by Craig Kwasniewski
Just some random thoughts while we head for Kobe v Shaq IV on Monday night:
-This will be my first chance to see Shaquille O'Blob in a Heat uniform live. He did make a surprise visit to a Laker game a few weeks ago and got a mixed reaction from the fans. About 40% of the fans booed him as he sat courtside. I had a problem with the booing at the time because I felt the fans should respect all the titles he brought to town. I'll boo him on Monday because of all the bullshit that has surrounded him since (getting Van Jeremy fired, the constant complaining about the Laker brass, mailing in the regular season... again)
-How nice to honor Martin Luther King by having nine day games in The Association. I'm sure the players are all too happy to get up before noon after the usual all-nighter of groupies, tonk and toke. As Barkley has said before, how nice to honor a black civil rights leader by making black people work. Can't we solve this by just having Utah play Memphis on MLK day every year?
-Did you know that if you re-arrange the letters of Ron Artest they make Arrest Not?
-BTW - I know this is an NBA blog site, but if Indianapolis would have pulled out the victory over Pittsburgh I was ready to drop 1,500 words on how David Stern was doing consultant work for the game. That reverse call on the Polamalu interception was fixed on the level of the 1985 NBA Lottery. The funny thing was that it took 15 minutes of real time to review the call and just before announcing the reversal, the ref had a sickened "I know I'm cheating, but I have to keep my job" look on his face. I'm not a fan of either team (sadly I'm a Chicago Bear fan), but that call was atrocious!
-Lost in Pat Riley's coup d'état, Shaq's "injury", Shaq's lack of conditioning and ALL of Antoine Walker's bricks is the career year that Jason Williams is having. J-Will is averaging 14.5 points and 4.8 assists while shooting career highs from the field (46.5%), from three (40.5%) and free throws (89.5%). Many predicted he would have been the biggest head case, instead he's been one of the more consistent players.
-I never gave my take of the Kobe v Shaq III game on Christmas. I felt that the Lakers played some of their best basketball of the season in the third quarter. They had Miami on the ropes, but they never finished them off.
-Prediction: With Kobe's sprained wrist, I find it really difficult for the Lakers to hang with Miami. They would need the ultimate team performance and right now the Lakers have long stretches where they seem out of sync only to have Kobe bail them out. Injuries at the swing spots (Laron Profit and Aaron McKie) force the Lakers to depend on resident piece of crap: Devean George. I see Wade having a good game with Miami winning 107-99.