Monday, June 7, 2010

NBA Finals: Trigger Happy Zebras (Let Them Play!)

Game 2 was rough for me on several notes. First, I literally stepped out of my car after 3.5 hours driving from Fresno to catch the game at Hooters so I was dead tired. Next, I had to watch Ray Allen turn back the clock and light up the court like practice. Finally, Ron Artest turned out to be the Black Hole where the ball would go in and never come out.

I guess it was fitting Jesus Shuttlesworth rose on Sunday. If he didn't, Boston definitely would be down 0-2. Oh yeah, Rajon Rondo had another ho-hum triple double with big plays in the 4th Q, scoring 8 points and playing excellent defense.

And the worst part. The Worst Part! Lamar Odom went from embarrassing Amare Stoudemire to doing his best Stoudemire impression in Games 1 and 2. Just business as usual at the wrong time.

But for the first time, I'm gonna address something I usually don't blame. The referees keeping their whistles too close to their mouth and freaking at the first sign of trouble. I bet you Joey Crawford had everyone on high alert after he saw Ron Artest and Paul Pierce get tangled up in game 1.

Full disclosure - I almost never blame bad calls for losses. No matter what happens, a game should never come down to a bad call and there's far bigger factors than blaming the refs. This isn't playing the blame game, this is calling out facts.

Game 1 - 54 combined fouls called. Game 2 - 58. It was beyond screwy that KG and Kobe were hampered by foul trouble. Like White Sox Ozzie Guillen said, people pay to see stars not referees do their job overzealously.

The Finals are showing a problem the league has had for years - changing the rules to benefit stars, making every great player be a slasher knowing they can be bailed out, overreacting to hard fouls. It's as if being a hard-nosed defender like Artest is a dinosaur we watch on old Knicks highlights

Blame it on the brawl between Detroit and Indiana six years ago. Blame it on David Stern being hypersensitive/unsure about his league since Michael Jordan left in 1998. What we have now is fans who can't trust the game and despite the great number of players we have, there's a feeling that it's controlled success.

Now you can barely touch somebody without getting whistles. Almost as if Uncle Ruckus is calling these games.

It makes you wonder Tim Donaghy's book was hush-hushed so quickly. Is it possible that he could've been right? Jose Canseco was in the same boat when Juiced came out - might have been a snake but he spoke the truth.

Game 2 had me thinking conspiracy for the briefest of moments - we know this series is going 6 or 7 but trying to handcuff stars with ticky-tack fouls doesn't have to help in that. Both teams are great enough without bad calls playing a small role. So in the vein of Bad News Bears - LET THEM PLAY!

Unfortunately, we know looking at our president that change doesn't come right away. I know my words are gonna fall on deaf ears. But watching that ESPN 30 for 30 doc on the Indiana/NY Knicks rivalry - I miss those days. Refs, do the right thing the rest of the way.

Back to this series. Lakers aren't scared to play in Boston. We haven't lost a game there since the 08 Finals and I know Kobe wants to make a statement on the road that 08 is in the past. He's gonna need some help. *looks at D Fish, Artest, and Odom*

It's time for one of the benches to start showing up consistently. Game 3 is pivotal for the Lakers to take control, otherwise, they'll be facing Game 4 in trouble. Instead of a Green Day from 2008, let's turn the clock back to 1985 when we stole their hearts in Beantown.

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