It's a beautiful day here in Denver...getting ready for Game 6 of what's been a very good conference finals. Are you ready?
People are still talking about the "fall that wasn't" on Anthony by Dallas. They say he should have told the ref he was going to foul before the play. If he did that, wouldn't that then be an obvious intentional foul?
What Wright should have done is wrap up Carmelo. Leave no doubt. Here's the thing: if the Mavs had NOT been trying to take a foul and that was called, they would have gone crazy. So make sure when you'e taking a foul it's something that everyone in the building would agree is a foul under any circumstance
hey J.A., do you still believe in the cavs? all they need now is game 6 at amway, which sure won't be easy, but if they are able to do it, I don't see Lebron letting his team loose a game 7 at the Q.
They made it to overtime last time they were in Orlando, so I don't see why it's impossible for them to win Game 6 there. I don't see anything as impossible as long as LeBron's on the court.
I think Utah could go either way. Dallas is dependent on what Jason Kidd does. The other thing that's crazy is to think that only 2 teams among Lakers, Nuggets, Rockets and Trail Blazers can make the conference finals next year. Who ya gonna leave out on that list?
Seeing what I am seeing in these playoffs has gotten me excited for next year already. I really love the West. With Oklahoma getting wiser, Phoenix using all efforts not to lose out again, LA getting Blake Griffin, and seemingly all the good drafts picks headed West. Who do you see out of the eight that were in the playoffs dropping out?
sorry, that's the question that should have gone before that last response
J.A. I know as a Nugges fan my opinion is a little on the homer side but in games the Lakers have won in this seris theyve shot more then twice as many free throws then Denver in the 4th quarter. Yes the Nuggets seem to have mental break downs but have you viewed the officiating as inconsistant at best?
Yes it's been inconsistent. But you can adjust to it within the game. Chauncey and the Nuggets did that in game 2. They didn't in Game 5. But I don't think the officials lost Denver Game 5, just like I don't think the officials helped the Nuggets get all of those rebounds and bench points in Game 4
Should Lebron and his teammates have been more focused and dialed in leading up to the playoffs instead of the "team building" antics of half court shots and posing for the camera? I'd personally rather have a lousy teammate with the accompanying rings? Thoughts?
You don't want a lousy teammate, you want a serious teammate. I like the camaraderie of the Cavs, but you never saw the old Celtics and Lakers doing stuff like that in the playoffs.
Why is the NBA and ESPN trying to get Kobe in the Finals. Everyone says Denver in the Finals would get bad ratings but the Nuggets Lakers game 4 was the highest rated NBA game in the history of cable television. It was the most viewed show on cable so far this year and ESPNs highest rated basketball game college or pro ever.
Key point: it was Nuggets-LAKERS. You didn't see the Nuggets set rating records vs. Dallas, did you?
I do think all of this exposure to the colorful Nuggets in this series might carry over to the Finals if they win. But the Nuggets aren't drawing the casual fans like the Lakers would to the finals.
Hey J.A., great article on the '94 Bulls-Knicks series, and the subsequent call. Nevertheless, I think you missed a key point with Jordan not possibly coming back from retirement....What if there was no Space Jam?! Millions of kids (including me) watched that movie and loved MJ and the sport of basketball an infinite amount more, and without it, basketball wouldn't be the same. Plus, R. Kelly wouldn't have made such an impact, because no one would know about "I Believe I Can Fly". I would like to personally Hue Hollins for calling that foul, so we could be blessed with both Space Jam and "I Believe I can Fly".
You're right, I failed to consider all of the historical ramifications
Most likely to be a Laker next year Ariza or Odom?
I've heard more rumblings from the Lakers about Ariza than Odom. Even hough Ariza has increased his value he probably won't command as uch as Odom.
These next few games are critical for Odom. Let's say he plays 5 of a potential 9 remaining games the way he did in Game 5. That could be worth a lot of money
I am a huge NBA fan with no loyalties to Cleveland or LA. I also thought Kobe has been unfairly critisized at times in the past and was the clearly the best player in the NBA from 2004-2006. However, the current debate of who is better between him and LeBron is laughable. Every game LeBron plays, he sets some kind of record. Are people watching these games? LeBron is on a completely different level and Kobe doesn't even belong in the conversation. Kobe should be compared to Wade as to who the 2nd best player in the NBA is. That is a real debate. There is literally zero meaningful and current evidence to support a "Kobe is the best" argument.
other than the fact that his team is a W away from the NBA finals?
Speaking of finals ratings, did the LA/Boston ratings last year set an all time record? If not, who owns it? still MJ's bulls vs whoever?
08 Lakers-Celts wasn't even close to the glory days of MJ. Last year got a 9. MJ vs. Utah got an 18
Shouldn't Melo's clothesline against Kobe be a Flagrant considering all the other calls in the playoffs? Just because they're friends and Kobe didn't get mad or fall, seems like it helped NOT being called
It should have. Definitely worse than the flagrant called on Bynum (later rescinded) against Birdman in Game 4. I do think Melo helped his cause by going over to check and see if Kobe was OK. Bt it should be the action, not the reaction
J.A, can we talk about the other LA team for a sec? Any chance the Clips trade Griffin? If they keep him,who would they able to deal Kaman, Randolph or Camby ?
The Clippers say they're listening, but not actively trying to move the No.1 pick. But I'd keep it. You've got a clear-cut No.1, which makes the pick Dunleavy-proof. Do you really want the uncertainty that would come with a trade. And is there a player available who makes the Clippers instant contenders? If not, might as well go with the young, cheap Griffin.
Speaking of Kobe circa 04-06... I say that if the Eagle Colorado Scandal never happened he has 2 MVP awards + 2 Gold Medals by now... agreed?
...and speaking of historical revisions (see Hue Hollins post). Definitely a 2nd gold medal. He couldn't commit to the team that summer because he didn't know what would happen with the Colorado case (charges later dropped). You saw the difference he made on 08 Oly squad. Don't know about the second MVP though, because I dont see how his numbers wouldn't have been any better with no Colo.
I love how you defended kobe there with a "team" response when: 1) Lebron doesn't have half the supporting cast kobe does, 2) Lebron is the one that is clearly doing the most for his team, and 3) there is no way, shape, or form that kobe can be considered a decent teammate, even if you forget about what happened in the offseason.
Just wondering: are the same Cleveland people who say LeBron has nothing to work with the ones who were campaigning for Mo Williams to make the all-star team? Seemed like the Cavs had a pretty good squad when they were winning the most games in regular season. 1 thing you're seeing from both the Lakers and Cavs is that not everyone's up to the challenge of the playoffs. But who can push his squad over the edge? Kobe did it in Game 3 in Denver. LeBron did it in Cleveland last night and almost did it in Game 4 in Orlando. Lakers were helpless when Kobe was out during Game 4 in Denver. I'm going to judge their season and their level based on who prevails. They're both facing good, deep teams. This is as close a test as we'll get unless they actually square off in the Finals.
Lost in your Bulls/Davis article is that fact that a Jordanless bulls team won 55 games that year and were serious contenders for the title. How many games do the Cavs win without Lebron? 30?
I hate the "without" argument. Take away Kobe, LeBron, Dwight, those teams aren't where they are right now. The key question is what can they do WITH them. And as successful as that 94 Bulls team was w/out Michael, they missed him severely during the playoffs. If they had him they would have won a championship. Easily.
Does Danny Ferry panic if they don't make the finals? Who do they get this summer if so?
He shouldn't. The Cavs would still be closer to a championship than almost any place LeBron could go and still get $. A taller wing guy to guard the Lewis/Hedo types would be one place to start. Trevor Ariza?
Is the NBA trying to get Lebron to the finals because I think the Lebron's free throw shooting is getting way out of hand. I compiled the following numbers to support my theory. This looks at Lebron and other scoring wings in the playoffs. I compared average free throw attempts in the season versus playoffs. The results are staggering. Dwyane Wade Regular Season: 9.8 Playoffs: 8.3 Percentage Change: -15.3% Lebron James Regular Season: 9.4 Playoffs: 14.5 Percentage Change: 54.3% Carmelo Anthony Regular Season: 7.1 Playoffs: 8.6 Percentage Change: 21.1% Kobe Bryant Regular Season: 6.9 Playoffs: 8.5 Percentage Change: 23.2% Paul Pierce Regular Season: 6.8 Playoffs: 7.2 Percentage Change: 5.9% Brandon Roy Regular Season: 6.5 Playoffs: 7.7 Percentage Change: 18.5% For further comparison I looked at Michael Jordan's career playoff numbers. He shot an average of 9.87 free throws per game. Why is it that Lebron is getting the benefit of five extra free throws over the best player of all time and over his peers?
Ok, I posted this just because of the effort that went into looking up the numbers. But they don't tell the whole story. LeBron drives to the basket more than Kobe or Pierce. Teams are more likely to foul right away before he even gets to the paint. They're likely to foul him at halfcourt (bogus clear path call on Rafer last night, by the way) then let him get a full head of steam to throw down one of those crowd-energizing dunks. Those numbers reflect style of play and opponent tactics more than anything else. If LeBron sits around and hoists jumpers he isn't going to the line 15 times a game.
I think Kobe vs Tmac many years ago was better banter than Kobe vs Lebron. Kobe and Tmac were very good, but still human. Lebron seems superhuman on the court at times.
LeBron will be the standard over the next decade. But do you notice how it was Kobe vs. TMac...and before that it was Kobe vs. Vince...and now it's Kobe vs. Bron. There's something to be said for that.
Do you think either Farmar or Brown are the long term answer at the point for the purple and gold?
No. Lakers need to upgrade like Beyonce at the PG. Fortunately for them there are a lot of PGs in this draft and plenty of teams will be willing to deal their picks.
Danny Ferry's biggest mistake was not trading Wally at the deadline for someone like Shaq who could actually help in defending Dwight Howard. They could have packaged Wally's expiring, Eric Snow's expiring, JJ Hickson and a #1 pick and they would probably not be in the mess they are in with Orlando right now.
Both the Cavs and the Lakers could use Shaq right about now. Although I'm glad Shaq isn't around to overshadow Dwight in this series. HIs Game 4 was a huge step for him. I'd like to see him keep his name in the best players discussion. Can only do that by winning games past Memorial Day.
I have never seen someone get a more favorable whistle than Lebron, even Jordan. This is getting ridiculous. He barrels into the lane and if he doesn't score it's an automatic foul regardless of what happened. What's the point??
The point is he forces the action. That's smart. If he's that hard to stop and that big of a star, put the pressure on the referees. He still had to make those 2 free throws with 0.5 seconds left. Nothing is completely given in this league.
Why hasn't the NBA opened the referees up to the public more ? It's hard to take them at good faith about trying to improve the refereeing after all the rescinded T's and flagrants (and the non-rescinded bogus ones) and the lack of transparency despite the promises after the Donaghy scandal. This is their chance to gain a lot of fans because these series' are incredible - or lose them because everybody got angry about the refs.
I've said the refs should be more public and accountable as well. A, if we got to know them we'd think of them as people and not just operatives of the league (they square off against the NBA in collective bargaining just like the players, by the way). B, it wouldn't hurt to hear their explanations. They're not looking from the same angles the TV cameras are showing. They're thinking about the clock, def. 3 seconds, out-of-bounds, etc., not just fouls or traveling.
There have been plays that took me multiple replays/photos from different angles to determine (such as the Kobe elbow to Artest that I first thought hit him in the chin/neck but later saw struck the chest first). We ask the refs to do this in a split second
J.A., what you say about the fact that Lebron has no titles yet gets compared to Kobe - but when one compares Kobe to Jordan he is quickly dismissed b/c he doesn't have as many titles and the ones he has was with Shaq?
I actually don't use the rings argument much in this discussion (no matter what the puppet ads say). LeBron got to the finals on his own at a younger age than Kobe, and along the way he beat the core of the Pistons team that Kobe couldn't beat 3 year earlier. Heck, LeBron won more game off the Celtics than Kobe did last year. that's why this weekend will tell so much. Right now, who can make the most plays to get his team to the finals? This is what we ask of the greatest of players.
If Kobe being one win away from the Finals is a legit argument for him being better than LeBron, than is Howard also better the LeBron? By using that argument you are suggesting that somehow LeBron's teams failure (if you call being in the conference finals with a still legit chance to win a failure) is a result of him not being as good as Kobe. I'm not saying that team performance isn't something to consider when comparing two superstars (for example I give Kobe demerits for his team's, and his, brutal performance in last year's finals), but how can you use it against LeBron when he is having an absolutely unbelievable series. Do you honestly think there is more he could be doing in this series?
What I wanted to see from LeBron were more made FT's in the fourth quarter of Game 3. More made jump shots in game 4. It's about making winning plays. He did that and more in Game 5. That's the standard Kobe will have to match in Game 6 here tonight. That's what I want to see from someone who wants to claim he's the best in the game
I think the theory of evolution applies to basketball. Dr.J to MJ to Kobe to Lebron. I wont be surprised if a player with the size and strength of dwight howard comes plays in the perimeter like kobe & lebron. I think its unfair to compare players especially if they come from diff generations. MJ didnt have kobe's range. Kobe doesnt have lebron's size and strength.
J.A. love your articles. Why does the argument of MJ vs. Kobe vs. Lebron even exist? There have already been multiple experts talk about how scary of an incarnation Kobe is of Michael. Their body type, style of play and drive to win are SCARY similar. Lebron though is just a freak of nature, 6-8, 275 lb and THAT FAST? This guy honestly cannot be compared to ANYONE who has EVER played in the L ... and this is coming from a Lakers fan. Your thoughts?
You can't think of LeBron in just Jordan terms. He's Oscar plus Magic, with Jordan's athleticism.
Kobe can take over and win a game, however he does not always make those around him better. LeBron can take over a game as well and can make players around him better if the talent level is there. How much better fundamentals of learning the game and making your teamates on the floor if they had gone to college? How many years of college would it take?
Here's one thing Jordan got from going to college: by making that NCAA-winning shot as a freshman, it bought him SEVEN YEARS of coming up short in the NBA without being called a loser. I say if Kobe had scored 63 in a loss he would've been criticized much more than Jordan. We consider that one of the great Jordan games even though he lost the game and got swept in the series. But Jordan had shown he could win because he did it in college. LeBron doesn't have that bank. I think he's in for a lot of criticism if he doesn't win it this year. Might not be fair, but it will happen
Can't we just say that Kobe is the more accomplished player, i.e. more accomplishments in his career than Lebron? Lebron may catch Kobe in accomplishments one day, but today isn't that day.
Yes, we can.
Kobe/Lebron, Kobe/Lebron, Kobe/Lebron - boo!!!! I know I'm looking ahead a bit, but if the Magic somehow win a Championship, do you see veterans taking paycuts to be able to join this team (like the Celtics now and previously the Lakers and Spurs)? Orlando has the best big man in the game, and will be able to compete year in and year out.
You're right. We should be talking Orlando today (it's just that LeBron might not be around next week so we might as well talk him up now).
I had a friend ask me if LeBron would consider playing with Dwight in 2010. the problem is Dwight and Rashard Lewis (at $20 mil!) will be eating up so much of the salary cap that it'll be tough to give LeBron his money...especially if Hedo opts out this summer and the Magic re-sign him (and as great as he's been in these playoffs after a disappointing reg. season, don't you see that happening?)
Rashard is working out in the short term, especially in this series, extra-especially for that shot he made in Game 4. So the question for Magic fans is: would you be willing to trade a possible future with LeBron for a championship this year? I'd say yes.
I'd still be in purple and gold with about 3 more rings if it weren't for Colorado.
Another historical ramification. Shaq's reaction to Kobe's arrest (let's just say he didn't exactly fly to Eagle to show support at the pretrial hearings) was the final bullet into their relationship.
Jordan this, Jordan that. Kareem will never get his just due for his excellence, for having the greatest career.
Anyone with more points than Chamberlain (and way more than Russell) and, as many rings as MJ deserves to be in the argument much more often than Kareem is
All the talk about the Celtics not having KG. How about giving the Magic some dap for getting this far without our team leader Jameer Nelson? Any love? Waiting....nothing.... anything?
You know what would've helped? If there were rumors that Nelson might come back. That would at least keep his name out there, remind people of what Orlando is missing. I'll say this, if they win in Cleveland in 7 after winning in Boston in 7 and beating Philly on the road with no Dwight that has to go down as the most impressive set of clinching Ws in conference playoff history.
JA, Lebron may attack the basket more than Kobe or Pierce, given that those 2 guys have a better mid and long range game than LBJ does, but he doesn't attack it any more than MJ did or than Wade does. Soem of the fouls he gets are mind-bogging in terms of absurdity. Reminds me of Wade circa 2006 where no one was anyhwere near him yet the whistle would blow time and again. At some point, it DOES look pretty "planned", even though I don't believe in conspiracies per se.
LeBron SHOULD go to the basket as much if not more than he does. It's the No. 1 weapon in the game right now. I never understood why people knocked Shaq for not developing a jumper. If he can get dunks and make 60% of his shots inside, why do you want him shooting jumpers? Now LeBron will be more effective if he could hit the jumper more consistently. But if he can get to the hoop and/or get the calls, keep at it. Again, it's not a conspiracy if he's forcing the refs to do something. They're not going to send him to the line for standing around.
Bottom line, who do you think wins tonight??
Denver. This had the look of a 7-game series from the beginning, and I think we'll get it. We deserve it, don't we? It was a pretty lackluster season, but these conference finals have been great. Not ready for them to end tonight in the West..and I don't think they will,.
This chat's over, though. Thanks again for all of your questions.