Tuesday, October 30
NBA Opening Night!
Somehow I didn't find out about tonight's NBA season opener until this evening. Read my scribbled random notes as I watch the games.
First up, the Portland Trailblazers versus the San Antonia Spurs.
[This game was boring so I'll sum it up in one paragraph. I blame the Spurs.]
The Trailblazers played the defending champion Spurs closer than the 106-97 score would indicate. But the Spurs played the exact brand of defensive, plodding, unselfish basketball that has won them two championships and bored countless fans. Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge looked outstanding and I have to wonder what his team could have accomplished this year if they had super-ugly man-boy Greg Oden.
Next up, the Houston Rockets travel to Los Angeles to play the Lakers. It's go time.
Four sloppy minutes later, Kobe lays in the first points of the game.
Luke Walton lays down a pretty assist. Luke will be one of the keys to the Laker's success this season. He's a natural playmaker that can score if needed. TNT commentator Doug Collins said the Lakers want Walton to be a double digit scorer. I think they'd be happier if he were a triple digit scorer.
Luis Scola just entered the game for Houston. His hair is ugly on a scale not seen since Nash sheared his limp mane.
Ronny Turiaf disrupts a Rockets pass, leading to a Kobe - Turiaf fast break connection. Great energy by the Lakers and they've jumped out to a 17-8 lead. The game is still sloppy, but at least the Lakers are on top.
Commercial: FrankTV is doomed to failure.
I've watched the Lakers run Tex Winter's offense for over seven years and I've read several of Phil Jackson's books and I still don't understand the Triangle Offense. I don't think Kwame Brown does either.
Kobe has 13 points, 2 assists, and 0 turnovers at the end of the first quarter. I'm getting the strong feeling that he wants to send a message. That message? "I'm good, please trade for me."
We're a few minutes into the second quarter and it's already 11:30pm. Watching sports on the East Coast seriously messes with my beauty sleep.
Dikembe Mutumbo is still playing? I thought his daughter made him retire.
The Rockets have tied the game at 29. Kobe is not in the game, and every Lakers possession since he sat down has ended in a forced shot and a fast break for the Rockets.
Stevie Francis is sitting on the bench and, according to the TNT commentators, apparently showed up for preseason duty out of shape and was outplayed by Mike James. I still have a soft spot for the Franchise since he was the very first player I ever drafted in my first fantasy basketball league. Obviously this was about six years ago. Now it looks like he's actually napping on a teammate's shoulder.
Kobe looks tired. I think skipping practice and not showing up for preseason games has left him a little unprepared for the pace of a regular season game.
Kwame Brown flubbed another dunk. I've heard that he has hands smaller than a carny's and despite never seeing a carny in real life, I believe the claim. His athleticism has always been superb, and his defense seems to be improved, but Kwame will never be the offensive machine MJ thought he'd be.
Kobe drove to the basket and turned the ball over again. He is definitely tired but trying to jump start the offense. This kind of one-man-showmanship will not help the Lakers win.
Commercial: The House of Payne is still on television? How?
Derek Fisher has brought the rainbow shot back to Lakerland. He's made five straight points, including L.A.'s first three pointer of the season.
Tracy McGrady hits his free throws despite two lazy eyes.
The half is over, both teams tied at 43. Sloppy first half but Kobe flashed a couple of baseline moves to show he's still got spunk left. He sure looked pretty sweaty for his halftime interview though.
Commercial: Stephen King's The Mist looks more silly than scary. Of course, I'd still scream like a girl if I were to ever actually watch it.
[Half time. Bathroom break. Good pee.]
Three minutes into the second half and neither offense is clicking, but now the Rockets are up 51-47.
Yao Ming went flying after a loose ball and came within three inches of frenching Kurt Rambis on the Lakers bench. Kurt looked willing but Yao changed his mind before man on man contact could be initiated.
Kobe has 21 points but he's taking way too many jump shots. The Rockets meanwhile are starting to roll and are now up 58-49. Yao Ming looks mildly autistic but the dude can still play ball. T-Mac isn't bad either.
Oh God. Somehow the Lakers scored against themselves. A high rebound slipped through Walton's hands and bounced high into the air, off the backboard and into the rim, nothing but net. How embarrassing.
The Lakers came out with a lot of energy but the Rockets clearly have the momentum as well as a 10 point lead.
Commercial: Movie preview for This Christmas. It looks an awful lot like Why did I get Married?
It's halfway through the third quarter and it's already 12:40pm. Time zones suck.
Kobe is missing a lot of free throws. He looks tired and the Lakers are playing just well enough to stay within range as the third quarter ends, the Rockets up 70-62. Walton has had a few good shots, Farmar showed some speed on a fast break dunk (I didn't know he could do that), but nobody else is picking up the offensive slack.
Hehe. Shane Battier just airballed a three pointer. Watching Duke alumni fail makes me warm inside.
Another jump shot by Kobe, another miss off the front of the rim. The man is tired and so am I.
Lakers center Chris Mihm just lost a shoe. I saw Chris Mihm's shoe before I realized Chris Mihm was in the game; what does that say about Mihm's effectiveness?
It's now 1am. The Lakers better win or I'm going to be pissed.
Kobe has now resorted to physically throwing himself at defenders in order to draw fouls. He isn't getting the calls and L.A. is down 77-65. It's slipping away for the purple and gold.
Surprise, surprise, Kobe has drawn another foul, only to go 1 of 2 at the charity stripe and 11-17 on the night. An awfully poor performance for a free throw shooter with a career average above 83%, and just one more indication that Kobe is not in game shape.
Now they're rubbing down Kobe's wrist and saying his sore wrist has been aggravated tonight. That kind of injury would definitely affect his shot.
Free throws and a timely jumper by Pescado have the Lakers within 6 points with 5 and a half minutes left. I'm now officially too tired to be funny.
The Rockets are now in the penalty and the Lakers are working the charity stripe. Bonzi Wells complains but his beauty mark cannot persuade the refs to his way of thinking.
Yao Ming just hit two clutch shots to put L.A. in a deep hole with less than two minutes left.
Commercial: I love the Reggie Bush commercial where he and his friend are walking down the street and the friend is begging Bush for some tickets to his football games. Reggie tells him to watch him on cable instead. What a diss. I love that one.
Three straight turnovers by the Rockets and the Lakers have closed to within four points with a little under a minute left. Unfortunately, Farmar just fouled Mike James to send him to the line. He misses both.
Kobe takes it to the hole and suddenly it's a two point game with 25 seconds left to play. What the hell just happened? The Rockets were smiling and slapping each other on the butt and now it's a tight, tight game. I like what I'm seeing.
Lakers steal the inbounds pass and Fisher sinks a two to tie the game. Damn!
Noooooo. Battier just sank a three with 2.5 seconds left. Damn!
Now Battier just fouled Kobe before he could attempt a three. Kobe gets two foul shouts but he'll have to make the first and intentionally miss the second so his teammates can score a deuce.
Kobe makes the first.
He misses the second shot, it bounces back and forth and back into his hands. Kobe goes up and bam! he gets nailed from behind. No call from the refs and the game's over.
The Lakers lost and now you've experienced it in more detail than you'd wish on your worst enemy. Good night.