Saturday, February 24, 2007


"Taint that a shame" - Lakers 122 Celtics 96

A grim lesson in the ugly realities of the NBA food chain, tonight the Lakers abused the hapless Celtics with such ease and facility that it truly seemed as if they were playing two different sports. For the Lakers, it was professional basketball – with their workmanlike squad of NBA journeymen surrounding the supernova glow of Kobe Bryant, they were an unspectacular but well oiled machine, competently executing at all facets of the game. For the Celtics, it seemed as if they were playing charades, with their limitations in skill and physical ability serving as a point of contrast from which their effort seemed nothing more than the game of children emulating the play of a real team. In short, at one point I wrote in my notes – it’s the fucking Washington Generals.

The first quarter encapsulated the reason why the persistently hopeful Kool-aid crew believe this team is “a player away.” The Celtics were aggressive, ran the floor and moved the ball. But it was simply a matter of the Lakers, particularly Kobe, taking the game seriously, and soon enough they claimed a lead that they never relinquished. Kobe had 22 in the first quarter, abusing Paul Pierce to such a degree that the captain seemed rattled and broken to a degree that even this hard heart felt a tinge of pity.

By the third quarter, the reserves were playing big minutes and the Laker announcers were reduced to reminding the audience about upcoming schedule changes and the fact that the late Dennis Johnson played his college ball up the road at Pepperdine. The LA announcers generally try to put a positive spin on their opponent’s efforts, particularly as the Lakers had lost six in a row, but tonight it was a whole lot of “Talk to me when they beat a real team.”

On the player side of things, Gerald Green scored 21 of the most meaningless points ever witnessed in a professional basketball contest. Rondo flailed around like a rugby player in a cricket match (meanwhile Marcus Williams scored 19 points on 7-10 shooting tonight in New Jersey). Telfailure somehow went 1-7, but most who watched the game barely remember him being on the floor. Pierce looked like a slow, dazed, 5th generation facsimile of Kobe, Al Jefferson continued to compile impressive stats in losing games, and Leon Powe attempted a career high 10 free throws.

In short, it was every bit the waste of a Friday night in LA many observers feared it would be. Thankfully, it was cold out and raining, and even great men like Garry Shandling and David Duchovney suffered along with us.

Player of the Game - Kobe Bryant. An unimaginative choice with his 38pts 9 assists, but he bitch whipped the Celtics so badly in the 1st quarter that he wins simply for serving as an illustration as why it takes a truly transcendent talent at the guard position to qualify as a “franchise player.” That and beating a rape rap.

Hamcock – Delonte West. In the few games I’ve seen this year, it’s been shocking to see how much Delonte has regressed. His numbers might be respectable, but he just makes lots of dumb plays and seems to try to do far too much. The CelticsDoom battle cry has been, for years, “get the ball out of Pierce’s hands and into a real playmaker’s.” We formally add Delonte’s name to the list of players whose hands the ball should be taken out of.

Quote of the Night - “He took a great all star in Paul Pierce and made him look like, ‘what’s he doing on the same court with me?’” Paul Westphal in the post game, talking about Kobe. With the relatively sober analysis of the Lakers announcers, I couldn’t cull a single brokeback-esque malapropism to make an immature joke out of. A tragedy of sorts, truly. But as for the quote, Westphal was right on the money, even though he’s a tired old smug fuck with bad hair and cheesy jewelry. The Celtics should have enjoyed the local beaches, took a stroll down the 3rd street promenade, and just forfeited the fucking game, for all it mattered tonight.

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