Welcome to the very first edition of This Dumb Game, the type of thing you’d expect to find if a standard sports column had a baby with a traditional game summary. Starting, well, starting today I’ll be taking advantage of my delightful combination of a) access to NBA League Pass and b) rampant editorial freedom, to bring you a hopefully more articulate version of the thoughts you probably already had. It’s like a game blog, but with more irrelevant inside jokes and less credibility.
It looks like Eddie Jones is getting the start across from Kobe Bryant tonight, something about this reminds me of 1996. Derek Fisher’s even out there too. But I suppose it’s unreasonable to ask for an Elden Campbell sighting anytime soon, oh well, at least Erick Dampier is close enough. I don’t know, there’s just something about big, seemingly-useless, but still actually pretty effective, centers who lumber around the key looking like the talking trees from Lord of the Rings. A quick look at his Wikipedia profile tells me that the old Charlotte Bobcats broadcasters used to refer to EC as Big Homey. Mixed feelings.
Also, I recall how much of a mentor Eddie Jones was to Kobe Bryant back in the ’90s. The Dallas broadcasting station was hyping EJ up as one of the options the Mavs have of shutting down number 24 (the other option being Trenton Hassell), but made no mention of their past relationship. I just can’t picture a 36-year-old Eddie Jones keeping up with Bryant these days, I don’t think anyone can, even if he was running on one of those moving-sidewalks they have at the airport, and those things can make my 50-year-old mother look like Marion Jones on performance-enhancing steroids.
Kobe finished the first-quarter with nine trips to the free-throw line where he connected on eight, giving him 16 points on the quarter. I’m reminded of the game a in 2005-06 when Bryant went off for 62 points through the first three quarters against this very team, before sitting out the fourth.
J.J. Barea looks like he should be on a college team somewhere, and that’s strictly based on the fact that he looks like a 12-year-old with a beard, not to say he isn’t earning his minutes. Speaking of things that look out of place, the return of Andrew Bynum – or any center not named Kwame Brown – can not come soon enough.
Kobe Bryant point check: 20 points half way through the second quarter. I’m torn between rooting for Kobe to go off for 50, or for the Lakers to put together the team game that’s made them one of the elite teams in the Western Conference.
On one individual play with a touch over two minutes left in the second quarter Kobe Bryant made a mockery of Josh Howard and all that he stands for with one simple attack of the middle. For those who missed it; after corralling a ball at the top of the key, Mamba retreated out to the three point line hounded by the 6’5″ Howard. An impressive display of one of the game’s best handles saw Bryant mindlessly shuffle the ball between his legs like a pendulum with ADD, before spontaneously slicing forward (like a black mamba!) and flipping the pass behind the defeated Howard to a wide open Lamar Odom for the layup. I can not think of a better example of Kobe Bryant using his unequaled supertalent for the powers of good.
This just in: Derek Harper still exists.
When Dirk Nowitzki plays basketball it looks like he’s in his bedroom dominating his little siblings on a Nerf net. You know, when the ceiling’s only eight feet high and in order to get a reasonable shot off without sitting on the ground you have to throw your arms straight up and just flick the ball forward with your wrists? On the topic of Dirk, the results of a cell phone text message survey came in asking fans to select a team MVP for the first half of the season. In first place? Josh Howard. Second? Devin Harris. The results aren’t finalized yet, but unless things change in the second half Nowitzki’s going to end up in third.
At some point in the third quarter Kobe Bryant stopped choosing his spots on offense and the Mavs began to run away with the game. Up 78-65, with a lot of that lead coming in a matter of possessions, it’s clear that the Dallas Mavericks, or any good team on a hot streak, can outrun Kobe Bryant – by himself – on a cold streak.
Things have definitely taken a turn for the worse for number 24 and the Lakers. Just as I was hoping to see Bryant work himself back into the established offense, Mavs guard Trenton Hassell was tripped up chasing a loose ball and fell into Kobe’s leg. Kobe grimaces, Lakers fans crap their pants, and play is stopped. At the other end of the timeout Kobe shakes it off and heads back out on the court. All is well. This is good now – this is golden – Kobe’s pissed, maybe he will get 50 after all. Ball is inbounded to Bryant, the man on the mission, but he fumbles it to… Trenton Hassell! After having the ball all but donated to him in a Christmas toy drive, Hassell takes off down the court for a transition layup followed closely by an even more frustrated Bryant. Hassell takes off. Bryant takes off. The two collide, Kobe falls, and Hassell falls on top of Kobe’s exact same leg. Aside from the fact that it would be the stupidest story in the world, you couldn’t script something to come off any more awkward.
Jordan Farmar drains another one from outside giving him 16 points on the game and five assists with nine minutes left in the fourth. I like this. Especially having just picked him up as a fourth guard in a fantasy league. If you’re in a league that takes playing time into consideration, you should too.
With Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and Luke Walton all sitting out parts of the fourth quarter in foul trouble Kobe Bryant and Jordan Farmar have helped narrow the gap to within single digits with just under five minutes remaining in the game.
Kobe Bryant point check: 28 points with 4:46 left in the game. Correction: 30 points with 4:38 left in the game. It’s go time.
DJ Mbenga just smacked the crap out of a Devin Harris layup attempt. It almost looked like Mbenga, a former Mav himself, tried to punch Harris in the head but the basketball got in the way. Minutes later the seven-footer from the Congo was the recipient of a momentum-building Kobe Bryant bullet pass, he corralled it and connected on the contested layup, and one. Take that Kwame Brown.
Jordan Farmar, Ronny Turiaf, DJ Mbenga, Sasha Vujacic and… Kobe Bryant? If it weren’t for Bryant’s presence on the court you could make an argument for the squad Phil Jackson has opted to run with being more suited for a Developmental League blowout than a five-point game against the Dallas Mavericks.
Aahhh! As time expires the Dallas Mavericks end up on top 112 to 105, but not because of a lack of effort from the Lakers. In the final minutes of the game Bryant and the LA reserves made the game much more respectable then it looked to be in the third quarter. Devin Harris and the Mavericks were just too talented tonight, they took what the Lakers gave them all game, came up with the big plays when they needed them down the stretch and hit their share of daggers in the final minute.
As for that text message survey from earlier in the game, Devin Harris was the final number one choice, followed by Jason Terry and then Dirk Nowitzki. What’s up with that?