5 Things I Learned While Watching LAL@BOS

1. My hate for Kendrick Perkins is justified.

Has there ever been a less skilled player with more of a false sense of entitlement? I know LeBron James has a ridiculously inflated sense of entitlement for not having won anything(other than the hearts of the media), but at least LeBron is immensely talented. As Bill Simmons would have you believe, he is extremely likable. I think that’s more debatable than the rest of the world does, but hey, se la vie.

Perkins, however, has earned nothing, and he isn’t talented. He has an NBA ring, but he played a minor role in getting it. On top of that, he is always scowling. It’s so annoying to see someone always mad during an NBA game. It’s just really unnerving and unsettling. What reason does he have to always be mad? Really? He’s playing professional basketball for a perennial contender with some of the best players of the past decade, yet he has a disgustingly angry look on his face every time he’s on the floor. Even Mike Breen commented on it during the game. It’s something I noticed when Boston beat L.A. in L.A. when the Lakers went all short-shorts on them just weeks before they traded for Pau Gasol(something Gregg Popovich has since softened his stance on).

That look is just so annoying, especially because he’s fat. Don’t give me that look; we all know that someone being fat changes the way we look at them. Imagine that in professional basketball, where players have to be in tremendous shape just to play two of the four quarters. There really is no excuse for an NBA player to be fat. There just isn’t. Guys like Perkins, “Big Baby” Davis, Sean May, and Robert “Tractor” Traylor have no business being fat in a  professional sport that isn’t bowling, golf, or football.

Take that, Boston(I hope I don't get sued for using this picture).

On top of all this, the guy plays dirty as hell. He moves when he sets screens, he bumps guys unnecessarily when in the post, and he gets guys that are 4 inches shorter than him in headlocks and tries to thrown them face down into the ground. That, by the way, is the longest link title in EpicMess blog history. All that posturing, mad-dogging, and testosterone display is just him over-compensating for something. I’d like to see him try that on a guy like Greg Oden, Shaq, or Charles Oakley. Seriously.

2. Paul Pierce is a deadly three-point shooter.

Everybody knows that Ray Allen is a better pure shooter than Pierce is, historically. This season, however, Pierce has become the Pierce of old from downtown. Looking at his numbers, it’s obvious that he has been a great three-point shooter his entire career. In 2001-2002 he had his best career year from distance, shooting 40.4% on his three-pointers while making 2.6 a game. The following two seasons, not so much. He followed that up with two consecutive 30% seasons, but in 2006-2007 embraced his full-on reemergence as a premier three-point shooter. That season, he made 2.3 three-pointers a game and connected on 38.9% of his attempts.

To kickoff the new decade, The Lie is leading the league in three-point percentage. He’s making 46.8% of his attempts, which is almost unheard of. It happens in the league, but it’s achieved mostly by players that are spot-up shooters and role players. Pierce is not a role player; the Inglewood native is a top 30 player in the league, despite his waning athleticism and aging body. I’m impressed with his efficiency this year, and I do not want to see him pulling up in transition off a Rajon Rondo pass and spotting up for three against my beloved Lakers. Absolutely not. Give me Rasheed Wallace, Eddie House, or Gregory House, M.D. from Fox; not Paul Pierce.

3. Rajon Rondo is Boston’s future, but not its present.

While most of you would be inclined to disagree given the anorexic’s most recent individual accolade, I maintain and defend my stance regardless. “Rajondo” is incredibly talented offensively. Lisa Leslie said on Sports Zone after the game that he is like a mini-Dwight Howard, and she’s not far off. His body-build is very unique, as he stands at 6’1″ but has the wingspan of a guy that’s 6’6″, and the quickness of a guy that’s 5’9″.

His defense is lacking, despite his league-leading 2.4 steals per game. This leads me to the first of two major flaws.

1. Rondo weighs 171 pounds.

That’s ridiculous for an NBA player. I outweigh him by 20 pounds, stand at 5’9″, and would get punked by any point guard in the the league not named Anthony Johnson(I determined this when a buddy of mine and I had a discussion on who the one player in the NBA that we had the best chance of guarding well was. I settled on AJ because he’s fat, can’t shoot jumpers, and probably has a terrible post game. Ponder the same question; it’s fun). It’s no wonder teams with point guards that can post up give the Celtics trouble. Andre Miller torched Rondo for 28/8/8, Baron Davis lit him up for 24/13, including a game-winner; Deron Williams played solid with 13 and 7 in a loss to Rondo’s Celtics early in the season, but keep in mind that he was just coming off injury. Or maybe he wasn’t and I’m making it up just to fuel my case.

My point is, guys that can post up will more often than not take advantage of Rondo’s Victoria Beckham-like build.

2. Rondo cannot shoot jumpers consistently.

I feel like Rajondo can have a great career despite this offensive weakness. Some of the greatest point guards ever to play the game were not great shooters. Jason Kidd and Mark Jackson come to mind, although Kidd has improved his three-point shooting over the years. Guys like Rondo are pure point guards. His sole purpose is to get everybody involved and do all the little things. He is talented when it comes to scoring inside the paint, employing a great change-of-pace game in his drive, and incorporating some Hakeem the Dream-like shakes that free him up for baby hooks and floaters.

Yet in all the games the Lakers played against the Celtics, Kobe does a great job of stepping back and welcoming him to take the jumpshot. The Lakers have won the past three meetings doing just that. Rondo sets his team up, grabs rebounds, and even jumps the passing lanes, but he doesn’t consistently knock down a jumper. In fact, I saw him knock down all of one in today’s 90-89 loss to the Lakers.

Until Rondo fixes this part of his game, the Celtics will not win an NBA championship with him as the best player. This year, they are as dangerous as anybody(although I fear Cleveland and LeBron a little more at this point as a Laker fan). But that’s because they have a tremendous ensemble of players, including Rondo. In the next few years, when the Big Three continue their downward spiral due to age, defenses will key in on Rondo and limit his game and you’ll see a spike in his field goal percentage(which currently stands at 52%). If he develops a jumper, you can forget I said anything.

4. The month of February has two really good movies coming out.

I can’t wait to see Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island(2/19/10), which promises to be an intense thriller/mystery. Leo DiCaprio is a great actor, we all know that. But Mark Ruffalo is severely underrated. He’s starting to make a legitimate name for himself, and this will definitely help his cause. The legendary Ben Kingsley is also starring in this film, and I’m sure he’ll be absolutely chilling in his plotting attempts to keep DiCaprio’s character from leaving the island.

The other movie that looks awesome is The Wolfman(2/12/10). I’m glad to see the entire cast in this film because they have all seemingly been gone for a while. Anthony Hopkins, Benicio Del Torro, and Hugo Weaving all star in this movie, with a girl I’m loving more and more as the main actress, Emily Blunt. Great cast. You can tell what it’s about just by the title.

Sleeper movies of February: Brooklyn’s Finest, Valentine’s Day, The Crazies

Movies to avoid in February: Cop Out, Takers, From Paris With Love, Frozen

5. Andrew Bynum is the one Laker that Kobe Bryant would go to war with 10 out of 10 times.

The list of players that would choose Kobe Bryant as the one player they would prefer to go to war with is endless. The list of players Kobe would choose to go to war with is limited. The list of Lakers Kobe would choose to go to war with is three-deep: Derek Fisher, Ron Artest, and Andrew Bynum.

That’s it.

If you’ve been following the Lakers for as long as I have, you’d know that Kobe’s favorite Lakers right now are easily Derek and Pau. In fact, when I went to the Clippers-Lakers game this season, it became evident. Kobe would go out of his way to establish Pau in the post on multiple occasions, often shoeing away Andrew just so Pau could get the isolation. Chris Kaman wasn’t playing that game, so both Andrew and Pau had mismatches against the Clippers.

Whenever the Lakers need a big play, they run the pick and roll with Kobe and Pau. It usually results in Pau diving and Kobe trying to hit him while Pau’s defender is stuck in transition recovering from doubling Kobe. If the Lakers need a big shot, they go to Kobe or Fish.

In fact, the only time they really go to Andrew is when Phil Jackson makes a concentrated effort to exploit the other team’s under-sized big men, like in Indiana on Wednesday. The Lakers usually feed Andrew early so as to keep him happy, get his numbers, and then bench him in the 4th quarter.

I think he said, "Lamar, you need to play more like my boy Drew."

Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher are easily Kobe’s two favorite teammates. But when it comes down to who Kobe wants to have his back, Ron Artest’s and Andrew Bynum’s faces are crudely pasted over Pau’s face in the “Friend’s Forever” picture of Kobe, Pau, and Fish that hangs on Kobe’s wall.

Artest is tough enough, and Pau is talented enough. However, Artest isn’t as talented as Andrew, and Pau isn’t as tough as Andrew. He is the perfect combination of both, not to mention his towering length. He’s the guy that will take the hard fouls in the paint to send a message. He’s the guy that won’t back down from physical big men like Perkins, Shaq, and Dwight. He’s a great inside target that will catch lobs and bad passes alike, as well as extend his tremendous wingspan to make great plays inside the paint. He’s a back to the basket guy who is the perfect compliment to Kobe’s perimeter toughness.

The funny thing is, I was thinking just that throughout the entire first half of the game today. Drew set the tone in the beginning of the game, scoring inside early, and blocking away a shot attempt by Perkins. In the second quarter the Celtics came back while Drew was on the bench. It wasn’t until Phil inserted him for good in the second half that the Lakers righted the ship again and fought back to get in the game.

When Phil benched Pau in the final minutes of the game, he confirmed my basketball brilliance. To me, there were two things going through Phil’s mind as he made this decision:

1. Kobe won’t pass the ball to Andrew if Pau’s in the game. Naturally, Kobe would look for Pau; but Pau was playing like a weenie today, and Phil didn’t want to run the risk of Kobe forcing it into his BFF only to watch him get enraged when his BFF missed a shot he might otherwise make in that situation. Oddly enough, Phil benching Pau was better for Pau’s confidence than you might think. Sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but hear me out. If Pau’s in there in the final minutes and gets punked by ‘Sheed, Perk, or KG, Kobe’s going to get pissed and berate him. Judging by the way the game was going for Pau, this was more than likely going to happen. Andrew could handle that kind of berating, but Pau gets down on himself more(like after the Cleveland game). Drew’s been dealing with it since he came into the league and it’s practically all he knows. Playing with a superstar is tough, and playing with Kobe is unforgiving. Most guys can’t hack it; Smush Parker, Kwame Brown, Tierre Brown. All these guys were bounced from L.A. and had problems with Kobe.

Andrew showed his true colors twice in his career. The first time was when Shaq dunked on him in Los Angeles in 2005-2006 on Martin Luther King Day. He responded in-turn by shaking him(it was the low-post equivalent of ankle-breaking) and then exclamation pointing it with a nice two-handed jam. His comments about that incident:

“He dunked on me first,” Bynum says. “I fell down and looked all goofy getting up. I was just like, ‘I’ve got to do something to get him back because I can’t go out like that.’

“When I got him back, the crowd had gone all crazy. I got crazy. It was just a really fun moment. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

The second time was after the Lakers’ second consecutive post-season defeat at the hands of the Phoenix Suns. Kobe blasted Andrew and general manager Mitch Kupcake(err, Kupchak) for not trading Andrew for Jason Kidd. I believe his exact words were, “Andrew Bynum, what the . . . are you kidding me? Ship his ass out! C’mon, Jason Kidd? Why wouldn’t you want to do that?”

Andrew responded by having a breakout season before injuring his knee against Memphis. The kid is mentally tough, physically tough, and emotionally tough. He might pout at times, but it’s never because of Kobe, and instead because of Phil Jackson, whom Andrew is just too young to get.

2. Andrew should be rewarded for his play, and he acted as a better deterrent to keep guys like Rondo out of the paint. It’s true; Pau is still Gasoft, and Rondo was having a field day against the Lakers’ interior defense when the Celts went to the pick and roll. He wasn’t backing down from KG, who decided to run his mouth after catching Drew with a confidence drill move and scoring on him. Yet again, Drew responded by dunking on KG. The same couldn’t be said for Pau, so Andrew was kept in the game, and the Lakers won.

I have no idea how many times I’ve said Andrew during this entire segment, but I bet it’s upwards of 35, and this post is just short of 2,500 words. I still think that through the duration of a 48-minute game, Kobe says Andrew’s name just as much as I have. There isn’t another player in a Laker uni that Kobe would rather go to war with. Bank on that.

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11 Responses to “5 Things I Learned While Watching LAL@BOS”

  1. Daniel Cool Beans Lee Says:

    I was thinking the same thing about Kendrick Perkins today. He looked like someone killed his mom, but not before raping her. Or after. I dunno. Whichever order gets Perkins angrier.

    Also, Andrew needs to slam that shit in more I believe! He’s been missing a lot of the shots from two feet away.

    GO KOBE

  2. sam Says:

    watch this and I dare you to tell me you can guard anthony johnson again

    haha

  3. Jim Palmer Says:

    Good shit Anthony. I agree entirely…. with Shutter Island. Scorsese and DiCaprio are money. Today marked my, as I said it earlier today, “locking the fuck in” on basketball. I got warmed up with the KU vs KSU game last night. So, as of now, I might be paying more attention to your words of wisdom.

  4. sam Says:

    btw, the only time you’ll see kendrick perkins smiling

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  6. tophatal Says:

    Anthony Burrola

    That’ll always be the situation between Lakers’ and Celtics’ supporters. They hate each other with a passion and venom . It doesn’t stop either with the hatred of each others’ players.

    Let me know what you think as to the following ? In order to view just click unto the links provided to view.

    ===================

    I Did It My Way ……….

    Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……..

  7. Brandon Bass Says:

    Good read, my friend. This blog is really turning out good.

    Finally someone has realized that Andrew is in fact, better than I am.

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  9. chappy81 Says:

    Well, I’m not a Lakers fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I agree Bynum has put up with a lot through his career, and is getting better. If they end up trading him for Bosh, I feel like it’s a mistake. I know what Bosh brings, but it would be like having another Pau with longer range.

  10. Laron Says:

    Don’t trade Bynum, Mitch! EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. tophatal Says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how the , Lakers, Cavaliers and Celtics deal with their recent setbacks , as the case maybe.

    Each team seems to be aching one way or another due to injuries with to ‘key players’.

    Alan Parkins

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