Have I mentioned lately that the NBA sucks? I just got finished watching that travesty of a series between the Pacers and Pistons wrap up. Is there some kind of rule that no more than one person on the court at any given time is allowed to hit shots? During one exhilarating stretch tonight, the Pistons outscored the Pacers 10-2 over an 8:00 period. I know it’s apples and oranges, but I recall seeing the 2002 and 2003 Kansas Jayhawks put many a 10-2 run on teams in a matter of 90 or even 60 seconds. I thought the NBA was supposed to be the highest level of basketball. Sure, they play intense defense, but if no one can shoot, how do you really know? The Lakers, Celtics, Rockets, and Sixers of the 80s all played great defense. But they also had not just five but often seven or eight players who could score, so teams consistently scored over 100 points a game. Some say Naismith would be turning in his grave over games like tonight’s. I beg to differ. I think modern NBA ball is shockingly close to the original game. Those dudes back in Springfield, Mass couldn’t shoot! According to the Indy Star, of the ten lowest scoring playoff games since the advent of the shot clock, all have taken place since 1997 and five took place this year. And don’t get me started on Karl Malone not getting suspended for basically the same thing that Anthony Peeler had done a couple nights earlier, or a referee in Monday’s game asking how many fouls Shaq had. Really, do NOT get me started here.
As for why the Pacers lost: stupidity, youth, injuries, in that order. Ron Artest reverted to form throughout the series, really only having one good game. He continually put his head down and drove into the lane either forcing up bad shots or getting his shots blocked. He took long threes early in the shot clock before Jermaine O’Neal had a chance to set-up in the post. He used his slow-as-molasses behind the back dribble in traffic and continually had the ball stolen away. Worst of all, his flagrant foul in the final four minutes of a tie game Tuesday night was the turning point. Youth, because players like Artest, Jermaine O’Neal, Fred Jones, Al Harrington, Jamaal Tinsley, and Jonathan Bender still have so much to learn about playing consistently at a high level. The good news is the Pacers have such a stable of young players. The bad news is I think Artest, Tinsley, and Bender are the kinds of players who will always drive you mad with their inconsistency. Injuries kept Tinsley off the court much of the last two games, and rendered him ineffective the remainder of the series, plus kept O’Neal from playing at his highest level in the final two games.
At least I know how the Finals will turn out and I won’t have to watch. Larry Brown will find a way to win game one. The Lakers will win the next two. The Pistons might get lucky and win game four to even the series, but the Lakers will close things out in six. Kourageous Kobe Bryant and Shaq are too much for the Pistons to handle, even with their depth in the post. I can see Rasheed Wallace dominating Karl Malone, but I have a hard time seeing Rip Hamilton get off consistently while being guarded by Kobe.
I’ll try to edit down my storm watchers log from the weekend and get that posted later.