We are quite possibly watching the most efficient playoff campaign of Kobe Bryant's career. (More along those lines.)
Mark Madsen does not buy for one second that Phil Jackson doesn't have a lot of duties running the Lakers. The former Laker lists some of the things Jackson does that really matter: "TRUST IN PLAYERS: This kind of goes with the triangle offense, but the way Phil coaches he allows the players on the court tremendous freedom to basically do anything they want, AS LONG AS IT WAS WITHIN THE TRIANGLE. One of the first rules of the triangle offense is that if you have a direct line to the basket, you immediately take it. (In other words, going on your own and being aggressive and even shooting an unexpected shot is part of running the triangle effectively) It sounds so basic, but some coaches run plays like a football play with a specific end in mind. So the result is that with the basketball coaches that coach like football, some players end up being 'robots,' which is the worst thing you can say to any basketball player. PR--This is an interesting one. When we played against the 76ers in the NBA finals in 2001, there was a lot of talk about Shaq swinging his elbows and hitting Dikembe and other 76er players in the face/head. During one of our team meetings, Phil told all of us that when we addressed the media later that day that we should emphasize the fact that 'Shaq deserves the right to pivot when going into a post move.' It was kind of funny, because it was a great counter-argument to the media storm and other teams public complaints about Shaq's physical play. And we went on to win that series never losing another game."
Click on the first commercial break in this early episode of the Dana Carvey show for Carvey, Stephen Colbert, some kittens and a hippo puppet telling tales of a Phil Jackson Bulls teams.
Jason Thompson and the fourth overall pick for Rajon Rondo: Would you do it? The Kings assets are real, but Rondo is a champion, one of the league's best young point guards at both ends of the floor, and only a few months older than Thompson. My best guess is that if Rondo's really on the block, this offer from the Kings is low.
Matt Mossman writing on Empty the Bench, telling of a playoff game in Turkey: "All potential projectiles flew at the away team's fans, some of them open water bottles that sprayed in flight. Cops jumped into the stands, and one caught a fan in the process of hurling a cup. The guy protested innocence anyways, which would have been more entertaining if I wasn't within a swinging fist of the exchange." Mossman can't wait to return for the next game.
John Krolik of Cavs the Blog: "I still haven't fully wrapped my mind around the fact the Lakers won this game. They did absolutely nothing that should've meant victory. I mean, here are your stretch possessions: With 2:35 left, Kobe makes a wild drive and throws the ball away -- the ball gets deflected, the Lakers retain, and Trevor Ariza (WHOM THE MAGIC GAVE AWAY FOR NOBODY LAST YEAR WHY DOES NOBODY MENTION THIS) bombs in a broken-play, contested, off-the-bounce 29-footer to tie the game. Hedo Turkoglu makes up for some missed free throws with an ice-cold step-back 3 and a floater to put the Magic up five. Kobe misses a 3 (that looked on line). The Magic run the clock, get it to a wide-open Rashard Lewis, who pump-fakes up and gets a wide-open free throw jumper that he clanks, and the Magic can't get back on defense because Dwight Howard is being held on the rebound. Kobe makes an absolutely beautiful two-for-one fast-break play, throwing one of the prettiest dimes to Pau Gasol you're going to see and allowing the Lakers to not have to foul. Howard gets it directly under the basket and gets arm-dragged to the ground by Kobe, then misses two free throws, either of which would have essentially iced it. One of the most painful sports scenarios imaginable. The Magic allow a 3. Good God. Pietrus fires up a terrible leaning jumper."