core comes out. So the question is how long will this revenge factor continue to fuel Kobe and the “Lake show”? Because what we saw last night is what we have seen from this Laker team before.

I still say Celtics in seven folks………

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