Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quick thoughts

The Lakers' offense is so efficient, as evidenced by a remarkable first quarter in Game 2 against the Jazz. Los Angeles scored 41 points on 18-for-21 shooting (86 percent), tallied 14 assists on those 18 baskets, and led by 12 after 12 minutes. The Lakers are simply toying with Utah, scoring easily, even without a lot of points or shot attempts by Kobe Bryant. The biggest problem for Los Angeles? Complacency and wavering focus, in light of such big leads. Still, don't expect the Lakers to face a defense that can slow them until a Finals matchup against the Cavs or Celtics.

After Tony Parker shredded the Mavs for 38 points in the Spurs' Game 2 victory, Dallas center Erick Dampier said that his first foul (in Game 3) is going to put Parker on his back. "I guarantee it," Dampier told The Dallas Morning News. The effectiveness of that mind-set and/or tactic is questionable, but making it known? Not smart. And now word comes down that the NBA is further reviewing Dampier's comments. Problem is, for the strategy to work, Parker has to be susceptible to shying away from contact when hit early and often. And that hasn't been the case. My advice to Parker: Be even more aggressive.

Cleveland's Mike Brown was voted Coach of the Year. It was a well-deserved honor for Brown. The Cavs were a league-best 66-16 and are a strong contender to win an NBA title. Of course, league MVP LeBron James is the reason why. But the only measure of a coach that matters is if he maximized his team's performance, which Brown certainly did. He incorporated new point guard Mo Williams into his system, and took a cue from Gregg Popovich's playbook in developing consistent roles for every player on the roster. The Cavs are dialed in, and if they don't win a title this year, it will be because they aren't quite good enough, not because they underachieved.

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