Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Los Angeles is not helping its image with losses such as Friday’s 100-95 defeat to Sacramento, a game the Kings led by as many as 20 points. The Lakers are a distracted bunch, much like the Celtics were last season, anxious for March to arrive and seeking a reason to be serious.
Hall of Famer Jerry West recently commented that the Lakers were getting old and it shows in their defense. The Lakers are a respectable fourth in opposing field goal percentage but 10th in points allowed. And those younger teams that used to wilt at the sight of those gold banners hanging in Staples Center are no longer intimidated.
Memphis, Milwaukee, and Indiana all have celebrated victories on the Lakers’ home floor. Of more concern, Derek Fisher and Ron Artest are enduring poor shooting seasons. Andrew Bynum is again coming off injury. Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant have been steady, but there is definitely slippage.
In preparation for today’s meeting with the Celtics, coach Phil Jackson held a 2 1/2-hour practice yesterday in El Segundo, Calif., trying to discourage his team from waiting until March for motivation.
“I can’t really tell you what to expect [today],’’ he said. “We haven’t been consistent in the last six games.
The Laker are actually right there with the Celtics in the "old team" category. They face a lot of the same issues the Celtics have faced (and are facing).
Here's the difference: The Celtics are a united team of players who will work the ball to whomever is hot and not worry about who's getting all the points. The Lakers have Kobe Bryant. The thing is, Kobe isn't "Kobe" anymore. That's not to say he's not better than a great many players in the NBA. He is. He's still one of the best.
But some of the luster is gone. He can't string together as many surreal performances as he used to. But he still thinks he can, so keeps gunning… to the detriment of his team.
So they're right to be concerned in the city of angels. They're not very well equipped to deal with the issues that we've dealt with. They're fragile mentally.
Well….. I suppose I should just prepare myself for a Spurs-Celtics finals.
Related links: Herald: Shaq returns to LA in colors of the enemy | Painful memory lingers for Celtics | Phil sizes up opponent | Globe: Since they last met | Lakers thumbnails | Rematch vs. Lakers | Game 7 haunts Celtics | ESPN Boston: Countdown to LA: The Kobe stopper | Let's do this | No what-if's for Perk | WEEI: How the Celtics can Beat LA | CSNNE: Despite standings, Celtics see Lakers as team to beat
On Pate 2: Boo hoo'ing over KG's non-suspension
Look, I get that Channing Frye probably sold this thing a little, and then popped up awful quick. And I understand that Garnett is a major star in a major market involved in a significant game Sunday that the league has a big investment in against the Lakers. I understand that he didn’t punch anyone, hit anyone in the head, or do any permanent damage.
Not cool. You can’t hit a guy in the junk and just walk away from it. Can’t do it. Let’s see if we can find the line between what is a suspension-worthy offense and what is not a suspension-worthy offense, according to the NBA powers that be.
I hate to keep bringing up the 2007 suspensions of Amar’e Stoudemire and Boris Diaw in the Western Conference Semifinals, but really, you can substitute any number of other offenses that guys have been suspended for which were not equal to tapping someone in the gentle parts on purpose during a game.
I wish I was a Celtic. If you applied these kinds of interpretations to real life I could get away with all sorts of stuff.
I love arguments like this. They're just like "they can put a man on the moon, but [insert unrelated issue here]".
There is one huge, mega-gigantic difference between what KG did and what happened in 2007. The rules flat out state that leaving the bench area during an altercation equals a suspension. It's automatic. There is no debate. There is no subjectivity. No one has any choice. That is the rule.
KG's actions, which I admit were dumb, are open to interpretation by the league office. You can look at it and say "was he trying to injure the player?" You even had an incident earlier in the game with Mikael Pietrus that was clearly much worse. And in that apples-to-apples comparison, it was determined neither warranted a suspension.
There's no "flick someone in the grapes" clause. Which brings us to the next phase of this. If KG had done the exact same motion and hit Channing Fry in the chest… or the abdomen… or the mid-thigh… no one would bat an eye-lash. But because it's a nut-shot, the video has gone viral and everyone wants to roll KG in into the court of public opinion like Hannibal Lecter. It wasn't a punch. It was a little flick that barely connected. Our buddy Matt Moore even admits that Frye flopped and popped back up pretty quickly. So this really wasn't all that bad.
And finally, the absurd notion that "I wish I was a Celtic" so he can "get away with all sorts of stuff is asinine." KG was suspended for a playoff game last year. He was suspended in 2008 heading into a major-market game against the New York Knicks. So the league's got no problems suspending a Celtic. And since we get to go back in time and compare things… let's look at the most egregious case of this league bending over backwards for the Celtics.
Reggie Lewis DIED… and the Celtics did not get any sort of cap exception. Yet the Houston Rockets get an exception this year for Yao Ming… who has a broken ankle but is still quite alive.
KG wasn't suspended because what he did was no big deal… not because he wears "Boston" across his chest. To think otherwise throws you into the same conspiracy theory class that thinks every game is fixed by the refs.
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