Jordan Rules

01.26.09 10 years ago 106 Comments
Kobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

Remember when the biggest story surrounding Jordan Farmar was the time he played in a D-League game and a Lakers game in the same day? That seemed forever ago — yet somehow, Darren Collison, his backup at UCLA, is still in college — and now Farmar is a legit contributor and an X-factor who could make a difference in L.A. winning a ‘chip this year. Having missed about a month following knee surgery, Farmar came back yesterday and scored 14 points off the bench in the Lakers’ blowout win over the Spurs, and cracked the highlight reel when he found Trevor Ariza with a lob from midcourt. “We missed [Farmar] a lot,” Kobe said in the post-game. “He makes our second unit go. He’s the motor. Now that he’s back, everybody falls into their natural positions and we’re back clicking on all cylinders.” About the only person who really suffers here is Sun Yue, whose PT drops from the occasional 30 seconds a night to nothing … The game was essentially over by the end of the third quarter, and all of L.A.’s starters (sans Pau Gasol) sat out the entire fourth quarter. Blame the San Antonio defense: Too often they were running under the high screen instead of fighting to get over it, giving up wide-open jumpers left and right as Gregg Popovich gradually lost his mind. Kobe (22 pts) ended up with some shots that he might as well have taken in an empty gym, and one time Derek Fisher had like 15 feet of free reign to knock one down. You can get away with that against guys like Rajon Rondo or Derrick Rose, but Kobe and Fish will kill you all day with that much space … Andrew Bynum‘s 15-point, 11-board, 4-block line was solid, especially considering he only played 24 minutes. (You don’t think Portland would be more than happy if Greg Oden put up those numbers in 40 minutes a night?) Offensively, Bynum seems to be getting better every day since his breakout 42-point explosion against the Clippers. His confidence is sky-high right now … Yao (knee) sat out yesterday’s game in Detroit, meaning it was time for T-Mac and Ron Artest to get back on the court. Houston was smashing the Pistons in the first quarter, let them get back into it, pulled away again in the second half, then gave up the big lead again near the end. Eventually it came down to the Pistons being down three with eight seconds to go: Rasheed got a good look from his favorite spot straightaway, bricked, then Arron Afflalo — who Michael Curry had in the game after benching Allen Iverson for almost all of the fourth quarter — missed another three at the buzzer … Artest (24 pts, 9 rebs) is hilarious. One time after an and-one, he stood in front of the Detroit crowd flexing and grinning ’cause he knows they still hate him. Although when you think about it, Ron-Ron destroying that ’04-05 Pacers team cleared the way for the Pistons to make the Finals that year … Rip Hamilton had one of his best games in a while, dropping 27 points off the bench on 11-of-21 shooting. He and A.I. connected on some buckets, but overall they just don’t vibe together on the court. When Rip plays he’s still the focal point of the Pistons offense, which leads to Iverson being more observer than attacker … Speaking of guys not looking like themselves, T-Mac (15 pts) has hit the stage in his career where he’s like the old dude in a pickup game who you can tell used to be nasty, he just doesn’t have his legs anymore. He moves two gears slower than all the young guys, he can’t really get to the hoop anymore, and he doesn’t even try. He relies on screens and craftiness to get his shots, but is still a threat because he can still shoot and pass. Not saying McGrady couldn’t still contribute to a deep Rockets playoff run, but he may have seen his last All-Star Game. (And remember, HE’S ONLY 29!) …

Kevin Love (photo. Sasha Nialla)

We’ve got to find a way to get Al Jefferson on the All-Star squad. He was a beast against Chicago, dropping 39 points mostly on Joakim Noah. Big Al tipped in his own miss with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter to force overtime, and in the extra frame, he hit the go-ahead bucket on a hook over Noah. Joakim did record seven blocks for the game, and quite a few of them were on Jefferson. But on the two possessions that mattered most, he couldn’t contain Al … Minnesota was getting ready for a free throw when Andres Nocioni took his place on the block closest to the rim. For some reason, Vinny Del Negro started yelling at Noce about where he was standing (or something), and Noce yelled right back — and because it was so quiet in the Target Center, you could almost hear their entire conversation. Next time down the court, Nocioni immediately called for the ball and dropped a three-pointer, like he was telling Del Negro to STFU. Even the Wolves announcer called it an “angry three” … As good as Kevin Love has been, we haven’t seen too many of those famous outlet passes. But yesterday Love (19 pts, 15 rebs) got one where he cleared a defensive rebound, turned his body in mid-air, and before his second foot even hit the ground, fired a two-hand bullet to Rodney Carney well beyond halfcourt, who caught it right in stride and finished with a dunk. Dickie V would have passed out had he been there … Did you see what Josh Smith did to Steve Nash? Imagine Kobe’s “You stole my MVP!!” cram on Nash in the ’06 playoffs mixed with Ricky Davis‘ “OH SH*T!!” dunk in Cleveland and you get the idea … Conventional NBA wisdom should have told you the Mavs would get cracked in Boston. Last game of a week-long road trip, early afternoon tip-off, against a team that had won seven straight and was stomping everyone in the process? Please. KG, Ray Allen (4 threes) and Eddie House (7 threes) each scored 23 points in the 24-piecing. Throw in the fact that Dirk didn’t show up — he went 4-for-17 and threw one pass that was intended for Antoine Wright, only Wright wouldn’t have been able to catch it if he were standing on Manute Bol‘s shoulders — and Dallas never had a chance … Other notable stat lines from Sunday: Chris Bosh scored 31 in a win over the Kings; Danny Granger scored 27 in a win over Charlotte; DeAndre Jordan pulled down 20 rebounds in a loss to Golden State; and Nene put up 28 points on 12-for-12 FG’s in a win over Utah … BTW, was Carmelo rocking a Burberry jacket on the bench, or did he swipe somebody’s picnic mat? … As if we needed another reason NOT to watch the Bucks, Michael Redd tore his ACL and MCL and is out for the year. This also sucks for the Cavs, if in fact they were still thinking of trading for Redd at the deadline, and sucks for Richard Jefferson. Now everyone will learn that he seriously cannot be a #1 option … We’re out like whichever one of the Rockets draws the short straw …

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