Buckets Phi Buckets

By: 02.25.09  •  45 Comments
Kobe BryantKobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

Just the other day we were talking about Jeff Green‘s rookie experience, when he was routinely left on his own to get the service from the likes of Kobe Bryant and Joe Johnson and other charter members of Buckets Phi Buckets. Hopefully, Jeff had some encouraging words last night for OKC teammate Kyle Weaver, who got lit up by Kobe (36 pts) in the decisive stretch of Lakers/Thunder, which had to give Green a flashback. Oklahoma City had pulled to within one point early in the fourth quarter with Kobe on the bench, but after Kobe checked back in, Scott Brooks decided to use valuable minutes of a winnable game to get Weaver some first-hand experience against the biggest of the big dogs. But in hindsight, this was neither the time nor the place. Kobe took charge as L.A. scored on eight straight possessions, busting Weaver up in between finding teammates who were left open as the other OKC defenders got caught Kobe-watching. One time Kobe had the rookie Weaver posted up, got him in the air with a series of fakes, and after Weaver predictably landed on Kobe’s back, he tossed in a fadeaway, plus-one. Brooks eventually took Weaver out and stuck Thabo Sefalosha on Kobe to try and stop the bleeding, but it was too late … Nenad Krstic‘s bald spot makes a mockery of Manu and Mike Redd‘s. Krstic has a “Red from That 70s Show” thing going that makes him look 15-20 years older than he is … After the Thunder announcers vented their incredulousness following a no-call on Green, the play-by-play guy said, “You know what I think I’m giving up for Lent? Whine. As in W-H-I-N-E.” Added the color commentator, “Yeah, I can’t remember the last time one of the referees came to our table and asked if they should overturn a call.” This sounds promising. If the OKC guys can start a League-wide movement among announcers and get Tommy Heinsohn and Sean Elliott on board, they should have a street named after them … What will the Tony Parker haters say now? No Tim Duncan (knee), no Ginobili (ankle), and TP still went out and D-slapped Jason Kidd and the Mavs for 37 points and 12 assists in a laugher. TP said himself in his NBA TV post-game interview that the Spurs won’t win championships with him carrying the load, but perhaps we got a glimpse into what the future could look like when Duncan eventually walks away. If San Antonio builds around a still-prime Parker and gets him some decent support, they’ll be just fine … The best part of that NBA TV interview was when Gary Payton got on the mic, and after giving TP multiple chances for the obligatory, “Oh, what up GP! I love you, man!” shout-out, got nothing of the sort. It’s not that Parker was disrespecting; he just doesn’t seem impressed by anything. Believe us, we’ve dealt with the guy enough. When it comes to being interviewed, Parker is like Tim Thomas during a game …

Dwyane WadeDwyane Wade (photo. Chad Griffith)

Watch out for the upcoming Allen Iverson explosion. He’s got to be more frustrated than any of the Pistons with the way this season has gone; A.I. is the guy most desperate for a championship and he had to have seen Detroit as his best, last chance of getting one. After last night’s loss in Miami, the Pistons’ seventh L in a row and the one that officially drops them under .500, Iverson gave his version of what’s wrong. “Our whole thing is not on the offensive end,” A.I. said. “We can’t stop anybody. The way we’re playing we have to shoot 60 percent to win a basketball game. Everybody’s always going to look at the offensive end and scoring points. We scored enough points to win the basketball game. But we just can’t get stops consistently. We can’t get stops when we need them.” He’s right. Too many times the Pistons looked like they were just standing around on defense; they hardly resemble the group that defended as well as anyone in the NBA during the previous 5-6 years … D-Wade (31 pts, 16 asts) took full advantage of that lazy Detroit defense. Every time the Pistons got close, Wade personally put them back behind the 8-ball either by scoring or dishing … Other big stat lines from Tuesday: Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani dropped 26 points apiece in a win over Minnesota; Shaq posted 20 points and 11 boards in a rout of the Bobcats; Mo Williams put up 18 points and six dimes in an easy W over Memphis; and Derrick Rose scored 22 in a win over Orlando … If Brandon Roy and Travis Outlaw are on the court, the Blazers should rarely ever be counted out of a game in the fourth quarter. Last night the Portland announcers had begun putting the nails in the coffin of Rockets/Blazers, but then B-Roy and Outlaw went to work. On back-to-back possessions, Outlaw put on a classic example of how to set up a defender: The first time, the ball swung over to Outlaw on the wing and he looked off Aaron Brooks so convincingly that Brooks did the splits, then buried an open three. The next time, Outlaw got the ball in the same place, and when Luis Scola ignored the look-off and jumped out on him anticipating the three, Outlaw (15 pts) easily blew right past him for a layup … With about 25 seconds left and the Blazers down four, Roy (24 pts) did the Jim Brown move; milking his sore elbow just long enough to dupe his man into easing up, then dusting him with a spin/layup. And after Brooks hit a pair of free throws on the other end, Roy got an uncontested dunk to make it a two-point game. Eventually it came down to Ron Artest at the free throw line; his first shot hit every part of the rim before falling through, and he stuck the second FT to ice it … Earlier in the fourth, B-Roy inadvertently elbowed Artest in the mouth on his way to the rim, drawing blood and sending Artest to the bench. One of the Blazers announcers joked, “Brandon might want to send Ron a dozen roses,” and as much as we love B-Roy, we’d have to agree that Artest would likely tear him apart if it got that serious. And Ron did NOT look happy about the elbow, either … We’re out like the Pistons title hopes …

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