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Friday, June 13th, 2008 at 9:57 am  |  72 responses

Game 4 WHAT?!

Random thoughts from a futon in rural Pennsylvania.

Last night was interesting. Also interesting is thinking how close this series is to being 3-1 Lakers. Only it’s not.

Which is fun.

Some things that occured to me in the wake of this madness…

-How come no one talks about the danger of the huge first-quarter lead? I have absolutely no statistical data to back this up, and I’m not even recalling a lot of anecdotal evidence at the moment, but I’m certain of my point: Big early leads set teams up for disaster.

Think about it. If it’s a close game through the first half and then you somehow go up 10 or 12 late in the third, that’s a huge psychological advantage. You’ve got the momentum, you’re starting to pull away, and the other team feels like the game is getting away from them. It’s borderline panic-time. But if you’re up 24 in the first half, and then your lead is whittled down to 10 or 12 late in the third, suddenly YOU’RE the one panicking. You start to feel helpless, and you get away from the things that got you this huge lead in the first place. It seems like pretty basic psychology, and anyone who watches the NBA on a regular basis understands this.

It’s different in the playoffs, too. Not that it doesn’t happen in the regular season, but we’ve all seen enough games where teams get down big early and find an excuse to coast to the finish (unless they’re playing an early-mid ’00s Knicks team in the midst of a Patented Fourth-Quarter Collapse™.) But in the postseason, with the stakes so much higher, great teams don’t give up. It almost happened to Boston in Game 2, and it sure as hell happened to L.A. last night. I think if I were an NBA coach, I wouldn’t let my team go up by more than 12 in the first half of any playoff game. It’s not worth the stress.

-Remember how Phil famously accused young Kobe of “sabotaging” games to keep them close and set up his own late-game heroics? Think maybe KB’s doing the same thing to this series? I’m not saying it’s likely, but as always, I put nothing past Mr. Bean.

-Speaking of Kobe: His legacy is up in the air right now a little bit, huh? I don’t mean his legacy as a great, great player, but his legacy as THAT dude. Shooting a combined 15-of-45 in Games 1 and 4… well, it’s not particularly Jordan-esque is all I’m saying.

Also: “Bryant acts entitled because he is entitled.” Maybe not today, though.

-A few weeks back I made some ridiculous comment about how the Celtics have three possible Hall of Famers on their roster: KG, Pierce, and Tony Allen. Sorry, I meant Ray. Regardless, some of you thought I might as well have meant Tony for how absurd my statement was. Well, let’s revisit, shall we?

Garnett’s HOF status is obviously pretty untouchable, and Pierce — a Celtic lifer and captain who will, it looks like, end up with at least one ring to go with his terrific career stats and many instances of clutch play — will be that much closer to an HOF lock if Boston closes this thing out. And Ray Ray? As crazy as it seemed when he was shooting -8 percent against the Cavs, dude’s arguably been the Celtics’ best player in this series: Leading scorer (20 ppg) through four games, hitting a fairly ridiculous 52 percent from the field, including 48 percent from three, along with 6 boards, 1.2 steals, and stretches of surprisingly effective defense on that Bryant guy. If he keeps it up, dude’s got a pretty great shot at Finals MVP. And if he does THAT? Call it the James Worthy scenario: Big Game was always gonna be a borderline Hall of Famer, but his ridiculous play in the ’87-88 Finals — including the first Game 7 triple-double in Finals history — earned him Finals MVP, which looked awfully good when HOF folks were checking his resume a few years back. This has nothing to do with anything. I’m just saying.

So, yeah. Ray Allen. He’s an actor, too.

-And speaking of ’87-88… There’s been lots of talk and blogging and whatnot about how this season might be the best in NBA history. I’m gonna go ahead and squash that right now.

A few years back, SLAM did a one-off special issue on how 1988 was the greatest year in NBA history. Like every one-off special issue Slam does (or, I suppose, like every issue every magazine has ever published), this was done primarily to make our publisher money. But it was also a cool chance for those poor saps on the editorial side (like me) to revisit the League’s golden age. A few more years removed, and compared to this just-about-completed ’07-08 season, ’87-88 gleams even more brightly.

Briefly: The ’87-88 Lakers are better than the ’07-08 Lakers. The ’87-88 Pistons are better than the ’07-08 Celtics. The ’87-88 MVP was better than the ’07-08 MVP. The ’87-88 playoffs had moments (Bird v. Nique, Isiah’s bum ankle Game 6, Worthy’s triple-double Game 7) that far overshadow anything we’ve seen in ’07-08. The ’87-88 Finals were one of the best in League history. The ’07-08 Finals will have to go bat-sh*t crazy over the next three games to come close.

This has been a great season, but this stupid VH-1 inspired “Best Season Ever!” nonsense has got to stop. Because it’s not.

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  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    PJ Brown is Bill Walton without the personailty

  • Sparker

    agreed

  • http://www.clutchfans.com Hursty

    I always enjoy the thoughts of Mr. Jones. rational or otherwise.

  • Sparker

    i mean about not being the best ever

  • Sparker

    james posey: the new robert horry?

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Zeke’s 25 points in the 3rd quarter on a bum ankle is one of my favorite childhood memories.

  • http://www.clutchfans.com Hursty

    @sparker-no. Horry has 7 rings, posey=1. horry is clutch, posey is semi/accidental clutch.

  • Sparker

    i don’t know. he looked pretty clutch last night. and winning championships with different teams is something you don’t see often

  • marcgar

    wheres all the laker fans with their dumb comments and delusional views on how great the lakers are

  • Sparker

    another legacy update. “kg won’t take the big shot down the stretch.” well, that seems kind of dated as of last night

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Ryan is so perfect at the rub in.

  • Sparker

    and what about this: p-double: the new kobe stopper?

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    The site really does have a fantastic quiet about it this morning.

  • B. Long

    @Ryan: If Ray-Ray keeps it up and wins his first ring, I forfeit my HOF argument but please don’t compare his performance with James Worthy’s. I mean who are you? Stuart Scott? And if Kobe is trying to set this up for the dramatics, he is twice the actor Ray will ever be. Can Jerry West somehow use his magic to trade Pau for Caron, like today? That would be great. And yes I know he’s not the Lakers G.M. but nothing good has really ever gone down in their history with out him somehow being involved. Phil coached down to Doc’s level last night.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Nice work RJ.

  • B. Long

    No matter what happens, The Lakers going 73-9 next year. Bet on it.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Kobe’s just not that good B. Stop grasping, it’s embarrasing.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    If we bet on your prediction for last night, we’d all be homeless.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I didn’t compare Ray’s performance with Worthy’s. I compared their situations: Guys who’ve never been the No. 1 option on a title-worthy team, yet stepped up in a vital moment to lead their team to a championship (or in Ray’s case, to the verge of one). Work on your reading comprehension, homie.

  • B. Long

    True, true. What if we just bet that the Lakers will have 2 more rings before the Heat even smell the second round of the playoffs? That probably sounds more realistic, don’t ya think?

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    B.Long; Kobe is not holding anything back, like Eboy said he’s just not that good. Paul had him on lockdown, wasn’t that 24 wasn’t trying.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Yes, B, your shi*tty team may have two rings before the Heat…..wait, the Heat already have rings before Kobe got one without his Big Pacifier. Such a shame, really.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    And unless the Lakers win the next two titles (nice joke, Eboy), I’m positive the Heat will be in the second round by 2010.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    B. Long; Don’t take Lakers winning tons of rings as a sure thing, the West is tight; Hornets and Blazers improving by the minute, Suns will have gotten used to each other next year, Spurs will make changes, Cuban will splash out, and then there’s Pistons and Celtics who both have the edge IMO. Also Pau and Odom are not exactly proving that they are able to step it up, all-stars during the regular season but in the playoffs not so much. Who knows if they ever will be when it matters, up until know not much points that way.

  • B. Long

    @Lz: I didn’t say he was, read the comment again. Take a deep breath, and use your brain. Sorry for the hate Ryan, I’m obviously still a little bitter if you can’t tell and if I hear one more comparision made using these teams and the ones from the 80′s I’m gonna do my best Kimbo Slice impersonation on somebody. I started growing my beard out for it this morning…

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    B.’s desperate, Lz and still in shell shock. Gotta admit, these Lakers are so similar to the ’06 Mavs it’s scary. No D, no heart, no balls.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    If the Heat pick Beasley and Wade gets healthy, they’ll be a factor soon enough.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    True B. Long, my bad, I blame Jack for my brain not working correctly. E, that sort of makes Kobe the new Dirk.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I understand. My whole point is that neither of these teams compare to the great ’80s teams. Finally something we can agree on.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    No, not that, Lz. Never that. He just doesn’t have any help from guys that can play like men. Odom, Sasha, Pau, Vlad, Walton, these dudes are soft like baby sh*t. That’s almost half their roster. That should be pretty telling.

  • B. Long

    @Eboy: Rings? As in plural? Has your team ever won a title w/o Shaq? Oh Yeah, I guess I forgot about that dominating title run made by Timmy Hardaway and Zo. They got more rings than the Olympics, Huh? How did yall do your first year without the Big Guy anyway? Probably dominated with MJ’s mini-me down there and everything.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Can’t say that I disagree up until now. Named MVP over more deserving candidates (Paul, James), choking out in the finals, being upstaged by other teams main weapon. There are some similarities for sure.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    True E, not saying they are the same breed that is probably a little to harsh. But wasn’t Kobe supposed to take over and dominate this series. He did in game 3, but Lakers are down 1-3 + last nights disappearing act. It’s just not good enough, wasn’t he supposed to be clutch?

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    We’re talking about your sh*t team right now, B. The deflection is a bi*ch move. Or are you that? No one besides me calls the Heat out with disgusted fury, so it’s not new to me that they’ve sucked since ’06.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Ray Allen’s still not a Hall of Famer, IMO. Two words: Dennis Johnson.

  • http://www.heavyasheaven.blogspot.com DP

    Eboy is right, we can’t bash his team when LA played like poop stains and Boston played like the sh*t. I can’t say anything seriously. I am speechless. I don’t like admitting that Ebizzle is right but no one cars about his sh*tty team right now. It’s about how my team played like sh*t right now. But please, you mothaf*ckers are making me mad with the Jordan crap. LEAVE THAT MOTHAF*CKER IN 1998 WILL YOU? I know KB is not even close to MJ so let’s just stop this stupid conversation. and F*ck espn for saying he destroyed his legacy. Kobe’s a role model. Yall mothaf*ckers act like no one does anything wrong but KOBE. Yall people just disgust me right(not my fellow slamonline family but the analysts that don’t know sh*t).

  • http://www.heavyasheaven.blogspot.com DP

    Don’t ever say James deserved the MVP more than Kobe. You can say Paul in some sense, but James is a f*ckin incorrect.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Ray’s had a perfect individual career, he haven’t been in situations to win before now, and now you see him stepping up. With a ring he’s definitely HOF worth IMO.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    DJ was often viewed as only the 4th most important player on most of the teams he played on Russ. Ray’s been the best player on many of the teams he’s played on, and right this second, he looks like the best player on the team that’s probably going to win the NBA championship. I’m still not guaranteeing this, obviously, but dude’s got a real shot.
    Now finish your damn story.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I’ll take that 73-9 bet.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    1. This piece is linked on the google news homepage. Pretty impressive Jonesy.
    2. In the biggest game of the year, and arguably of his career, Kobe stunk up the joint. What a horrible performance.
    3. Somehow, even when up by 24, I knew that we were in trouble.
    4. Meh.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    DP; Kobe’s a role model? Wow, would you seriously raise your children in his mold. He’s a horrible person for crying out loud. Good basketball player though.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    jbn74sb; your 2. is the truest thing said on Slamonline today.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Bodie, I feel bad for you too. You had your boys figured out pretty good.

  • Tom

    Interesting thoughts Jones, I agree with you on about this season not being close to 87-88. This year was so much fun because there were lots of GOOD teams, but really no great team as these finals clearly show. 88 had lots of great teams and great players

  • Tom

    and I’m still saying Lakers in 7. I have no rational reason to defend this, but f*ck it, I’m going down with the ship.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    The Titanic went down quick too.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Love Paul Pierce calling the reporter “baby” multiple times in the post-game interview.

  • Doug

    I don’t even think James Worthy belongs in the Hall of Fame. Even harder to believe he was named of the NBA’s 50 greatest players several years back over guys like Dominique Wilkins. Looks at Worthy’s numbers — only 5 rebounds a game for his career for a guy his size, not much of a passer or defensive player. Put him on any other team, he has no chance at the Hall of Fame. Finals MVP ? — Jo Jo White won one in 1976 (along with being named to 7 All-Star teams) & he isn’t in the Hall of Fame. Cedric Maxwell won one too.

  • Tom

    Lz: I didn’t even catch that post-game interview. After the buzzer, i shut off my tv and stared at a blank screen completely dumbfounded.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Yeah TAD the Captain didn’t steer it well enough, so it hit an iceberg. The Captain was better of when he was only the first steersman. But his selfishness and ambition led him to making the old Captain walk the plank, and now the Captain is threading water with three hungry sharks snapping at his ankles.

  • B. Long

    I’m sorry E, my world is obviously in shambles right now. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and suffering you’ve had to go thru this year. If that happened to my squad I would quite possibly be in a dumpster somewhere, scratching, mumbling about Pat Riley being the Anti-Christ. On the real though, I actually enjoy watching Wade play so I hope that they do get better. If Chi-Town offers the #1 spot and Joakim for Wade I’d take it in a heartbeat though. Especially if I could sign Gibert Arenas considering his and Wades production are very similar.

  • B. Long

    Has Baron Davis opted out yet?

  • http://www.heavyasheaven.blogspot.com DP

    I’m not going to let my emotions get in the way because if they do I’m going to snap on each and everyone of you f*ckers. Yeah, Kobe stunk up the place last night, and I’m not going to back him up for that. But for people just constantly trying to find flaws in the man just freakin disgusts me. I just wrote a freakin essay but I cursed so SLAM wouldn’t post it. LZ, what I was saying was that the media said Kobe was role model and that he should watch what he says. I agree, but who the f*ck doesn’t say anything crazy in post-game interviews? I don’t see anything wrong with Kobe stating that he was going to take 20 shots and sleep and get right back grindin. But the media and all you F*CKIN KOBE HATERS believe so. If KG or CP3 or even LBJ would have said those things all of you would say that was some funny Def Comedy Jam sh*t. It is really getting disgusting how yall just bash this dude because of his past transgressions. Is KB a role model to me? Hell yeah because he has change his act and I see a true Kobe. For those saying it is fake, so be it. Real recognize real and I see it in Kobe. I think that Kobe just tries to please you f*ckers so much because you say, “Kobe hogs the ball, never passes, doesn’t take over games and passes too much.” Make up your damn minds! If it was up to me, I would tell KB never to pass the damn ball and be a hogger. I’m hurt, but I’m more pissed than anything now because I know for the rest of the summer people will talk about how KB blew the biggest game of his career. LOL. You f*ckers hate only because that is all you can do with Kobe. I guess I just have to understand that and keep it movin. play wit it.

  • B. Long

    @DP:If Kobe can some how win this series, all will be forgotten. If not, be prepared to watch ESPN on mute for the next 9 months. By the way, what happened to the name change?

  • http://www.heavyasheaven.blogspot.com DP

    Double Cinco was like Kobe changing his numer to 24.F*CK THAT SH*T now I’m going back to number eight/DP. Double Cinco is my blog name anyways, B-L. play wit it.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    DP; “Real recognize real and I see it in Kobe.” that’s just real funny my friend.
    Being so real you must ask yourself this very real question these days; did the real Kobe Bryant just step up? Have a real nice weekend fellas I’m off to watch that other real sport. Keep keeping it real!

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    PS: Paul Pierce is REAL!

  • Static

    No MJ comparisons here, Kobe is who he is…but where the hell was his team? They were fearless for 12 minutes and then their balls shriveled up. LO peeked his head out the curtain for a minute, even Pau worked a lil bit. Kobe will have to return to Employee #8 status with a bunch of (excuse me LA) “Fakers” surrounding him. I know he blew it when he needed to be the man, but g*d damn, if Boston can somehow pull it together as a team what the hell are the Lakers paying attention to? BTW, props on being the top of the Google news chain…while the Every Sports Peon Network was pushed down to the other links area..

  • B. Long

    @Lz: Yes he is, unfortunately for Lakers fans everywhere. Paul is a great guy though and a helluva ball player, if anybody deserves a ring in this league it’s him and KG. They’re both due. That being said…Lakers in 7…still.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    5. Jackson has been outcoached the entire series. Posey picks up his 5th foul, and you don’t iso him? Idiot – that’s basketball 101.

  • B. Long

    @bodie: Read my comment about Phil on the Doc calls KG Ewing thread. It will make you feel better…maybe.

  • http://www.heavyasheaven.blogspot.com DP

    IF YOU’VE BEEN A HATER ON KB SINCE…FOREVER THAN I CAN’T DISCUSS WITH YOU WHO IS REAL AND WHO IS NOT REAL. Paul pierce is real but if he has a bad game, you know what? NONE OF YOU MOTHAF*CKERS would bash him and that’s what disgusts me with some people. If you gone judge KB like is on death row, do the same with Pierce. But you can’t do that!!!!!! Because KB is such a BAD GUY. f*ck yall.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    Jackson was not outcoached, especially by Doc Effing Rivers. He just didnt have the personnel to counter bad matchups.

  • http://www.heavyasheaven.blogspot.com DP

    Doc Rivers can’t coach. His players coach themselves.

  • http://www.heavyasheaven.blogspot.com DP

    and yeah did I say…f*ck yall. just making sure. I think I’m gone let my emotions ride the rest of the day.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Jackson’s substitution patterns have always been suspect, and they were last night as well. What the h-ll was Radmonovic doing in the game when Sasha had played so well the game before? What was Walton doing in the game when Ariza did so well in the first? Why didn’t Turiaf get more minutes when he is the only one who had a chance of slowing doing Garnett?

  • B. Long

    @Myles: Anytime your team goes up by 24 and you lose, you got outcoached. I’m not saying that he has been outcoached for the entire series, but last night he coached down to Doc’s level. He has plenty of talent to counter the matchups.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    hmm…wasn’t the Bench Mob supposed to be the best bench in the league?

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    and kudos to Professor Jones, on point for everything. especially the HUGE first half leads that usually means setting up teams for magnificent collapses. I’ve seen that happen so often.
    also kudos to Kobe for turning into vujacic when it’s supposed to be his career defining game. honestly i’m completely baffled.

  • tike

    Hahahah its OVER!!! and yea Maybe laker fans will come out hard on sunday and when but its over i said all along BOSTON IN 5 at MAX 6…

  • tike

    Oh i RUN PA!!

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