Words by Phlip
Oh don’t think that just because Steve Nash is back that I am going back on the stuff I said about losing faith…Kobe still leads the league in scoring and is seeing the number grow as the games add up, and – with the exception of the 41-shot game the other night – still shooting better than he normally does.
That is a good and very desirable thing to see taking place, but offense is not their problem. When the three first-team All Defensive players on the team wake up and act like it, then I will become a believer. With a 5-game win streak and now toeing the line of the .500 mark that SHOULD and is considered an embarrassment for players on the level of this team, it is wholly possible that the Lakers will pull it together and they do still have time to become what everyone said they would be at the outset. Me, on the other hand? I’ll wait, and that is in spite of the 5-game streak until I see better ball movement and transition defense.
LeBron James let himself slip up and have some slightly less LeBron-like game and in such has loosed the grip on a surefire MVP campaign to Kevin Durant, who has upped EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of his statistical outputs (yes, check me on that) this season and has made the fact that the best beard in the league is now playing in in Houston. Yes, the Heat beat the Thunder Christmas night, and LeBron had an amazing all-around game in a win, but again what Durant is doing in defense of their record is amazing considering what they’re up against.
And speaking of that beard, Houston stopped by The Garden and embarrassed the now-4th-best team in the NBA. A few Knicks’ fans friends of mine found it HILARIOUSLY poetic that Jeremy Lin dropped by to put a clownsuit on Raymond Felton in that game. The Knicks went on to take it out on the Nets in the very next game, only to lose to the Bulls (who, again, should not be ignored even without Rose). The Christmas game will be the final installment of the Knicks/Lakers of this season and they will surely lick their wounds by taking their frustrations out on a team that has still not gelled well enough to play proper defense. I may not be able to bring myself to watch that.
Happy trails, D-Fish
After sustaining a patellar tendon strain probably from the rigors of playing NBA basketball at the age of 38, Fisher Reportedly asked the Mavericks for his waiver. They would go on to sign Chris Douglas-Roberts from the D-League just in time to welcome Dirk Nowitzki back and sustain a 38-point beatdown at the hands of the “don’t you DARE try to ignore us” Spurs. As ever, the “come back to the Lakers” chants were faster than immediate, but we just don’t have any room for MORE aged Point Guards who don’t defend their position very well. Retirement makes the most sense at this point.
Last week(s), Memphis was the truth. Now, we need not neglect to notice how amazingly the Clippers are playing right now. Also worthy of notice is that they’re doing it despite the fact that Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups are both on roster and that they have 60 minutes played between them all season. I say that to say this… This team has a DEEP bench, able to play on par with some (most) teams’ first units. With that, until the “Cripples” magically return like they usually do, we need to refrain from laughing at the Clippers for the time being. I seriously believe that they have earned the right to re-sign Chris Paul and ride him and Blake Griffin off into the future.
I am inclined, however, to say that it will all be for naught though. The Heat and Thunder are going to be this generations Lakers/Celtics as long as they can keep their most major megastars in place. I still think that, just like the Lakers/Celtics, that Miami has one more win in them before the Thunder figure them out and take any from them. I say all of that simply to reiterate my stance that Miami is repeating this year in seven games.
As is custom with the NBA, the games of MOST interest took place on Christmas. Celtics/Nets, Knicks/Lakers, Thunder/Heat, and then the night is capped off with Rockets/Bulls and Nuggets/Clippers after we have all eaten dinner. All around, the day had a playoffs-like feel, complete with wildly-colored shoes and cartoonishly-hued jerseys. Everyone in every game put on a show for an afternoon/evening where EVERY game was televised. One cool thing about that schedule is that the Staples Center employees are getting DOUBLE overtime, since both the Lakers and Clippers were at home for their games. Following the Christmas games the rest of the week is pretty much mundane. Either way, I will be here next week to discuss them.
Words by Phlip