Thursday, June 10, 2004

Kobe vs. MJ?... Pleassse

I loved tonight's win by the Pistons, which confirmed the excellence of their defense and the holes in the Lakers offense. In a world of what ifs, which I know Lakers fans are going through right now (e.g. what if Malone was healthy, what if Shaq actually worked hard during the offseason), I still think if Cassell, CWebb, or Bobby Jackson were healthy it might have been the Wolves or the Kings in the NBA Finals instead this lucky group of superstars.

What's all this talk about Kobe or MJ at 25 after game 2? Figures John Salley would knock on MJ since he did walk off the court when the Bulls finally beat his Pistons. What about Jim Grey's stupid question for Billups after tonight's game? Asking if they had something like the 'Jordan Rules' to stop Kobe. Good response by Billups to ignore it and just discuss how they played their normal defense. What game were you watching Grey? Never liked him and the hole gets deeper. Prince just did an excellent job on Kobe and the help defense was great.

Would MJ ever have been shutdown like that? Never. By Prince. Not. As I've always said, MJ would dominate more during these days of no hand-checks. Kobe's dribbling skills are better than MJ's but Jordan's quickness and hangtime are by far better. Also Kobe's ability to break a double-team doesn't compare with MJ's. Even during his early days, he was constantly doubled and even triple-teamed and he still average 37.1 during his third year. And the 'Jordan Rules'? If you remember or watch old clips, the rules basically were to hack Jordan a third of the time with flying elbows, body slams, and whacks on the arm. Old school junkyard basketball that Kobe will never see under the current NBA rules that favor freestyling and penetration.

Anyway, I totally agreed with ESPN's Ric Bucher's article on what was all the talk about how the Pistons would recover from such a loss after game 2 by most of the media, and he's a pretty good analyst for even picking the Pistons to win the title back in April:

What is all this talk about "how do the Pistons recover" and "the landscape has completely shifted" as a result of losing Game 2 in overtime? I could understand such sentiment if Detroit had lost Game 1 or if the Lakers hadn't pulled out the stops to win Game 2. But stop kidding yourselves. Shaq played 48 minutes, coach Phil Jackson gave a rookie (Luke Walton) 26 minutes out of pure desperation and Karl Malone risked a lifetime limp to keep going and still it was only barely enough. The Pistons were down 11 and had all of their big men in foul trouble and methodically chipped away until the Lakers had to pick themselves up off the mat with a Kobe Bryant 3-pointer from 28 feet. The Pistons clearly demonstrated they are the mentally tougher, defensively stronger team for all of Game 1 and most of Game 2 and yet they're the ones who are, or should be, reeling? (full article)

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