Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lessons in how to lose

In light of Sunday's Laker and Arizona games, and the disastrous events that occurred in those games, here is a guide to losing basketball games:

1. When the game is on the line, have Vladimir Radmanovic and walk-on Bret Brielmaier take potential game winning shots. This is especially important when Radmanovic was 0-9 prior to the shot and 0-6 on 3-pointers. Even more important when you have the game's best player on the floor (one Kobe Bryant) and he has brought you back to tie. If you have Chase Budinger who scored 27 points or a good shooter in Jerryd Bayless, make sure you pass to your walk-on power forward and have him take a deep two pointer.

2. If you're down by three points with about 45 seconds left and you have time to make a defensive stand and tie the game, make sure you foul. If you foul, make sure your best player (Budinger) commits the foul. If he already has four fouls, even better.

3. Blow leads. Of course it's easy to lose right from the start, but why not make it more agonizing for everyone involved by not executing down the stretch. If you're Arizona, then flirt with a four point lead with 3:30 left to play and a two point lead with 30 seconds left. If you're the Lakers, better make the lead double digits. Fourteen points in the first half and a seven point lead in the third quarter will do.

4. Don't guard the lob play. No matter how many times you get burned, continue to let Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur get behind the defense for easy dunks.

5. Miss big free throws. If you need one free throw to tie after you got fouled on a three point shot (Kobe) make the first two, then miss the last one. If you're down 67-65 in overtime, miss the front end of a one-and-one (Budinger). Nothing starts other teams' runs like missed front ends.

6. Turn the ball over. A lot. Arizona turned it over 25 times. Bayless had seven. Niiiice. The Lakers turned it over 18 times.

7. Get in early foul trouble. When you already have little depth on the front line, it's important to pick up two quick ones (Jordan Hill). Have your bench players (Brielmaier) and stars (Budinger) foul out. That always helps.

8. Whatever you do, don't make smart decisions in key situations. Not making boneheaded plays leads to wins. Wins lead to the absence of criticism. And then what will you use as motivation?

Now go out there and play not to lose. I mean win.

The NBA: Where Sasha happens
Rands' response to Sasha hitting the big 3-pointer to put the Lakers up 96-94 with 1:28 left in the second half.
By the way, after the game we found out that an overly friendly Richard Jefferson actually knew who Sasha Vujacic was. He even pronounced his last name correctly when he could have called him Vuja-kick.

He still got his
Brandon Rush talking about having to chase Chase Budinger around screens.
"They was moving a little bit on the screens but I ain't complaining. He still got his but we're just happy to get the win right now."

Elite Eight baby
My article on the USC soccer team advancing to the Elite Eight

Very interesting
NFL mock draft with NBA players

The SEC: Where great football games happen
Hope you weren't at the gym for these two thrillers. No. 1 LSU lost in triple OT to Arkansas. Razorback running back Darren McFadden played quarterback, running back, returned kicks, filled up water bottles and gave post game massages.
Tennessee held off Kentucky in 4 overtimes to secure a spot in the SEC title game.

And for good measure
after this crazy Thanksgiving weekend of sports, here's an updated +/- for the Lakers. As always Chris Mihm rounds out the bottom of the list.

(through 13 games)

Fisher +19
Kobe +23
Turiaf -10
Odom -1
Mihm -44
Walton +50
Bynum +97
Farmar +52
Radmanovic +65
Brown -5
Vujacic +5
Crittenton -9
Karl +5
Ariza -3

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