All Your Bulls Are Belong To Us

11.19.08 9 years ago
Kobe BryantKobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

Despite getting lit up by Pau Gasol early and often (he had 22 points in his first 12 minutes and finished with 34), the Bulls were right there with the Lakers until midway through the second quarter, when Kobe checked in and sparked a 13-0 run that turned the game into a blowout. Although he didn’t seem 100% on-point, it was one of those times where Mamba decided, “Alright, this ends HERE” and wanted to put the Bulls to bed before the break … Late third, Kobe (21 pts, 6 asts, 3 stls) and Trevor Ariza were on a 2-on-1 break when Kobe flipped an underhand ‘oop to the trailing Ariza, who seemed surprised that Kobe gave it up and couldn’t do anything but pass it back in mid-air. Kobe took the ball in the corner, stood there for a second — while no one from the Bulls bothered to check him — and buried a three to give L.A. their largest lead at the time. And when Chicago made its last-ditch rally in the fourth, Kobe again came off the bench with his cape on and hit a triple that sealed it … Before Kobe’s first-half run, L.A. was down one when Sasha Vujacic had a breakaway and couldn’t decide if he wanted to dunk it or drop in a finger roll. Either way he missed, and Lakers announcer Stu Lantz deadpanned “Sasha’s not a dunker.” … Meanwhile, Gary Payton and Ahmad Rashad were KILLING Luol Deng all night in the NBA TV studio. Ahmad kept saying stuff to the effect of, “He’s there, but we don’t see him,” and GP wrote Deng off altogether, saying he “won’t show up all year.” GP got on Deng for not diversifying his game since he entered the League, and guessed that he’s in a funk since Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon are taking all the shine … Before the game, an graphic erroneously said Drew Gooden was averaging 25 points a night. Chris Webber almost fell out of his chair on that one. “Is that his average or his number?” … (The last time we said something bad about Ahmad, Gary and C-Webb in the studio, a lot of readers wanted to know what we didn’t like about their on-air dynamic. Here’s the thing: While GP is entertaining in a Barkley-ish way, when he gets with the other two, it’s basically Ahmad saying the name of who scored on the highlight while GP and Webber go “Ooooh!” and “OH MAN!” No one offers any insight, and Ahmad doesn’t know who any of the non-superstars are. Although GP’s visible disdain for any guard who he thinks he’s better than — and is therefore stealing a roster spot from him — is worth watching alone) …

LeBron JamesLeBron James (photo. Mannion)

The Cavs ran their winning streak to eight in New Jersey behind LeBron‘s 31 points. Some of the Dime crew was in the building, and we saw first-hand the media circus surrounding LeBron. Sadly, not one reporter wanted to talk to Tarence Kinsey, who is honestly one of the funniest guys in the League … Here’s part of Andrew’s account from the post-game locker room: “Lorenzen Wright sat in the locker room eating the post-game spread (BBQ wings) wearing a dress shirt and tie without any pants on. He even had a crazy diamond-studded watch on. But no pants.” … On his list of NBA players he’d hate to play with, Pat included “Everyone on the Wizards not named Caron Butler.” If you don’t get where that came from, you should have seen Washington’s loss to Miami. Ninety percent of the time the Wizards would shoot after one or two (or zero) passes, and they generally play like they have no idea what’s going on with the scoreboard or the clock. With 1:30 left in the fourth quarter, Antawn Jamison cut Miami’s lead to three with a three-pointer, and the next time he touched the ball he jacked a long two with plenty of time on the shot clock, basically wasting a crucial possession to run a heat check … Watching D-Wade and Caron chat after the game, we realized something: With Wade playing his college ball in Wisconsin, and Caron growing up there and coming back faithfully every summer, what are the chances those two got in some pickup runs together? In an area that’s not exactly a hoops hotbed, can you imagine the damage Flash and Tough Juice would do? … Speaking of hometowns, Mike Beasley (6 pts, 3 rebs) had a rough go in front of his D.C./Maryland peoples. He was in foul trouble early, only played about 15 minutes, and was nowhere near the court in crunch time … You shouldn’t have been surprised to see Chris Bosh hang 40 points and 18 boards on the Magic, nor should you have been surprised to see those numbers weren’t good enough for a win. No one really talks about it, but Bosh kind of owns Dwight (he’s the anti-Okafor) even though his team can’t seem to figure out Orlando … Mavs/Bobcats was just ugly. Dallas jumped out to a 15-0 lead and helped Charlotte fans break an NBA record for the earliest into a game that large groups of people were seen leaving, and by the fourth quarter it was just target practice, with Dirk (32 pts) and Josh Howard (21 pts) firing up open shots like they were in an empty gym. Meanwhile, the Bobcats’ starters — Felton, Carroll, Wallace, May and Okafor — COMBINED for 27 points on the night … In the fourth quarter of Blazers/Warriors, the GS announcers were going crazy wondering why Nellie wasn’t running more plays for Anthony Morrow, who had a team-high 22 points at the time but couldn’t get the ball because Stephen Jackson was steady gunning. And when Morrow checked out of the game, the Warriors fans damn near gave him an “M-V-P!” chant. Crazy. This kid was barely in the League two weeks ago, and now he’s the savior … Golden State did everything they could to give the game away, but got lucky when Rudy Fernandez popped off at a ref and drew a tech in the final seconds that let Morrow (25 pts) ice it at the line … Seems like we’ve been waiting two years to say it, but here it is: Greg Oden was a beast. He put up 22 points and 10 boards, and had a couple of two-hand dunks where he almost ripped the rim off …

T.J. FordT.J. Ford

Are we sure Mike Woodson studies game film? And are we sure it’s film from this season? The way the Pacers outran the Hawks, and the way ATL didn’t look ready for it at all, you’d think Woodson prepared his guys by having them watch tapes of the Reggie Miller/Rik Smits-era Indy teams. T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack ran the show like option QB’s, Danny Granger (34 pts, 4 threes) did whatever he wanted, and even Jeff Foster was getting buckets … Foster is definitely the most popular guy on the Pacers. Whenever he scores the Indiana crowd goes nuts, and when he hit a three at the first quarter buzzer last night, they exploded. After the commercial break, the announcers were acting like Foster had just had his jersey retired, showing his wife in the stands and talking about him in glowing terms for minutes on end … There was some 80-year-old man in the crowd who the announcers said was Rick Pitino, but we’re not sure if we believe them. Either Rick the Ruler always wears TV makeup and gobs of Just For Men and forgot to slap it on, or he aged 20 years over the summer … When did Jamal Crawford become the new Ben Gordon? Name one other guy in the League who can drop 30 points one night, get three points the next night, and none of it surprises you … Did you catch the Oklahoma/Davidson game? Stephen Curry dropped 44 points (six threes), and he wasn’t even the best player on the court, as the Sooners’ Blake Griffin put up 25 points and 21 boards in the win. Oklahoma was blowing the Wildcats out until Curry started dropping 30-footers and led his team on a 14-0 run to get them back in it. Towards the end he cut the lead to three when he hit a step-back trey in Griffin’s face (remember, Curry is 6-2; Blake is 6-10) while toeing the sideline. But Griffin was just a little bit better. (One time Fran Fraschilla compared him to Amare.) Every important rebound ended up in his hands, and he was going coast-to-coast for dunks when he wasn’t beasting his way to the line. Straight animal. He’ll look good in a Bobcats uniform next year … We’re out like Vujacic in the Dunk Contest …

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