We’ll be logging each minute on the court right here on the BasketBlog … Remember that you can hit your browsers’ refresh (or reload) button to get the latest entry. Check back after tip to follow along…
Inactives for tonight:
Lakers – DJ Mbenga, Sun Yue
Nuggets – Chris Andersen, Steven Hunter
So, after playing another round of “Would You Rather” earlier this week, it got me thinking: If you were an athletic basketball team with wing talent galore, would you rather have Allen Iverson or Chauncey Billups as your primary ball handler?
That’s a no brainer, right? AI, no question. On opposite day. That’s like asking if you’d rather chill on Venice Beach tomorrow or go to the dentist.
Obviously you’re taking Billups, as witnessed by Denver’s 7-1 record since making the trade two weeks ago. The better question is this: How far can Billups take the Nuggets? Can they finally get out of the first round? Can they beat the Lakers in STAPLES on an early-season Friday night after the AI version fell to L.A. in their season opener?
We’ll see. Your starters:
Lakers: Fish, Kobe, Vladi, Pau and Bynum
Nuggets: Billups, Dahntay Jones (how about that spelling, what the h…), Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin and Nene
Last night on TNT, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley both seemed comfortable with Vladi as the starter, suggesting that the court would be too congested with Odom in the lineup, and that Trevor Ariza’s shooting doesn’t spread the defense like the threat of Vladi’s bomb. Pretty much what we’ve heard around these parts…
The first bit of good news for Lakers fans in the building came as Radmanovic’s first stroke from distance resembled the five that swished through Phoenix’s nets last night. That, and Bryant apparently was insulted that Denver started Dahntay (again, gotta love the unique spelling) on him, opting to score seven points on the former Duke player in about a minute that put L.A. up 15-8 in the early goings. In other news, this is the first home game for which Jack’s been absent, but he gave his seat to Dick Tracy (Warren Beatty), which is nice. He’s pretty cool too.
Generally speaking, the Nuggets are to Kobe Bryant what I would be to Brock Lesnar* in the Octagon – meat. I remember watching last year’s first-round playoffs actually feeling badly for Denver, and a 4-for-6 variation of Js was fun to watch as Bryant opened with nine points in the first seven minutes of this game. Dahntay was relieved by Anthony Carter in trying to slow the Mamba, and though Kobe’s next play didn’t result in points, it may have been the most explosive of the season. Remember when Kobe had that monster dunk against Detroit the other night? He jumped even higher (I think I said 56 feet last time), hung even longer, and just missed a pass that was way too high. I can’t stress enough how high Bryant was in the air, but I can explain what I did during the period from which he left the floor until the ball bounced off the rim:
*If you’re like my dad, you have no idea who Lesnar is … So I’ll tell you: A former NCAA heavyweight wrestling champ turned WWE champ turned UFC (Ultimate Fighting) terror that pounded a former champ last week.
A) Read Bill Simmons’ football column on ESPN (like eight pages)
B) Received a phone call from my buddy Robby, who was in tears after Minnesota got demolished by the Celtics, spoiling his “guaranteed” victory. Why would he have guaranteed that game in the first place? I digress
C) Set my starting lineups for my three fantasy football and three fantasy hoops squads for the rest of the week
D) Balanced my check book
OK I lied on the last one … I don’t have to do that, because everything shows up online anyway. You get the point.
Continue reading ‘Lakers-Nuggets Running Diary’