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Spike 12-26-2000 06:26 PM

So anybody here see the Lakers-Blazers' game on N.B.C. yesterday? First of all, it's good to see Marv Albert as the number one play-by-play guy for basketball for that network. I like Costas, but only for Baseball because that's his sport anyways. Nobody does it like Marv when it comes to basketball.

Unlike Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals last year, "Hack-A-Shaq" actually worked for the Blazers this time around. Last May, he made like 8 in a row and but last night he missed like 6 in a row or something like that late in the 4th Quarter. I think that is the best time to use "Hack-A-Shaq" too when you're up ahead. It just puts added pressure on Shaq to make those free throws. Because last year the Blazers were down 10 when they did the unsuccessful "Hack-A-Shaq".

Did you guys see Scottie Pippen? He was pretty bad from the free throw line, but he more than made up for it because he was a monster on the defensive end of the floor. He was so active. He was everywhere, in the passing lanes, on-the-ball defense. He even forced Kobe into some tough misses.

And I slammed Kemp before but at least he was hitting his outside shot this time. He was on fire from 20 feet out and I remember he actually even drove the lane once and got to the line.

And what did you guys think about Kobe being called for an offensive foul in the last part of the game, where he did a crossover on Steve Smith and Rasheed stepped up and got the charge? I don't know. I saw replays. I think you could call it either way. It looked to me Wallace was outside that little circle underneath the basket where you can be called for a charge and Kobe's contact moved him. I think the bigger question there was whether or not Rasheed established that position in time. It was at tough call for sure but it was a gutsy call by the ref on the Lakers' home floor to give Rasheed Wallace the benefit of the doubt there.

Speaking of Wallace, what I really like about them is him, that he's the go-to-guy now. Because last year, it was like who's the go-to-guy down the stretch of close games. Is it Steve Smith? Is it Scottie Pippen? This year there won't be any kind of confusion over who it is, because in the couple of Blazer games I've seen, it's clearly Wallace and I think that's a good thing and he's the best choice because unlike the other 2 who are more of perimeter players Wallace is a big guy who can get the inside high percentage shot and has proven to be almost unstoppable on the low block with his quickness. I remember him even taking the ball on the low left block one sequence and scoring with Shaq on him.

Marc 12-27-2000 03:05 PM

I saw it and it was a great game! You are right in saying Wallace is definitely the distinguished go-to man in Portland. If anything, this helps the team because there is no longer confusion as to who to go to when it counts. They have stocked up their frontline and can now have enough fouls to contain Shaq. This match-up will be dynamite later in the playoffs!

As for Kobe's offensive foul, I'm not sure about it, either, but you can't get every call.

Spike 12-27-2000 10:35 PM

Blazers getting better
Yeah, the Blazers were struggling before at the start of the season. Not everybody seemed to be on the same page and some of the older veterans seemed to be coasting and there were some doubts.

They really pointed to this game on Christmas Day as a bench mark for their season to see if they could eventually put it together and contend for the championship again. And now their confidence must be higher than it's ever been so far this season because within the last few weeks, first with their 96 to 86 win in Portland against the World Champions and now their win this last Monday night in L.A., they've at least shown the Lakers that come May and June, Portland will be another big road block for the Lakers to get through to repeat.

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