Some thoughts...no, they're not all virulent. Most though. Most.
1. I refuse to believe that someone who stands a foot above everyone else on the court AND outweighs them by at least 100 lbs gets fouled more than he fouls. I don't think Shaq got called for a foul during the entire first half. Claim "Hack-a-Shaq" all you want but fouling to stop the clock is a staple in the NBA. Asking me to believe that Shaq doesn't foul someone everytime he posts up or tries to grab a rebound is like asking me to believe a bull won't break anything if you release it into a china shop.
2. Todd Maculloch did a great job considering he has to guard Bigfoot without actually getting close enough to breathe on him for fear of getting a foul. Everyone who ever plays the Lakers deserves a lot of credit whether or not they actually win. How hard must it be to guard someone as enormous as Shaq, all the while worrying that you might accidentally graze him with your elbow? It's like wrestling with a 600-lb alligator and having to worry about hurting IT.
3. I don't know if I can watch the entire series. Watching Shaq goaltend and not get called for it against other teams all season is one thing. Watching him goaltend and not get called for it against MY team in the Finals is just plain fucking annoying.
4. Big ups to Charles Barkley (and to Kenny Smith for agreeing with him) for cutting through all this "dynasty" bullshit and saying "These Lakers are not as good as the 93 Bulls." They're right too. If these Lakers were playing at the same time as the Celtics of the 80's or the Bulls of the 90's they wouldn't be two-time defending champions. Even the old, achy Bulls of 1998. Yeah I said it. Get over it.
5. Kobe's dunk with 9 minutes left in the 3rd was phat. I loathe him but you have to give credit where credit is due, especially when he works so hard to showboat and take up as many highlight reels as possible.
6. How did Tex Winter NOT make it into the Hall of Fame??? He's Phil Jackson's right-hand man. Phil would have to jerk himself off if it wasn't for Tex. No I'm kidding. We love Tex. The "Triangle Offense" is as synonymous with the Bulls' double three-peats as Michael and Scottie. I did cheer the fact that they inducted Drazen Petrovic into the Hall of Fame.
7. I don't think Robert Horry looks like Will Smith. Why do people always say he does? Will Smith has a baby face. It was funny though that Jada Pinkett was in the crowd. Just in case Will starts triflin'.
8. I love the way JKidd often gets the rebound from his own shots. That's a hussle and a half. He shoots and just runs right in there. And congrats to him for getting (yet another) triple-double in last night's game. Magic Johnson on JKidd: "He's one of the only players in our game today who makes other guys better."
9. It surprises me that NBC so desperately wants Bill Walton that they continue to use him despite the fact that everyone hates him. When you watch Knicks games that are covered by NBC all you can hear from literally every person inside Madison Square Garden is "WALTON SUCKS!! WALTON SUCKS!!" They will literally spend ten minutes chanting it, every ten minutes. He did however say that Rick Fox (MPip's absolute FAVORITE player..."That guy is dirtier than dirty") should have fouled out last night with 3 minutes left in the game for pushing people out of bounds.
10. The Nets were killing me last night with their free-throw percentage.
11. The refs were killing me last night period. What was up with that bullshit double-technical?? Were they watching the same play I was? I would LOVE to see instant replay make an entrance into professional basketball. I would have used it on that bullshit foul they called on Keith Van Horn with 5 minutes left in the game since he was clearly already in position. Not that David Stern would allow it, because so many refs would get moded. NBA refs have always annoyed me anyway. When I used to work in the league they would walk around like they were the baddest ass people in town. Jack Nies (the head of the refs) is really, really nice though.
12. I love what I'm going to refer to from now on as "the Shaq foul." That's a foul committed by the defender trying to push Shaq away after Shaq throws his elbow into his throat.
13. I have to give Shaq respect for improving his free throws. Before, he couldn't even make them when his team was up by 40 points. Now he's making (some) of them in tight situations. You knew he had to fix that shit though, sports writers were killing him on it.
14. KMar was bad ass from the get go and Van Horn tried to rally himself back with some key points in the fourth. What happened to Kerry? Did he get injured while I was using the restroom or something? He just disappeared in the second half.
15. The Nets were nervous last night and they got in a bad situation, but clawed their way out of it. I think they now know for sure that they're the better team. Hopefully we'll see that during the rest of the series. Game on!!!
MPip just e-mailed me his thoughts on last night's game. I have to post them, you'll enjoy them:
1. the lakers crowd sucks. it's game 1 of the nba finals and they need the p.a. to play a 'LET'S MAKE SOME NOISE...I CAN'T HEAR YOU.....' soundbite to get the crowd involved.
2. what's up with those long noisy balloons that fans wave under the basket during free throws? they look like the balloons that clowns twist into horsies and doggies.
3. the forum or staples center or whatever it's called has no atmosphere. you'd think it was the arena of a last-place team.
4. when they show the celebrities at laker games, must they show dyan cannon? what's she famous for? the only thing i ever saw her in was 'caddyshack 2'. and don johnson wearing shades like he doesn't want to be bothered? screw him. where's rico tubbs?
5. bill walton, who normally cracks me up with his candid "he's playing horrible tonight" comments annoys me sometimes with his embellishments of average players "bryon russell can handle michael jordan 1-on-1. he doesn't need help!". last night's example was something along the lines of "is there anything that robert horry doesn't do to help this team? he scores, he rebounds, he passes, he's a great defender with long arms..." i know hoops. robert horry's game equates to this: he hits 3-pointers from the top of the key or corner, especially when the game is on the line. he's played with 2 dominant centers: dream and shaq. he was in phoenix for a short time. his memorable moment: throwing a towel in coach danny ainge's face. horry can't rebound for a 6'10" guy, can't handle the ball, can't defend the post and can't defend the wing. he's so average it's frightening.
6. the nets looked like deer in headlights the 1st 19 minutes of the game. they won the rest of it.
7. jason kidd shouldn't ever have to take 26 shots because the other guys are too scared. shoot the ball kittles! shoot van horn! you make $10M/year to take more than 7 shots a game!
8. i swear i'm going to a lakers game and pulling derek fisher's headband BEHIND his ears. who the hell wears a headband over their ears? do they flop all over his head otherwise? hate that punk.
9. kobe bryant is the ultimate michael jordan clone. glaring at guys he dunks on, chewing gum and smiling at refs after debating that his hack was not a foul, fist pumping, getting into an intense defensive stance, etc. hate that guy sooo much.
10. how could the nets be called for a lane violation on a shaq foul shot? shaq steps over the line on 75% of his foul shots before the ball hits the rim. am i the only person who knows that the rule is that the shooter can't step over until the ball hits the rim? a 12-year old can shoot a stationary foul shot but a 300-pound man can't? why is shaq shooting at a better clip at the line? because by the time he releases the ball he's at the rim.
11. phil jackson is not as smart as he thinks he is. who can't coach that team to a title? "strategy? um...get the ball to the biggest guy under the basket all game...if it's tight late in the game, get it to the phenomenal athlete that no one can guard and he'll a) hit a 15-footer b) posterize some hapless 2-guard c) get fouled.