So we already know who this year’s MVP is? Think again. Harden and Westbrook are squaring off in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and there is more on the line than simply their playoff dreams. Ask Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.
“Kobe Bryant, won the game. And the Los Angeles Lakers were up three games to one.” Kevin Harlan tells the television audience during a break in another great playoff series for the ages.
The 7th seeded Los Angeles Lakers were up three games to two against the heavily favored 2nd seeded Phoenix Suns. Kevin is simply describing the last time Kobe was up to his usual heroics, leading his team to another victory. Dragging the lesser sum of his teammates another step further than anyone dared possible. In L.A.’s last home game, Kobe had hit the shot in regulation to send the game to overtime, and then later the overtime game-winner, putting his team in a commanding 3-1 series lead. Before the break, Kobe had just hit a three-pointer, giving his Lakers a 103-102 advantage in the closing seconds of a series clinching Game 6. The Suns gave the Lakers the ball back, this time a wide-open miss by Tim Thomas. With 42 seconds left in the game, the Lakers called timeout.
“This is the biggest possession, of the season, for the Phoenix Suns.” Says Doug Collins. Continue reading “MVP Showdown: 2006”
James Harden is in the MVP discussion, but it should come as no shock to anyone paying attention to the coaching history of one Mike D’Antoni.
When the Rockets hired Mike D’Antoni, no one would have asked you to stifle yourself if you snickered. He was only 2 years removed from the 2014 debacle in Los Angeles, when he coached the Lakers to a 27-55 record and out of the playoffs for the first time in 20 years (edit: Geez, that actually sounds pretty good now). Yup, all his fault. It didn’t matter that Kobe Bryant had only played 6 games or that Steve Nash had only played in 15, someone needed to be held responsible, and D’Antoni’s head was the one everyone wanted to roll.
That’s why when this season started, it was funny, to me anyways, hearing Laker fans and their supporters alike stating how “fun” the team was playing under first year coach Luke Walton. They were 10-10, the rookies were developing, and Nick Young pulled his best Walking Dead impression, coming back to life, when he seemed doomed to follow in the footsteps of Lamar Odom. He’s actually going to be in the 3-point contest this coming All Star Weekend.
But didn’t this team play a familiar style to anyone watching them? Perhaps not, the team has been almost unwatchable for years now. But to anyone that has hung around during these dark times to pay attention, they are actually mimicking the D’Antoni coached 2013-2014 Los Angeles Lakers. Look at the stats: Continue reading “Vitamin D”