Thursday, March 8, 2007

Notes or, Manu Ginobli and Marko Jaric should move their damn faces

I'll get to Kidd, but first, a few notes: correcting my corrections, the wild incident that involves me, KG, and white powder, Kobe Bryant's case of St. Vitus' Dance, and some T-Wolves optimism.

After posting my first entry, I realized that blogspot has an "edit" feature. Having not edited my post, I read it after publishing and saw that I had written that the Associated Press did not want an author's "work." I realized upon reading that this was not only misleading but false.

So I changed it. After doing this, I decided that I would not be doing it again. It seems like cheating to be able to so easily take back a statement that I put in print and made public. I will resist the temptation to dig into my history and remove theories that may not have come to fruition, like Gonzaga reaching the Elite Eight this year (I'll explain later). For the remainder of this blog I will be making all of my corrections postscript. I will be my own editor, ombudsman, and grammatician, which, I will reveal in my next corrections, is not a real word.

These entries will run under the title "Notes" and will look like this:

CORRECTION - I wrote in my last entry that you were free to kill your own "retired pirate," which is much funnier than "ex-pirate," but, upon further review, is not nearly as funny as "mutinied pirate." I apologize for the mistake.

- Grammatician is not a real word. Neither is "electability" (more on that later), nor "sticktoitiveness."

Now, for one request from blogger to reader. If you are a close friend of mine, and you have a fond memory of something that we, or just I did that my grandmother may be less impressed with, please don't mention it on the blog. I think we're all clear on what I mean. I will, in return, try and avoid writing about your personal lives. Thank you.

Speaking of personal lives, I mentioned my own in the intro. In so doing, I used some harsh phrasing in referencing my relationship with my girlfriend. I hope that the reader does not - as she did - take these words to mean that I am bored with it. My life is made better by ten thousand inside jokes and moments that, if I shared them with you, would mean less to me. Needless to say, it's mostly off limits, though I'm not ruling it out as a topic. Just don't expect much.

Couple more notes on the T-Wolves-Lakers game.

- The talcom powder thing KG does before every game, where he gets a bunch in his hands and then tosses it in the air in the direction of someone on press row? Before I really noticed what was going on, he was doing it to me and Jon, one of my bosses. Once I stopped laughing, I noticed that Jon had put his notebook over his cup, while I now had a dotting of powder in my coffee. I proceeded to drink the coffee, because I was cold and because I couldn't think of how else that story should end.

Very cool moment. It's probably a short list of people that will be on the other end of this, the funniest on-court ritual in NBA history. My Garnett entry is somewhere down the road. He was great in this game, by the way. And Ricky Davis was as good as I've seen him in a long time.

- Also, a quick note on the Kobe Bryant incident. One thing to look at here is on both plays, the guys defending (Ginobli then, this time Jaric) had made great defensive plays, blocking a guy who easily clears their top jump by at least half a foot. Ginobli's, however, was a much bigger play. As I remember it, it was near the end of and perhaps in the last minute of a very close game.

After the second offense, a lot of people are echoing what I thought right after the Ginobli incident: Kobe can do practically whatever he wants in the air, including absorb impact. Twice in this game I saw him flick his legs at a defender and try to create a foul. (Got free throws off one of them.) So for him to throw his arms out with such violence. . .there is no question he's doing it by choice.

I think we need to look at the very real possibility that, as much as he was looking for a foul, it could also be that Kobe's flails - or at least their force - were bourne of frustration. Here, he was being blocked by two players that he should probably never be blocked by. And both of them got a forearm in the chops. By the way, if I may play daycare provider for a moment, Jaric, Ginobli, and Kobe are all fortunate that no one got a finger in the eye.

My problem with this is that I don't think Kobe is a smart guy. I know he is. I've seen enough reel on the guy, seen him work refs and the media, probably learning a bit from Phil along the way. But a lot of it seems very natural. Seeing Kobe post game, I can tell you that he is articulate and, having just taken a shower, both senator Joe Biden (D-DE) and I would assume he was clean.

Now, if Kobe's a smart guy, why would he have the Ginobli incident, which was an ugly scene, and proceed to throw his arms out again, weeks later? Is it possible that he could be so petulent that his knee-jerk response to being blocked is to try and whack the guy in the face?

I hope not, but I haven't heard this theory yet, so I'm putting it out there.

And for all the media coverage its gotten, Stu Jackson put it best in suspending him after the first one. This is a "non-basketball move."

Kobe, you know what's up. Get this out of your game.

-Now as for what this does for, or to both teams, I think LA will be fine. For the last two minutes of Tuesday's first half, everything was going against Kobe, and I could see it building up inside him. I noticed this and said the following:

"I think you might want Kobe a bit frustrated. But not pissed off."

Kobe was absolute flames to start the second half, 12 before you could look up. As long as Kobe and Phil can find ways to fire themselves and each other up, they'll steal enough wins down the stretch to make the playoffs.

As for the Wolves, this seems like the kind of win that could. . .well, let's hold off on that thought, because so did the first game I covered, a come-from-behind shocker over the Clips. Foye ripped off 14 in that 4th quarter, including a breakaway dunk to ice it, and I was sure he'd just played his way into the starting lineup. By the way, he's still not starting, and he still should.

The next game I worked, they were terrible in a loss to the Hawks. The Atlanta Hawks. Big Ticket looked uninterested for large periods of this game, particularly in missing a handful of bunnies in the first half that are dunks for him on most nights. On a side note, Craig Smith could easily pass for an NFL lineman, and is better than pretty much anyone had him, including probably McHale. But he missed three, four, or five wide open looks from inside four feet on Tuesday night. It was like the giant high school player who hasn't quite grown into his body yet, and after a while, even the other team probably wants him to get one. Hard to watch. That being said, he'll drop ten pounds in the offseason and maybe start next year.

Speaking of which, it appears that LSU's Glen "Big Baby" Davis dropped at least 10, and gave all of them to Michael Sweetney.

But to get back to my point, I'm not sure where this leaves the Wolves. If I had to pick, I see them passing those Clips, who are due for a tailspin. The Wolves have a tougher remaining schedule, and Cassell's going to be very effective in close games.

But I have to go with the single best player on the two teams, which is Garnett by a huge margin. So I'll take the Wolves, though neither of these teams would win a playoff game against Dallas.

Enough, enough. This was just supposed to be notes.

No more. Good day.

Thanks, and please keep reading.

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