Monday, June 03, 2002

HELL OF A GAME
A few thoughts on a wonderful Game 7 between the Lakers and Kings:

  • The game had a "big game" feel even before it started, kind of like a Super Bowl. I always had the feeling I was watching a game that would become a classic.
  • There was something very poetic about the 100-100 score at the end of regulation A perfect score for not a perfect game, but the best I've seen in may years.
  • Mike Bibby is one gutsy little guy. Het hit pretty much all of Sacramento's big shots, and was fearless in doing so.
  • Channeling Bill Walton -- "Who's gonna hit a free throw?" I can shoot 50% from the free throw line (but probably not under pressure). It amazes me that professional players can't shoot above 70%. I know they work harder than players of any other era, which makes me wonder if modern players condition their bodies for other tasks incompatible with free throw shooting. It's baffling. The Kings left 10 points on the floor.
  • I've got to wonder if Peja Stojacavic would have had more confidence in his shot if he was healthy. Maybe if the team gets back next year, more guys will have more confidence to handle the ball and take shots in crunch time.
  • Interesting that all my comments are about the losing team, even though the Lakers also played admirably. This is an example of a team's reputation being elevated in a loss. Only other example I can think of is the 1993 Kentucky team that lost the overtime game to Duke on Christian Laetnner's shot. That loss did more for that program than all their wins that year combined.
  • Finally, this game speaks against the notion of "swaring off" sports. Two or three years ago, I wasn't sure I'd ever watch another NBA game. The play was boring and tedious, and the players all had attitudes. This was when it seemed every NBA team's offense revolved around a two-man game where one player would pass the ball to a big man in the post, who would hold the ball in hopes of drawing an illegal defense on the opposing team.

    Tonight's game made me glad I didn't swear off the game. The rule changes have guaranteed that you need five players who can contribute on offense, and the game is much more exciting. Creative point guards like Bibby and Jason Kidd thrive. Plodding teams like the New York Knicks and Miami Heat miss the playoffs.

    It will be helpful for me to remember this if baseball players decide to go on strike before the playoffs this year.

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