The Los Angeles Lakers advanced to the Western Conference Finals with an 89-70 victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of their series. And Kobe can breathe a sigh of relief. Even without Yao Ming for some of the series, the Rockets still pushed the Lakers to the brink of elimination and for Kobe to a career-crippling defeat. Kobe has faced so much scrutiny over the years for his character, his skill, his attitude, but this was a bit different.
This was Kobe vs Shane Battier. People have always wondered how good Kobe is, if he can carry a team to a championship, and if he is as good as Jordan (he’s not). This time though it was is Battier better at defense than Kobe is at offense. This was new to Kobe.
This Rocket team has limited scoring, especially with Yao out, but has great defensive players in Battier and Artest amongst others. Could the defensive stalwarts of Houston outlast Kobe and his Lakers?
Battier played defense on Kobe like Kobe had never faced before throughout the entire series. Every shot, Battier has his hand millimeters from Kobe’s face. He fights through screens and hip checks every possession. He pushes Kobe around and forces him to his inefficiencies. Still, Kobe hits a shot and struts back up the court saying, “He can’t guard me” Continue reading “Kobe Survives”
In last night’s game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons, Cleveland led by 29 points one minute into the fourth quarter at 79-50 and both teams subbed their scrubs into the game. Well, the Pistons’ backups came ready to play and in the next couple minutes, Detroit went on a 27-5 run, cutting the Cavs’ lead to 7.
All of a sudden, the Pistons were back in the game. Just as quick as they got back in the game though, Detroit found themselves down 91-77 , because they had put their starters back in the game.
Games 1 and 2 have proven that the Detroit starters cannot compete with the Cavs top guys. They may steal a game in Detroit out of pure adrenaline, but I don’t even see that happening. The Cavs are going to beat the Pistons’ starters 90 out of 100 times. It was clear all game last night that it was not one of the 10% of times the Pistons’ starters.
If the starters only have a 15% chance of winning against Cleveland’s top players than the reserves, the scrubs, must have a 1% chance of winning. From the first three quarters, it was clear that Detroit was not going to win with it starters on the court. However, the surge in the fourth quarter gave the slimmest of hope that maybe this was the scrubs 1% chance of winning. Now, to be fair, the Pistons’ scrubs played against the Cavaliers’ scrubs and that is very different than playing against LeBron James and his unit. The chances were still extremely minimal, but it was better than the 0% chance Detroit’s starters had at winning. Continue reading “Leave The Scrubs In!!”
As I watch the NBA and NHL seasons winding down, I have been thinking about how many teams have stopped caring about winning, and instead are just trying to avoid injuries. So many teams in both leagues clinch a playoff berth or home field advantage and immediately rest their players. Now, if you’re a team ranked around 4-6 in each conference, I can understand resting players. Those teams have no shot at winning the league and thus have nothing really to play for, but for teams ranked above them that do have a chance to have the best record in their sport, why are you resting players?
The most underrated part of American Sports is the idea of how much more important the playoffs are than the regular season. Why is a team that does well during a 3-week stretch deemed the champion over a team that does well during a 5-month stretch? Why does a team that gets a couple lucky bounces in 15 games in the playoffs “better” than a team that is the best over the course of an entire season? The champion of soccer leagues throughout the rest of the world is considered to be the team who accumulates the most points (best record) throughout the entire season.
Now, like the metric system, doesn’t that make a lot more sense? Continue reading “The Problem with Playoffs”