“This Must Be The Champions’ Section”
February 14, 2009

84721188JDG027_ALL STAR PRACTICE

A few more photos from All Star weekend are coming out.  So we’re sharing.  I really like these photos because they kind of give you a taste of the camaraderie.  But I think the picture you guys might like the best is the last one of Pau Gasol.

84721188JDG028_ALL STAR PRACTICE

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Yeah… In A Short Bus Sorta Way
October 24, 2008

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

Pau Gasol is a strong offensive player.  He’s got skills.  But as a 7-foot post player, he’s ridiculously soft.  Marshmallow soft.  Goose-down pillow soft.  So soft, he really cost as they got smoked by the Celtics.

But that hasn’t stopped Pau from saying this about himself on a Spanish sports site:

“I think I’m a special player, I’m clinching things not so easy to take”

umm… well…

Pau Gasol said he earned “the people’s respect and admiration” at the NBA, especially because he is the first Spaniard player to reach an NBA final

Yeah… not so much.

Look… Gasol is a nice player.  But until he grows a pair and stands up to someone in the post, he’s not going to be “special.”  Special players either play on both ends of the floor (like KG),  or are so ridiculous offensively, that he lack of defense can be overlooked.  Pau is neither.

Herald:  Celtics ring in new year  |  Stern optimistic about league issues  |  Breakfast with champion  |  Globe:  Secondary issues  |  Athlon Sports:  Celtics preview  |  SI:  Celtics-Lakers 1-2 in pre-season rankings   GTAS:  Thunder the mascot gets his revenge  |  Amare Stoudemire dislocates finger  |  Alan Houston cut by Knicks

So Easy, Marc Gasol Can Do It
August 16, 2008

AFP/Getty Images

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

The commercialization of the Olympics simply must stop.  I get that Geico is sponsoring the coverage… to put the Geico Caveman on the Spanish National Team is going too far. 

Seriously now… I don’t get how a team that features this doofus, Pau Gasoft, and a 17-year-old is regarded as the most serious threat to the US.  Team Red, White and Blue smoked the Spaniards 119-82 in a game that saw the US regain is outside shooting stroke (12-25 3pt fg). 

LeBron was the man again.  He had 18 while DWade and Carmelo Anthony had 16 each.  The Wade we see here is the Wade that is going to tear up the NBA in the first half of the season.  He’s sick. 

One last note:  Jason Kidd finally took his first shot attempt in the Olympics (a made lay up).  I don’t know if he has even played 10 minutes a game.  Yet… he starts and then gives way to Chris Paul.  Why is he even there?

We Got Your Back China
August 16, 2008

Americans are always there to save the day. A tsunami strikes? We’ll ship supplies and lots of cash. An evil dictator needs to be overthrown? We’ll invade the country on a whim. The Spanish Olympic team makes a disgusting ethnic reference to the host country? Kobe, LeBron and D-Wade will swoop in, kick some Gasol ass and save the day. I’m looking forward to this morning’s matchup, even though there’s no way Team USA could lose to a bunch of cryin’ Spaniards.

In NBA news, Hornets backup guard Jannero Pargo is taking his skills to Moscow. And we’ve learned the Celtics did make an offer to Michael Finley, but he’s staying with the Spurs.

I’m feeling bad about the shots I took at Spain in this post. There is one thing I love from Spain. Check it out after the jump.

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Tolerance Lives In Spain
August 11, 2008

"Our brains would normally go here"

"Our brains would normally go here"

This has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve seen.

That’s the Spanish basketball team… pushing the sides of their eyes backwards… in the classic, racist, “hey… look at me…. I’m Chinese now” pose.  Yes, that’s Pau Gasol in there too (#4, 3rd from the right).  And yes, there is a pretty good Asian population in LA.  So their reaction to this should be fun.

(Via Deadspin)

Credit Where Credit Is Due
June 16, 2008

pau gasol and kobe bryantThe Celtics did what would normally have been enough to win that game last night.  But let’s give credit where credit is due:

Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom didn’t let that happen.

“Gasoft” smartly took it right to KG for most of the night… taking advantage of his foul trouble.  And as good as KG is as a defender, Gasol does seem to give him problems.  Losing Perk’s muscle on Gasol hurts. 

And they were both grabbing big rebounds and making plays… when they normally disappeared down the stretch.  And there’s no arguing with 39 points and 23 rebounds out of those guys. 

Now the question for Lakers fans is:  Can they keep it up?  I think a big performance in 1 out of 5 games amounts to more of an aberration than anything else.  But its a welcome aberration for LA… as well as a glimpse into why the Lakers were able to score so many point all year long. 

Now… if you REALLY want to impress me… do it in front of the 18,000 rabid maniacs that will spend time “warming up” in local watering holes before piling into the Garden tomorrow.  I don’t think you have it in you.

Vegas Must Be Crazy… Or Are They?
June 15, 2008

For the third straight game, the Lakers are favored in Los Angeles.  They didn’t cover in game 3.  We know what happened in Game 4.  Now Vegas has the Lakers -7 in game 5. 

I don’t think the Lakers win by 7.  I don’t even think the Lakers are going to win…. which makes this a great line for Vegas.  They’ll get a ton of money from the “Lakers are toast” crowd eager to get 7 points… and they’ll get a ton from the “Celtics will mail it in crowd.”  Heavy action on both sides… just how Vegas likes it.

Its going to be interesting to see what Pau Gasol considers “more aggressive” in this game.

“I’ll try to be as aggressive as I can, offensively and defensively,” Gasol told reporters on Saturday.

 

“I’ve tried to do a good job defensively on (Celtics forward Kevin) Garnett all series long but I’ll try to be a little more assertive on offense, if I get the chance.” 

“If I get a chance” means “if Kobe passes me the ball.” 

John Hollinger is suggesting the Lakers go small to open things up… which means Pau and a bunch of shooters (and not Lamar Odom).  Basically… the Lakers are going to try everything they can… every lineup and trick. 

And I can’t imagine what the players are going through.  I’m nervous as hell.

I Enjoyed Kobe Too
June 11, 2008

box score

There was Kobe Bryant last night… gliding through the air… flailing like a cartoon character falling off a cliff every time he got touched… and shooting.  Oh… was Kobe ever shooting.  A lot.

And I loved it.

Kobe shot 12 of 20 last night.  Better than 50%.  Good shooting night from Kobe.  But it was his, ahem, passing that I REALLY loved to watch.  All… ONE… of his assists were gorgeous.  See for yourself: It was this one… to Pau Gasol (the look on his face is priceless.  “Zee ball… she finally escapes Zee Mamba!”). 

It didn’t matter if 2 guys were on him with Pau Gasol wide open.  Or if he had 2 options to give a teammate and easy dunk.  Or if he was way off balance with 3 guys staring at him (leaving SOMEONE open).  Or if he was so far under the basket that it would have seemed like a bad shot for even plastic man to attempt.  Or… well… you get the point.

Kobe Bryant shot the ball 20 times.  Sasha Vujacic was second on the team… with 10 attempts.

I will take that kind of game from Kobe every time.  In fact… I’m begging him to play that exact same game again.  Same for the rest of the Lakers.  If there is some magic spell that would allow for all of those same shot attempts in Game 4… I’d sign up for it right now.

Because Kobe was “Bad Kobe” last night.  Sure, he was on fire… but don’t be fooled…  He was “Bad Kobe” through and through.  Doubling up your teammates shot attempts is big-time bad.  One assist is mega-bad.  87 points from the “vaunted” Lakers offense… at home… in Game 3 of the Finals… is a boy-band made up of week-one ‘American Idol’ rejects bad. 

The Lakers need Pau Gasol to have MVP-type numbers for them to have a real chance… But Kobe Bryant needs to be the MVP.  Kobe will never… EVER… allow anyone to look back at these Finals and say “sure… you won without Shaq… but Gasol was the Finals MVP.”

So keep shooting Kobe.  Take 20 shots again in Game 4.  25 even.  Hell… make it an even 30.  Every shot you hoist… just makes things easier for the Celtics.

Trend Vs. Exception
June 11, 2008

kevin garnett blocks pau gasol

The Celtics got a combined 19 points on 8 of 36 shooting from Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

The Lakers got a combined 13 points on 5 of 18 shooting from Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol.

Celtics fans are saying “We feel good going into Game 4 because we were close the whole way through even though 2 of our main threats were way off.”  Lakers fans are saying “We feel good still winning even though 2 of our main threats were way off.”  The difference is:  One was an exception… one is a trend.

The Celtics complete lack of offensive production from Pierce and Garnett is completely new.  Pierce has been awesome in this series.  KG has run hot and cold… but not this cold.  Odom and Gasol, however, have been largely absent from the Lakers offense for all 3 games (aside from a few spurts from Gasol).

So when it comes to Game 4… what is more likely to happen?  Odom and Gasol magically figuring out how to join in the Kobe Bryant shooting extravaganza… or Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett hitting their season and playoff averages? 

Rondo’s Blog:  Let it get away (and he talks about his ankle)  |  WBZ Video: Postgame reaction|   Herald:  Pierce simply homesick  |  Bryant leads Lakers to win  |  If any father knows best, its Walton  |  Kobe never more giant  |  One out of 3 not enough  |  Other shoe drops  |  Chris Wallace roots for Celts  |  Despite living with HIV, good health a Magic (Johnson) act  |  In defense of Bryant  |  Pollard left to wonder about refs  |  Stern denies claim  |  Foul issue in the NBA  |  Despite win, Lakers not moving in championship direction  |  Globe:  Wrong way in LA  |  Game 3 photos  |  Coast trip  |  Ryan: Out west, game went south  |  Lakers fix was quick  |  Vujacic: Plenty in reserve  |  Allen routinely productive  |  Pierce didn’t have a shot  |  Rondo suffers ankle sprain  |  Souza:  Game 3: Obstructed View (thoughts from back east)  |  SI:  Lakers win despite soft frontcourt  |  Game 3 Grades  |  ESPN Daily Dime:  Playing Kobe straight up didn’t pay  |  Hollinger:  Vujacic machine hums

Nice Form Pau
June 8, 2008

pau gasol

I’m not quite sure how Pau Gasol gets this crazy looking shot of his to work.  What’s he doing with that top hand… tickling the ball?  And that arm of his looks like a big stork’s leg.  My head’s already throbbing after a wild night of beer pong… looking at this photo is making it worse.

So here we are… heading into Game 2… and the good news is that both Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins are going to play.  We know we need Paul… but this year’s KG-infused Kendrick Perkins is a big factor against a team willing to give way to more physical players (exhibit A:  Perk not moving out of Lamar Odom’s way).  

And Perk will have to be his normal beastly self… just to make up for the behavior of others in Boston.

If you’re a Celtics fan, it will no doubt ruin your morning to learn about the dish of apple pie a la mode that was sent to Kobe Bryant’s room the other day. 

“You know, I’ve heard stories in the past about (the Lakers) coming in here and not even getting room service and stuff like that,” Bryant said yesterday at the Garden as his team practiced for Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Celtics tonight.

“But my room service is cool.  I didn’t even ask for the ice cream, but they hooked me up,” Bryant said. “I’ve heard the horror stories from the past, in the ’80s, when the guys came in here. It’s not like that anymore.”

Ugh.  I miss the old days when it would have taken 3 hours for a moldy piece of spit pie to get to his door.  And to think… he got all that nice treatment after saying this in the Game 1 pre-jump huddle.

“We could play them seven times here and beat ‘em!” Bryant shouted, according to several teammates and an arena official who overheard the screed. “We could play them on Mars or Pluto and beat ‘em! We’re the better team!”

Herald:  Game 2 goes long way toward deciding series  |  Ray’s ‘D’ starts to shine  |  Garnett all business  |  Kobe will grab spotlight in game 2  |  Pierce’s knee rekindles C’s spirit  |  Globe:  Parental influence   |  Waltons a prime time drama  |  Saturday photos  |  Their hands are being forced  |  Showing a ‘Mob’ mentality  |  Jackson expects better Bryant  |  Game of ins and outs  |  TrueHoop:  A Specialis speculates on Pierce’s knee  |  ProJo:  Celtics have done a good job on Kobe all season  |  T&G:  Allen more than a shooter  |  SI:  Time for Kobe to fly  |  ESPN:  Time for Pau to get aggressive  |  Scouts Inc split on who wins game 2

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