Heads Roll in LA, the West’s Best—and the State of New York


You’ve heard “Heads Will Roll” before, haven’t you? Yet you’ve most likely never seen it to this extent.

I was made aware via text message of the Mike Brown firing—and it didn’t even shock me.

The back-and-forth was between myself and my mean and nasty mother…

Madre: Lakers fire coach!!!

Me: You beat me to the punch yet again [she had previously been the one that told this writer about the Dwight Howard deal, so she’s alright]; I can’t, however, act all that surprised. Things need to happen with this team—and they are not.

Madre: Hopefully this helps! Time for Phil Jackson?

Me: Don’t bet on it…Just hope for someone competent. That’s what I’m doing.

The Bernie Bickerstaff Bridge from Mike Brown to Mike D’Antoni

In the interim Mr. Bickerstaff has gone unbeaten thus far, and the pair of games have been against divisional foes, so that’s been a plus.

LAL 103/SAC 90 and LAL 101/GSW 77—those are good wins for any 1-4 club let alone the Lake Show.

The Lakers lost Steve Nash for an undetermined amount of time (even if he will try his darnedest to be on the floor for their up-coming bout with Phoenix in ‘Zona), and LAL’s best b-ball player Kobe Bryant has taken over as distributor.

Kobe led the team in helpers the last two contests. The rest of his number lines—20-6-6 against Sacramento and 27-9-7 versus Golden State—were par for the course, so he’s doing it all.

The front court made valid contributions, also: Howard had 23&18 playing the Kings; Pau had 14&16 playing the Warriors. Good signs all around in the waiting for D’Antoni.

From a X’s and O’s point of view, I can’t be more excited as a fan of watching the Lakers play basketball, but it’s not ideal for the second season, at least I don’t think.

Remember: The Nash/D’Antoni Suns couldn’t beat the Spurs. Ever. Furthermore, defense will always be an issue—or the lack thereof, rather. The artist formerly known as Ron Artest plays it, as does DH, so it won’t be a complete guarantee that 40-point quarters will happen for the Lakers’ opposition in the second season again like they did when Mike D’Antoni ran the ship in PHX.

I like this fit better than the Princeton something-or-other Brown tried to run, yet you cannot tell me with a straight face that D’Antoni run-and-gun, high-octane, three-pointers-coming-down-from-heaven O is the ideal thing for an older team that isn’t that deep.

We shall see however…

Dallas, Denver and, of course, San Antonio

The Mavs and the Nuggets need mentioning among the West’s elite, for the former is playing without an NBA MVP—Dirk—and the latter began the year on a three-game skid only to now be on a four-game winning streak.

Dallas won’t get all out of their team until the starting five features Dirk Nowitzki, and then we’ll see a show, but until then, be sure to watch them tread water so you can get used to this unit, for they’ll be in the playoffs and/or take the whole Southwest Division.

OJ Mayo lights it up on a nightly basis, finally being in a starting five instead of riding the bench at tipoff, and Chris Kaman putting in quality minutes as both a starter and a sixth-or-seventh man will only make this team scarier coming into their own.

Denver’s trip to .500 and above has been poetry in motion. They got off the schneid the same way the Lakers did—beating Detroit during their west-coast tour—and have not stopped soaring. The Nuggets beating of the Rockets in Houston is a prime example of what this team can do, too; they won the ballgame led by Ty Lawson’s 21 points and 8 dimes, as well as 16&16 from Kenneth Faried, yet the real story was eight Denver players registering 20+ minutes on the floor during the W. Stuff like that pays off down the stretch.

For San Antonio, it’s easier to mention their one occurrence in the loss column thus far. Playing the Clippers in La La Land showed the rest of the West how to beat them…for now. That is until one of the greatest basketball minds in the history of earth—Spurs coach Greg Popovich—figures out how to fix the malfunction.

Sure, losing to the Clips in the City of Angels looked bad, for LAC had their way with San Antonio, downing them by 12, and posting three double-doubles and having seven players in double figures. Good luck finding a way to do that again after Pop looks at the tape.

The Fun Thant’s Been the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks

ESPN the Magazine cover-boy Carmelo Anthony is leading the National Basketball Association in scoring; the Brooklyn Nets just finished a home-and-home sweep of the Orlando Magic (the first of which was a nearly 40-point massacre); what’s not to love?

I praised Dallas earlier, but the K-Nicks destroyed them in Madison Square Garden. Melo had 31&7; Raymond Felton 8-4-9; JR Smith 22 off the bench; Rasheed Wallace 6&6 in 18 minutes of quality time. Cool beans.

Moreover, has anyone told you that the New York Knickbockers haven’t even lost yet and they’re the leaders of the East? If not, consider yourself now in the know.

Brooklyn’s last two games (the Orlando ones) have shown us great things—of the regular season variety—as well.

107-68 was the final in the one in the new building, with not a single Net playing more than 30 minutes, as stated earlier, that stuff pays off down the road, and the following game in the middle of Florida was an eight-point W in which D-Will flirted with a triple-double (17-7-7) and Chris Humphries owned the glass with 14&21.

It hasn’t all been wine and roses for Brooklyn like it’s been for New York however.

There was that 30-point drubbing by the Heat this early NBA season; LeBron showed them what he’s made of, too, with 20-12-8, just to remind the Nets where exactly they sit in the Eastern Conference. But with Deron Williams averaging 16 pts and 7 dimes, I wouldn’t be at all concerned about them missing the playoffs like they’ve been known to do as of late.

I hope that wasn’t too much NBA talk, but, if it was and you’re still reading: I’m not apologizing. I’ll just offer a great version of a Neil Young song that I found and have listened to at least a half dozen times…


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