Yes, my friends, it could be a lot worse.
In Jeff Bower's first game as head coach, the Hornets played an ugly contest (as I recall, the scoring was in the 30s for each time at the end of the first half) against the Blazers. And, from the 2/3 or so that I saw, it was clear that Hornets just weren't in this one. But fate didn't stop there in its continued onslaught against New Orleans, leaving Chris Paul with an ankle sprain (he'll be out for at least a week). To make it even worse, Bower didn't seem to be doing much as head coach. Chris Paul was the often the only one speaking during time outs, and he was clearly pissed at his teammates (though, to be fair, I remember a lot of that during the Byron Scott era, too). So, it could be worse: we could have our star player injured (wait...).
The Lakers were destroyed at home (on national television) by the Denver Nuggets, who held LA to just 23 points after the first half. Holy crap. Yes, much worse losses than ours were to be found around the league Friday evening.
More links after the jump.
You might remember Rafer Alston: starting PG around here for a few years, traded for Lowry at the deadline last season, then traded to New Jersey in the summer. Good defender, liked to shoot threes. Well, last night he had a rare triple double. Matt at Hardwood Paroxysm puts it best, I think:
Lion Face: Rafer Alston’s Trip-Dub
Sure, the Nets are the only winless team in the NBA and are riding a nine-game losing streak like Luke Perry rides a bull in the movie Eight Seconds. But Skip To My Lou recorded a triple-double (17 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds) against his former Magic teammates on Friday night and reminded everyone that when he wants to be, he’s still a hell of an NBA player who puts up numbers without positively affecting the outcome of the game for his team. It would be like celebrating John McClane if he battled every Eastern European terrorist in a high-rise building without actually saving the day. Yippie-kay-ay, M’er F’er!
He was, of course, 7-20 from the field. Empty, empty stats. So chalk that up as another thing that could be worse: we could still have Rafer on the roster.
Not basketball related, but I know we have a lot of Filipino readers around here, and I thought this was interesting (though in that typical pretentious Free Darko way). FD explores a theory of "secular" vs. "religious" athletes (this isn't meant literally; it's about attitude) and looks at Manny Pacquiao as an example.
For the religious mentality there is no need for the contempt, for the pride. If the secular uses his will to compress the doubts and the divide between mind and body the religious athlete refuses to acknowledge that there is such a thing. I think this way of thinking is more rare, particularly in team sports, but on Saturday night we’ll get to see it in action. Manny Pacquiao, the little Filipino slugger, is attempting to make history by winning a welterweight title. If he is victorious in the 147-pound division it will be his seventh title, an all-time record. The audacity of the achievement is hard to comprehend, given that he won his first belt ten years ago in the flyweight division, 112 pounds.
[regarding a potential Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight]
...Floyd is a difference engine in the ring, a bloodless operator who never makes a foolish mood. The thought of his cool excellence versus Pacquiao’s explosive dynamism is almost too much to bear, a contrast and clash generations in the making.
It's an intriguing division, and it's one we see in basketball all the time. But it's also a tricky division, and it's difficult to see who fits where, exactly.
Well, in honor of that discussion of dynamism vs. technique, I leave you with what was probably the greatest display of basketball dynamism in NBA history: the 2000 Dunk Contest. It was unquestionably a victory for Carter, but I've always been fond of Steve Francis' repertoire.