61, Nelson Out, Etc.
Plus we think that the Cavs should get that extra All-Star. Well, I do, anyway.
I cringed last night when I saw a headline on the four-letter network’s website that said, "Kobe: We can win title without Bynum." It’s not that I don’t believe that (incidentally, I don’t, but that’s neither here nor there), it just seemed like a incredibly crass thing to say in light of the Laker center Andrew Bynum’s injury. I mean, you crash into a guy, jack up his knee and then talk about how you don’t need him to win it all? And this is the same guy you famously implored Lakers management to ship out of town for Jason Kidd about a year and a half ago? (By the way, how awful would that have been, knowing what we know now?) Way, to turn the knife Kobe.
After reading the article, I saw that Kobe didn’t come out and say those words. What he said was that he still believed in his team and thought that their experience last season could help them this season. And this was absolutely the right thing to say. Let your teammates know that you believe in them and in their abilities, be a leader. Good move, Kobe.
Of course, going out and scoring 61 points (on only 31 shots!) doesn’t hurt things, either.
Kobe put the team on his back last night against a team that doesn’t play a lot of D (the Knicks also gave up 31 and 14 to Pau Gasol, which I didn’t know before I checked the box score) and took them to a victory. Other than Gasol and Trevor Ariza, though, the Lakers didn’t play too great.
I say that to say this: We know you’re the best scorer in the game right now. We have no doubt that you’re one of the best ever end at the top of the list of the best in the game right now. But the way that your team will remain in championship contention is by you getting them involved and making them better. As fans, we love to see you go nuts from time to time, but better teams will do a better job of putting a leash on you. You said you believe in this team. Now go out there and prove it.
The injury bug was out last night. All-Star point guards should beware.
We’ve discovered that Jameer Nelson has a torn labrum and could miss the rest of the season. That’s very tough news for the Magic, who have been playing great ball and looked like they might be able to challenge Cleveland and Boston for Eastern Conference supremacy. Now they have to rely on Anthony Johnson to run the show and, honestly, that’s not a good thing. I’d be surprised if they didn’t start looking to sign a point guard or pick one up via trade.
It’s even worse news for Nelson, who was named as an All-Star reserve last week and was silencing everyone who ever said that he wasn’t NBA point guard material. Hopefully, this will only be a bump in the road for him and he’ll come back and continue to improve his game and get to play in the mid-season classic, as he should have this year.
Chris Paul left last night’s game against the Blazers with what is being called a mild groin strain. He’s listed as day-to-day, but groin injuries aren’t something that you can get over quickly. It will take time for him to return to his quick, wheeling-and-dealing self.
Tinsley to fight back
I’ve been saying for years that Jamaal Tinsley sucks. At the beginning of thie year, the Pacers agreed with me (sort of) and shelved him until they could find someone willing to trade for the troubled guard. Well, that was months ago and Indiana hasn’t really found anything out there for him. So the NBA Players Association will reportedly file a grievance on Tinsely’s behalf, looking to secure a buyout or waiver for him. It not known, though, if that will mean that he’ll get to see any on-court action anytime soon. He has built a reputation as being oft-injured and he has had a few off-court issues. These may be things of the past, but sometimes teams don’t let go that easily.
Vote for Mo
With Jameer Nelson’s injury, there is an open roster spot for the East that needs to be filled. David Stern is the person charged with making said appointment and this is my suggestion to him (I know you’re reading, Mr. Stern) to give it to Mo Williams. The Cavs are a vastly improved team from last year and WIlliams is the only significant addition to it. Coincidence? Maybe. But it’s hard to believe that a team that good has only one All-Star on it and that LeBron is the only reason the Cavs are as good as they are. It would be a back-handed compliment for Mo, to be sure, but at least make things right and send him to Phoenix. We can talk about Carmelo and Al Jefferson later.