Fans watch in trance, as L.A. grants Kevin Durant’s good look for a game-winning shot (and celebratory dance), then see it glance off the rim, which plants OKC in an 0-2 stance
Kobe Bryant used to miss clutch shots too.
When Kobe first came up, he was obviously going to be a Hall of Fame-caliber player, but he didn’t instantly become The Best Closer in the Game. Kevin Durant is also headed to the Hall of Fame, but during his first Playoff Series, he is not Mr. Clutch just yet. Durant broke out of his one-game slump to light up the Lakers for 32 Points in Game 2, but with 7 seconds left down by 2 (because The Best Closer in the Game missed a Free Throw), Durant tried to win it with a Three, but he clanked it off the iron. OKC got one last chance, but with 1 second left down by only 3 (because Paul Gasol missed a Free Throw), Jeff Green missed a long Trey and that was it.
The 95-92 survival gives the Lakers a 2-0 lead as the Best-of-7 Series heads to Oklahoma City. But the Thunder takes something back to OKC even though they got swept in L.A.: Confidence. Even with Kobe coming to life with 39 Points and Gasol turning in another stellar performance (25 & 12), the Thunder still led at the Half, kept it close throughout, and had a chance to win the game — in Los Angeles — in the final seconds. Add to that the fact that the Thunder’s second-best player Russell Westbrook was hamstrung with foul trouble all night, and there’s no reason to think that the Thunder couldn’t even up the Series before it gets back to Staples. Westbrook played only 29 minutes, but still managed to amass 19 Points, 6 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 1 Steal, and 1 Block. And that Block was HUGE. It came with 30 seconds left, on a jumper by Shannon Brown, with the Lakers up by 3.
Westbrook continued to earn a ton of praise from the TNT Announcers, who are comparing him to Derrick Rose, and calling him possibly the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year. And between Westbrook and Jordan Farmar (who hit a nice, solid Three when he came in but didn’t see too much more success), UCLA got lots of good pub. Unfortunately, during Introductions, Westbrook left out that he’s from UCLA, while Durant proudly proclaimed his University of Texas roots. But in one of the early games, two more Bruins piled up some more accolades (albeit in a losing effort).
The Milwaukee Bucks got off to a competitive start at Atlanta, thanks to Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who surpassed his season average of 6 Points, with 4 close-range buckets in the first six minutes of the game. Luc was the most active player on the floor, on both ends of the court. The Announcers praised his effort, while later re-affirming what all Bruin fans always knew: As long as Luc is shooting from the 5-foot and closer range, he’s fine, but if he takes a shot from 10 feet or further, the opposing Defense has achieved its goal.
Even if Luc becomes Reggie Miller reincarnated, the Bucks would still be struggling without Star Center Andrew Bogut. However, they got great Center play on Tuesday night from back-up Center Dan Gadzuric. The former UCLA Center came in for 18 minutes, and scored 6 Points, grabbed 6 Rebounds, and had a nifty Blocked Shot as well. He was extremely active and hard-working, and like Luc, caught the notice of the Announcers, who couldn’t say enough about the job that Gadz was doing. Sadly for the two Bruins, the undermanned Bucks were outplayed by the Hawks, who now lead the Series 2-0, and look like the clearly-better team. But just like OKC with Durant, Milwaukee has Brandon Jennings, and if he has “one of those nights,” he could carry the Bucks to victory, especially IN Milwaukee. So don’t count Luc and Gadzuric out just yet.
And speaking of TNT Announcers, Charles Barkley f*cked up again, calling his co-hosts “@ssholes” on live National TV. Barkley was ambushed, by two girls in a prepared video, asking him if he prefers blondes or brunettes. It must be an inside joke, that apparently is an insult to his blonde woman named Maureen. While his co-horts Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith pestered him for an answer, Barkley hemmed and hawed, then said “Blondes.” Then he apologized to Maureen, complained about the Production Staff, and told Ernie and Kenny: “You’all are @ssholes around here.” Not too classy, Chuck, but it sounds like maybe those guys — and the Producers — had it coming.
Speaking of @ssholes…
Reggie Bush just bought his way — and usc’s way — out of serious trouble. Bush has just settled out of court with Lloyd Lake, just 3 days before Reggie’s deposition was scheduled.
I did not make this story the headline article for two reasons: #1 — It’s bad news, and I rather bury bad news than celebrate it, and #2 — It was inevitable, so therefore, not really surprising news. OF COURSE Reggie — or some rich sc alumni like Jerry Buss — put up the money. The NCAA was waiting to pounce on all the information that would have been disclosed for public record, about all the payoffs, free rent, free airline travel, free luxury hotel stays, and everything else.
So WHY in the World would Reggie pay another $300K (or whatever amount) if he were innocent?? NO REASON. Why not go into a courtroom (or conference room) and clear the air, tell the truth, and explain away all the misconceptions? Because, maybe, he’s completely full of it? As far as most discerning observers are concerned, this payoff is nothing less than a total admission of guilt. Now the only justice would be for the NCAA to deliver the Death Penalty to usc anyway, strip them of all their wins, and indirectly, the BCS Trophy, and finally, Reggie’s Heisman. Then sc would suffer, trojans would hate him, and he’d be out all this extra money for nothing.
Speaking of justice, here are 7 more song girl photos from Saturday, which (I hope the girls feel) do them justice. And if there is really any justice, these photos — from a Charity event — are continuing to raise funds for Swim With Mike (dot org).
As always, the photos enlarge when you click them, and they have mouse-over, pop-up captions. In keeping with today’s headline, the pics all feature a GLANCE. And today’s captions all have a different word that rhymes with glance (besides Durant’s, enhance, chance, advance, trance, grants, dance, plants, and stance, which I already used).