Sunday, February 17, 2008
Enjoy Him While He's Here
Jerryd Bayless shouldn't wait till end of the season to leave for the NBA. He should just go now. You think he's ready? How about 103 points in three games. In 118 minutes against Pac-10 teams. That ready enough?
It's the All Star Break and I think Bayless could help several teams make a playoff push right now. I don't want to invoke any Kobe Bryant references because Kobe is arguably the best player of all time, but Bayless has that drive, that competitive nature. He hates to lose. At anything. I haven't seen an Arizona player this pissed off after losing since I started following the, five years ago.
The last Wildcat to score 100 points in three games was Damon Stoudamire.
Despite putting his name in the record books, Bayless was completely unimpressed.
"It doesn't matter," he said following Arizona's 67-66 loss to Stanford.
I've said all season that if Bayless and Budinger both play well, the Wildcats will win. Both played well, but I didn't account for the three zebra looking men out on the court.
There were several highly questionable calls that went against Arizona. I rarely blame the referees for a loss and I won't for this one. But they definitely didn't help.
With Arizona up 66-65, Budinger's block on Brook Lopez went for naught when Kirk Walters was called for a foul down low. Lopez (the offensive twin) knocked down both free throws and on the ensuing possession, Robin Lopez (the defensive twin) blocked Budinger's floater to seal the game.
Maybe the more important questionable call came with 5:27 left to play. Jordan Hill, who guaranteed victory before the game picked up his fifth foul when the replays clearly showed that Robin Lopez elbowed Hill and initiated the contact. Without Hill, playing against the 7-foot Lopez twins was that much more difficult.
"It was unfortunate that Jordan fouled out," Kevin O'Neill told the Arizona Daily Star. "That put us in a position where we didn't have a real inside scoring option at that point, and they executed down the stretch."
You can't fault the Cats effort though. That has come into question at times, especially when they played UCLA earlier this year.
"I told our guys that I was extremely proud of their effort in every way," O'Neill said. "And if we play like that, although we're a little short-handed, we'll have a chance to win some games and have a chance to keep playing at the end of the year. That's what our goal is."
With six games remaining, Arizona appears locked into the No. 8-9 seed game. At 16-9, (6-6 in Pac-10) two wins would get Arizona into the Big Dance. Three would get them to the 8-9 game and four may propel them to a No. 7 seed, depending on who they beat and how they do in the Pac-10 tournament. Still on the slate are the Oregon schools, the Washington schools and the LA schools. Both Oregon schools are certainly beatable, Washington could be a win, even though they play in a hostile arena and just beat UCLA there and USC without Daniel Hackett should be a win in McKale. So the Wildcats could very reasonably go 4-2, yet they also could go 1-5, Oregon State being the only gimme.
If they continue to play with the type of effort they showed against Stanford, I'd say 4-2 would be the more likely scenario.
All Star Festivities
I received more text messages than I imagined about this year's dunk contest. Apparently, people were impressed. Magic Johnson said the "dunk contest was back" about 52 times.
I will say this: in terms of entertainment value, I'll give this year's dunk contest a 10. In terms of pure dunking, we've seen a lot better. Vince Carter and Jason Richardson are head and shoulders above Dwight Howard and Gerald Green.
But unlike many other dunk contests, this one was fun to watch. Dwight Howard is character. Literally Saturday night when he put on his superman cape. His dunk with the cape on was impressive because he did it off two feet, but without the act, the cape, and the personality, that dunk would have been decent. His first dunk, from behind the backboard has already been done by Andre Iguodala, but no one mentioned that. (Listen to Magic Johnson doing the commentary on the Iguodala dunk, it's hilarious.) Kenny Smith who might have had one too many hurricanes on Bourbon street kept shouting like Stephen A Smith that he had never seen that in his life. As for Green, the birthday cake dunk was hilarious and looked great on replays. The degree of difficulty, at least for those in the NBA didn't appear too high. Great idea though. I enjoyed the fact that the four guys who participated this year were all motivated to be creative and give the crowd a good show. And that's what it's all about.
In the rookie/sophomore game, which has been won by the sophomores for the last six seasons,
Jordan Farmar had 17 points and 12 assists, and actually played tough defense on Mike Conley. Boobie Gibson may have won the MVP, but Farmar looked like he was the best guard on the floor. Not bad for the 21st pick in the 2006 draft and a nice coup for the Lakers and Mitch Kupchak.
Not an All Star Idea
The PTI guys suggested having a United State vs. the World NBA All Star game. Usually I'd be in favor of such a game because it would create a real sense of competition and would be interesting to watch.
Here's the problem, though. Out of the 24 players selected to play in the All-Star game, only three are international. Yao Ming, Steve Nash, and Dirk Nowitzki. That would mean nine players would have to be added to the international squad and nine deserving all stars would be snubbed. Even the two players added to the team were not internationals. Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace will be replacing Caron Butler and Kevin Garnett for the East, despite Jose Calderon being much more deserving.
If the format did come to fruition, here's what the rosters may look like:
On paper, it of course looks like a team USA blowout. But then again, in world competition, the USA usually looks like the favorite and as you know has not fared so well recently. Certainly, the World team has the advantage in terms of shooting, passing and point guard play, so I wouldn't count them out. In the end, no one on the World team would be close to containing Lebron and Kobe.
Police are dumb: Check out these cops
Check it out: My Daily News CSUN basketball article. The Matadors, who are back on top of the Big West beat UC Riverside but lost backup point guard Paul Wayne. Which means...more playing time for former El Camino point guard Rai Colston.