Lisa Salters: “Did you ever feel like you guys weren’t in control of this game?
Kobe: (scoffs) “No. Not really.” – From their ABC post-game interview
That really sums up how the game went down better than anything I can write, but I’ll offer my rapid-fire thoughts anyway…
- I was commenting on Twitter about how I think Andrew Bynum, Josh Powell, Shannon Brown and Trevor Ariza give this team both intensity and toughness, something that was severely lacking in last year’s Finals. Remember, none of the four was a pivotal part of last year’s playoff run, and only Ariza, albeit barely, played. This could make a huge difference.
- Shannon Brown has to be the best young player received in a salary dump in recent history. You’re telling me this kid wasn’t good enough to hack it in Charlotte, yet now h’es playing ahead of Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic? Looks like a classic case of Larry Brown not playing young players to me. Remember when this was the Adam Morrison trade?
- If anybody has doubts about whether Kobe Bryant still has his explosiveness and ups or not, then they must have been sleeping during Kobe’s dunk on Paul Milsap. He can really turn it up scoring wise when he needs to. I think this is when the Black Mamba is at his best; pace himself throughout the contest, then come in and inject the opponent with victim when the Lakers are struggling to put them away. Screw Kyra Sedgwick — Kobe’s the Closer.
- Nobody really played poorly today for the Lakers. Meanwhile, only Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams and Twin played well for the Jazz. Oh, and Paul Wall, aka Paul Milsap. He will best be remembered for getting flushed on, though.
- Pau Gasol’s performances always sneak up on you. 20 points and nine boards with four swats. He’s just so smooth that sometimes you almost don’t notice his performance.
- Trevor Ariza. Oh, how I love the. My second favorite Laker absolutely went off today. Could this be his coming out party? It’s a little too early to say that, but this game definitely didn’t hurt his confidence. With the way he takes it to the rim, if Ariza shoots like this from downtown he will be downright unguardable. The Venezuelan Vendetta stepped into the National spotlight today. We knew you could do it.
Overall just a great response to the statement the Cavs made against the Pistons yesterday. Cleveland, we are every bit as focused as you are, baby. Every bit!