Kobe Bryant Dominates Oklahoma City Thunder as a Point Guard

After watching Russell Westbrook carve up the Laker’s defense and make Derek Fisher look like he is just a tad under 1,000 years old, Kobe decided to guard Westbrook in Game Five.

But that wasn’t the only place that Kobe subbed in for Fisher.

The Lakers have a distinct size advantage over the Thunder—or anyone really—inside the paint. The problem is that the Lakers don’t have a point guard that can penetrate, draw the defense, and then get the ball out to the bigs. I love Derek Fisher, but he never had great court vision, and at this point in his career he doesn’t have the ability to get in the lane and draw the defense.

So Kobe came out guarding Russell Westbrook, but as soon as the Lakers got a few possessions, it became clear that Kobe Bryant was playing the point guard position at both ends of the floor.

On defense he shut down Russell Westbrook and disrupted the Thunder’s entire offense. He was such an intimidating force defensively that at one point Westbrook was going up for an easy layup, but when Kobe feigned a defensive effort (not even leaving his feet), Westbrook quickly got the ball out of his hands and passed up on two easy points.

On offense Kobe dictated the tempo, distracted the defense, and created open looks and opportunities for other players. His 13 points and seven assists may not seem all the impressive, but Kobe completely dominated the game. He created almost every single play; the ball went through Kobe and Kobe manufactured offensive opportunities. It got to the point that when Kobe touched the ball, you knew the Lakers were getting two points.

Overall it was a brilliant performance from a team that seems to be a point guard away from a championship. If Kobe can fill that role, while still putting up big points in games when his teammates are cold, then maybe this team has a shot at a repeated.


San Francisco 49ers Draft Recap

After months of mock ups and hundreds of hours of predictions, the NFL draft is finally over. Now, the obligatory months of analysis begin, with professional athletes praising picks on potential and overly optimistic fans swearing that a punter from Mississippi State is just what they needed to go from last in their division to Super Bowl Champions.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no different.

No. 11 Overall—Anthony Davis, OT

This guy was a really good pass blocker in college, and should be able to make the transition to the pros by Week One. He will provide Alex Smith with added protection and more time in the pocket to scan the field, enabling him to throw passes that land 15 yards away from the nearest Niner more effectively.

He has some trouble with run blocking, but don’t worry, because he isn’t the only offensive lineman getting drafted in the first round.

No. 17 Overall—Mike Iupati, OG

Here you go; your designated elite run blocker. This guy has the size, skill, and speed to open up big holes for Frank Gore and San Francisco’s running game. He will be ready to play as soon as he hit the field and should be able to greatly improve San Francisco’s power running game.

Two offensive linemen in the first round? Not very exciting by most standards, but I love it; you win football games in the trenches. They will not regret this investment.

No. 49 Overall—Taylor Mays, S

More than anything else, this guy is a physical specimen. He may have sub-par ball skills and he may have some trouble with his instincts, but his pure athleticism makes him a very interesting prospect with a lot of upside. With some good coaching, this kid could become Ronnie Lott 2.0.

Hmm, two offensive linemen and a defensive back selected already? Seems like the only need this team has left is an outside linebacker.

No. 91 Overall—Navorro Bowman, OLB

Another pick that has me thinking that Coach Singletary is taking the best talent and is confident that his coaching skills will turn them into great players. Bowman has physical skills that are very enviable, but has a tendency to cause a lot of problems on and off the field. Still, if Singletary can get through to him, he is going to be a tremendous steal at pick No. 91.

Everything after that is likely to have very little impact, at least in the short term. I mean, there is a reason they are getting drafted in the fourth round or lower (though I do hear good things about Dixon).

Overall, it looks like the 49ers had a great draft, and have filled a number of holes in their roster. They secured their already formidable defensive with a few good impact players and greatly improved their offensive line, ensuring that they will have a balanced attack next year—you know; if they had a quarterback.


Tim Tebow Pick Shows Josh McDaniels’ Arrogance

The biggest surprise of the first round of the 271 day long NFL draft was the Denver Broncos taking Tim Tebow in the first round.

Now I’m not here to argue whether picking a quarterback that hasn’t played in a pro-style offense, doesn’t have a lot of accuracy, holds the ball low, and has a release longer than one of Roger Goodell’s uncomfortable bear hugs was a good idea or not. Especially since the QB in question would normally go undrafted if it wasn’t for media hype and the fact that he was born of a virgin, as the prophecies foretold; again, I’m not here to claim that picking a guy like that in the first round was a good idea or a bad one.

But we’ve heard for a while that Josh McDaniels may just be a tad bit arrogant. From the way he stormed into Denver and started making huge changes (including shipping out their franchise QB) to benching Brandon Marshall and then sending him to Miami for draft picks. He seems to think he and his system are more important than the team’s most talented players.

And the Tebow pick solidifies it. You don’t take someone that early in the draft, especially someone that raw, without thinking that you have the ability to refine him and coach him into a starter in a fairly short amount of time. Josh McDaniels thinks he has the ability to make this guy a franchise quarterback and he basically said to the world “you all think Tebow can’t play? Just wait until I’m through with him.”

The bad thing for Broncos fans—who have had to deal with a lot of bad lately—is that McDaniels might be just a little too proud for his own good. He has come into Denver and made huge moves, but the team has not substantially improved. In fact, you can make the argument that they regressed. They were a team with a lot of holes in their roster, and since shipping out some of their best players, they only have more holes now.

Will it work? Maybe, but Belichick’s disciples don’t really have the best track record.


Los Angeles Lakers-Oklahoma City Thunder: Thoughts on Game Two

Yesterday’s Lakers-Thunder game was the only competitive—or interesting—game of the night. It came down to the last possession, where a missed three pointer at the buzzer gave Los Angeles the win. (Inexplicably, the shot was not taken by Durant. I totally don’t get that decision and I think we see decisions like it all too often.)

Both stars played well, with Durant scoring 32 points and Kobe with 39 points. As usual, Kobe posted many of his points in crunch time, scoring 15 in the fourth, while Durant seemed to disappear down the stretch. I can’t really blame Durant though, he’s young, it’s his first playoff experience, and it takes time to learn how to be a closer.

Let’s go over a few thoughts I had while watching this game.

Oklahoma City Thunder Looked Nervous

This team definitely still looks nervous to me, and I don’t blame them. They really got an intimidating first round matchup, and even if they could beat the Lakers, that last team meeting couldn’t have been encouraging.

“Alright guys, I know for almost all of you this is your first playoff experience, but don’t worry. Sure we are going on the road, against the defending champs, who have, arguably, one of the top 10 best players of all time, two seven-footers, and tons of playoff experience. But if you play hard, and don’t think about the tremendous odds against you, or the enormous stage that you, as a small market team, are suddenly thrust upon, then I’m sure you can win one or two games…maybe?”

Either way, the nerves were showing as Oklahoma City was consistently short-arming shots, especially during one stretch in the second quarter. They seemed to settle it down a bit as the game went on, but once Kobe got going in the fourth, they looked like they were getting a little nervous again.

Is It Possible That Andrew Bynum Is Underrated?

For years I have been telling people that Bynum really didn’t matter, that he was an underachiever, lazy, unmotivated, and, more than anything else, not an impact player.

Now, I’m not saying his contract is a value by any stretch of the imagination, but watching the Lakers with and without Bynum, I am beginning to think that not only did I underrate him, but that he might be underrated in general.

Where Bynum’s impact really shows is when he and Gasol are both in. That length around the basket is such a problem for opposing teams. Bynum may not get a ton of rebounds, but having him take up that much of the space opposite Gasol really cuts down opponents rebound opportunities, and allows the Lakers to aggressively track down tipped balls outside of his range (when they aren’t feeling too old to go after them). Still it would be nice to see him jump for a rebound ever once in a while—though with those glass legs, maybe not.

Charles Barkley’s Halftime Comments

If you missed it, during halftime Charles Barkley said something that I have felt for many years now, “watching the Lakers is frustrating because they make the game hard.”

He was referring to the fact that the Lakers chose to play from the perimeter during the game, instead of delivering the ball down low and letting Pau and Bynum capitalize on their huge size advantage.

But it’s not just limited to that; for some reason this Laker team has a tendency to go away from something when it’s working.

It happens when Pau is being guarded by someone six inches shorter than him, but for some reason the rest of the team refuses to get the ball in his hands, opting instead to pass the ball to everyone but Pau.

Or when Kobe gets hot and whoever is playing the point decides to fake about 17 consecutive passes to him before sending it to Artest for a “well, I got the ball, I better dribble to my left a few times and throw it towards the basket” offensive highlight.

I don’t know what it is about this team, maybe it’s a Hollywood thing, but they refuse to win in a smart, predictable, grind-it-out way; instead, they have to be dramatic.

Despite the fact that the Lakers are up 2-0, this series has been really close, and with the hometown crowd behind them, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Thunder took both games at Oklahoma City.

Side note: With 5:51 left in the third quarter, Russell Westbrook was 18 inches away from creating one of the greatest posters of all time. Had he not gotten fouled, that dunk would have been absolutely ridiculous.


Looking towards the futurama

Let us all take a moment to thank Adult Swim for the great contributions they have made to our world. Without their foresight two of society’s most glorious achievements may have been lost forever.

When FOX cancelled Family Guy in 2001, few people knew how valuable of a treasure FOX had thrown away. But Adult Swim did, so they began running episodes of Family Guy on their late-night lineup, and they eventually brought in huge ratings. This prompted FOX to bring the show back for new seasons, and it has gotten better ever since. Think of what was almost lost; season upon season of hilarious manatee written humor, more greased up deaf guy, and the eventual total gayification of Stewie; all of these things would have never come to fruition had it not been for Adult Swim.

And now we can thank Adult Swim again. After Futurama was cancelled, again by FOX, Adult Swim picked it up for four years and showed it nearly every night. This exposed it to a new audience and it eventually brought in huge ratings as well. When their broadcast contract was up, the show was lucrative enough that Comedy Central bought the rights and also began ordering new episodes.

Well ladies and gentleman, the time is near, on June 24th 2010, at 10:00 PM, one of our cultures greatest works will be returning to the air with new episodes. That’s right, new Futurama in just over 3 months.

Now there is the chance that the show comes back and sucks terribly, especially considering that Matt Groening’s cartoons haven’t been funny in well over seven years and the Comedy Central Futurama movies were, in my opinion, sub-par. Instead I’ll hope that it follows in the footsteps of Family Guy and comes back more refined and funnier than ever.


Guess who’s coming to twitter

If you’re like me, then I am sorry. I know, it sucks. But also you are probably jonesing for a Conan fix right about now. Sadly,  staying in bed all day, wearing nothing but a pair of old, dirty underwear, eating nothing but chips and soda, watching old clips of Conan on youtube and crying so much that you are eventually lying in a pool of your own filth and tears (which, again, if you’re like me you have already done) was the only way to satiate the need for Conan, until now.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Conan O’Brien’s twitter account: Conan’s Twitter

Enjoy it and may we all watch Remington Steele naked.


Darrell Green isn’t human

Everyone thinks Chris Johnson is fast, and well…he is, really fast. But Darrell Green isn’t just fast, he’s superhuman.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Green, he is a hall of fame cornerback who played twenty seasons with the Washington Redskins. A lot of people consider him to be one of the best cornerbacks of all time (myself included), hence the first ballot hall of famer status. He was a part of those ’87 and ’91 Superbowl teams and played a role in their defense all the way up to 2002 when he retired from the NFL at the age of 42.

Now I assume you all know Chris Johnson, star runningback for the Tennessee Titans, put up more than 2,000 rushing yards last year, ran an insane 4.24 40 yard dash at the combine, and is widely considered to be the fastest man in the NFL right now. He wants to race Usain Bolt for the title of fastest man in the world, but they may have forgotten someone.

Darrell Green ran a 4.12 40 yard dash, a 4.12, think about that. Starting from a standstill, and still being able to average almost 10 yards a second. Now that in itself is crazy impressive, but Green’s superhumanity doesn’t stop there. When Green was 40, he ran the 40 yard dash again, this time he posted a 4.2, that’s right, at 40 years old he posted the same 40 yard dash time as Chris Johnson did when he was fresh out of college. But it gets even crazier, on Darrell Green’s 50th birthday, on February 15, 2010 these three tweets were sent out by the mutant himself :

“Quick update from the Birthday Boy:) I think today I became the fastest 50 year old in the world! @9AM today, I celebrated my 50th BDay”

“By running the 40 yard dash in Orlando, Florida in a time of 4.43! FYI, all born between 1946 -1964 are baby boomers”

“I’m guessing that makes me the fastest baby boomer! I would say, thats really booming. Are you?”

A 4.43 at 50 years old, 50! That is definitely beyond human. Apparently this guy is so fast he has actually outrun aging. Sure Chris Johnson is the fastest man in the NFL right now, but Darrell Green was the fastest man in the NFL for 20 years, and if he was in the NFL now at the age of 50, he would STILL be one of the fastest people in the league.

I bet the Redskins wouldn’t mind having a 50 year old Green in their secondary next season.

Al Messerschmidt/NFL/Getty Images


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