June 13, 2008

Come Back to LA, Shaquille O'Neal, Shaquille O'Neal

• I've never liked Kobe Bryant. His game doesn't really scare me, even when he's in 'untouchable, no man can stop me' mode. You know why? Because he can't take over a game. He doesn't alter the defense of good teams, and he's not especially good in a one-on-one setting. Maybe I've been spoiled from watching Paul Pierce and James Posey defend him, but he's definitely not as good as Michael Jordan. I'd say he's more like Clyde Drexler: he needs a big man in order to win a championship. And in case you haven't noticed, Pau Gasol is not a good stand-in for Hakeem. Or even Shaq. If the Lakers still had O'Neal--performing at any level of dominance--I'd say the Celtics would have their work cut out for them in this series. He's big, lumbering, can't hit free throws, and doesn't have a shot he can hit away from the basket. But he's the perfect complement to a guy like Kobe Bryant, a guy that forces the defense to collapse, leaving Kobe open to hit from the perimeter or attack.

I'm not saying anything new here, that's obvious. But as you watch the rest of the Finals, keep two things in mind:
1. Would Michael Jordan be called for cheap fouls?
2. Would the Celtics have stolen Game 4 if Shaquille O'Neal--at any capacity--had been on the floor for LA?

• Is it just me, or do Clinton and Bush look like reanimated corpses on this card? Seriously, someone should have slipped twenty bucks to one of those goofy Topps graphic artists to add blood dripping down Bush's chin.

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