The Puppet Show

01.22.10 8 years ago 50 Comments


Unlike some nights when you have to choose between five different games on League Pass, one on NBA TV and reruns of “Jersey Shore,” tonight was one of the few instances where everything came together. As the League’s top two teams and top two players squared off, all eyes were on Kobe vs. LeBron, and the League’s No. 1 and 1a did not disappoint … The mood was set before the jump, as “O Fortuna” from Carl Orff‘s Carmina Burana blasted from the speakers. Aside from perhaps “The Ride of the Valkyries” when the helicopters attack the village in Apocalypse Now, there’s nothing more epic … Still trying to recover from the Christmas Day Massacre, Kobe made it a point to come out firing, knocking down his first two jumpers and going 5-for-8 in the first quarter. Side note: Since when does Kobe jump every time to pass? … While the Cavs had Anthony Parker on Kobe (31 pts), the rotating tandem of Ron Artest and Lamar Odom guarding LeBron (37 pts, 5 rebs, 9 asts) decided their game plan was to let him shoot wide open jumpers. Maybe they didn’t get the memo, but he can knock those down … The Cavs downfall could be Parker defensively. Can he guard Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson and Vince Carter in the playoffs? Sure he’s a solid two-guard, but it’s like when your mom bought you Magic Stars instead of Lucky Charms. Sure it’s cereal with marshmallows, but there’s a big difference in quality … Tweet from Bill Simmons (@sportsguy33) midway through the first half: “FYI for Laker fans: Kobe’s best 4 teammates are also the 3rd, 4th, 5th + 6th players in this game. Please keep remembering this tonight.” Unless they make a serious trade, there is absolutely no way this Cavs team could beat the Lakers in a Finals series … It was around this same time that Kobe hit a free throw in the second quarter, making him the youngest ever to reach 25,000 career points, at just 31 years old and 151 days. Moving into 14th place on the all-time list, Bryant passed Wilt Chamberlain who was able to accomplish the feat at the age of 31 years and 186 days … In the third, the Cavs went iso two times in a row with Shaq (who called himself a “high-level role player”) on the block, and both times the Diesel just beasted Pau Gasol with sheer strength and old school post moves. This caused Reggie Miller to tell Pau to hit the weight room. We didn’t realize, but Miller must have grown up in a glass house … At the start of the fourth quarter, the picture cut out and TNT threw up a stock photo of the empty Q with Marv Albert still calling the game. Turns out it wasn’t that big a deal, as James rested for the first five minutes and Kobe the first seven (why?) … But once the two stars were back on the court, it was go time. After a 7-0 run by the Lakers, capped by a Black Mamba dagger to tie the game 87-87 with 1:30 to play, LeBron put the Cavs back up two. On the next possession, Gasol got fouled and missed both at the line. Down two with under 24 seconds to play, the game was just about over … Coming out of the timeout, before the Cavs inbounded the ball, LeBron was passionately rapping along to Eminem‘s verse in “Forever” which was blasting in the background. Fouled immediately, James went to the line and split the pair, but Anderson Varejao came up with the rebound. Game over …

Mo Williams (Photo. Darren Hauck)

With Mo Williams (who looked like John Legend sitting on the bench) out for the next four to six weeks, the Cavs are going to have to make a move to stay competitive. There is already one rumor circulating that the Cavs could be looking at a trade for Nate Robinson. Donnie Walsh has made himself clear that the Knicks will only make a deal if they can include the salaries of either Jared Jeffries or Eddy Curry, so if the Cavs are willing to take on one of the two, they could get Nate … The second game of TNT’s doubleheader went according to script. With both teams having played the night before, the first half ended with the Clippers leading by one. But in the third quarter, the Nuggets took over, paced by Carmelo Anthony (28 pts, 10 rebs) and Chauncey Billups (20 pts, 6 asts) … This duo has to be one of the most lethal in the NBA. ‘Melo is at the point where you’re surprised when he misses an open jumper, and since returning from injury, Billups is averaging 25.4 points and Denver is 6-1 … With no Eric Gordon and no Sebastian Telfair, veteran Ricky Davis got his second start of the season. (Coincidently, the other one came against Denver on Nov. 20.) While his nine points was nothing to write home about, he was pulling vet moves on Ty Lawson … Maybe it’s just us, but every time the trailer for the movie Legion came on, we couldn’t help but think about Birdman … In All-Star news, for those of you that are already up in arms about Allen Iverson‘s spot in the starting lineup for the Eastern Conference next month, you might be able to sleep easy tonight. Bothered by a sore knee, the Answer said he would consider his health before deciding whether or not he’d play in his 10th All-Star Game … In other news around the League, the owners of the Thunder agreed yesterday to pay 1,000 former Sonics season-ticket holders $1.6 million to settle a class-action lawsuit stemming from when the franchise relocated to Oklahoma City … After being heckled by a fan who was allegedly calling him “fat boy,” Glen Davis was fined $25,000 for his, shall we say, graphic response … And last but not least, the Warriors unveiled more than 500 solar panels atop the team’s Downtown Oakland practice facility. The system has the capacity to save the team more than $2 million in electricity costs over the next 25 years. We’re out like Mo Gotti …

Around The Web