Saturday, November 25, 2006

Quick thoughts on Friday's games

Ho Hum, another come-from-behind fourth quarter victory for the Jazz. This contest with the Lakers was a heck of game, but in the end it was offensive rebounding and the great play of Carlos Boozer that gave the Jazz the victory.

From the Lakers' side of things, this wasn't close to a bad loss. They had multiple chances to win the game, and the shots just wouldn't stay down. In particular, Lamar Odom had one of those fourth quarters where the ball seemed destined to go through the net, yet somehow found a way not to.

I know Kobe Bryant had a very quiet fourth quarter, but let's not start the "he should have been more active" discussion.

For one, he's still not 100%, so fading on the road has to be somewhat expected.

Also, and this is a key factor to the team's overall success this year, Bryant saw that Odom and Kwame Brown were hot offensively, and he smartly tried to keep them involved.

The Lakers can't win a title without the "supporting cast" winning some ballgames, so there's going to be some trial and error in the process. Hopefully, Bryant and his teammates will find the right balance.

Elsewhere, Dallas keeps on rolling with a big win in San Antonio. Dirk Nowitski continues his MVP-like play, recording his sixth straight double-double. Suddenly, the Mavs are the team to beat out West.

The East is an unmitigated disaster right now.

I thought John Hollinger was nuts earlier this week when he wrote that Miami was headed to the lottery, but then I sat down and watched them play twice. When Pat Riley is inserting Jason Kapono into his starting lineup, there are serious problems in Heatville.

But honestly, what choice does Riles have? He can't continue to use Antoine Walker when he can't make a shot from anywhere (inside the arc, outside the arc, the free throw line).

I feel bad for Dwayne Wade. Hopefully, Dorrell Wright can emerge as an option for Miami, but even that will be an up and down proposition.

And what in the world is going on with the Bulls. Look, they do this every year, and they blame it on the circus trip. Then, they'll come home and rattle off eight in a row, and everyone will be excited about them. But, to me, something is different about this horrible road trip. This was the team that was supposed to instill fear in their opponents with their defensive intensity, rise above the horrors of five games out West and show they had championship mettle.

Instead, they look worse than last year's team.

123 points to Philadelphia? Are you kidding me? How about the performance of Ben Wallace last night? Zero points, zero rebounds in 20 minutes. I could get that stat line, and I don't make anywhere close to the $60 million they're spending on him.

The Bulls might want to wake up. I know the East is bad, and there's plenty of season to be played, but right now, Chicago is performing like the worst team in the Conference, and you can't blame it entirely on elephants and clowns.

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