June 15, 2004


posted by Ufez Jones to basketball at 10:58 PM - 51 comments

So much to talk about: 1) end of this particular Lakers era? 2) Chaunce as MVP over Ben? 3) where the fuck were the Lakers? Congrats to Larry Brown. I remember him outcoaching to win the NCAA championship over OU. Nice to see him do it again. First coach ever to win both. ESPN radio (which I was listening to while watching the game) called Darko "The Human Victory Cigar", which cracked my ass up. oh yeah......w00t!

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:00 PM on June 15, 2004


posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:01 PM on June 15, 2004

Also: nice to see a bonafide Team (capital T) win.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:02 PM on June 15, 2004

Big. Ben.

posted by jmd82 at 11:04 PM on June 15, 2004

Kobe gets 21 shots, Shaq gets 13. Need more be said?

posted by chmurray at 11:05 PM on June 15, 2004

What a thorough ass-kicking......the Pistons for all intents and purposes won 5 games this series, save for a big Kobe 3 and an emotional OT collapse. Big Ben would have been a nice pick for MVP.....he allowed the Pistons to play fairly straight up on Shaq and extend the perimeter defence on everyone else.

posted by smithers at 11:13 PM on June 15, 2004

ESPN radio, to Kobe: "Do you still plan to opt out?" Kobe: "Huh? Yes." *dances with fiddle*

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:16 PM on June 15, 2004

The pistons held everybody but the two superstars to under double digits 4/5 game, and 2 guys cracked 10 points in garbage time of game 5. Need more be said? I wished they would have fed it to Shaq all night myself so we could see him sucking wind by the 3rd quarter and cramping up in the 4th. The Laker's did not lose this series, Detroit straight up won it. Rather convincingly. I wish they could have just had a team MVP. No problem with Billups as the choice, but you could make a good case for several players.

posted by pivo at 11:17 PM on June 15, 2004

Chmurray must have watched a different game from me. Shaq DOESN'T move well enough to get good position. Therefore, he doesn't get SHOTS. Jeebus. Watch Shaq. He stands in the post like a tree, and not even in good position. That makes it harder to get him the ball. It's SHAQ. Kobe is the same player he always was. Shaq isn't. Did Kobe let Ben Wallace outrebound Shaq by 14? Did Kobe make Shaq block zero shots?

posted by Mike McD at 11:18 PM on June 15, 2004

Congratulations to the Pistons. Despite my bitching about the officials, it was totally obvious which was the better team. And Mike McD, we heard you last time you said the exact same thing!

posted by dusted at 11:23 PM on June 15, 2004

w00t!!!!! Let the fires and riots begin... =D I'm going against my better judgement and say that Kobe is a class act, along with Fisher, Fox, and Phil Jackson. THey were the only ones I saw congratulating the Pistons afterward. Good on you guys...

posted by MeatSaber at 11:26 PM on June 15, 2004

And Mike McD, we heard you last time you said the exact same thing! Sorry Dusted, it's just driving me crazy that everyone's blaming it on Kobe. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. Shaq has 20 pts, 8 reb, a totally mediocre game, and everyone's saying 'what's wrong with Kobe'. Plain infuriating.

posted by Mike McD at 11:46 PM on June 15, 2004

As to the Bryant bashing...correct me if I am wrong, the Lakers aren't even in the finals without Kobe. He was freaking Jordan in LA when he was flying back from the trial and dropping 40. Now he's the bane of the team. Which is it? Would it have been better if he wasn't there and the Lakers don't win the division and homecourt until the Minnesota series? If he wasn't there big the Spurs series? Bitch about his finals performance all you want, but he got them there. As much as he needs a Shaq, Shaq needs him, especially in this aging, bad feet, overweight stage of his career.

posted by pivo at 11:53 PM on June 15, 2004

Kobe is a whiny little bitch. I've never liked her.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:56 PM on June 15, 2004

OT: Did anyone else notice that in one of the earlier games the announcers were talking about how Ben Wallace had a hard time finishing dunks because he had small hands for a big guy. Tonight they were raving about how huge his hands were and how that helped him rebound. Kind of humorous.

posted by Mike McD at 12:00 AM on June 16, 2004

The Mailman is a jinx.

posted by molafson at 12:12 AM on June 16, 2004

Plain infuriating? Infuriating is insisting on shooting over double-teams at a badass 30% clip. Besides, when did I ever blame the loss entirely on Kobe - the Laker defense has been absolutely pathetic. Not as pathetic as saying the Laker's loss is more due to Shaq than Kobe though.

posted by chmurray at 12:27 AM on June 16, 2004

1> Mailman retires. 2> Kobe opts out, plays in [PHX/LAC/NYK] 3> Phil retires. 4> Gary leaves. 5> Shaq stands alone with stiffs like Cook and Rush, Lakers suffer under Jim Cleamons, miss playoffs. 6> Much rejoicing amongst the populace. Seriously though, the Lakers as we know it are done. Shaq's decline and the decline of the supporting cast (no Shaw, no Harper, no Horry) meant that the Lakers had little chance in this series when faced with Detroit's insane defense and depth. Congrats to the Washington Pistons, btw! 1/4 of the Pistons are ex-Wizards, so at least I can be happy knowing that they got a ring somewhere... *sigh*

posted by sashae at 12:27 AM on June 16, 2004

chmurray, Why don't you send me an email so I don't have subject everyone to another anit-Shaq rant.

posted by Mike McD at 12:47 AM on June 16, 2004

I'm cool with agreeing to disagree. Congrats to the Pistons.

posted by chmurray at 12:55 AM on June 16, 2004

The Pistons had 98 points with a couple of minutes left but were so excited they kept missing their shots, including two air balls on threes. ESPN has more about the Washington Pistons. In 1990 the Chicago Bulls had to get past the Detroit Pistons to get to the finals and start a run of dominance that denied the championship to a lot of great players, including Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Now the Pistons are back to end the Lakers' dominant run. Kobe's one three-peat and a whole lot of class short of being the next Jordan.

posted by kirkaracha at 01:04 AM on June 16, 2004

Darko has a ring. Now if he pans out in a few years and this team stays together.... hmmm.

posted by gspm at 01:31 AM on June 16, 2004

Seriously, on the Darko front- I get the whole "He's a project" and "he's still young", but man! He sucked ass when he came out. His shot was awful, his attention span was weak (getting stripped on that one possession from behind, even if the game was effectively over, was just pathetic), his hops were non-existent, his rebounding a joke. Where is the supposed raw talent they're going to form into a "factor"? Count me duly unimpressed with Darko. I don't see the "there" there to eventually be a key part of the Pistons, or any team. But in any event, BIG congrats to the PIstons. I'm with Mike McD- it wasn't shaq not scoring 50, it was Kobe making ill advised shots instead of moving the ball, and more than anything the 10 other stiffs who showed up 3 at a time on the floor for the Lakers. Payton for example was an embarassment over what we used to see in his prime here in Seattle. Larry Brown noted in his post-game that he loved what the Pistons do for the league, showing fans, kids, and especially team execs that you can win with a rounded team game, not with 2 stars and 1-2 fillers. The Pistons won in the best way possible, with 5 MVPs on the court at any time. Detroit won far more than LA ever "gave away" any of the games.

posted by hincandenza at 03:19 AM on June 16, 2004

Kobe's one three-peat and a whole lot of class short of being the next Jordan. I think we can quietly bury that whole "Kobe vs Jordan" arguement after Kobe's performance in this series, at least for a while. When Kobe *leads* a team to a few championships, and grabs a few finals MVP awards on the way, we can start having this discussion again, but for the time being the arguement should be changed to "Kobe vs Scottie" (a match that Bryant admittedly wins).

posted by CountZero at 04:21 AM on June 16, 2004

I'm just waiting for the interview in which Shaq-fu says that as long as they bring their game, that the Pistons shouldn't be a problem.

posted by adampsyche at 06:33 AM on June 16, 2004

Is it too early to call Joe Dumars one of the best architects in NBA history? He hand-picked each piece of this team, and they went from 32-50 doormats to world champs in 4 years...

posted by MeatSaber at 07:26 AM on June 16, 2004

To me, as someone who doesn't really follow the NBA, the interesting thing was that if the games were reversed and it was the Lakers spanking the Pistons all over the court it would have made for five boring games of basketball. The fact that the nominal underdog came out and just dominated for 90% of the entire series was, to me, what turned a dull blowout to a fascinating NBA finals.

posted by Jugwine at 08:02 AM on June 16, 2004

Seriously, on the Darko front- I get the whole "He's a project" and "he's still young", but man! He sucked ass when he came out... You and me both, Hal. What the hell was that? Seems to me that if you're given a sliver of daylight to prove yourself, no matter the context, you play your ass off. Just hustle, you dumb ass!

posted by NoMich at 08:48 AM on June 16, 2004

I just really enjoy saying "It's getting Darko, it's time to go home!" whenever they put him in.

posted by Stan Chin at 08:53 AM on June 16, 2004

Hooray! Down with the Lakers!

posted by jerseygirl at 09:02 AM on June 16, 2004

Ben's monster rebound slam mid-way thru the 4th was sick.

posted by garfield at 09:04 AM on June 16, 2004

I'm with Mike McD- it wasn't shaq not scoring 50, it was Kobe... Ummm......Hal, have you actually been reading Mike McD over the past three days?

posted by smithers at 09:07 AM on June 16, 2004

When Kobe *leads* a team to a few championships Amen.

posted by smithers at 09:09 AM on June 16, 2004

Darko was the most entertaining subplot of the series. I'm glad they answered the mystery of why he was wearing tape on his ears (he tried to pierce them in the Eastern Conference finals and his ears got infected). Darko was definitely acting strange when he got the ball. Didn't he realize that everyone was rooting for him to score? He just stood there looking like he he had taken one too many seconals. And the post-game was kind of sad. While Mehmut Okur planted himself front and center (and really was there anything funnier than the big goofy Turkish guy getting his groove on. He's like the Pistons answer to Mark Madsen), Darko was standing alone, off to the side in the back. Like he wasn't part of the team.

posted by Mike McD at 09:20 AM on June 16, 2004

When Kobe *leads* a team to a few championships, yeah, I think this is the biggest difference between Mr. Jordan and Mr. Bryant. In all the series that the Bulls won during the '90s, when things were not going the Bulls' way, Jordan just Took Over. He in effect grabbed his team by the scruff of the neck, and said, "This is how you do it, boys." (Allen Iverson tries to do this as well, but it doesn't work quite the same way.) It didn't always result in a victory, but if it didn't, it was hard to blame him. Kobe is obviously a good ball player, but he's done little to show me that he can move up from the Club of Really Good Players into the Pantheon of Greatness. I suppose it could be because the Lakers have long had other outstanding players who would resent any overt grab by Kobe of the "leader" mantle, but his lack of ability to fire up his teammates, and his regularly questionable decisions on the floor, lead me to believe that he will never dominate a team (let alone the league) the way Jordan did. That said, a big and heartfelt "yay!" to the Pistons. This is the definitive group of overachievers, who showed the country some of the best team play I have ever seen.

posted by deadcowdan at 10:17 AM on June 16, 2004

smithers: Ummm......Hal, have you actually been reading Mike McD over the past three days? Whoops! I think i was thinking of whomever was arguing vehemently against Mike McD, and didn't check. :( In my defense, I was really drunk when I got home last night, honestly. I had trouble typing that whole paragraph without a lot of backspacing.

posted by hincandenza at 10:44 AM on June 16, 2004

Oh. I guess it was you, smithers (and dusted). Man, I gotta cut out the weekday drinking...

posted by hincandenza at 10:49 AM on June 16, 2004

SpoFi: Opinionated sports fans + drunken typing = posting goodness

posted by smithers at 11:06 AM on June 16, 2004

I suppose it could be because the Lakers have long had other outstanding players who would resent any overt grab by Kobe of the "leader" mantle Exactly deadcowdan. That's not Bill Cartwright playing center, it's Shaq-Fu Diesel and he needs his touches. That's what makes this Piston's team so refreshing. Their starting 5 all contributed. I'm looking at the Boxscore, and Payton played 31 minutes. His line looks similar to Darko's and he only played for 2 Minutes. And just for the record, I think I'll give Darko some more time. He turns 19 on Monday. I think he has even grown an inch since being drafted and has put on some muscle. Really makes me wonder if they went with Carmelo, would they have even come this far?

posted by usfbull at 11:18 AM on June 16, 2004

Questions for Hal, Dusted and Smithers. Why now? What changed about the Lakers? Why did they go from being a team that lost 1 playoff game in 2001 (remember they won 11 straight before dropping game one to the Sixers in 2001) to a team that was dominated by the Pistons (a team who's MVP was Chauncey Billups)? If you think it was Kobe's shot selection and passing, why did Kobe's passing change this year? He didn't have any problems passing the ball to Shaq in 2000, 2001, 2002. Again, why now? Why in 2004, is Kobe suddenly unable to pass the ball to Shaq?

posted by Mike McD at 11:20 AM on June 16, 2004

Jordan just Took Over. Yes, but he also drove and dished to set up a championship-winning shot for Steve Kerr. Kobe, by contrast always wants to hit the game-winning shot. Remember Jordan's commercial where he lists the many times he missed game-winning shots? There's no way Kobe could do that. What changed about the Lakers? Too many egos. Malone did an OK job changing from a star on the Jazz to a roleplayer in LA, but Payton never accepted his role. Kobe and Shaq both think they're the best player and resent the other's accolades. Shaq's too heavy and out of shape. Also, I've never believed the Lakers were as good as people say over their recent dominant run. Teams buy into the Laker myth and fold against them, even teams that are beating them. The Pistons came into the Finals with nothing to lose, and played tough defense and much better team ball. They reminded me of the Patriots beating the Rams in the Super Bowl. The Patriots basically just beat the Rams up, and the Rams couldn't handle it when their opponent didn't just curl up into a ball at the thought of playing them.

posted by kirkaracha at 12:13 PM on June 16, 2004

Took Jordan what, 4-5 years to get past the Pistons in the playoffs. The Bad Boys never shut him down, but they did contain him. I don't buy into the "[name] is the next Jordan" arguments, but Kobe's performance was similar to the Jordan vs. Pistons battles of the late 80's. I don't really understand the Kobe hating, I hate the Lakers as much as the next guy, but were I a Laker fan, I would sure as hell want to keep him. If it came down to Shaq vs. Kobe staying or going I'd still take Kobe. Shaq can now be single covered, when did you think that would be possible? I'll take the 26 year old scorer coming into his prime over the 32 year old big man with bad feet and a questionable work ethic any day. Mike McD has really hit on some valid concerns re: The Diesel. No way in Helll this is a better team, Finals team, maybe even playoff team minus Kobe. Besides, when did the triangle ever run through Cartwright?:) Shaq and all the Lakers fans should have been careful what they wished for, because now they will get it. Might be worth hitting a Suns game or two next year.

posted by pivo at 12:18 PM on June 16, 2004

This is what kills me about this country...the Pistons destroyed the Lakers in 5 games...after everyone said they'd just be happy to be there...they showed what a real team is, and showed just how classy they are...yet all anyone can talk about is the Lakers...must be why all these "reality" shows are so popular...

posted by MeatSaber at 12:30 PM on June 16, 2004

Not me -- I love the Pistons now. If there's room on the bandwagon, let me aboard.

posted by rcade at 12:54 PM on June 16, 2004

Ditto here. The past three days at work I've been all "Ben Wallace" this (scoots around big, dumb office coworker to grab the last donut on the filing cabinet) and "Rip Hamilton" that (puts a tupperware on my face). Blowouts aren't usually fun to watch, but it was a blast to see Detroit stomp LA into the ground. Detroit, to me, is summed up by the following: after Gary Payton's cheap shot to Rip (in the face, knocking him to the ground), I didn't see any retaliation except suffocating defense and a bigger lead. Classy.

posted by rocketman at 01:06 PM on June 16, 2004

And Larry Brown's wife is a cutie.

posted by rocketman at 01:06 PM on June 16, 2004

Larry Brown is a damn cradle-robber. What is she, thirty years younger? You go, geezer!

posted by dusted at 01:20 PM on June 16, 2004

Take it to the rim!

posted by rocketman at 02:42 PM on June 16, 2004


posted by Bag Man at 02:44 PM on June 16, 2004

Blowouts aren't usually fun to watch, but it was a blast to see Detroit stomp LA into the ground. The best baseball comparison would be back in 1990 when the Cincinnati Reds demolished the heavily favoured "Bash-brother" led Oakland A's. Everyone figured the A's would stomp the Reds in 4 straight, but lo-and-behold, the reverse happened. I had no routing interesting in either team at the time (except for a little hate for the A's for what they did to the Jays in 1989), but it was interesting watching the "experts" scramble to cover their asses when their predictions went haywire.

posted by grum@work at 03:02 PM on June 16, 2004

New Republic says the Pistons rescued the ethos of basketball.

posted by kirkaracha at 09:09 PM on June 16, 2004

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