The Christmas Day game is just days away, I thought it would be appropriate to write about 12 things that we of the Lakers Nation may be wishing for, or maybe just 12 things we can be thankful for during the holiday season…
12. Ron Artest isn’t Drinking Hennessy During Halftime -
First, I can’t believe he would actually say that. There is a such thing as TMI (to much information), Ron-Ron, and that was the definition of it. Sometimes it’s best when an athlete doesn’t talk, or in Ron Artest’s case, doesn’t record music either.
But I must say, we can all be happy that Artest has made an “angelic” transition into our team. I love his 4.0 APG, and he is is only going to get better within the offense. And I’m really going to love him if he locks down King James on Thursday, and if he does that we should all pour ourselves some Henny’ and drink to Ron’s D! Ron, you can join us if you like.
11. The Lakers D -
Speaking of defense, I’m sure we’re all very grateful that The Lake Show are holding their opponents to 94.5 PPG, which is good enough for 5th in the league, while also holding opponents to an NBA best .423 from the field, and a very surprising league leading .297 from downtown (I know I was surprised, too). I’m sure this makes Phil Jackson very happy, now if only we can get our free throw defense up!
Note: I was watching a game one night, and ABC cut to one of those wired clips of Phil, who said, “At least our free throw defense is exceptional tonight!” This is a true story. I tried to find a YouTube clip, but there isn’t one. I know some of you saw this. My homies and I can’t be the only ones, right?
10. I Really Wish Kobe’s Right Hand to Heal… Badly! -
Is Kobe Bryant going to have a right hand when he’s done playing, or is he going to look like Johnny Unitas or Ronnie Lott, with gnarled or missing fingers? What’s crazy is those dudes played football! That’s a sport where players are routinely getting their hands smashed between collisions, so it kind of makes sense that Ronnie had his finger smashed off in a game. Kobe hoops though, doesn’t this seem like an odd phenomenon?
How many other players have had two avulsion fractures, multiple torn ligaments, and multiple dislocations on one set of fingers? And how many of them had it happen to them on their shooting hand, in back-to-back-to-back season, while leading their teams to two — possibly three — NBA Finals, Olympic gold, MVP, and a NBA Finals MVP? Hell most players probably wouldn’t even play.
This is why (as a former football player) I’d say Kobe would make just as good an NFL player as LeBron. In the NFL you have to play hurt all the time. No NFL player goes through an entire season completely healthy, and Kobe has shown the necessary toughness to play at a high level, regardless of injury. That said, I’d still rather see Kobe at 100%.
9. Shannon Brown in the Dunk Contest -
Shannon’s great for one “WOW!” moment in a game. Now if only we could get him in the Dunk Contest… and hopefully against LeBron James. Can you imagine if Shannon beat King James in the Dunk Contest? Would that be a bigger upset than Tyson vs. Douglas, Pats vs. Giants, etc…? Shannon over LeBron in the Dunk Contest FTFW!
8. Kobe Bryant in the 3 Point Shootout -
Okay this one is a bit ridiculous, but Kobe almost entered two years ago, but the finger kept him out; besides last year it was a joke. The winning guy made like 15 shots.
You’re telling me Kobe doesn’t rain in more than that from downtown? Also, if Kobe were to win that would give him one thing on his resumé that Michael Jordan never had. If you don’t recall, Jordan entered it once and got smashed by his own teammate, Craig Hodges You know that killed him. I’m sure the next practice he played Hodges one on one, and did not let him score once.
7. The Re-Emergence of THE MACINE -
Okay, maybe I don’t want this.
6. The Re-Emergence of the Stench Bench! -
We all want this.
If that includes Sasha’s return to form (shooting ill-advised threes, and getting crossed over by Ray Allen) then so be it. I mean the bench didn’t contribute a whole hell of a lot of points last year and we won the Championship, but it’s always harder to repeat, and we’re going to need our beloved Bench Mob. Maybe they need more Ammo? Anybody, anybody? No? You’re telling me Adam Morrison getting more minutes isn’t what the bench mob needs… really?
5. Kobe’s Second MVP -
Steve Nash really has two MVP’s to Kobe’s one? Has anybody ever really considered Steve Nash better than Kobe? Did you know that in Phoenix they call Steve Nash the “Two Time?” Seriously? Two time robber is more like it.
It’s completely absurd that Nash beat Kobe in ’05-’06 NBA season, and people are talking about Nash winning again this year. The good news is Kobe is looks like the early front runner this year, and if we finish with the best record in the league, he’ll probably get it. (I have to admit LeBron’s numbers are staggering. You will have no gripes from me if LeBron wins it this year. In the words of King James MVP’s t-shirt, “Check My Stats”).
Also, Kobe’s 3rd in the NBA in steals right now, with around 2.2 SPG. Now I know he probably won’t garner as much attention for Defensive Player of the Year this season, but I think he ends up leading the league in steals, he might have an outside shot. We Lakers fans can hope, right?
4. Contract Extensions -
Phil, say you’ll be back please, and maybe you’ll make it easier for Kobe to sign that contract extension. I do not think I need to say anything else other than that.
3. Derek friggin’ Fisher -
So Fish’ struggles to guard any point guart with even a little quickness, and he still drives to the hole with every intention of bricking a layup and getting fouled. He’s also a dead eye clutch shooter.
Lost within both of the Kobe buzzer beaters, were Fisher’s big time shots to keep those games close.
This guy has to be entering the Robert Horry, “don’t let that guy get the effing ball when the Lakers need a big shot” status. No matter what Fish can, or can’t do, he is money during crunch time. I <3 Derek Fisher.
2. Kobe’s December Buzzer Beaters -
I seriously wished Marv Albert did every game. I would have died to have heard: “Here’s Bryant for the win? YES! At the buzzer! An incredible shot by Kobe Bryant.” Maybe one of you talented video editors can dub some Marv action over the two Kobe shots. Nevertheless, those shots don’t need any commentary for me to go nuts every time I watch them.
Seriously, after the shot over Wade I literally jumped up and down in a circle like Reggie Miller, after he pushed Jordan and drilled that dagger three. I wasn’t nearly as excited for the second one, because it just looked so easy. It was like: there’s Kobe, there’s Kobe getting to the elbow, there’s the shoulder fake, and there’s the ball going into the hoop. Okay let’s go home.
Only Kobe can make a buzzer beating shot look so routine. Plus, it probably didn’t hurt that he had already made a miraculous one two weeks earlier, but yeah how ’bout that Mamba?
1. A Lakers Win Over Cleveland -
Oh, how we all remember last year. What beats opening presents with loved ones? Opening presents with loved ones, and then watching the Lakers beat Boston! A great great day indeed.
Let’s hope we Laker fans are blessed with another extra Christmas present, when we take on Cleveland. I don’t even want the game to be close. I hope Kobe takes LeBron in the post and abuses him. I hope Shaq gets two early fouls (so likely) and then gets demolished by Bynum and Pau. I hope Ron Ron forces LeBrick to shoot 5-25. I can’t wait.