QUITE FRANKLY, THE NBA DRAFT WITHOUT STEPHEN A. SMITH IS A LITTLE DEPRESSING. AT LEAST WE STILL HAVE LIL SAS TO FILL THE VOID IN OUR HEARTS AND TO TALK TO KEVIN LOVE. QUITE FRANKLY, I AM SURPRISED HE GOT THE JOKE AND SHARES MY LOVE OF CHEEZ DOODLES!
May the Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society of Gentlemen never die.
Four years, two teams, and an NBA Championship ring later, and Shaquille O'Neal is still bringing up the relationship (and lack thereof) between himself and a one, Mr. Kobe Bryant. Although Shaq claims he and Kobe have a better relationship now, the video below shows Shaq freestyling at a local New York nightclub, saying things such as, "Kobe couldn't do [it] without me," "Kobe how's my ass taste," and, in reference to his own infidelity and upcoming divorce, "Kobe ratted me out, that's why I'm getting divorced."
Yesterday, two things ended with a ceremonious thud. Willie Wonked Out's tenure as Mets skipper and the NBA season. Neither was pretty, neither was worth writing home to Mom about. ESPECIALLY how fugly the Lakers went down to the Celts in the New Garden. The Boston Three Party performed up to their potential, after we spent the first two rounds wondering what abducted Ray Allen. KG stepped his game up and performed like The Big Ticket is supposed to, Paul Pierce upgraded himself from The Truth in my book to The Fact. Because The Fact of the matter was in this series, amidst all the hoobla and the like, he and his Celts wanted it much more than the Lakers did. Period, point blank. I was one of many who had this wrong and needless to say, coming into it...who could blame folks for picking the Lakers? They looked better in a much better conference against far superior (at the time) competition. But in retrospect, they beat a shiftless, listless Nuggets team in the first round they should've swept. They embarrassed the Jazz in 6 and took out the reigning champs in 5 decisive games. Flip side, the Celts were pushed to the brink by the Hawks and Cavs...
Okay, after Thursday night's inexcusable implosion that made Chernobyl seem like the 4th of July, I have a few things to say...
1) No more 'he's like Jordan' shit. For any NBA player, past, present or future. That's it. Kobe, I hate to say it, but you're no longer Kobe Bauer. You're just Kobe Bryant. That's all. Nobody even remotely CLOSE to being 'like Jordan' would dare blow a 24 point second half lead...AT HOME in a CRITICAL FINALS GAME.
2) The Celtics are proof positive that no matter what rule changes are made, DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS. Wanna know how you come back from down two dimes and four pennies in the second half? You play DEFENSE. That's how.
3) Doc Rivers apparently, knows how to coach after all. Doc's starting to remind me of the smart kid who plays dumb a little too well, then when he decides to throw that switch, is smart enough to break down formulas even Einstein couldn't touch. (Just saying, he's better than we thought he was.)
4) Big Chief Triangle may want to lose himself in Bermuda after this series. The real Bermuda Triangle by the by. In 2004, his team lost because simply put, they were older than dirt and it was just obviously apparent that the Pistons as a team wanted it more. This time around, armed with a walking WMD that's up for declassification in about a half or so, it was hard to pick against the Lake Show in this series. REALLY HARD. Not when the Lake Show breezed through the West and the Celts were extended to 7 in their first two rounds against far inferior before showing they had a spine and balls against the Pistons in 6.
Can we all admit now that the NBA officials are probably crooked? If not all of them, then at least Tim Donaghy and Dick Bavetta? There's a mountain of evidence out there, including Bavetta's own suspension by the NBA, that suggests he's either crooked or the most incompetent ref since Violet Palmer put on a whistle. Here's a little sampling of evidence from the Internet:
This list of screwy Dick Bavetta calls compiled by Bill Simmons over six years ago (mentioned here, scroll down to Question: What was the most disturbing subplot of the playoffs?).
The federal government asking more questions about Knick Bavetta than they do about the guy they busted for shaving points, Tim Donaghy.
Listen, I'm not a member of the Tinfoil Hat brigade, but even I knew something was wrong in 2002 when the NBA screwed the Kings. I know there's something still wrong with how officials call the games given the foul disparity that just so happens to affect the outcome of entire playoff series. If there's smoke, there's fire, and for YEARS Dick Bavetta has been a running joke. Maybe it's time to put that joke up for awhile.
The Manufactured Feud Between Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant
Does anyone other than ESPN give a damn about Kobe Bryant's feud with Jesus Shuttlesworth, AKA Ray Allen?
Consider this, if you will. Kobe Bryant's averages this season: 28 points, 5 assists, and 6 boards. Now, look at Ray Allen's numbers: 17 points, 3 assists, and 3 boards. Consider the fact Ray Allen can't defend against the gum disease known as gingivitis these days, how is this even going to be an issue? Ray is done as a main eventer.
Kobe's going to drop 50 per game on Ray's head until Doc puts Paul Pierce or James Posey on Kobe, or unless Doc foolishly decided to let Kobe beat them single-handedly (shutting out the rest of the Lakers won't stop Kobe from scoring 100 points, so you'd best double team him if you can, or clobber him when he gets into the paint). I don't even really like Kobe as a person or a player, but one thing's for sure. He can absolutely brutalize the vaunted Celtic's team defense and you will have to slow him down if you want to have a shot at knocking off the Lakers.