Practice video and a sweet Question of the Day
It was a busy day for the Lakers in El Segundo, meaning there's a fair amount of video and quoteage to upload, so rather than do it all at once, I'll post 'em as I make 'em. Call this an appetizer, with a special, bonus, today-only-offer of a Lamar Odom Candy Related Question of the Day thrown in for fun (scroll down for that). I'm channeling my inner Billy Mays. You really don't space age toilet bowl cleaners to enjoy this blog post.
First, Kobe video. Don't focus that much on what he says (there's not much in there you haven't heard), but how. It's clear Kobe is over talking to us- can't imagine why- and wants to get on with the show:
Phil Jackson on Orlando's explosive offense, the difficulty of defending Dwight Howard, and why he'd still start a franchise with the big Magic C if building one from scratch.
It's fair to say PJ has a healthy respect both for Orlando's ability to score, and for Howard's skills. "I don't think a lead is too large against Orlando. They are very capable of getting 12 points on four trips down the floor," he said. "That just changes everything up. You have to play consistent defense and continue to score against them."
On Howard: "I don't think since Shaq came into the league 18 years ago or whatever have we seen a player this dominant power-wise. There's a tendency for players to (concede) that power. To give him the power base he wants. We have to take that away from him... He is the first and foremost force that they're going to have, and behind that they threaten you with three point shots." High praise for sure.:
Andrew Bynum hit again- though not in this clip- on the notion of "doing your work early" against Howard. Hustling down the court to pick him up closer to the free throw line, as opposed to deeper in the lane. It's a tough challenge, because there may not be a true pivot who gets up and down the floor as well as Howard.
Here, Bynum talks about the process of coming back from his knee injury, and his excitement at the challenge in front of him:
And now for the sweeter stuff (pun!).
A few weeks ago after practice, I was sitting in the media room uploading video and typing my report. Lamar Odom came in, as he'll often do, to sit down and have his guy give him a haircut/beard trim. In his lap was a post practice piece of chicken, with some veggies on the side. He saw me staring.
"What?" he asked.
"LO," I replied, "this is the fourth year I've covered you guys, and in all that time I don't think I've ever seen you eat anything that wasn't candy."
He started laughing. And by the way, I should have added "peanut butter and jelly sandwiches," because I've seen him eat those, too. So while it's probably unnecessary to call the folks at A&E to see if they need a candy related episode of Intervention and no question the dude also eats plenty of real food, I can vouch for the authenticity of his sweet tooth.
But with the Finals upon us and LO's candy habit in full view of the media's collective glare, there's no margin for error. If Odom is going to eat candy, it needs to be the right candy. Winning candy. Championship candy. Which leads to today's Question of the Day:
What would be the best candy for Odom to eat, with a goal of winning a title?
Some candidates, just to get the ball rolling:
M & M's:
Pro: It doesn't matter what hue you're holding- really, anyone who claims to be able to differentiate once they're popped into the mouth is lying- or when and where you buy them. Those little candies deliver the same crunchy, chocolate experience every time. That's what LA needs from Lamar: Different looks that are always good. Some nights he's the green (means go) scoring M & M, other times the red (means stop) shotblocking/defensive variety. Maybe he rebounds (blue, for glass cleaner). It's all delicious.
Con: They melt in your mouth, yes, but slogan be damned they also melt in your hands. Frankly, they tend to melt everywhere, and for a guy who sweats as much as LO, is that a good idea? Given their small size, there's also a good chance of accidents. A chocolate smeared uni, for example, would be particularly bad with the Sunday whites.
Pro: We're always reminding Lamar to be more intellectual as a player. To avoid stuff like this or this. Nerds don't do that sort of thing. They're always making the right calculations. Plus, Snoop likes 'em (left).
Con: The candy may be well named, but have you seen the actual cartoons on the package? Look closely. They hardly seem the picture of intellect, cavorting and capering about with little regard for their own safety. Plus, they seem to lack arms (a problem for basketball players) and pants (a problem for everyone), should LO choose to emulate. A better choice here might be Smarties.
Pro: A favorite of LO's, so their consumption puts him in a good mood. Just as the M & M colors provide options to fit every mood and playing style, so to do the Skittles. Original, Sour, Tropical, Wild Berry, Crazy Cores (never heard of 'em), Smoothie Mix, and so on. Plus, they mix well with vodka. Or, if you prefer, SkittleBrau. (Sorry, that's why AK should... does... "eat" Skittles to help him get through the day.)
Con: Tasty, but I fear they have lost their way. Have you tried the Skittles gum? Wrong on a few levels. Then they totally sold out their fruity heritage to produce a chocolate flavor. C'mon, Skittles, be true to yourself. Odom is a guy for whom roots matter. He carries his Queens upbringing like a badge of honor. Should he be eating a candy experiencing an identity crisis?
Note: At least something good came out of the chocolate Skittles debacle. This commercial made me lol:
I bet that sort of thing happens all the time to Pinata Man. And it's worth noting that there are a ton of entertaining Skittles commercials on YouTube. Moving on...
Pro: A candy, to paraphrase Abe Simpson, you can set your watch to. The candy Kurt Rambis would have eaten, if he ate candy before games. Tootsie Rolls set a good example for other members of the candy family by getting out there every day since eighteen-hundred-and-ninety-six and doing its job. No more, no less. You wake up tomorrow, Tootsie Rolls will be there. Next week? Tootsie Rolls. Next month? Tootsie Rolls. That's something Odom can invest in. Literally.
Con: While delicious, the Tootsie Roll is kind of one-note. That ain't Odom's game. Nobody who dresses like this can be considered one note.
Salt Water Taffy:
Pro: The chewy factor combined with the often labor intensive process of getting the stuff out of its wax wrapper means LO can spend more time eating the candy but potentially consume less, thus making himself lighter on his feet. The same principle applies for Jaw Breakers- more so, even- and other heavy suck/chew fare like Now and Laters (an admitted LO fave) and the perpetually underrated 100 Grand bar, to toss in a more chocolatey offerings. A best-of-both-worlds situation.
Con: At Tuesday's practice, LO admitted he has had a few cavities. Nothing out of the ordinary (the man is a committed brusher), but enough that fillings are present. You know, the kind that can be ripped out by a wayward taffy bite. Personally, I don't want to see Odom's performance impacted by that kind of pain. Bottom line, taffy is just too dangerous.
Those are just a few suggestions, of course. This is an enormously important question requiring the full attention of Lakers fans. Given the full universe of candy available, we can't be limited simply to the five things I mentioned. Okay, I kid (in all seriousness, the dude really does eat real food, too). But it's fun to play around with, given we're still two days away from real games.
Thankfully, at least for Odom, who is being a good sport for sure but would probably like to talk about other things ("People are making it like I sit there and eat a whole plate of candy before I play a basketball game," he said today with a smile.) proximity to actual game action should push CandyGate off the front burner.
Actually, Odom himself had the best solution. "Now I'm gonna go from candy to salad. I'm gonna say my favorite thing to eat is salad. Then I'll be like the altar boy."