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Basketball at it's Finest. Also, other stuff. Sometimes.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Quick Hitters

First things 1st, a huge, LOUD shout-out to Zach Harper, AKA "DDL ALL DAY", of, he showed love and gave Ball Above All tremendous props during a live ESPN event a couple of days ago. He makes blogging look easy, which I'm realizing is the hardest feat of all.  So I finally get to catch a breath; since the Clips/Utah game on the 28th, it's been go-go-go-go; eating, driving, eating, laughing with fam, eating. Eating. But I kept one eye on the games, or on the articles and blogs about games, and I got to say that this has been ONE AMAZINGLY entertaining season. See, I watch the NB to see really fast, extremely tall cats try and dunk over, break the ankles of, or shoot the eyes out of other behemoths, and for the storylines: think of it as the male version of soap operas. This season hasn't disappointed. I mean:

  • What's wrong with Chris Paul? I've watched when his games were televised, and the 1st 2 weeks of the season, he was like a dribbling Napoleon; no matter if he was one of the smaller dudes on the court, just the way he carried himself said I'm Gonna Beat You. Now? I was blown away to see that he was the leader in PER. Beckley Mason of HoopSpeak has a smart analysis that explains why numbers can be deceiving. Is this a case of efficient < raw dominance? I remember a couple of years ago, before I had NBA League Pass, when you saw Hornets highlights, you saw Paul as a whirling dervish who alternately overpowered, out-quicked, and simply flummoxed defenders with sleight-of-hand. He was just BETTER. Now, according to Beckley:
              "Perhaps some of this has to do with the six footer’s ongoing recovery from his 2009 knee injury. Paul, who claims to be healthy, seems to lack his typical burst in the open court, though in the half court his strength and explosive lateral quickness still allow him to penetrate nearly at will. That is, in short distances, Paul remains elite, though his full court sprint is no longer as impressive.
   And though Paul is producing more efficiently than ever before, he’s also producing less. His point per game average of 16.5 is Paul’s lowest since his rookie season, and his assists per game are under 10 for the first time since 2007."
DEFINITELY worth watching. IS this a Melo case; he's trying, but not TRYING trying? Naaaah...

"Pau...tired. Pau...sleeeep."
Speaking of which...What's going on with Pau Gasol? For stretches last season and early on this year, Pau wore the crown of BBMITG (Best Big Man In The Game) quite easily; for all of Dwights breathtaking physical dominance and the volleyball spike-blocks, Pau was a consummate craftman with a veritable tool chest to work with. Now, as I've mentioned before, he's all but invisible for games at a time, and  even die-hard Laker lovers are questioning his seemingly untouchable All-Star status (thanks, Darius Soriano). Personally, as much as I admire his game, his marked decline in production and his horrible neckbeard should make him an observer during All Star weekend, maybe Kobe's Bag Caddie.

"Sup. Where my money."
Sports is all about controlled struggle and conflict, and elite athletes perform against the opposition walking a line between agression and anger all the time. Sometimes that boils over in negative ways, with teammates slugging teammates. In baseball, in college, in football, in soccer. Sometimes, like at Kansas, they mix it up. The point is, it happens. So when 2 young NBA players like Tony Allen and OJ Mayo get amped up and a scuffle ensues, why the outrage? Gambling, girls, playing time, missed assignments; no matter the reason, it IS part of - not just their world - the world in general. I'm not condoning the fight, but at the same time, I think banning gambling, even a partial ban like Ken Berger of CBSSports suggests, is NOT the answer (although the esteemed writers at CBSSports alternatives to Bourre' had me rolling). Let's stop the knee jerk reactions and admit that no matter the situation, Charles Oakley's bullyfoot handling of Tyrone Hill back in 2001 is awesome.

"Tall enough. Now lemme see your teeth."

On a serious note, when will David Stern shut down Donald Sterling's foolishness? Heckling your own players is bad enough, but add in the litany of gross, racist, and bizarre behavior compiled here, and doesn't SOMETHING have to be done? I understand that courts need undeniable evidence, but as the caretaker of a multi-billion dollar sport, doesn't the onus fall on Stern to protect the image of the NBA, not just from the players bad behavior, but owner malfeasance (we're looking at you, Marge Schott)? And as this thoughtful Jemele Hill piece from a while back asks, where is the PLAYER outrage? We can't move forward as a country if we turn a blind eye to such blatant ignorance.

 Oh, yeah. The Miami "debacle"? Um...never mind. Heat are on....FIRE right now. Bosh been killin', Wade been killin', LBJ, he's got the top billin'. I guess we all should apologize to Spolestra. Still not sold on the "legit" contender noise, the bench is suspect, but DANG, they run deadly breaks and are showing defensive chops. Stay tuned....

What are some of the stories that get you pumped in the L right now? Hit me here, on Facebook, or on Twitter! (james2477911)

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