So over the past couple of days, 3 of the 4 best players in the NBA have butchered the end of a game. Lebron missed free throws, D-Wade missed a layup and Kobe was just playing bad for 2 minutes. Do you see a trend here? Even for the top players in the world – end of the game basketball is very tough. It’s amazing how many people watch these games and you think that the last second shot is suppose to look like Hoosiers where it all happens in slow motion and the clock is taking an eternity to count down from 3, 2, 1 – then you have a jumper and it ends in a swish!
Folks, this is not the 50’s nor a movie – do you want to know what the last 10 seconds of a game is like? You’ve got 10 world class athletes, eighteen thousand people screaming at you and you can’t hear, a lot of clutching, grabbing and pushing – you get the ball to anybody who can shoot that is open and who can win you the game…that’s the reality! It’s not Hoosiers, that’s why 3 of the 4 best players in the league were exhausted and have struggled at the end of games because it’s not easy! We want our athlete’s to be perfect at the end of a game when they’re most exhausted. Lebron James is forced to guard David West for 40 minutes – he’s an All-Star forward. You’re surprised Lebron is a little tired by the end of the game and that Wade is not perfect. Since I listen to a lot of sports talk radio, you probably have people waiting to talk for almost 20 minutes yet when they’re on the air, they can’t even get through a sentence! And you want perfection after 40 minutes of basketball from these players??
Everybody was banging on Metta World Mishap Thursday morning! Excuse me; isn’t goal #1 as a trailing team, with only seconds left, to get an open look from a top shooter? Isn’t that goal #1? Open look, top shooter. If I said to any Laker fan Thursday morning – as the players came out of the time out Wednesday night “You’re going to get a wide open jumper, on the road, to win the game” who wouldn’t take that?? “Well Kobe…” who cares! It doesn’t matter who, you get a wide open shot, doesn’t matter who! Didn’t Steve Blake win you the Denver series? Kobe didn’t hit those jumpers! That was all Steve Blake!! Three nights ago, Mario Chalmers, last night it was Steve Blake – they’re paid multi-million dollars a year, not to defend at the highest level but to hit jumpers. The Lakers brought in Blake just for that shot! They didn’t bring him to LA to rebound or to distribute or to stop Dwayne Wade! They brought him in to shoot jumpers and that’s exactly what you brought Steve Blake for, to shoot that jumper! He did it against Denver, now you’re killing Metta World Mishap?
If you’re a Heat fan or a Laker fan, you can’t do better than the last 2 nights than the shot you got to win or tie the game…you can’t do better than that! Everybody is like “Well Kobe was open…” if the definition of open is a long looping pass to the opposite corner over Serge Ibaka, if that’s open, then the Redwood Forest is the Great Plains! I’m here to tell you that that is not the definition of “open” in the NBA and it doesn’t look like Hoosiers. Rick Carlisle was on the The Herd on ESPN radio Wednesday – one of the best coaches in the league, Mavs’ head coach. He was asked about last second shots – he studied some tape and said “…We did a loop of about 80 different plays that teams have run throughout the league over the last year to get 3 point shots when they need a 3. I went through the entire thing and virtually never do you get the shot that the play is set up for, teams are just too good defensively”
Too good!! You just can’t do it and everybody in the arena knew that Kobe was going to get the ball. Afterwards Steve Blake, to his credit, said “…Kobe was coming up the floor to get into the middle, I was just in the corner to just be an outlet and Westbrook kind of ran off me so I was wide open – you gotta take it and make it!” Gotta take it and make it! He did against Denver but didn’t against OKC – come people, it’s not Hoosiers. It’s hard enough just getting the ball inbounds much less to get a wide open jumper! Now if you’re a Laker fan, you can be negative/positive but here’s the thing. Some problems in a playoff series are unsolvable. Ramon Sessions against Westbrook is unsolvable, Lakers bench is unsolvable. Now you can bounce back on psychology in the series – if Westbrook tweaks an ankle, Kobe goes nuts, now its 2-1 Oklahoma City, they’re gripping about Westbrook’s ankle and are a young team on the road…series can change!
Now I don’t think it will, I think it’s asking a ton from the Lakers, I don’t think you’re ever going to hold Oklahoma City to 12 points in a quarter. I don’t think you can win back to back games against a young fresh team. I don’t think you can beat them in 4 out of 5 games, I just don’t think you can. I think they’ll play really well going forward, but the major issues I don’t think are really going to change – Ramon Sessions being over his head and the Lakers having the 2nd best bench in a 7 game series, you just can’t do anything about that. A couple of days ago – and I got drilled for saying this, but I was basically apologizing for Lebron because he just looked tired at the end of Game 2. No excuses on the missed free throws, but I just simply thought he and Wade looked exhausted. I’m not sure now if they can beat Indiana (Gm 3 had just concluded when writing this) and I don’t think they are winning the East with just 2 players and almost certainly not beating a San Antonio or a Oklahoma City.
I also thought – not that it’s an excuse, but that Kobe also looked tired after Game 2. That has to be the worst 2 minutes I’ve ever seen Kobe play in crisis…ever! He just simply never plays like that, where he takes a terrible 3 ball, had a ball go off his arm, had a turnover – I mean, just really bad judgment which to me, is just fatigue. I said the same thing about Lebron because I like both Lebron and Kobe – so maybe that’s the fan in me defending them. But when you’re asking these star players like Kobe to carry teams, Wade to carry teams and Lebron to carry teams – in Philadelphia, you’re not asking any one guy to do it nor are the Pacers asking one guy to do it or Oklahoma City. The Lakers and Miami are asking their star to play 40 minutes and literally do everything perfectly and I just think both Lebron and Kobe were different players.