You know, I'm having a hard enough time coping with Kobe Bryant's seemingly eventual championship (and the onslaught of Laker trolls that will hit this site)… the last thing I needed was to hear Larry Bird's current favorite player is a Laker.
Johnson: Larry Bird told me that Kobe Bryant is his favorite player. How do you respond to that?
Bryant: You know what? That makes me feel, that
makes me feel great. You know, I hated Larry growing up. I did, I hated
his guts. But I loved him as a player and his work ethic and his
intensity, his tenacity and I wanted to be that way. And the funny
thing is, I’ve never actually met Larry Bird.
I'm just going to assume that Magic is making things up for TV. The last thing I want to consider is Larry Bird saying positive things about Kobe… especially the morning after he drops 40 on Orlando in a 100-75 game 1 win.
Orlando came out great last night, and they seemed to get a boost from Jameer Nelson's return. But the Lakers clamped down a bit on D, Orlando went cold, and the blowout was on. One thing I saw, though, was how easy Dwight Howard was backing Andrew Bynum down, and how easily he could spin past Pau Gasol (and how we never saw him do that when Perk was on him). He was gettting double and tripled teamed and hacked to death… but he needs to be a little more involved in the offense. He took 6 shots… which sounds worse than it was. He did take 16 free throws (making 10) but he still didn't get enough touches.
One adjustment I'd make is to tell Dwight to make his move as soon as he touches the ball. The longer he holds it, the easier he makes it to double him. If he catches and makes his move immediately, he can get cleaner looks, and the fouls won't be the kind that prevent him from getting a good shot off. It's a small adjustment, but it will make the defense work harder. And it could open up some of his teammates on the perimeter because it would force the Lakers rotations to move more quickly… which would make it more likely they'll be out of position.
Going down 0-1 isn't a big deal for the Magic. They only need to win 1 in LA right now. But going down 0-2 is death.
By the way… the running theme in these Finals is "Kobe Bryant wants this too much… he's going to make it happen." Which is something I thought we already knew about Kobe Bryant.
Like a kid hitting puberty at 15, it took David Stern a little longer than usual to grow a set of balls and fine LeBron James $25,000 for skipping the media session. Way to go David. It took what, a week for you to make that happen? Also out there: Chad Finn doesn't like Charles Barkley's on air expletives. And Chris Bosh is planning his exit strategy from Toronto.