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Westsider Rider

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Basketball is Back

To help keep my mind off the pain that has becoming watching/thinking about Michigan football all day every day luckily the NBA is back and I got to watch the Lakers take on the Warriors late last night. Since the game was in Hawaii it was a 10 pm start here on the west coast and although I was planning to go to sleep at halftime I just couldn't do it with it being such a close 1 point game at halftime. In the end the Lakers pulled out the victory 101-93 over the Golden State Warriors. Since it was the first preseason game I can't be too harsh on them but there were a lot of things that I saw that I did like.

Of course the Lakers begin with Kobe Bryant who looked very good last night. He had 28 on the night, 20 by halftime, and I really liked how they used him on the wing more and he did not have to dominate the ball to get his. William "Smush" Parker, a player who I really wanted the Lakers to get out of college, got the starting nod at PG and played pretty good and I think he will make the team, granted not the best time to make a prediction after only one preseason game but I'll go out on a limb. He had some moments on defense where he looked good and others where he tried to force it and got numerous fouls called on him since he is a young 'un and he will not get the benefit of the doubt compared to the veterans. Smush also had a decent day on the offensive end going 4-6 from the field with 1-3 from behind the arc.

Lamar Odom had a pretty good night as well as he took over the game at the end to lead the Laker charge as they pulled away. He ended up with 16 points and played a lot more on the perimeter. Lamar also played more of the "point-forward" role that had been talked about during the off season as he was the primary ball handler up the floor on multiple occasions and I definitely liked seeing that. Devean George was solid off the bench and I think as long as he is not used as a starter he can be a valuable contributor to this team. Aaron McKie got some run and was decent, glad to have some veteran presence on the team.

Then there's Kwame Brown, the major acquisition of the Lakers this off season and he'll get an incomplete from me for this game since it was cut short as he got cut under the eye and had to receive 7 stitches. He showed some flashes but nothing much to get excited about yet as I want to see some more action from him before I say anything. Jumaine Jones had a bad game and as always Medvedenko and Vujacic looked awful while Brian Cook had a decent game with 10 points but it's still really early so we shall wait and see. It was great to see the Purple and Gold back on the court and it's going to be an exciting year, I think we do make the playoffs this year but don't do much, either get knocked out in the first or if we're lucky 2nd round but I don't expect more than that.

Speaking of other basketball stuff, Scoop Jackson wrote a great piece on the Fab Five on espn.com that you should read. Especially for Michigan fans, it brings me back to the time, although I was extremely young as I remember watching the Fab Five and the beginning of my catching the Michigan bug as the Fab Five and Desmond Howard were some of the earliest sports memories I have and is always my answer when people ask me "Why did you come to Michigan all the way from California?" I always loved Michigan back then and it made my college decision that much easier. Although Brent Petway aka Air Georgia is academically ineligible for the first semester, I still expect big things from Coach Amaker and co this year as all the pieces are in place to make a run. I am definitely excited to see the new freshmen this year as they will be needed as well.

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