Hate Me Now

05.05.08 10 years ago 111 Comments
IMAGE DESCRIPTIONKobe (photo. Chris Sembrot)

What excuse could the Lakers-haters use after yesterday’s display? Even against a well-coached team that actually plays team defense and doesn’t have any — as far as we know — significant internal locker-room strife or heart/balls issues, the Lakers looked as sharp as ever: Kobe Bryant (38 pts) was unstoppable, Pau Gasol (18 pts, 10 rebs) looked like he could have taken the game over and dropped 30 himself if he felt like it, and even Sasha Vujacic (15 pts) had a stretch where he looked like a right-handed Manu Ginobili. The Lakers did allow the Jazz to creep back into what was a blowout and make it a close game midway through the fourth quarter, but Kobe and Pau led another run to put it out of reach. And to the question of, “Can you really be a serious championship contender when Vladimir Radmanovic is one of your starters?” the Lakers answered “Yes.” … Kobe and Gasol are playing like they grew up together or something. Their chemistry is amazing considering they just got to know each other a few months ago. Did you see that slip screen play they ran late in the fourth? Gasol had the ball at the high post with his back to the basket, and in the same motion that Kobe came to get a handoff from him, Gasol dove to the basket and Kobe skipped a pretty bounce pass to him. Gasol didn’t even have to look back for the ball; he just stuck his hand out and it came to him for an easy layup … Question: Are the L.A. fans gonna keep chanting “M-V-P!” whenever Kobe breathes after he’s presented with the award? Will they give it a rest until next season? And even then, will they start on Opening Night or wait until after All-Star break? We could be looking at a chant that lasts for however long Kobe plays in the League … At the beginning of the game, you saw what happens when the only legit shot-blocking presence on the court is a small forward. For a while it seemed like every shot both teams took was an open layup or dunk right under the basket. Guys didn’t even have to jump; it was like an instructional video on the Mikan Drill … Once again Carlos Boozer (15 pts, 14 rebs, 7 turnovers) was just OK, but Deron Williams (14 pts, 9 rebs, 9 asts) couldn’t recapture the stroke he had when Utah closed out the Rockets. One time Deron tried to drive and dunk over everybody but Ronny Turiaf sent him packing. And Mehmet Okur slapped up another Dwight Howard-ish stat line (21 pts, 19 rebs) that no one really noticed until they saw the boxscore afterwards … Derrick Rose was sitting front row at Staples, wearing what looked like Nike Air Max’s (that kind of thing has implications right now, you know) and an L-R-G sweatshirt. We heard from one of our industry buddies that Rose, Mike Beasley, Jerryd Bayless and O.J. Mayo all signed deals with L-R-G recently … Getting all the way to a Game Seven just to see a blowout is one of the great letdowns in basketball. It’s like plowing through an amazing holiday dinner, only to find out Grandma isn’t making dessert this year ’cause Oprah told her it wasn’t healthy. It’s probably just over-eating to do the dessert anyway, but you end up forgetting how great the dinner was and you’re left with a bad lasting memory because there’s no sweet potato pie payoff. The Hawks (or Celtics, depending on how you look at it) robbed us of that pie in what ended up being a rout in Boston … The C’s were relentless, making ATL look like a college team on both ends of the floor. Paul Pierce had 22 points and 8 boards, Kevin Garnett put up 18 and 11, and Joe Johnson (16 pts) was one of only two Hawks to crack double-digits … KG should be expecting at least a $25K fine for doing the throat-slash after one of his dunks put the C’s up by about 213 points in the third quarter. But considering he probably should have been suspended for manhandling that referee earlier in the series (imagine if someone like Roger Mason had done that?), the fine is nothing … Despite the blowout, there was still some residual chippy-ness. Marvin Williams hammered Rajon Rondo on a drive and got himself ejected with a Flagrant-2, and KG got back at Zaza Pachulia by planting him on a backcourt pick that Zaza never saw coming … How about some of the Boston fans acting like they just won a championship? Congratulations, you beat a 37-45 team in the first round in seven games. Good job. Are you worried about LeBron yet? … We’re out like ATL …

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