On the eve and early morn during the biggest and brightest moon of our time, the fellow creature of the night remained hidden from mine eyes—much like the most dangerous and important element of these NBA Playoffs. Until now…
You better have a good bench, or at the bare minimum someone to set the world on fire, if only for a few minutes, on your team seated on the pine at tipoff.
How this pertains to the Lakers
First off, the Lakers with the help of their bench have discovered the ultimate 3-guard lineup by which to close games: Ramon Sessions, Steve Blake and Kobe Bryant.
This subject, however, shall prove more important to LAL in terms of the competition. Right now, the Denver Nuggets as an opposition rely heavily on a second wing that includes Al Harrington and Andre Miller, but the real person with whom the Lakers must currently deal is JaVale McGee—who apparently has been awoken by the thin air of the Rockies during the prior two meetings between these two teams.
But the Lake Show isn’t without its own bench players capable of making dents. People like Jordan Hill have stepped up in these here playoffs, and there’s always the threat of Matty Barnes entering the game and giving them a spot-up 3-point shooter, or he can contribute semi-stellar defense for his team as well.
The rest of the West will be discussed later, but keep in mind the matchups that occur because of the opposing teams’ second units: This is quite critical.
More moon talk…
This nocturnal being—by design—like clockwork—even chooses how much of its infinite wisdom to divulge after every sundown, by showing just the right portion of itself to the prowling public underneath its gaze.
OKC—They have the undisputed sixth man of the year in James Harden, plus Derek Fisher backing up Russell Westbrook, so they’re more than set in this regard. And did you see Harden running the point during the fourth quarter of the last Thunder game versus the Mavs? Or, Nick Collison filling in for Serge Ibaka for the last 2 minutes of the game after he’d fouled out? Wow.
SAS—Manu Ginobili and Stephen Jackson are instant offense, and Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair are quality secondary big men; there’s very little wrong with the Spurs, and I hate it.
MEM—The Grizz-Kids have a scorer in OJ Mayo and former starter Marreese Speights, but unless they realize that Rudy Gay has only so-many game-winning shots in him, they’re doomed against the Clippers—if they aren’t already.
PHI—Philly hasn’t needed to put their bench on display when playing the Bulls, because of the great play of Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala and Spencer Hawes, but they do indeed have one in their arsenal. People like Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young and Nikola Vucevic have all put in some quality time for this team, so whoever they play needs to at the very least be aware of them.
BOS—These guys are amazing. Avery Bradley is starting, and Ray Allen is coming off the bench. And it’s worked. Enough said.
Sorry: I just love the moon…
Oh cursed eternal nomad of the night: What other mysteries do you hold?
Exceptions to the Rule
ATL—Health. This team’s all about being healthy which they’ve never been since the onset of this season, so with no set rotation of which to speak, their benchers are the least of their worries. You know, that and the Celtics.
MIA—Closing…Translation: When this thing ends is what’s most important. And that’s up to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade—no one else has a say. Too true. (The only potential argument one could make would be for Chris Bosh, yet another starter, so it’s no contest.)
CHI—Confidence over players; coaching over personnel. (I would have said someone like Kyle Korver or CJ Watson, but Watson is starting, and Korver relies on the play of Derrick Rose, in my opinion. Maybe Taj Gibson will matter, but the Baby Bulls are going down in flames without their leader. Au revoir Chi-Town. Sooner or later.)
IND—Terminal boredom ensues at the thought of this…That and Leandro Barbosa; not because of his presence, but because I forgot they’d traded for him. This team’s success rests in the hands of Danny Granger.
NYK—Their survival rested on Carmelo Anthony’s shoulders, and he delivered, but if they want to stay alive, the Knicks need the likes of JR Smith and Steve Novak to play to their ability. Just saying.
ORL—This is this team’s problem: Glenn Davis is a great substitution, not a great starting option. JJ Redick has also been the only bench member to make any waves, and that’s sad for a team like this.
LAC—How hard can one team lean on CP3? We shall see. Either that or the emergence of Blake Griffin as a go-to guy isn’t just a one-game miracle. (Note: Both starters. Mo Williams? Maybe he’s good for a game or two, but not anything more.)
The games this evening on TNT—BOS/ATL and DEN/LAL—have star power; the games banished to NBATV—ORL/IND and PHI/CHI—used to, so stick to the stars, for it’ll be better basketball anyway.
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