Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Renaissance Men

Some slowly developing stories in the NBA concern a pair of teams that have made significant changes, and are now seeing their fortunes turn around and benefits being reaped. Do you know the team with the best record in the NBA so far in 2009? Nope, not them. Nope, try again.

It's the 9-2 Minnesota Timberwolves. Yes, you read that right. Come on, show of hands, who didn't think that McHale coming down from the front office wasn't Isiah circa 2007 deja vu? Who? Come on, keep 'em up. Granted, they have been playing a lot of middling competition (Clippers, Grizz, Warriors, Thunder, Phoenix Suns), and I'm betting the next month won't look like the current one (Lakers twice, Celtics, Blazers, Jazz, Hornets, etc). But it wasn't too long ago when the Wolves looked like the Dallas Academy might give them problems, so, improvement is indeed improvement.

The other renaissance team, the Charlotte Hornets -- uhh, Bobcats. (How can anyone be expected to get used to that name?) As I write this blog, they are giving the West-leading Lakers all they can handle and a bit more -- 5 point lead with 2 minutes to go.

Kevin McHale and Larry Brown. A couple of guys at the beginning of the season you just figured had no idea what they were doing, in the midst of reviving their images and perhaps their careers.

Wow! Update on the Lakers-Horn--uh, Bobcats, game. Into OT, and in the first two minutes, it's been the Kobe and Andrew show. The sequence reads like this: Bynum wins tap, Kobe makes jumper, Bynum blocks shot, Kobe rebounds, throws ahead to Bynum for dunk. After another Bynum board and a Kobe miss, Bynum blocks another shot, Kobe rebounds again, Kobe converts a layup. That's what you call a 2-man game. And then...Kobe Bryant commits his sixth foul?!? When was the last time you ever heard of Kobe fouling out of a close game? Or anyone of his caliber for that matter? The 2nd overtime without Kobe, this oughta be interesting. Very interesting.

Well, not quite interesting. More like predictable. Valiantly, the Lakers tried to depend on Bynum for the better part of the session, but eventually the loss of their ace-in-the-hole, along with Gasol and Jordan Farmar coming up dry tonight, did the Western Conference leaders in. Methinks Kobe Bryant just earned a few more MVP votes tonight (I mean, was that Cleveland's Mo Williams with 42 points?).

But yes, for the record, LeBron still leads the MVP race by far. Seeing the Lakers implode though made the view of the race a little fuzzier.

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