Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stars Lay An Egg, Spurs Lay Doubts To Rest

I was very excited all day on Monday for the Spurs-Hornets game and the Stars-Wings game. Sadly, both were pretty much over in the first half hour.

Yes, the basketball game wound up going down to the wire after New Orleans scraped their way back into it, but tell me: did you ever really think San Antonio was going to lose that game once they got a lead? The Spurs were never going to lose a 9 point halftime lead. Even on the road against a "better" opponent.

The Lakers cannot be happy with this match up. Derek Fisher can't handle Tony Parker at either end. Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol can be cancelled out by Fabricio Oberto, Kurt Thomas and Tim Duncan. Vlad Radmanovich sucks. And Kobe Bryant is always an impossible cover, but Bruce Bowen is as good as anyone at doing it. And I didn't mention Manu Ginobili. The Lakers won't be able to run away and hide from the Spurs, and remember what happens to Kobe when games are close or they are down? The "new" Kobe vanishes.

In the Jazz series, in games that the Lakers won (none were particularly close) here are Kobe's average stats: 33 points per game, 8.5 for 15.8 shooting (54%), 1 for 2 on three-point attempts (50%). Here are Kobe's stats in Laker losses: 33.5 points per game, 11.5 for 29.5 shooting (39%), .5 for 8 on three point attempts (6%).

The Jazz did not do anything differently defensively in the two losses. Kobe just starts trying to take over and single-handedly erase leads...he stopped playing the offense and his teammates started watching. In losses he doubles his shot attempts, but his shooting percentage drops 15%! Forced offense leads to bad shots, which only lets the other team get layups at the other end.

Sure, the Spurs do not have great depth, and that is supposedly a great strength of the Lakers, but seriously, which bench would you rather reply on: Kurt Thomas, Ime Udoka, Michael Finley, Brent Barry and Robert Horry or Jordan Farmar, DJ Mbenga, Ronnie Turiaf, Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic?

Spurs in 6. I don't think San Antonio can win three straight at home, or I would say Spurs in 5. The Spurs will win one in L.A., the Lakers will win one in San Antonio and the the Spurs will close it out in game six in L.A. (remember the Conference Finals mysteriously switch to a 2-3-2 format).

As for the other big game last night, Dallas pulled one out of Philadelphia's playbook and didn't show up for their big elimination game. I stopped watching after the first period. But how good is the Stanley Cup Final going to be?

Stay tuned for a recap of the Major League Baseball First Quarter-Season coming tomorrow.

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