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Westsider Rider

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A glimpse into the future

Andrew Bynum, you are the man.

The Lakers finally picked up that elusive win over Miami which they have not been able to do since Shaq was traded as they won 100-92. It was a good game by the Lakers throughout who led by 15 at half and as much as 19 in the 3rd quarter. There was also the handshake and embrace between Kobe and Shaq which was definitely a topic of conversation as well. But the talk of the town afterwards was Andrew Bynum. Bynum only played 4 minutes but those 4 minutes left a huge impression on all of us.

For those that didn't see it, Jason Williams missed a shot and Shaq went up for the rebound and tip slammed it home but in the process doing it over Bynum and knocking him to the floor. A lot of people, myself included, worried what type of effect it would have on the 18 year old. Most veterans in the league are afraid to do anything so they take it and move on. But not Bynum, on the ensuing possession he went down and got position down in the post and demanded the ball. His teammates obliged and passed it to him where he was stationed on the left block. As he was posted against Shaq he faked right back towards the center of the paint and then took it left with a drop step and just jammed it home which is what you see above. Shaq just looking up as Bynum burned him with a great post move.

At the time Bynum was drafted many people, myself included, were somewhat skeptical of the decision. Considering Kobe is now 27 and heading into the prime of his career and signing Phil Jackson to only coach for 3 seasons many wondered what the hell the Lakers were doing drafting a 17 year old project that would take years to pan out. But after watching some of his clips and seeing him in action I knew it was the right pick because big men are very difficult to find and we may have gotten ourselves another late lottery steal. I am even more confident in the decision after last night. Bynum was not afraid to go back after Shaq when most players would have done nothing. He demanded the ball and decided to take it to Shaq and was not going to fail. Does that sound familiar like someone else on this Laker roster? Remember when Kobe was airballing 3's against Utah and the whole world was against him? I remember because I was one of the few that was defending him at the time. I knew it took guts to demand the ball like that at that point and I knew we were witnessing the birth of something special. Now Kobe is one of the most feared players in the clutch because he is always willing to take the shot and is not afraid. We all know Kobe has a ton of heart, he is always laying it on the line and we saw that last night with Bynum as well. I can't wait for Bynum to develop in the coming years and am definitely confident that this new Bryant-Bynum connection will be bringing the championship back to where it belongs, in Los Angeles.

Glove my ass, you can't stop me either.

Kobe was Kobe once again scoring 37 points, including 12 in the 4th quarter. It's just an amazing tear he's been on as any mid range jumper seems to go in always, and not just in but nothing but net. The shot late in the 4th over GP was the only one I recall in the past couple weeks that hit any rim. I just think its insane that we're now to the point that when asked how did Kobe do last night we respond with "ehhh, he only had 27" or "yeah he had 37 but..." I don't think people realize the type of greatness we are witnessing at this point, I am just sitting back and enjoying it while rooting on my team. If the team keeps progressing like this I might be more confident that we can win a series in the playoffs, maybe with the right draw maybe even two.

You just wait Dwyane, Shaq will soon start complaining about you too, ask Penny.

Dwyane Wade had a big game going for 34 and 7 dimes trying to match what Kobe did on the offensive end. He is extremely quick on his spins and drives that "Flash" seems like the proper nickname for him. I love watching D Wade, and he's a real nice guy too as I met him before the draft in New York, but with Shaq on his team I just cannot root for Miami now. I hope he continues his great play but Miami cannot win a championship before Shaq has to retire and the way the Pistons are playing it looks like they probably won't either.

A couple of recent Michigan grads are now the World Champions of Beer Pong.

Finally, I had to post this from the guys at EDSBS as they discuss "Off Season Timekillers" for stuff to do while we have to wait for college football again. My favorite being the "HBC Challenge" discussed here:

Most of you, if you were like us prior to us discovering the HBC challenge,
stuck to a relatively shallow pool of teams to play with in NCAA 2005. Diversify
yourself and start your own round-robin HBC (historically black college)
tournament. Not only will the D- grade teams and frequent fumbles keep even the
most apparently lopsided game close, you’ll enjoy gazing at the eye-searing unis
and finding out ways to work your sole “impact player” into the offense…even if
he happens to be the safety or the kicker.


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