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Category: Question of the Day

Orlando or Cleveland: LeChoice?

Question cartoon I've been anxiously awaiting a "no jinx" opportunity to ask a question that's piqued my curiosity of late.  And with the Lakers now officially in the NBA Finals, I have my chance.

Who would you rather face, the Orlando Magic or the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Let me say right from Jump Street that I don't believe a "right" answer exists.  There are legit pros and cons with either squad.  It's no longer an Eastern Conference where the crowned party wouldn't win 50 game in the West.  The Lakers won't be facing the 2009 version of the Kidd-Kenyon-Jefferson New Jersey Nets.  Both teams are very good, and will likely present challenges for the Lakers.  If you picked Orlando purely for the home court advantage (or to avoid a 2-3-2 structure that unfairly punishes the road squad), that's a valid enough reason in and of itself.  One of many, I'd say. 

I'm curious, though, how much varying opinions are fueled largely- if not completely- by the "Kobe-LeBron" thing. 

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Question of the (night before the new) day: Kobe Bryant's Game 3

Saturday was not Kobe Bryant's first ride at the Iconic Game Rodeo.  He's turned in an array of incredible performances over the course of his career. (For a refresher course, click here.)

While 41 points on 12-24 from the floor is impressive, statistically 24's performance in Game 3 wasn't his most gaudy, nor one of those games where he bends the opposition to his will like Uri Geller with a spoon.  It was brutal and athletic and draining and clutch and vulnerable.  Nothing about it was easy, which, as I wrote after the game, is precisely why I thought it was so outstanding.  There was literally nothing left in the tank at the final buzzer, to the point Kobe needed an i.v. to replenish his body with fluids.  But he had led the Lakers to a critical win. 

So here's the question (if you haven't guessed already...):

Where does Saturday's Game 3 performance rank on your All Time Kobe List?

BK

Kobe and Game 7: Question of the Day

After Game 6, I was IM-ing with John Krolik, a great young basketball writer for Slam and the ESPN.com TrueHoop Network (via Cavs The Blog), and it was the first time I heard the question.  Since then, it has been kicked around in various forms by various people, but he was the first to bring it up to me:

Is Sunday's Game 7 with the Rockets the biggest 48 minutes of Kobe's career?

I think so, at least as his legacy is concerned.  Should the Lakers lose, I have a feeling that the hit to Kobe's reputation will be large.  This, after all, is his team, one that whipped the rest of the Western Conference en route to 65 wins and has played with a championship-or-bust mantra since October.  Losing in the second round to a star-free Houston team would be a monumental embarrassment and while others would be damaged along with him, as LA's frontman Kobe's production and leadership would be under attack.

When U2 releases a bad album people blame Bono not Adam Clayton, even if the bass lines are crap.

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Fish or Farmar: Who starts Game 4?

He played well and Jeff Van Gundy went on at length about it during ESPN's broadcast of last night's 108-94Jordan Farmar dunks in Game 3 Game 3 win in Houston, during which it was a topic of conversation on the live blog, so at this point we're pretty much compelled to ask the question, right?  So here we go...

Should Jordan Farmar start Game 4 over Derek Fisher?  

The logic, as presented by JVG is as follows:

  • Farmar matches up better with Aaron Brooks, while Fisher is a better match for Kyle Lowry.
  • Farmar is a more dynamic offensive player than Fisher, and allows the Lakers to push the ball up the floor, a handy thing to do against a stiff defensive team like the Rockets.
  • The Lakers need a productive Farmar in the postseason, and if starting him is the best way to make that happen, then he should start. 

In my postgame wrap, I noted the good work Farmar did, even acknowledging that I was predisposed to finding flaws in his game.  He played under control, (generally) made very solid decisions, hustled for loose balls and rebounds, moved the rock, all allowing him to crawl out from under the one he'd been under for the last eight weeks or so.  No question Farmar provided a boost to the Lakers.

But let's not get all crazy, here. 

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Looking ahead, featuring Ron Ron and Socks

(Apologies for the late post, as there was some confusion over whose turn it was to write.  Well, not really "some" confusion, as BK didn't screw up anything.  My bad.)

For the Lake Show, life these days is all about the waiting game.  Waiting to learn their second round Lipreader opponent, a fate that could be decided this evening.  Should the Houston Rockets prove false fears over unconquerable first rounds and close out Portland, their eccentric forward Ron Artest may have already provided semi-finals bulletin board material.  Always good for colorful verbage, Bill Bill just told the equally colorful (in all senses) Craig Sager that Kobe Bryant is no Brandon Roy when crowning "the best he's ever played against." 

Now, did Artest literally mean that Portland's #7 is a better player than the Lakers' #24 (or for that matter, the Cavs' #23)?  Depends on the semantics, according to The Dream Shake's Tom Martin.   Either way, word's already spread like mono at a game of spin the bottle and by the time those words are pounded to death, Artest might as well have declared Mamba the second coming of Harold Miner.  For all intents and purposes, it's officially on.

The guy I really wanna see play, by the way, is Artest's buddy Mike from Queensbridge who spent a little time "inside" as a teenager.  The way Ron tossed around compliments, dude was the greatest player since Sliced Bread (who basically excelled at everything).

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Rockets at Blazers: Question of the Day

After Monday's series clinching win over the Jazz, Lamar Odom joked that he hoped the Houston/Portland series, continuing tonight in the Rose Garden, goes a full seven games with "eight overtimes" in each. Of course, for that to happen the Blazers will have to throw on their rally chapeaus, because with a win tonight the Rockets can close things out. 

On the one hand, it's better for the Lakers if Houston wins this series, because without question LA matches up better against the Rockets. 

On the other, would it be such a bad thing for Houston to have to grind things out deeper into the week? 

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What Kobe do you want?

In his column this morning, the LAT's Bill Plaschke addressed the question of Kobe Bryant's approach to Kobe Bryant dunks in the fourth quarter of LA's 113-100 win over Utah the first three games of their series against the Jazz:

"...Bryant agreed that for probably the first time in his career, he has gone three postseason games without putting his stamp on any of them.

But, no, he's not ready to change anything yet.

"I'm going to stick to the script," he said. "I'm going to get the guys involved early, work it inside, get them going . . . and if that doesn't work, then go to me."

But, c'mon, it took nine minutes for him to score in Game 1, it required eight minutes for him to score in Game 2, and it was nearly halftime before he scored in Game 3.

The first two games, the Lakers survived. The third game, they imploded, with Bryant's fingerprints all over the wreckage. When he finally started looking for the basket, he couldn't find it, and the Lakers were lost.

Shouldn't he start doing a little more, a little earlier?..."
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Thinking caps: A buffet of Questions of the (Night)

Maybe it was this morning's overcast skies, or Thursday's loss, or that I've been watching a lot of The Thinker extended clips from that Life After People show on History Channel.com.  Whatever the reason, I'm feelin' reflective, and that means a host of Questions of the Day-Now-Evening.  Feel free to play along at home.

1) Should Phil Jackson have had someone other than Derek Fisher on Deron Williams at the end of last night's game?

Here's the replay, just to make a fresh deposit in the ol' memory bank, although everyone knows the result by now. Fish had to respect the possibility of a pick and roll with Boozer, but Williams crossed him over, and a sick crossover it was, to get space then got the shot off over a closing Lamar Odom.  I don't think I'd have had Shannon Brown in- he'd been sitting since the 8:30 mark, was playing (for all practical purposes) his third playoff game, and quite frankly has had issues sticking D-Will in the open court, too.  That's a tough situation for him, especially with no fouls to give. But in crunch time, I'd have stuck Kobe on him and let Fish take Ronnie Brewer, who was set up in the corner.  Kobe is the best one-play defender they have, and shouldn't have been put in a position so far from the play.

Honestly, though, I doubt it would have made much of a difference.  Williams put on a winning move, and made a clutch shot.  Give him credit.  I don't like boiling games down to one play, but this is a fun one to discuss.

2) So seriously, what defines a "blown lead?" 

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Dwight Howard: DPOY, plus a defensive QOTD

REMEMBER: Live chat at 3:30 PST!!!

In news that can only be described as "shock-free," Dwight Howard snagged the Defensive Player of the Dwight rebound Year award in a vote that can only be described as "landslide."  And in my opinion, "righteous."

Dude not only blocked shots like a cracked out fly swatter, but he's leading the league in rebounds, whether measured per game or in 48 minute increments.  Those are massive and sometimes underrated  credentials for this prize.  In my opinion, rebounding remains a perpetually overlooked aspect of defense, which is ridiculous.  Ain't much good forcing an elite scorer into a bad shot if you don't convert that miss into a new possession for yourself.  A stark (if ultimately inconsequential) lesson during game one against the Jazz.  Howard also ranked second among centers for steals, to boot. 

Put it all together and it may be a surprise to learn that Orlando limited opponents to a paltry 43% from the field, but that's only because much of what the Magic did in 2009 flew under the radar.  When you think about the components involved, Team Van Gundy's defensive success feels like the natural conclusion, and much of the credit belongs to Howard.

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Question of the Day: Playoff matchups

It's the age old playoff question: Who do you want to play?  (With, of course, the yang to its yin, namelyQuestion mark what team is best to avoid?)  Tonight's game with Utah provides the Lakers with a chance to at least try and manipulate the process a little.  Win, and it's very straightforward.  The Jazz return to Staples this weekend to kick off Round 1.  Lose, though, and the door is open to a visit from either Dallas or New Orleans.  

Should Utah "steal" a win tonight and the Mavs (home vs. Houston) or New Orleans (at San Antonio) fall Wednesday in their final games of the season, LA would draw one of those crews.  Phil Jackson says it'll be business as usual, and that his team will play it straight. 

But forget him.  He's just the head coach and a Hall of Famer, which leads to this afternoon's Question of the Day:

What would you do with tonight's game? 
Sit Pau and Kobe for a little extra rest?  Let 'em get some quality burn before pulling them early?  Go spheres to the wall in order to win?  Put Sun out there by himself and boldly declare, "My team is on the floor?"  Would you be interested in trying to pull a string or two?

A few points on the matter...

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