The Lady Volunteers, the two-time defending N.C.A.A. champions, will play Sunday at unbeaten and sixth-ranked Auburn, intent on securing career victory No. 999 for Summitt. No coach, man or woman, is within 30 victories of her total.
Summit is, in my opinion, the best basketball coach in the world today. Top to bottom, wire to wire, no one does more, with less, than her. Longevity, efficiency, commitment, connecting with players and bringing in wins, there is simply no one her equal. Hats off to her.
I hated the Bulls pick of Rose, even though I felt he was the best player in the draft. I thought he would get muddled with the Bulls guards and have to progress too quickly. He’s worlds above every player on that team. The style on offense is flashing and brutal. He’s active and focused on defense, never frantic, never lost. He’s certain with his movement, slick with this adjustments, and there’s not a piece of his game I haven’t seen from him. Hustle, rebounding, touch, power, speed, quickness, anticipation.
I wonder what he’s going to be like when he’s got a real coach.
Remember about a week ago, when I declared that the Magic werenâ€™t ready?Â That might have been a little premature.Â You win, Moore.
But like he preaches, one game isnâ€™t everything.Â And this one game saw the Cavs on the road, missing two of their starters, relying on Wally Szczerbiak for offense.Â This isnâ€™t to take away at all from the Magic last night, but in an effort to be measured, this win doesnâ€™t change too much.Â The Cavs are still a better team on the whole, but like I told Moore early this week, if thereâ€™s a team that can get hot in the playoffs and ride that streak to a championship, itâ€™s the Magic.
Last night proved that LeBron needs his team healthy.Â Â Last night also proved that the Magic should be taken seriously, because if that shooting shows up 50% of the time in the playoffs, theyâ€™re dangerous.
Thing That Cracks Me Up
This is an actual team of players, and not from a Wayans brothers movie.
Thing Thatâ€™s Probably True
The Suns/Spurs rivalry is over.Â It might have started being over when Shaq came over to the Suns, but it was definitely over when Dâ€™Antoni went to the Knicks.Â Yeah, the teams and fans still donâ€™t like each other; but no longer is there the feeling that weâ€™re looking at a duel between philosophies that could define the league.Â The games are still entertaining, but they donâ€™t have the gravity that they used to.
The obvious: I’m a huge Lakers fan, as well as a huge Kobe Bryant fan. If you’re aware of how I first began blogging, you know this. With that said, let’s hope our venerable Editor-In-Chief, Matt Moore, is having a good day… if he isn’t, he probably won’t speak to me for a week because of this. Here goes nothing.
In this post:
Believe it or not, not everything about being a Lakers fan is “super awesome”
I’ve been a part of the ideological minority for most of my life. I’m a Mac user in a Windows world. I’m a Christian in a very hostile and increasingly secular society, but I’m also an intellectual in a Christian sub-culture that tends to frown on my thought process and the questions it leads to. I’m a moderate conservative who attended two of the most liberal colleges in the nation and, until very recently, was living in one of the biggest liberal hotbeds in the United States â€” all environments very hostile to conservatives, especially Christian conservatives. For that matter, I’m a conservative in a culture that is swinging decidedly left. Oh, and here’s one for you: I absolutely believe that global warming is real, but I absolutely don’t believe that it is a human-created problem.
I believe this is the part where you ridicule and insult me because I don’t believe what you do.
Here are a couple more for you: I’m a Lakers fan in a sports world that loves to hate the Lakers and their fans, and I’m a Kobe fan in a world still full of Kobe haters. And as many of “us” as there are, there are a lot more of “the rest of you” â€” and you don’t tend to play nicely with others us.
The one thing that all of the above have in common is that in each case, being a part of that group means suffering a constant onslaught of verbal affronts from the vocal majority. It means being continuously inundated from every direction with rhetoric that, aside from typically being untrue, is unwelcome and offensive to me.
As someone who has had plenty of experience as a member of ideological minorities, I can tell you this: It’s tiring. It wears on you, and it just gets old. Sooner or later, you just want to withdraw yourself from the conversation entirely, because you’re tired of fighting the world â€” and more than anything, you’re tired of everyone constantly attacking you, and the things you love.
So it is with the Lakers â€” in the media, among sports fans, and more than anything, throughout the blogosphere. Continue reading →
Ed. Note: All thoughts, actions and diatribes below represent the utter despair that is the Corndogg.Â Apparently he’s a “Luddite and a wimp who cannot upgrade his work computer so he can actually post during the day.”Â Well said, Corn.
Yo Superman, Ever Had a Sample of this Lebron-yte?
Cleveland @ Orlando, 8:00pmÂ TNT
Apologies for the bad pun (see Suns/Spurs entry below for reasons). I want to first give a heart fist pound to TNT for putting on two amazing games tonight that will be amazingly watchable, debatable and live-bloggable.
That being said, OMG am I excited for the Williams/Nelson matchup tonight. Two of the hottest points in the league, both on fire from the field and both the absolute linchpins in their respective team’s current success. I love Nelson because he wants to beat you up and curb stomp you. Mo just wants to look pretty… oh so pretty when draining clutch threes. Then, he would like to curb stomp you.
If Mike Brown doesn’t have the Cavs slashing to the lane on every possession and trying to knock Dwight out early, I will be shocked. If not, expect HOWARD SMASH ME LOVE DUNK BASKETBALL HOWARD SMASH to come out in full force tonight. LeBrown (intentional) goes Transformer tonight.
And yo, SVG, hook Reddick up with some burn tonight. Not my kind of burn, but, you know, actual playing time. Once in my life I would like to see JJ mismatched on Lebron as he clears out the lane. I love the kid, but I need a good laugh right now.
1 Shot, 1 Beer and a Soul Draining, Stick in the Eye, Stomach Curdling, Back Breaking 3 Pointer at the Buzzer – Before I Go.
San Antonio @ Phoenix, 10:30pmÂ TNT
Without getting too much into it, I had to watch (live) Duke get outcoached by Dino fracking Gaudio with 2.8 secs last night. Then, I watched Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton “coach’ his team to not guard the fastest player in college basketball so he can run unguarded down the floor with 3.2 secs left and beat them. My life is utter hell right now.
Good thing for me is, that when the Suns, who come out gunning in the first quarter and hold on to a 9 point lead at the half, get slowly and subtly beaten in the second half by the Spurs tonight and then Bruce Bowen (since it can’t be Mason again and God is really out to get me) nails a 3 in the final seconds to send another nauseating, paralyzing defeat to my sports psyche. Duncan is on fire and will continue to abuse Amare. Hack-a-Shaq will ultimately come out in the 2nd quarter as the Spurs cut a 16 point lead to 9 by the half and Parker will make at least eleventy billion uncontested, right handed layups.
Scripting Suns/Spurs games is the exact opposite of being a writer for “Lost.” You always know whats gonna happenÂ But, you keep hoping. Well, let me tell you something, hope is sucking right now. So are my teams. Prove me wrong, Terry Porter.
Kevin Durant is a good basketball player, and heâ€™s very meaningful to me.Â Watching Kevin Durant makes me feel happy.Â I like the way he stays very low to the ground when he goes to the basket.
I almost typed Kevin Garnett.Â But this is a post about Kevin Durant.
Kevin Durant should be an All-Star, but I donâ€™t think he will be.Â Actually, thatâ€™s not true.Â I kind of have the feeling that the coaches/players will vote in Carmelo Anthony, but since he hurt his hand theyâ€™ll choose Kevin Durant instead.Â Itâ€™s a backdoor way of getting to the All-Star game but itâ€™d be his first of many.
Kevin Durant is incredible.Â Heâ€™s supremely watchable/bloggable and heâ€™s actually made the Thunder a joy to experience.Â And all of this while having Earl Watson play significant minutes.Â Damien Wilkins sucks.
While I watched a couple of hours of basketball last night, I donâ€™t really feel like I got a handle on any of the games since I was flipping back and forth between games.Â There wasn’t a game that really held my attention; andÂ looking at the scores, nothing seems terribly surprising or exciting, so Iâ€™m not too worried about it.Â Plus Lost was fairly incredible.Â Oh, and this happened:
I remember when I was in the 6th grade, breaking your arm became a really big fad.Â Seriously.Â I mean there were yo-yos, and Tamagotchis…and broken limbs.Â I hope people didn’t do it on purpose, but walking around with that neon cast was about as hip as you could be, for some reason, and the fact that all of your friends could sign it made it a pristine “cool indicator.”Â In a matter of two or three months, it seemed like as many or 15 or 20 girls at my school were sporting hard, bright pink casts, flaunting their vulnerability and popularity to the world in the strangest masochistic fashion display I have ever seen.
In the NBA, a broken bone is no biggie…unless it’s your skull.Â Breaking a limb is an occupational hazard that happens upon many a player, just a matter of steps above a sprained ankle or a strained muscle.Â But when we’re looking at two concussions in as many days, and Gerald Wallace nowhere in sight, strange things are afoot.
This isn’t a sport where you’re shoving your helmet-covered noggin into the shoulder pads of a 350 lb. lineman.Â It’s also not a sport in which you’re mercilessly beating the snot out of each other.Â This is supposed to be a finesse game, a game where incidental contact is the rule and foul calls protect the players from shenanigans.Â Brian Scalabrine is expected to be out at least a week with what’s being called a “minor concussion.”Â Rough stuff.Â Meanwhile the fates, in their perveted sence of cross-conference equality, saw it fit to knock Trevor Ariza upside the head in last night’s losing affair against the Bobcats.Â He’s been described as “slightly impaired” due to the blunt force, and no one can blame him.
Neither of these guys is Wallace or Dwyane Wade circa 2005, throwing their body every which way, hitting the floor from the highest heights and taking the ‘score now, take care of my body later’ approach.Â Ariza is a high flyer when he gets the chance, but his acrobatics typically come on the break or through the backdoor — hardly high traffic areas that would cause significant damage.Â Scal is just “that guy,” a fringe rotation player for the champi0n Celtics who happened to get a bad break on a rebound attempt in practice.
I’m not going to get sentimental here.Â There’s not much to read into in regards to the nature of the game or the physicality of the NBA.Â But look, guys, we know what’s going on here.Â We know that you just want to sit at the cool kid table.Â It’s like, so obvious.Â So quit actingÂ so desperate, okay?
Little Girl You’re in the Middle of the Ride (Milwaukee at Indiana):
Oh, Pacers.Â You’re just so lovable.Â You look like you need a hug, Roy Hibbert.Â Can I oblige?Â I’m always here, man.Â Always.Â You remember that.Â Okay.
And dearest Bucks.Â I’ll admit it, I didn’t think you had it in you.Â I judged you prematurely, and that was wrong of me.Â But this, this right here, is for real.Â This game you’re about to play is the big one, champ, the real deal, tiger.Â You do right by each other okay?
This game could be the beginning of something truly beautiful.
Remember That Time When Mo Williams Torched the Kings Because They Couldn’t Guard the Perimeter? (Sacramento at Boston):
No disrespect to Mo.Â He’s a good shooter.Â But I’m not exactly anxious to watch Rondo hook up Allen, House, Pierce, and the like from deep possession after possession.Â Kevin Martin may be so underground that’s he’s above ground and so efficient it makes my brain spin, but doing it all is going to be awful tough with this squad checking you.
ThasswhatI’mtalkinbout(Atlanta at New York):
Has all the makings of a great game.Â Remember how the Rockets didn’t have Yao to exploit the undersized Knicks, and got sucker-punched on their way to an embarassing loss?Â That won’t fly with Atlanta.Â They go fast and they go slow, they’re smooth, and they’re in control.Â You want the Hawks to run, and Josh Smith is going to destroy a rim or two.Â You try to deny pentration and let them shoot, and you’ve got Bibby and Joe nailing big shots from the outside.Â And you have trouble guarding versatile two-way forwards?Â Marvin Williams just might make your life a living hell.
Of course all of that is almost secondary to the fact that if the Knicks show up, they’re a surprisingly good basketball team.Â I salute you, New York Knicks, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a winner tonight.
Nope (Toronto at New Jersey):
Don’t watch it.Â Really.
It’s a Funny Thing That Happens When the Lights Go Out.Â All the Centers are Tucked Away in Their Beds, and the Scorers Come Out to Play (Washington at Miami):
Two words: Jamaal Magloire.Â On top of that, Blatche is injured.Â Welcome to the modern NBA, where a good third of the league is making the center position irrelevant by the day.Â And by irrelevant I mean only that they’re irrelevant against each other, because not having a center is like forfeiting your knights at the start of a chess game.
In other news: Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison finally played good games simultaneously, Mike Beasley inexplicably fades into 8 minute games every now and again, the Wiz are still terrible, and Shawn Marion still really, really needs to find a home.
He’s All That (Detroit at Minnesota):
From IMDB: “NBA legend Kevin McHale is dumped by his prom queen shoe-in girlfriend for some slimey TV soap star. On the rebound he takes a bet from his best friend that he can take up with mousey bespectacled Randy Foye and get him to be a productive NBA player. Great friend, impossible task. Though once Foye scraps being a point guard, moves the two full time, and doesn’t try to do too much, McHale finds himself taking rather a lot of notice of him.”
NOLA.Â N-O-L-A, NOLA (Denver at New Orleans):
No one on the Hornets is a transvestite.Â That I know of, at least.
This is one of those games that the rest of the West loves: no matter who wins, somebody has to lose; another loss that helps the clawing playoff contenders get the edge ever so slightly.Â Of course both of these teams are going to make the playoffs, but every game is going to matter in the all-powerful seeding race, and an L could give a lower seed delusions of grandeur.
Chris Paul is better than Chauncey Billups.Â This much is true.Â And for all that Chauncey has managed to do with the Nuggets, it’s a pity that he’s going to be shown up tonight.Â But Chris Paul knows no mercy, takes no prisoners, and is all scorched earth, baby.Â In a sense, there were only two things preventing Paul from single-handedly destroying his opponents: David West and Tyson Chandler.Â Those two do wonders for the Hornets as a team, but apparently they also prevent Chris Paul from doing his best Vlad the Impaler impression.
Two Thousand Words (Memphis at OKC):
And We’ll Have Fun, Fun, Fun ‘Til Fortune Takes Yao Ming Away (Philadelphia at Houston):
The Rox fell apart against New York, and while Philly is less organized chaos and more Andre Iguodala doing whatever the hell he wants, they should still be a pretty formidable foe in Houston.Â I see no reason why Elton Brand shouldn’t be able to dominate a game with no true shot-blocking threat and a world where he is undoubtedly the most talented post player participating, but we’ll see.Â He’s still out of rhythm, and whether or not that’s caused by or the cause of him coming off the bench I’m not so sure.
But this is far from a guaranteed Sixers victory, a guaranteed Rockets problem, or even a guaranteed Brand breakout.Â Artest may be just as dominant against Philly’s wings (EDIT: Just read that Artest is probably out until the All-Star break.Â All I have to add is: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA), and Luis Scola could make Reggie Evans all spiral-eyed.Â Is it a game to set your DVR for?Â Probably not, with the rest of the slate.Â But on any other night this could be a sweet find, the diamond in the rough of a big night of NBA action.
OMG GRUDGE MATCH! (Golden State at Dallas):
Monta Ellis is back!Â That means that there are actually relevant remnants of “We Believe” on the roster not named Stephen Jackson just in time for a Mavs deathmatch.Â Nevermind the fact that that storyline hasn’t been relevant in years or that the Mavs punked the Dubs last season.Â That’s just the man trying to get you down.Â Just RISE UP, Warrior faithful!Â Believe, dammit!Â Believe!
Laugh and the World Laughs With You.Â Weep and You Weep Alone (Charlotte at Portland):
Of all the times to have a double-header, the ‘Cats have the unfortunate pleasure of running their tanks on empty against the Blazers.Â They’ll be much hullabloo about how the Bobcats beat out one of the best in the league, how Kobe should or shouldn’t have fouled out, and how much they’ll miss Gerald Wallace.Â But in the meantime, the entire team will be power walking at most, gassed physically and emotionally from a game that they should have won in regulation.Â But this is life when you’re a young team, and a win is a win.Â Unfortunately, this one’s a loss.
Which Came First: the Clippers or the Misery? (Chicago at LAC):
The Rockets injuries are some sort of tragedy/self-fulfilling prophecy.Â But predictions of missed time in Clipperland was more punchline than premonition, an easy way to get out of taking this team seriously.Â I have my doubts that Baron will ever be able to function effectively under Dunleavy, but who’s to say what could have been if Kaman, Camby, Randolph, and Baron got some real games together.Â Al Thornton’s been under the microscope as his role has increased, and things haven’t been pretty.Â Meanwhile, Eric Gordon has eaten up the spotlight as a better pro scorer than I ever thought possible.
DeAndre Jordan hurts my brain.
Another year, another tale of Clipper tragedy.Â A team can only take so much, and it’s a sad thing when I’m talking about tragedy on a night where they’ll fade in contrast to THE CHICAGO BULLS.Â The Bulls are far from miserable, but they’re not exactly blessed.Â They currently employ Larry Hughes.Â But I do feel for LAC, possibly LA’s other other team, behind the Lakers and anybodythat’snottheClippers.
An adventure in the ‘casual fan’ reaction to the events surrounding last night’s Bobcats-Lakers contest.
1. Shock and Denial: “NO-NO-NO-NO-NO-NO.Â GERALD.Â NOT NOW.Â PLEASE GOD NOT NOW.Â ohno-ohno-ohno.Â This isn’t happening.Â This isn’t happening.Â This isn’t happening.Â And it’s definitely not happening right now, when the Bobcats kinda need Gerald to y’know, guard people, and rebound, and stuff.Â Nope.
2. Pain: Dammit.Â Man, that looks like a hard fall.Â My sides hurt just thinking about it.Â Bynum totally did that on purpose.Â You take the foul if you have to, you hold the guys arms in the air, that’s fine.Â But you get up there, you overrated nerfherder.Â You don’t just undercut guys while they’re up in the air, hip checking them into hardwood oblivion. Â It’s on, Bynum.Â It is so on.
3. Anger and Bargaining More Anger: …AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!
4. Depression: The injury probably wasn’t even that bad…I mean it looked bad in real-time.Â But in slow motion, he just kind of slowly drifts to the floor, clutching his chest.Â I mean –
– …I hate you, Derek Fisher.Â I hate you so much.Â I know you can make clutch threes.Â You don’t have to prove anything anymore.Â But can’t you please just let the Bobcats win?Â I need to feel something in this empty shell that once housed my heart, and all I feel now in unspeakable grief.
5. The Upward Turn Anger, Again: THAT’S RIGHT, KOBE.Â THAT’S WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOUR TEAMMATE IS A CRASH KILLER.Â ENJOY THE BENCH.
6. Reconstruction No, Seriously, I’m Pissed: A collapsed lung?Â You collapsed his lung, Bynum?!Â And I had the nerve to think everything would be okay.Â You just grabbed a guys lung with your fumbly fist and squeezed the life out of a good three-fourths of it, until all of his precious alveoli were like tiny smashed grapes.Â You heartless bastard.Â You won’t get away with this.Â I swear, if it’s the last thing I do…