The Face of Frustration

By: 10.31.09  •  45 Comments

Kobe Bryant

By now, you should know that when NBA announcers keep saying, “Kobe is really frustrated,” it’s actually code for, “Kobe’s shot isn’t falling and he’s battling with the refs.” … That was the case during Lakers/Mavericks last night, as L.A. got smoked on its homecourt and Kobe (20 pts, 6-19 FG) struggled between breaking out his best whiny faces. The low point came late in the third quarter, when J.J. Barea cruised in for an easy layup out of the halfcourt offense that put the Mavs up by 22, soon after the Lakers fans started booing when Jordan Farmar dribbled the ball off his foot out of bounds … The Mavs didn’t exactly play a great game, they just put together a few runs of consistent execution and allowed the Lakers to drown in their own frustration. Dirk Nowitzki finished with 21 points (5-14 FG) and 10 boards, while Shawn Marion posted 18 points and Jason Terry had 16 off the bench. Matrix might look older and slower, but last night he found his vintage game, catching ‘oops from Jason Kidd (2 pts, 11 asts) and showing that crazy quick-jumping ability … L.A. almost put together a comeback in the fourth quarter, sparked by some inspired defense by Kobe and a ridiculous Shannon Brown tip dunk. But the Ron Artest three that would have cut the lead to single-digits and blown the roof off the building rattled out, and Kidd turned that miss into a Dirk layup on the other end, killing the Lakers’ best chance … Memo to L.A. fans: When we’re only two games into the season and your team is down by 15 in the fourth, no chanting “M-V-P!” when Kobe goes to the line … You heard every Boston fan in the world insisting last year’s Bulls/Celtics series wouldn’t have been close if Kevin Garnett was healthy. Well, they might have been right. With KG on the court, Boston waxed Chicago easily, leading by 15 at the half and winning by 28. Garnett had 16 points, Paul Pierce had 22 and Ray Allen hit for 20, while Rajon Rondo handed out 16 assists … Hubie Brown made a good point: When Boston’s current second unit is on the floor, you only really have to worry about guarding Rasheed and Marquis Daniels, and whoever is on Eddie House should never leave him to double-team anyone. If only Vinny Del Negro could’ve heard that; House (22 pts, 9-13 FG) was lighting his dudes up … You might remember an ESPN show called “Dream Job,” where aspiring sports anchors competed for a job at the network. Whenever somebody made a mistake on-camera, the judges would make a huge deal about it, dropping icy threats like, “Mistakes are NOT acceptable at ESPN.” So at halftime of Celtics/Bulls, Avery Johnson said “Danny Manning” is the GM of the Cavaliers, then Stu Scott told us that the last time Dallas beat the Lakers in L.A., “Avery Johnson was the Lakers’ coach.” And not only did Avery neglect to correct him, nothing on his face registered that he even heard the mistake. Then during Mavs/Lakers, Jeff Van Gundy said Dallas would be a championship contender as soon as they get Tim Thomas back. (Avery also said that he liked Boston’s “bowel movement,” but you have to chalk that us to his country accent.) …

Chris Paul

When Emeka Okafor was in Charlotte, it always seemed like he could’ve scored more, but the ‘Cats didn’t get him the ball. Last night must have had a flashback in New Orleans, as Okafor (11 pts, 5-8 FG) was destroying Sacramento’s Jason Thompson whenever he had the chance, but saw prolonged stretches where he didn’t touch the ball. Okafor made things happened when it mattered, though, getting a follow dunk with 43 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner before Chris Paul (31 pts) iced it at the line … If you’re Erik Spoelstra and you want to motivate Michael Beasley to step up his defense, get a video of the Indiana broadcast of last night’s Heat/Pacers game. One time Danny Granger caught the ball on the wing, and as Beasley stepped up to guard him, announcer Quinn Buckner (who knows a thing or three about getting buckets) blurted out, “Oh, take him.” Like Beasley was some scrub on the playground. You think Buckner is saying that if Caron Butler is standing in front of Granger? … D-Wade scored 32 in the win, but the story was Jermaine O’Neal, who had 22 and 12 boards in front of his former Indiana fans. O’Neal got some boos, nothing too bad, but one of the loudest cheers of the night came when J.O. swung on the rim after a dunk and got called for a technical … Other notable stat lines from Friday: Dwight Howard posted 20 points, 22 rebounds and four blocks in a win over the Nets; Steve Nash dropped 18 points and 20 assists to beat the Warriors; LeBron put up 24 points and nine boards in a blowout win at Minnesota; Kevin Durant had 25 points and 12 boards in a win at Detroit; Zach Randolph went for 30 points in Memphis’ win over Toronto, offsetting Chris Bosh‘s 37 and 12 rebounds; Carlos Boozer had 20 points, 12 boards and seven assists in a win over the Clippers; Al Horford put up 10 points, 12 boards and five blocks in a win over Washington; and Gerald Wallace posted 18 points (4-20 FG) and 15 boards, while Ray Felton added 22, eight boards and nine assists as the Bobcats knocked off the Knicks in double-overtime. D.J. Augustin hit the game-winning free throws with 2.5 seconds left … Brandon Jennings snatched the early Rookie of the Year lead away from Ty Lawson by putting up 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in his pro debut, a loss to the Sixers. Meanwhile, teammate Ersan Ilyasova will be tough to beat for the NBA’s Most Awkward Player trophy. As soon as he got in the game, Ersan tried to do a crossover that went over as well as Marlon Wayans‘ cross in Above the Rim. Same possession, Ersan ran a pick-and-pop with Jennings and launched a ghastly-looking airball from beyond the arc that could’ve killed somebody sitting on the baseline. And he did this while wearing high socks like Walt Williams and a thrift store Rip Hamilton mask … We’re out like Boston’s bowel movement …

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